The USA

I just looked when my last blog post was….I was ashamed. It was on the 8th of June. That has really been a while but we have done so much sailing in the last 6 months that I just didn’t get around it. So here we are; The last time I wrote we just sailed from the Caribbean to the USA. We arrived in West Palm Beach to sort out our cruising permit for the boat. I will take it from there again…

After obtaining our cruising permit in West Palm beach we decided to go to Charleston. Charleston is a city in South Carolina, it is defined by its cobblestone streets and pastel houses in the elegant French Quarter district. The sail towards Charleston was quite a rough one. We have been waiting for a decent weather window but somehow the predictions were full of lows. We did see a gap in the weather where the winds calmed down a bit, so we decided to go for it. A few hours later we didn’t regret it but when I started to feel sick we both knew the seas weren’t small. 

Both pretty tired we arrived in Charleston and parked the boat in a marina. This is extremely rare! We never go into a marina unless we really need to. Davids aunt lives here and after more then 10 years of not seeing her we thought it would be a bit easier to meet each other this way, instead of dinghy rides backwards and forwards. We had an absolutely great time in Charleston! We were only thinking of staying a few nights but this ended up in two weeks!

Charleston

Spending longer than expected meant less time in other parts in the USA up north. It was already the end of May and we really needed to get out of the hurricane area. With a not so strong forecast we left for New York City. The wind didn’t play ball for the whole trip until the very end. We were literally flying into the city with our spinnaker up at 10 knots of speed. The sun just set and it was a magical time of day to arrive in this enormous city. At 21.30 o’clock at night we dropped anchor right next to Lady Liberty. I still can’t believe it. That feeling was immense and so special!

Morning glory – Floyd competing with the Lady
Anchorage next to Lady Liberty – New York

Due to covid we decided not to go on land. We both have seen New York and David even lived here for a bit. The next morning we went up the East River past Manhattan to get into Long Island Sound. You need to time this right because of the tide, if it’s against you, you are going nowhere. We had a current of 4/5 knots with us. Crazy.
We went under the Brooklyn Bridge and you pass all the massive buildings in Manhattan and around you. With an open mouth as a kid so excited I looked up to them. So unbelievably cool. What an experience, one I will never forget!

Coming into Long Island sound we had a lovely gentle sail towards Sheffield Island where we dropped anchor. Sheffield island is a small island just of the coast of Darien in Connecticut. We met up with our friends Roxy and Phill (The couple we met in Martinique and spent our lockdown with) who had their boat hauled out in this place to give her some maintenance. It was lovely to see them again, spending dinners together and to see where Phill grew up.

After Sheffield island we sailed together to New Port. A place David and I both really wanted to see. There is so much sailing history here. Newport is a city set on Aquidneck Island in the New England state of Rhode Island. It hosted the America’s Cup, a renowned annual sailing regatta, for many years.

From Newport we went into Martha’s Vineyard/Edgartown and Roxy and Phill left for Chatham. Martha’s Vineyard, a Massachusetts island, sits in the Atlantic just south of Cape Cod. It’s only accessible by boat or air. Edgartown is one of the islands seaside villages full of boutique shopping and pristine harbour views. Martha’s Vineyard is apparently a popular vacation spot among the wealthy, like Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey.

We wanted to get here on time for the celebration of the 4th of July. We dropped our anchor in between the super yachts and spent a few lovely days here.

After Martha’s Vineyard we left for Cuttyhunk. Cuttyhunk is a small little island part of Massachusetts. It has a small beach, a great little harbor, good fishing, a few dozen houses, some great ice cream, and some beautiful hiking trails. We went for lovely walks and ate great chowder in the little harbour.

From Cuttyhunk we sailed towards Chatham in Cape Cod/Massachusetts. Chatham has a very small and shallow entrance which we could only enter with high tide. We arrived on a windy busy Saturday afternoon with loads of little pleasure boats hanging about. One of them even anchored in the middle of the channel. When he finally spotted us he quickly took his anchor up. Glad he noticed us on time, literally no space to manoeuvre here. When we finally got in the bay we dropped anchor but a few hours later we were told it isn’t allowed to anchor overnight. A pity because we are not a fan of being on a buoy for several reasons. But no other option so we pulled our anchor up and drove to the inner harbour where they allocated a buoy to us. Actually…this spot was really nice. We have been meeting up with Phill and Roxy here again. This time we met Roxy’s lovely parents. We had great dinners, drinks and laughs and playing crocket together. Very nice to meet both of their families! 

One of our highlights was that it was finally windy enough to do some Kitesurfing. The spot was amazing! Natural lagoons because of the tide with flat water and you could go out and play in the waves if that’s what you preferred. Normally when I am kitesurfing I don’t think about anything other then enjoying what I am doing. But Kitesurfing in Chatham was a bit different; there are white sharks here, yes those big things, from that movie ‘Jaws’. I have to say when I saw a seal around me (white sharks eat those fellows) I was a bit wary.
I loved Chatham. I loved it so much that I didn’t want to leave.

While being in the USA David thought again about changing our batteries to Lithium ones. It is here significantly cheaper than buying them in Europe. David did a lot of research, like….a lot, to sort out the set up he exactly wanted. So we put our old ones for sale and bought everything we needed for our new system. The old ones where picked up by a legend of a guy and so the work could start. It involved a lot of work for David. Changing a lot of cables in very awkward spaces, soldering and so much more.

This is for the geeky people out here reading this, I will tell you what our old set up was and what our new set up is now. If you can’t be bothered with this, just scroll down a bit.

We had 8×110 Ah AGM batteries with a house bank. This gave us 440 Ah at 24 volts. You are only supposed to use maximum 35% of that.

We switched to 8×100 Ah Lithium batteries where we are happy to use 70% of that (depending on who you listen too). This gives us 400 Ah at 24 volts. So, we now have a minimum of 280 usable Ah. Are you still with me?

There are two mayor benefits;
The amount of amps you can both draw and charge. Which means you can put a relative large inverter and draw 5000 watts without any difficulty.
The charging efficiency is the second mayor benefit. You can continually charge up to 210 amps until nearly full. The two chargers that we have add up to 170 amps. This means if we run our generator for one hour, it charges the entire battery bank with 42%.  

Our 6500 watts generator has now effectively become an efficient battery charger as the inverter lets us use all appliances whenever we want.

Speaking in normal language, I can basically put on the washing machine, heater, oven on whenever I want! We are both over the moon with this set up and David really did a brilliant job! Very proud. 

But enough about batteries. Time was really marching on for crossing the North Atlantic. We decided to hoist our sails again, we said goodbye to our friends and left for Manchester by the Sea. It was a very foggy passage where we could only see a few meters in front of us. We listened to the foghorns around us carefully. At night we both heard the sprout of whales so close that we turned on our engine, just to be sure. The next day we arrived in Manchester by the sea. A lovely, pretty little seaside town. We had a great time here and the weather was beautiful.

After some last bits and pieces Ker Marie was ready to cross an ocean again. We moved up North to Gloucester after a week to hide out a potential hurricane. Luckily it didn’t hit us that hard, although we had some pretty strong winds!

Now it was waiting for good weather for our first part of crossing the North Atlantic to St. Johns in Canada. But that’s a whole other new story. So lets keep that for my next blog.

Thank you all for reading and your kind messages during our travels. We appreciate that a lot.
Love,

Kelly, David & Floyd

 

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