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Notes from the Lynx-Chestertown to St. Augustine, Day 4

Posted by Tall Ships America on November 4, 2010

Hello again!

Well, the past twenty-four hours have seen a lot of action aboard the Privateer Lynx.  Yesterday afternoon, just after passing Cape Lookout, we were greeted with some “unsettled weather,” as a result of several weak low pressure centers moving up the coast from the Gulf of Mexico.  During the noon to 4 pm watch, the winds died considerably and we were forced to fire up the engine as rain squalls passed overhead.  In an attempt to stay out of the rain, we made a turn to the west to come closer to shore inside Onslow Bay, between Capes Lookout and Fear.

Inside Onslow Bay, the winds did not stay light for long.  At 4 pm we were able to shut down the main engine, still keeping good speed on undersail.  Shortly after 5 pm, we saw steady winds approaching 25 knots with higher gusts, and took in both the fore topsail and reefed mainsail.  After getting a sea-stow in the fore topsail and gasketting up the reefed main, we stood back into watches and carried on closer to shore.
Our course into Onslow Bay meant that we would need to gybe twice to get back offshore far enough to clear Frying Pan Shoals, a series of underwater obstructions and shallow water extending from Cape Fear.  We gybed at the midnight watch change and re-set the reefed main on a port tack.
Winds have been light and variable ever since, and we started the engine again just before 1 am.
After a relatively calm night of motorsailing, we are again seeing “unsettled weather” from the same systems coming up from the Gulf and have once again been greeted with rain squalls.  Unlike yesterday, these squalls are accompanied by steady southerly winds of about 25 knots, with occasional stronger gusts.  There has been little time for a seastate to build up, however, and so we are moving comfortably at about 8 knots under staysail, fore and reefed main.
Conditions are expected to remain unsettled, with the possibility of rain, until about 6 pm today, and settled out with westerly and northwesterly winds after that.  We are currently steering closer to shore, standing in to Long Bay along the South Carolina coast, about 85 miles north of Charleston.  As the southerly winds diminish and westerly and northwesterly winds arrive, we hope to make a push further south into a dock in lovely Charleston.
LeeAnne Gordon and the drying-out crew of Lynx
At 1600 GMT, our position was:
33 degrees 28.357 N
078 degrees 20.461 W
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