Funny how you pick things up on Facebook that used to come via old-fashioned e-mail. There I was, innocently checking my Facebook homepage and I noticed our very quiet correspondent, Andy Tofuri, had been making regular posts...but not bothering to send a direct email to let his editor know his whereabouts.
Last I had heard, the Morris 486 Consulting Time was headed offshore for the Bahamas (see "Bahamas Bound on a Morris 486"), and now I learn they've been hopping down the coast. So I sent Andy a Facebook message, and he replied right away with something more akin to a logbook entry than the prose that TD, our high-school English teacher, taught us: "Rough couple of nights at first and then we ducked inside and have had cell service. Offshore southwest of Morehead City [North Carolina] now; making 8 knots in 20 knot north-northwest winds, following the coast about 7 miles offshore in 1 to 3 ft seas."
One of the big differences between a sailboat race and a sailboat delivery is the fact you can take a longer, calmer route, and you get congratulated for your common sense rather than castigated for being a wimp. In November, particularly, the Inland Coastal Waterway can be a great alternative when it gets rough on the ocean. However, a little e-mail from that smartphone device of yours would've been nice, Andy!
What's it like going down the ICW, which the crew apparently entered at the lower end of the Chesapeake Bay, in Norfolk, Virginia?
Andy writes: "Nice dinner at Crabby's in Coinjock [North Carolina]. Tomorrow, east in Albermarle Sound to Pamlico Sound and around Roanoake Island toward Beaufort. Hopefully we can play sailboat tomorrow after a day of motorboat. We motored 70 miles today."
Sailing is not the norm inside the ICW. It's shallow and narrow in many places. But there are restaurants and marinas at regular intervals, and if you're lucky, as Consulting Time was, you do get in some sailing in places like Pamlico Sound.
Yesterday, Andy wrote from Oriental, North Carolina: "We're off to Beaufort NC today, 20 statute miles down the ICW. We'll put the instruments back on the top of the mast there as we will have cleared under the last of the 65' high fixed bridges, and then head outside to hug the coast until the rough weather clears and we can cross the Gulf Stream. We may stay along the coast as far as Charleston, SC."
I'll be watching Andy's Facebook page from now on, but for all I know, his next report will come through Twitter. Maybe I need some kind of high-powered social-network scanning device... On the other hand, if any of you happen to be able to stake out the waterside pubs in Charleston or Marsh Harbour, you may well know the whereabouts of the crew of this vessel before I do.