Day Fifteen and Sixteen: Sailing from Key West to Provincetown

When we got close to Southport, NC we realized there were thunderstorms coming. I called on the radio to ask for a berth in the three marinas that were in Southport but none of them had any space for us. We found a place to drop the anchor but we were very far from shore. We worried about lightning striking us and for good reason. The insurance adjusters have reported that masts over our height, which is 72 feet above the water, are twice as likely to be struck by lightning than shorter, more standard masts. Also for some reason unexplained, catamarans are twice as likely to be struck by lightning than monohulls. So I think that means we are four times as likely to be struck than most sailboats. Therefore, we use very long jumper cables that I made for dead battery emergencies as a “Faraday Cage” idea. We clamp them to the mast, wrap them around the shrouds and then lower them just underwater. This concept should help the lightning divert to the water over the side of the boat, instead of straight down the mast and through the bottom of the boat. I think if lightning went through the bottom of our boat it would blow a hole in the fiberglass and then the mast would fall down. I have a vivid imagination when it comes to this kind of stuff. Maybe that’s why I’m so nervous at sea?

You can see that we were tired and with the weather predicting a long rest in Beaufort, NC to wait for weather to turn in our favor, we decided to look for another anchorage between here and there. We decided on Wrightsville Beach, NC. It was very close to a friend as well so we looked her up. We took the dinghy to town and met her and another friend for dinner. We had a great time there despite all of the wakes the locals were kicking up all day!

In fact, we had such a good time we promised to go to their cookout on the beach the next day without checking the weather! When I woke up and checked the forecast, the wind was going to turn against us the next day and we would not be able to reach Beaufort comfortably. It was almost 10 am and we had 10 hours of travel time to reach Beaufort Docks Marina before they closed. We put the engines on full and motorsailed with one eye on the ETA.

It was a very good idea to leave. The Coast Guard on the VHF radio announced a heavy weather warning for the area where the cookout was happening. When we looked at the radar on our phone apps, there was a thunderstom headed right towards where we would have left our boat on anchor unattended. We would have had to abandon the beach party cookout and get a taxi back to our boat in a hailstorm. Thankfully, we didn’t get any of that rain or hail where we were sailing, but it was right behind us! The tide was ripping into the Beaufort Harbor making navigation difficult to avoid the channel markers. The one that was hard to miss was seriously dented up from other boats hitting it!

The men that run the Beaufort Docks Marina are well season professionals and very courteous, most of the time. We remember some of them from 2015, and they claim to have remembered our boat as well!

Docking in Beaufort Docks was a bit difficult because of the income tide rolling along at about 3 knots. They only had a back corner on the inside of the marina available for us. Apparently there was a fishing tournament coming up. Anyway, we managed to get in there the first time, as you will see below.

We spend all of our wooden nickels in the same place.

Beaufort Docks provides two free drafts for each reservation. They provide wooden nickels as tokens for the free drink. When we first bought Makara, we were docked here. We had received those wooden nickels before but for some reason didn’t use both of them back in 2015. I remembered seeing one token in our chart table at one point in time but I thought we’d thrown it away for sure. Lindsay was sure it was in there and very happy to dig it out. There you go, two for her and one for me. Cheers.