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velocir on the prowl
Leisure, Velocir

Beautiful Charleston & Towboat Velocir

Charleston by Velocir

After spending time with family friends in Beaufort, SC, we are back to our trek northward.  Every day we are trying to get 40-60 miles (8-12 hour days).  We travel at about 5 mph.  This is a lot faster than the way down, where we did 15-25 mile days, mostly under sail which made us usually slower.

We spent a rainy but beautiful weekend walking around Charleston.  Some great food, a fun Farmer’s Market and sailboats racing in the harbour.  The town is just restaurants, clothing stores and houses so we took advantage of the fine cuisine with a night out for sushi!

Charleston by Velocir

We enjoyed walking through the city last fall, but we especially enjoyed it in the spring with all the flowers out.  We even stumbled upon the carriage houses of Charleston.  There were 4-5 of these large buildings full of horses and carriages.  One carriage looked like a Princess carriage and was all dressed up.

Charleston by Velocir

After two rainy days walking around town, we pulled up anchor on an equally rainy morning.  We had two anchors down, a bahamian moor, because of the current (to keep us from swinging a lot).  So, we pulled up our primary anchor first, fell back (down current) onto our secondary anchor and pulled it up.  Charleston harbor is pretty mucky!

towboat velocir

As we were heading out of the harbor we noticed a 40 foot Beneteau tacking back and forth under genoa sail alone.  They were trying to head up current with less than 5 knots of breeze.  Really, they were drifting backwards in the channel towards a bridge.

We realized their engine may not be working and they probably needed help.  Sure enough, they were in need of assistance so we offered them a tow.  They accepted so we readied our 120 foot long yellow 1” polypro line we tow our dinghy Raptor on.  We have never cut it short in case of a situation like this where we received or gave a tow.  Amelia led it to the winch for a strong hold, then threaded it back to the chock for a good lead.

Velocir  was much smaller than them and we hadn’t towed anyone before, but we went slow and it went smoothly.  Amelia tossed the line solidly, and they used the big looped end to secure it to their boat.

Grant maneuvered us across the channel over to Charleston City Marina, where two staff members were standing on a dock waiting for us.  As we got closer, a trawler started to motor out of the narrow channel between the piers. The two young dock staff told us a boat was coming out of the marina and to get out of its way. We were up current and under tow, so we stopped, radioed them and asked that they give us the right of way.  Actually, we kind of demanded it.

In the confusion of this, the boat we were towing decided they were close enough and let go.  We didn’t really make a judgment call on this decision and just went with it.  It was too early to let go.  They drifted in the current to the left dock instead of the right dock (picture above).  After making light contact with the sailboat on the left dock (people were onboard) another boat got it’s dinghy going and passed lines over to the right dock.  Within 10 minutes they were all tied up and secure.

However, Amelia would like to point out that she saw a Charleston City Marina runabout boat on several occasions during our time anchored nearby.  At no point did they attempt to assist in any way beyond having line handlers on the dock.  Maybe there is some liability reason, but it seemed odd, because they were in radio contact with the sailboat and aware of the situation but did nothing to help.

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About VELOCIR

Velocir is and Albin Vega 27 built in 1973. She has been redone and outfitted for world cruising by her owners Grant and Amelia.

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