Several of us in Lake Charles delivered a Lancer 29
to Corpus Christi last summer. This is a "log" I wrote for our club
newsletter. The plan for the Voyage: depart Lake Charles, LA and sail to
Freeport, TX; drop off Alvin Touchet, and then continue on to Corpus Christi. All of
the sailing was planned to be offshore.
Thursday Afternoon -Outfitted Ship
05:30 AM Friday - Arrived at LCYC
06:05 AM Friday - Left LCYC. Boat aground and required backing out to deeper water.
under engine power only. Engine 2500 rpm, smoking and quit. Restarted and ran at
2400 rpm, 5.4 kn.
Excalibur Motor Sailing down the
06:45 - Passed I-210 bridge. Raised Mainsail.
07:15 - Passing Citgo.
08:00 - Passing Moss Lake, Channel Marker 103; Mark took the helm.
08:50 - Turners Bay Marker.
08:55 - Autopilot on. Mile Mark 20
09:19 - Texaco Cut, CM 84
09:40 - Gold Roof House, CM70
10:00 - Dugas Bay, CM 77. Ken at helm.
10:30 - Met Zip Gilmore and Max LeBeauf in Channel. Max had just caught a speckled trout
to take the lead in the CCA tournament, about 8.3 lbs.
10:42 - CM 69. Lower Mainsail. Motor only. Alvin at the helm. Met
Lena Touchet in Channel. She also told us about Max's catch. News travels fast over
the outboard telegraph.
10:54 - MM 9, CM 67.
10:59 - Alvin brought out shrimp and sauce. Good! Thanks Cindy!
11:00 - Saw first of many Dolphins.
11:10 - Increased engine rpm. Engine quit. Reset at 2400 rpm, Ok.
11:30 - MM 6, Bottom of Big Lake.
12:00N - MM 3, Cameron. Frank at Helm.
12:20 PM - MM 1.
12:30 - Boat ramp at East Jetties. MM 0. We are at the Gulf of Mexico.
Still have to clear Jetties.
12:45 - Clear Jetties, Raised Mainsail and Jenny, motor sail at 6 kn.
13:15 - Shut down engine. Sails only at 5.5 kn.; pleasant.
15:30 - 6+ kn. White caps. Depower main.
16:16 - Tacked to clear Sabine Pass.
19:15 - Engine seized.
Night Hours - Full sail. 4 hr shifts, 2 hr tiller, 2 hr lookout. Lookout was
on the Bow, this was very treacherous as swells pounded the boat, one could just hang on
to the bow pulpit. Many platforms, etc. The moon set at about midnight and it
was difficult to see, but the stars were incredible. Many meteorites were seen and the
water was peppered with phosphorescent plankton as the boat sailed
07:30 AM Saturday - Restart engine. Will put into Galveston rather than
Freeport. Not making enough progress to Freeport due to wind direction.
09:30 - Lowered sails, no progress with sails. Engine only.
10:00 - Pump the poop.
11:00 - Bolivar Jetties.
13:00 - Arrived Galveston Yacht Basin. Purchased 3 gal diesel, 80 lb.
Ice. Cindy and sister met us to pick up Alvin. We cleaned up and went for
15:00 - Left Galveston Yacht Basin. Headed to ICW. (Intercoastal Waterway)
16:30 - ICW clearing Galveston Causeway Bridge.
18:00 - and on; Going through washout area of ICW. Channel is shallow and
narrow. Tug boats go through singly. We followed a tow. Many depth
warnings and bumping ground. Nerve racking!
21:00 - Engine quit. Raised Jib. Had main up. Tried to sail into the
wind. Ran hard aground. Wind on the nose, no engine, aground, narrow shallow
channel, dark, etc. Trouble shoot engine. After cooling for an hour,
restarted. Hand crank as battery and starter not working.
22:00 - Motor restarted. Rocked boat to free from bottom. Underway in the
moonlight. Mud everywhere from two anchors.
23:00 - Attacked by killer bees. Ken repelled with Silver Cross and Deep Woods
Night hours - Motored to Freeport. Tense due to engine questions. Cleared Freeport
bridge and raised sails again. Wind angle Ok.
02:00 AM Sunday - Discussed resting for a while. Decided to press
03:00 - Cleared Freeport Jetties. 110 NM to Aransas Pass. (Near Corpus
Christi.) Shut down engine. Making good progress with sails. Main and large
jib, 6 kn. all night, 3' seas. Employed Autohelm, what a Godsend, like having an
extra person on board that never tires. We were able to put only one person on watch
and rest more. The wind was out of the SSW and we were able to maintain a course of about
240°. We were, however, still on a close reach but able to maintain our
layline. The engine was run for 15 min. every two hours to keep the battery charged.
05:00 - Attacked by giant squid. Frank turbo-charged the engine to 5000 rpm, planed
the boat at 23 kn. and outran the squid.
09:30 - Ran engine 15 min. every two hours to keep battery charged. Mostly on
auto-pilot.AM to PM - 6 kn. under sails only, wind 15 kn. SSE, blue water. Nice. Sailed
out of sight of land all day. Great Sailing!
15:00 - Course change to correct Southerly drift.
16:00 - Mermaid spotted and heard siren song. Mark wasn't tempted and kept on going.
17:00 - Course 230, reaching at 6-7 kn., 15 kn. wind, 3' seas, 75' water
BLUE water. Hour after hour
02:30 AM Monday - Aransas pass Jetties.
05:00 - Corpus Christi Dock, Slip 23, Pier A. We are there. Frank went to find
phone and breakfast. Unloaded boat and went to Franks House. Coffee, etc., bath and
bed. Sondra met us at 9:30. On the road home at 10:00. Lake
Charles at 5:00 PM.
Highlights of the Voyage: Sailing the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico and seeing
Low Points of the Voyage: The diesel engine quit even before we were out of Lake
Charles. This set the tone for the remainder of the voyage. The engine quit
several times and caused many hours of worry. When it quit in the Intercoastal Waterway,
among the commercial towboats, we discussed quitting and calling for a tow. Then,
after it restarted and we made it back to the Gulf, we figured that the remainder of the
voyage could be made under sail alone if necessary.
Additional Low Points: The voyage was very tiring and boring. We used shifts
of 2 hours on and 4 hours off . At night we used 4 hours on and 2 hours off due to
needing an extra lookout for rigs, platforms and other vessels. Daytime sailing was
HOT and rest inside the cabin was difficult due to heat. Portholes were shut to keep
out spray. Winds were generally 15 knots and seas were 2 to 3 feet. Perfect,
but it was impossible to sit or stand without holding on to something, even inside the
cabin. By the end of the trip everything, including the crew, had that wet sticky salty
feeling. YUCK! It was difficult to sleep as only two spots were comfortable,
the low side bunk in the cabin and the low side of the cockpit. If we slept in the
cabin, the port had to be closed to keep out spray. This made the cabin very
hot. The cockpit was generally in the sun and also hot and had nothing to retain you
in position as the boat moved.
We were so smelly after three days at sea without bathing that we rode in the back of
Frank's pickup truck for the trip to his house from the boat. The shower at Frank's
house was like Heaven. Would we make this trip again???? Not for a while.
However, a trip in a 40' trawler with Air Conditioning, shower, etc. might be considered.