Monday, April 1, 2019

Home at The Ford Plantation

After a long journey, and many repairs in many boatyards, Division Belle is finally docked just a block from our home at The Ford Plantation. We left Hilton Head just after noon today, timed to arrive at Ford close to high tide this evening. Unfortunately, that meant a departure near low tide at Hilton Head. So, rather than risk shallow water at low tide in the Intracoastal Waterway, we went out the Calibogue Sound channel at the south end of Hilton Head and joined the Savannah ship channel to come up the Savannah River and join the waterway later in the day. While it was a rough day out in the ocean, we only had a mild chop going out a couple of miles and back inland via the Savannah ship channel. Our timing worked perfectly, and we arrived at Ford at 8 pm. High tide here was at approximately 8:30, so we had good deep water and the current behind us all the way home.

The trip covered 55 nautical miles which took eight hours, at an average of about 6.875 knots. It's a slow boat, but an extremely comfortable one. It was a great weekend and a great day, but we are very, very tired tonight. Next steps are to get the boat cleaned up after seven weeks in a boatyard, get the varnish redone, and make plans to start enjoying it this summer.

A word about tides, boat draft, and boat speed is in order here. The difference between high and low tide in this area is normally about six feet. Our boat has a six-foot draft. The tide not only affects where we can go at certain times, but also what kinds of currents will be helping or hurting our progress. With the current behind us, our eight-knot boat sometimes travels at up to 10 or 11 knots. We planned for today working backwards from a high tide at Ford at around 8:30 pm this evening. This meant we wanted to start coming upriver on the Little Ogeechee at around 6-ish, with the tide helping our progress and giving us plenty of deep water through the sometimes treacherously shallow low country waterways. This schedule dictated leaving Harbour Town Marina at around noon, at dead low tide. Given that, it made little sense to start out immediately joining the ICW through a shallow area named "Field's Cut" at low tide. Thus, we headed out to sea from the south end of Hilton Head, turned up the usually 50-foot-deep ship channel with the current behind us, and rejoined the waterway at around 3 pm, or mid-tide. The plan worked beautifully, and we arrived on schedule and unscathed by shallow waters and opposing currents.

It is good to be home. As with all boats, there is always much work to be done. But what could be more fun?

1 comment:

  1. Built for comfort, not Speed! The Division Bell is the most handsome boat in our Marina and probably in the entire Ogeechee watershed...welcome home,Captain


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