Follow-up from my trip to North Myrtle Beach. All in all, an excellent decision on my part to drag my Wave with me. Sailed almost 100 miles total over 6 days. Even turtled!
We stayed in an oceanfront condo on the 800 block of South Ocean Blvd. A great week at the beach, a great week of weather, and a great week's worth of sailing for me! A few challenges, but easily worked through.
Problem: The condo rules did not allow trailers or boats in the parking lot at the condo.
Solution: A convenient/friendly self-storage about 3.5 miles from our location. Locked and gated with 24 hour access. All Seasons South Carolina at 483 Highway 17 in Little River SC. Phone: 843-399-7501. Thanks Charlene for getting me all set up in advance to arrive after hours on a Saturday and drop the boat off! $40 for the week. Easy in-and-out highway access.
Problem: Getting the hulls wet.
Solution: Numerous public beach access points with adequate parking; some with sufficient width and lack of dune to roll the boat down on cat trax single-handed. 7th Avenue South public lot was ideal (and about 100 yards from our condo). Daily MO: get up, retrieve boat from storage, and park in the 7th Ave South lot. Plenty of parking, even on the weekend, just had to drop the trailer and use two parking spots. Flat, clear, able to step the mast in the lot, load on the trax and go. At end of day, load and go to storage.
Problem: Crowded beaches (at all hours) made me uncomfortable with leaving the boat on the beach overnight. Not sure the law would allow either.
Solution: See solutions 1 and 2 above.
Launching through the surf was much easier than on Outer Banks. Beach was more hard-packed and with a much shallower grade. Period of the breakers seemed longer.
As for concerns about crowded beaches, the key was to avoid the beach in front of the high-rise condos. North of 7th Ave South was bad. From the sea, it looked like every square yard beach was occupied with all sorts, sort of like parts of Jersey. South of the access point was wide open, with plenty of room to maneuver the boat on the beach or to launch and recover without running over the bait in the water.
As for concerns about the lifeguards and beach rules, overall no issues. Other than launch and recover, you needed to stay at least 100 yards offshore. The beach was flat; the tide ranged probably 40-50 yards, with a consistent sandbar. Not a lot of folks in the water where we were. Guards were friendly and offered plenty of advice and help. A lot of interest and offers of help from beachgoers; even gave a few rides. For the first couple days (with same lifeguard), I could beach the boat, point the wind, unhook the mainsheet, and walk away to the extended family unit for food, drink, or fun. Even headed up to the condo a couple times. One day, a substitute guard told me I had 10 minutes to recover and launch or the sails had to come down. In retrospect, he was right as the sail could possibly block his field of view. The next day, the regular guard told me his sub just had issues. I got into that habit anyway if I would be more than a few minutes (and in any case, it was so easy to do). Fun beach and OBTW, provided you used a coozie, cans of cold beverages were OK.
Sailing was excellent. Consistent 10-20 knot breeze over the course of the week, with some variability in direction. Seas ranged from inconsequential to 4-6 foot swells with a pretty long period. Overall, a blast with a lot of hull flying for me. Had an opportunity to drag kids/nieces/nephews/cousins out and got them to sail so I could just ride. They all had fun. Unfortunately, no dolphins, but we did see a sea turtle.
Speaking of turtle, I had an opportunity to. Of course, unintended, but… Was flying a hull and the bow dug in, the boat just about stopped and up she went. Although it seemed like slow-motion, I wasn’t able to lean out fast enough to recover and I capsized, on the starboard hull, with my leg hooked to the knee through the port hiking strap. As I pulled on the strap to lift up and free my leg, I demonstrated that my weight on the port hull would be more than enough of a moment arm to sink bob, and once he dives, he ain’t stopping. Good news was the water was deeper than the mast was tall. A very unique perspective to stand on the bottom of the trampoline. Pretty stable too.
So there I was, about 2.5 miles offshore, riding the turtle and thinking of all the horror stories about getting unturtled, with folks talking of the need for external help. Although there were plenty of the parasailer boats and the banner towing planes, they were about 1.5-2 miles toward shore, so I was on my own. In actuality, it was pretty easy to get her back to a capsized position and then recover normally. Sort of a reverse, with the righting line tossed over the bottom of one hull, step into the bow of the line, outboard of the hull, lean back, and hold on. The gentle swells helped (and my immenseness didn’t hurt either). The swells, the bob, and I did the trick. She came back up pretty easily, and I was able to stay on the hull, reposition the righting line, and get her righted and underway shortly thereafter. Overall, about 7 minutes from ‘Oh crap!’ to ‘That was actually pretty fun!’
Overall, a great week. Glad I dragged her. Got plenty of setup and breakdown practice. Would do it again!