Two hundred miles in 27 hours. If only any of them had been pleasant.

        It wasn't the boat's fault. Hanalei sailed magnificently. It wasn't the fault of the wind, either. It blew a steady 20 knots behind us. And the seas were only six feet -- easy, right?

          What we hadn't anticipated was that the east coast is shallow, as shallow as the northern Adriatic, so it doesn't take much wind to kick up steep, close-together waves. Since the wind had just shifted, quite a few of those that hadn't received the memo continued to pile in from the other direction. 

      So we were off to a fast start, surfing down breaking waves and getting smacked every fourth wave or so.

          Yes, the ocean still makes me happy.
          As far as the actual sailing went, all we had to do was set the genoa outside th Cape Fear channel and leave it there until we reached Hilton Head, South Carolina.
          Rewind. I promised Mike some help with the sailing vocabulary.

          Word of the day: genoa.
          You know how people who are good at pictionary draw a triangle at the front of a sailboat and another in the middle? The one at the front is a foresail,usually called a jib. Now imagine an extra-beefy one, oversized by 30 percent. That's a genoa. It's our workhorse sail. Don't expect that the word will work as a pictionary clue, but you can toss it around at the office.

          Sort of like the Atlantic tossed us around.

           Audience participation section. To approximate the sea state, move the photo until the horizon is straight, then back. Repeat 10,000 times.

           Back to that other shallow passage from Croatia to Italy. At its end we entered a lagoon, marked at first by sticks, then street signs. The misery was forgotten as we sailed gloriously up the Grand Canal and arrived in Venice at sunset.

           So it was as we cut out of the Savannah River ship's channel. The rolling stopped. Stephan pointed out a single dolphin, then another, then a whole pod herding fish as hopeful pelicans circled. The sky turned peach as we sailed up Calibogue Sound to Hilton Head Island, then to a quiet marshland creek anchorage with perfect depth.

           Time to drop the hook and get a good night's ... what do you mean, we're aground on a falling tide?

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