The boat was purchased, the paper work signed, and the fuel tank was full. Safety jack lines set, other safety gear and engine checked. We were ready to bring our Banjo home in our first offshore sailing adventure. In our “How It Happened” Post, and we told of experience buying Banjo and our good friend who had over 5000 nautical miles on her who was now reunited with this amazing boat.
Shannon and I had been away from the dogs, Sagira, Obi & Venus, for almost two weeks. We were ready to get our “Banjo Girl” back home. We were ready to see our puppies again.
The original plan was to leave out Friday evening, but some scheduling delays pushed us back to leaving out Saturday morning. We said our ‘farewells’ to some really great new friends from the marina. We got our showers and provisions, checked out at the Brunswick Landing Marina with the Dockmasters, Kris and Ralph, hopped aboard and fired up the engines. As an aside, we would like to thank Brunswick Landing Marina for having and nurturing such a great cruising community. You guys really set the bar high.
Adopting New Offshore Sailing Boat Rules
Prior to shoving off, Clif took some time to provide a safety briefing for the entire crew. “We are going to be going offshore,” he began. “If you fall off the boat, and everyone see you go over, chances are you will not survive. If there is any kind of weather, your chances only go down. So here are the most important rules once we get outside:”
- Stay on the f*cking boat!
- Offshore, no one leaves the cockpit unless you are wearing a harness, and are tethered to the boat via jack line.
- Offshore, at night, no one leaves the cockpit unless they are wearing a personal flotation device (PFD), are tethered to the boat with a harness and jack line. Also, and most importantly, at least one other person must be awake, gives their approval by saying “OK” and is watching you while out on deck.
We all agreed to these rules and completed our final checks and loosened the lines for castoff. The engines immediately sprang to life. Clif opened Banjo’s throttle and moved away from the dock under power. Shannon and I were thrilled that we were finally starting this new life adventure together. This trip would be the first where she and I sailed offshore together. Although this was more of a working trip rather than a romantic one, we brimmed with excitement! So, we motored past the old galleons and the fishing vessels, smiles from ear to ear on all of our faces.
Navigating Brunswick Harbor
The morning was bright with a few scattered clouds, and a nice 75-something degrees as we set out towards the Sidney Lanier Bridge spanning Brunswick Ga and the marshes surrounding Jekyll Island on Ocean Highway. We turned at marker #30 Red. This turn took us from the East River into the Brunswick River and the further out into the sound.
So far, we had only been underway for about 30 minutes in this offshore sailing adventure, but off in the distance, we could see the dorsal fins of dolphins having their morning fill. We stood in awe as we passed under the bridge and took some time to take pictures of ourselves and the bridge.
With the bridge behind us, we set our sights on the channel markers. The entire crew took some time to get familiar with the boat and the waterway. The water was calm and the morning was peaceful as birds flew overhead. Meanwhile, we continued to look for dolphins and channel markers.
It took us two hours to reach Marker #24 Red and we took it to port. The water was a brilliant green-blue hue. “Red right return” is the old saying so when leaving port. Therefore, red channel markers should be on the left side of the channel when heading to sea. This ensures you remain in the channel. The channel widened and we watched and waved as other boats passed. Twenty minutes later, Banjo passed #22 Red to port followed by #20 Red. At that point, we turned to starboard passing #19 Green.
Final turn and heading to sea
This was it. After making the turn at #19 Green, we only had two green markers remaining to enter the Brunswick Harbor Inlet. As a result, we aligned for our straight-shot into the channel inlet. Most noteworthy, we passed the G1 and R2 Markers at 31° 03.9N 81° 16.3W and were officially offshore sailing at 10:52.