Sailing in Savannah Georgia du [...]
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Owner: Sailing PILAR - Blue Dot Voyages

Sailing in Savannah Georgia during Covid-19 - Winter2020 - EP44


Location: Savannah
Latitude: 32.08000000
Longitude: -81.09000000
Published: 30 Aug 2020

Sailing during the Coronavirus was not easy. We heard from many of their trouble with entering or leaving countries. Many were just stuck where they were, even if it meant the ocean. Sailors that had been off-shore when the lockdowns went into affect arrived at their next port and were turned away.

So, I guess we can count ourselves extremely lucky that Winter 2020, we stayed in the US, quite by accident actually. We had always planned on having some work done in the boat yard, which we did during January, February and March. After that, we spent the remainder of the Covid Winter Sailing on the Georgia coast in the Savannah area. We experienced the most dazzling sunrises - I couldn't wait to get up in the morning to see them. Sunsets were just as spectacular, but I was never in any hurry for a day to end.

Our adventure began with a Thanksgiving weekend departure from Charleston SC (we covered that trip in another video). When we arrived, we docked at Bull River Marina near Tybee Island. Bull River is a quiet marina on the edge of the beaten path, surrounded by so many waterways we couldn't explore them all, but we'll cover the ones we did.

In January, we dropped the boat at Thunderbolt Marine Services for some maintenance and upgrades - the subject of another video. While there, Stephen and I celebrated our birthdays - January 3 and January 13.

We finally got PILAR out of the boatyard in mid March.

On our way back from Tybee, we collected a few oysters for our appetizer for 2. Stephen was famous for his oyster roasts long before I met him, and we love to carry on the tradition now together. In fact, when we both were single, we started to fall for each other when I was invited to one of his oyster roasts back in Fall 2011. So they still hold a certain romance over us.

On our April visit back to PILAR, we decided to sail out to the gulf stream for fishing. We planned an overnight sail, followed by a morning of catching fish and a late afternoon sail back. Although we had checked the weather, we encountered gale force winds of 35 knots. When I came up for my 2 AM watch, I learned that our jib furling line had snapped, which left us with no way to get our head sail in. Our jib sheet car had also lost it's wheel, so that sheet was frayed and was in danger of snapping as well. We had to figure out something fast.

So, we slowed down as much as we could, and even with life jackets and safety lines, I still felt that I had to hold Stephen's legs as he ventured out on the foredeck to rig a line. Luckily, it had snapped at a point where we had just enough to tie a knot, so that we could furl the sail. We left the main up for stability - well reefed - and turned around. With the strong winds pushing us north, we decided to take advantage of a close reach which naturally brought us to Port Royal Sound and Hilton Head Island.

We anchored around 6 am in the sound and got some rest. We enjoyed the afternoon and evening on anchorage, ran a new jib line, rigged a temporary fix to the car, and left the next morning for Bull River. A smooth sail renewed our spirits.

Next we explored some tidal creeks on Little Tybee Island, by Lazaretto Creek. Too beautiful to describe, we explored for hours until the setting sun beckoned us back to PILAR.

The next day, we set off to explore Wassaw National Wildlife Refuge. Only accessible by boat, the refuge is over 10,000 acres and includes long secluded beaches, live oaks, pine woodlands, and vast salt marshes. The refuge is made up of three islands.


We accidentally caught a ray while docked and let it go.

We went out to explore more waterways in the afternoon, but had to speed back to the boat when an afternoon thunderstorm popped up. We even enjoyed the rain.

Next, we ventured out headed to St. Catherine's Island. However, when our auto pilot went out AND locked our steering, we decided to cut the trip short and stopped at Ossabaw Sound, which ended up being one of our favorite anchorages. You can learn what we did during that disaster in a different video.



Blue Dot Voyages is a Sailing Adventure Company. On our Leopard48 Sailing Catamaran PILAR, we sail, fish, snorkel, scuba, and we offer travel advice on our blog and vlog. We offer charter trips when we can. Watch our videos and live vicariously through us!

Master Captain: Stephen Bell
First Officer: Dawn Bell