Voyage of the Argo – Boston to the Potomac

We sailed the Argo from Captain’s Cove Marina in Quincy Massachusetts to Olverson’s Lodge Creek Marina located along the Potomac River in Virginia. The Argo is a 1975 Irwin 30 Competition Sailboat.

It was a 680-nautical mile journey and took 27 days to complete. We encountered equipment failure and bad weather but the little Argo plugged along. We arrived in her summer home on May 26th, 2015.

Overall the little ship is in fair condition but I plan to bring her back to her original condition. She will need a complete electrical overhaul, cleaned, painted, some wood restoration, and some rigging work done. My initial estimates to get the boat where I would like her will cost about $5,000 and will take a few years complete.

The Dream Becomes Reality:

On April 22nd, 2015 I bought a 1975 Irwin 30 Competition Sailboat. The boat was in Quincy Massachusetts and needed to be out of her slip by May 1st. She is 30 feet in length and has a Fin keel and skeg mounted rudder with a 27-foot waterline, 10-foot beam, and 5 1/2-foot draft. She has a Universal Atomic 4 gas engine which runs like a top.

When I bought her she only had one mainsail and now we have 3 sails. One main, one Genoa, and one Spinnaker sail. The Genoa is not the correct size for this boat so that will need to be replaced. The Spinnaker poll has some minor damage that must be repaired also.

On April 26th, I flew into Philadelphia to gather the equipment, supplies, and crew necessary to make the 680-nautical mile journey. On April 28th, I arrived in Quincy Massachusetts at Captain’s Cove Marina to take command of the Argo. With me was my brother Stephen, Quartermaster of the Argo, and my father. After securing gear, equipment, and supplies on-board, my father departed for home and we settled in for the night. We took the next day to organize the boat and review charts and plans.

The Odyssey Begins:

April 30th, 2015 at 7:30 AM we sailed out of Captain’s Cove Marina and headed out to the Atlantic to begin the first unofficial voyage of the Argo. Our primary port of call for that night was Sandwich Marina on the east side of the Cape Cod Canal.

May 1st we set sail through the Cape Cod Canal at 8:45 AM after refueling and waiting for the Slack Ebb to begin. The wind was in our favor and we deployed the mainsail achieving an average of 6 knots and a high of 7 knots. At 2:30 PM the boom cap snapped forcing us to remove the boom and mainsail.

We found a marina in the Westport Point inlet and pulled in for repairs. That stop cost us a 4-day delay waiting on the boom repair. We picked up some necessary supplies and equipment at F.L. Trip & Sons Marina, a dinghy, headsail and repaired the engine blower.

May 6th we set sail at 7:00 am and headed west to Point Judith where we refueled and spent the night.

May 7th we set sail for Shinnecock Bay. We arrived at Oakland’s Restaurant & Marina at 2:30 am and tied up for the remainder of the night.

May 8th we refilled and set sail at 8:30 am for Moriches Bay Inlet. The fog was so thick that we navigated by interments alone. We arrived at the inlet at about 5:00 pm and tried to make it to the Windswept Marina however the Chanel was too shallow for our boat so we anchored for the night.

Stephen took the dinghy to the marina for supplies and advice on how to get into the marina. He was not able to make it back to the boat before sundown and spent the night at the marina while I spent the night on the boat. At 5:30 am the anchor rope broke and I was awoken to the boat hitting a rock wall on the port side of the boat.

I started the engine and motor off without any problem and no damage was sustained. I spent the rest of the morning until about 10:30 motoring around until Stephen found a boat to guide us into the marina. We replaced the anchor, chain and anchor rope while docked and refueled the boat.

May 10th we set sail at 2:00 pm because we were waiting for high tide. Even with high tide we still hit bottom leaving the bay. We sailed to Fire Island for our next stop arriving at 11:00 pm. I set anchor for the night. We could not get into the refueling dock because of depth so we spent another day at anchor.

On May 12th, the anchor pulled loose from the bottom and we drifted into the bridge pillion at 2:00 am. The current was so strong we could not get off the bridge and required a tow off the pillion. We docked in the park docks and secured fuel for the boat.

We stayed another 2 days to rest and repair the boat before setting out again.

May 15th We set sail at 5:30 am for Shark River but adjusted our route to Manasquan Inlet. We tied up at the marina at 5:00 pm, refueled and tied up for the night.

May 16th We set sail at 9:30 am for Barnegat Inlet and arrived at 4:00 pm. Refueled and tied up for the night.

May 17th We set sail at 6:20 am and sailed for Atlantic City. We arrived at 4:30 pm, refueled and tied up for the night.

May 18th We set sail at 6:30 am and sailed for Cape May. We arrived at 3:30 pm and switched crew members. Stephen needed to get off to attend sailing school in Florida and I took on Michael as a replacement crew. We also resupplied ship stores and picked up 2 additional anchors.

May 19th We set sail at 8:15 am for Ocean City. We arrived at 10:30 pm and tied up for the night. We took an extra day of rest and refueled the boat.

May 21st We set sail at 9:15 am for Norfolk, a 27-hour run. We arrived at 9:15 am on May 22nd. We spend the next day at the dock because of the weather.

May 24th We set sail at 6:15 am for the Rappahannock River. Progress up the Chesapeake Bay was slow at first but picked up as the tide turned and we picked up as the day continued. We arrived at 9:30 pm and anchored for the night. On May 25th, we refueled the boat and tied up for the night to catch up on sleep.

May 26th We set sail at 6:00 am and set sail for Olverson’s Lodge Creek Marina. We arrived at 7:30 pm and docked the boat. We secured the boat and offloaded the personal equipment and headed for home arriving at 2:00 am.

Overall I did not do well when it came to driving the boat. The Argo drifted into a rock wall at Moriches Bay Inlet due to the anchor rope breaking. I hit another boat on the way out of Moriches Bay. Then I scraped bottom several times leaving Moriches Bay.

I bumped a buoy while navigating into Fire Island Inlet in the fog and after dark. Because of that, I sustained spreader damage when the anchor gave way and we drifted into the bridge at Fire Island NY. She took quite a beating on the trip south to her summer home.

Ships Captain The Dread Pirate Dave

David is the Editor in Chief of Postcards From the Edge. I was born on a cold November morning on the showy plains of Colorado. Like my father, before me, I am an American Nomad.

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