Photo Essay: Charleston, South Carolina

in Overland Travel / Photo Stories / USA
charleston sc mules

Tasha’s View

With our friends Bill and Grace from New York staying on board Hideaway with us for a week, we thought it was only fair to slow down the sailing a bit and finally see some of Charleston before rushing off to the next port.

And this was what I saw with them:

king street charleston sc

The historic buildings of Charleston make you feel like you’re somewhere outside the U.S.

market charleston sc

The crafts and wares at the Charleston Market make for fun shopping.

charleston sc

These little gems are found all over the city.

charleston sc mules

You know you’re in a tourist town when there are horses and carts.

tasha hacker charleston sc fountain

I’m not sure these two sailors are appropriately dressed for this swanky city.

charleston sc cemetery

Even the gravestones are cute.

powder magazine charleston sc

Getting in some culture: touring the Powder Magazine Museum.

powder magazine 2 charleston sc

We learned a lot about the history of Charleston here.


Ryan’s View

While Bill, Grace, and I toured Charleston, Ryan stayed on board Hideaway at Pierside Boatworks on the Cooper River to oversee the installation of our new water heater, to discuss with a Raymarine technician what was going wrong with our auto-helm, and to figure out why our brand new electrics were shorting out on us.

So, while our guests and I were out exploring and learning that Charleston was once a walled city to protect itself from Spanish attack, Ryan learned that 1) there was nothing wrong with our auto-helm (we were just over-powered and should reduce our sails in gusty winds), and 2) our electrician back in New York, though a nice guy, was certifiably incompetent.

It turned out that all of our electrical problems led back to our Port Washington electrician — let’s call him Tony — who ran wiring for all our new boat gadgets (WiFi booster, chart plotter, anemometer, and lights) from the top of our mast down to our bilge and — rather than run wires to a connector box that was out of the water in a high and dry place, as common sense would have — he connected all our wires, unsealed, to a box that sat in our bilge…immersed in water. Now, I’m no electrician, but even I know water and electricity do not mix.

And, unfortunately, since Tony cut the wires short at the bilge, there was no way to extend the wires out of the bilge without replacing all the original wiring (which would require removing the mast again), and therefore Ryan needed to find a way to lift the wires out of the water and at least attempt to keep them dry in order to prevent more shorts and blown fuses.

The result of all this learning was 1) a makeshift solution using a piece of plastic (intended to be the cats’ food mat) to lift and hold our wires out of the depths of our bilge, and 2) a new-found determination to learn to do our own electrical wiring.

It turns out that paying someone to do a job doesn’t guarantee at all that they know what they’re doing.

So, because of all this, Ryan’s day in Charleston looked like this:

ryan horsnail hideaway turf to surf

Ryan and Bill, taking Hideaway up the Cooper River.

naval ships cooper river charleston sc

Naval Ships on the Cooper River, Charleston, SC.

raymarine autohelm

Raymarine Auto-helm, undergoing testing.

corroded connector box

Corroded connector box, removed from bilge.

ryan horsnail hideaway bilge turf to surf

Ryan, discussing in-mast wiring problems with electrician.

hideaway bilge turf to surf

New solution – wires suspended out of bilge water by plastic

0 Comments... Be the first to comment
  • Anthony & Annette Baker November 24, 2012, 8:34 am

    Ryan – I am right there with you! Starting into cruise preps (we are Bahamas Class of 2013) we I had little practical experience until I saw the “Maritime Professionals” come aboard Magnolia that caused me to blow fuze after fuze. We installed a new Autopilot ourselves, no clearly how it works (though Annette can still not finde the fluxgate) and we have not had a lick of problem. Us do it yourselfers can and need to get it done because there are many “Maritime Professionals” that certainly can’t.

    • Tasha November 24, 2012, 2:41 pm

      Hi Anthony,
      It’s a confidence thing, isn’t it?

      Electrical work seems so complicated if you’re never done it…but when a pro costs you more money by causing damage, then you realize if you can figure it out yourself, it will be cheaper and better in the long run. Just gotta sit down with a book and the Internet and figure it out!


  • alchemy2010 November 24, 2012, 11:56 am

    So glad you made it to Charleston and that Tasha and friends had a great tour. I hope you all stay longer so that Ryan who was in marine electronic hell can enjoy Charleston too…such a great town!

    Yours is the second story in a month where a ‘professional’ was hired in regards to electrical or battery installation that did not turn out well…I had worried sometimes that Chris is such a do-it-yourselfer….and typically tackles everything even if it takes him a bit longer than someone that does it professionally…now I am worrier less and less when I hear stories like yours.

    There is so much to learn….I am new to the world of electrical wiring and the physics behind it but I am learning….I am determined to understand the engine, electrical, etc…because for me it is a fear thing…the more I learn the less fearful I am of these systems that are potential fire hazards.

    I am just glad all of you are alright and didn’t have any smoldering excitement….

    Just take your time and don’t forget to have fun….Ryan is still smiling in those photos, so that is good!

    • Tasha November 24, 2012, 2:51 pm

      Hi Gretchen!
      I think it’s great to take on boat projects yourself…most stuff seems like it can be figured out! Ryan did get to enjoy Charleston for his 40th celebration. And we’re slowing down now and enjoying ourselves…we’re nice and warm here in Georgia now!

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