Wednesday, March 29, 2017

the doldrums

From Webb's journal....

It should be a passage of three parts:  a trade wind broad reach from here to the doldrums; doldrums; a trade wind beam reach to St. Lucia.  

Monday, March 27, 2017

three and one-half days

Always a fool but with a quirky schedule of three and one-half days off at least I was for a while a sailing fool.  First two and one-half days (the half being a morning on the water Saturday) I sailed the Elizabeth River in Norfolk where I came across a couple of unusual sights.

The first was a dry dock pulled out of position on the southern branch of the Elizabeth, the dock being wide enough to block the entire river.  Spartina, along with another boat, ran in gentle circles for about 15 minutes until a tug began pushing the floating dock back into position at the shipyard and giving us enough room to slip by.

Once past the dry dock we raised sail at just about the time I received an email from sailing friend Steve Baum, who I have mentioned before.  Below is part of his email. 

There is a fellow from Canada that is currently cruising on a live-aboard 13' boat sailboat.  He started his cruise in Franklin on the Black Water River, headed south through the Chowan River, then across the Albermale Sound and now is working his way north, to finish in Bennetts Creek."

(I've enhanced the map from a Facebook
post to show some of the route)

About an hour after reading the email I saw a small boat with a square sail come around the bend onto the main branch of the Elizabeth. 

I sailed alongside the Paradox "Iota" for a while, each of us taking photographs of the other boat and exchanging greetings.  If you want to read more about the interesting almost-circumnavigation of lower Virginia by AndrĂ©-Francois Bourbeau take a look here.  He seemed like a very nice guy and if you read up on him he has done his share of adventuring.  I look forward to talking with, or maybe sailing with him someday.

After a few days on the Elizabeth River I headed down to Elizabeth City to sail the Pasquotank today photo at the very top and just above), a day of blue skies mixed with some clouds and steady wind with a few gusts thrown in.  It was a perfect day, a perfect long weekend.  

I guess now I need to get back to work.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


The Schooner Virginia's anchors are on the pier next to the tall ship.  Lots of work going on onboard, sanding, varnishing, painting.  The season is not too far away.

I've been watching Webb take a couple of jogs west on his way to the Windward Islands.  As OBX friend Jim suggests, it could well be that Webb doesn't want the wind directly on GANNET'S stern with the main blanketing the foresail.  Once he gets past the doldrums he should have wind on the beam.  That's the approximate position of his last YB track below.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

at least the hull was green

I couldn't figure out why there weren't any other boats at the ramp yesterday morning.  It couldn't have been the clear blue sky that kept them away, nor the forecast of steady winds out of the north swinging to WNW early afternoon.  Could it have been the 40 degree temperature?  Maybe.  But with a good set of thermals....

I was out on the river sailing when a text reminded me it was St. Patrick's Day.  Wearing nothing green I took solace in the fact that Spartina's hull is green, Interlux Sea Green to be specific.

Much thanks to Eddie who forwarded these photographs from his brother who works in one of the tall buildings downtown. 

I do believe I saw my first snow birds of the year, two large powerboats heading north.  The full migration should be underway in a few weeks as all the boats that went south last fall make the return trip.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

the storm

As of a couple of hours ago the eye of the storm seemed to be just a little to the north of Onancock on the Eastern Shore.  Down at the bottom of the bay we will get wind and rain, maybe some local flooding at high tide.  DC north to Boston on the I-95 Corridor will get the worst of the blizzard conditions.

Monday, March 13, 2017

a fine passage

1900  Even here only seventeen and a half degrees from the Equator, the after sunset wind is cool against my skin. 


I pop up and down from sitting on the pipe berth to standing in the companionway.  Our days are numbered.  I’ve always known that.  And my numbers must be short.  I don’t know how many times I’ve watched the sun sink below the western horizon.  Thousands.  I’ve spent nine or ten years out here.  I don't now how many more I will know.  I cherish these remaining ocean days and nights.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

at the finish line, updated with info from Paul

Some photos from Paul at the finish line.  There's the borrowed
EC 22 South Skimmer above, no hint of the broken mast.

from Paul:This was our second broken main mast, 
so we were practiced in dealing with that drill.

There were harrowing wind conditions at first, but also beautiful 

sailing at night under the moon and stars in a clear sky.  Great adventure.

And tandem paddlers Kristen and Dawn.

I wonder if they will be paddling together
again next year.

from Paul:  Dawn says this EC was here best ever.
She and Kristen paddled 12 hours a day, camped 12 hours,
and had two beers at each checkpoint.
They plan to use the double-kayak single-blade-paddles
approach repeatedly in the future.
The loved it.

And in these photos I see Graham, Alan and Dawn, Paul
apparently hiding behind the camera.  
Looks like everybody is having fun.  

Friday, March 10, 2017


Looking very happy Dawn and Kristen enjoy a cold one in Flamingo yesterday.  They got off to an early start today and are heading into Key Largo.  Light wind is either behind them or on the beam, sunny and from the looks of it they have had their share of sunshine.  Work and family have kept me busy so I have not followed the EC as closely as I would have liked.  Paul and Alan have finished, the broken mast not holding them back.  

Cold and too windy here to sail this weekend but the EC always marks a change in the seasons for me, spring is not too far away.