It has been too long since I sailed the Elizabeth River in Norfolk. Before Christmas was probably the last time, an outing with the daughters in town. Since then I've been sailing the Pasquotank River in Elizabeth City, the gently curving river that runs from northwest to south east that makes for wonderful winter sailing on calm water.
After three weekends of bad weather spring arrives yesterday. Too gusty to sail then I made it a point of getting out today. It was almost perfect. Steady winds in the morning that fell off by noon so I dropped anchor, had lunch and read the paper. The wind filling back in again for an early afternoon sail. The three-masted barque Statsraad Lehmkuhl, used as a training vessel for the Norwegian Navy, was on the waterfront. She is here every year or two and I've posted photographs of her here and here and here. I apparently can't stop myself from photographing the beautiful ship.
And because of the time change, SPARTINA'S ships clock, really a watch, is correct once again. I always leave the watch on daylight savings time so for the past few months it has been an hour ahead. Glad time finally caught up with us.
The 2019 EC featured warm calm weather on Saturday and Sunday --which seemed strange and made for drifting, rowing and paddling the EC22. In all our previous EC events, strong winds and nightime shivering has been the norm. The sailing Saturday was extremely slow all the way to CP1 via Stump Pass. Saturday night we left CP1 via Gasparilla Pass into the Gulf.
Sunday AM we sail/drifted in the Gulf down to Sanibel. Sunday PM from Sanibel Island to Marco Island we were very happy to have a reliable steady wind and flat seas giving us about 4.5 kts all the way straight across the Gulf to Marco.
Entering Caxambus Pass at Marco, we startled about a thousand pelicans roosting in a row of about ten big bushes along the canal. In a chain reaction, one bush after another, the flocks panicked throwing themselves out in every direction. The disturbance filled the air with birds, feathers and ... um... a dried powder that dusted us and the boat with a lingering essence of eau-de-Pelican.
Arriving at CP2 Monday morning, our competitors (the Thistle and the Highlander) were just in. We all departed CP2 together. The Thistle had a delay while we sailed neck-and-neck with the Highlander all the way to CP3. Leaving CP3 at sunset ~6:40pm on Monday, we pulled ahead of the Highlander as we started across Florida Bay. The light NW winds gradually faded during the night.
We began rowing at 9:45pm and over the next 7 hours our rowing intensity steadily increased as the contribution from the wind tapered to nothing. We had done our best during the trip to take turns sleeping --an hour here, two hours there-- but it takes two on deck when rowing. We rowed at about 2.5 kts to the finish beach. SandyBottom was on the beach waiting for us at 4:42 am Tuesday.
There were showers, two hours of sleep, and then a breakfast at Mrs. Mac's. Taylor flew in on Wednesday. We are enjoying the Key Largo vacation time now, sitting under palm trees, chatting with friends, tracking and welcoming the WaterTribers, and taking it easy.
Dawn, above, and Kristen, below. They did not compete this year. With all those shark and alligator teeth on their necklaces it is ok to take a break now and then.
Taylor, Dawn and Alan, above.
If you have ever met Paul you know he is always smiling.
Here, courtesy of Polisportiva Productions and Dalba Films, is Miravar, The Film. This is the story of the sailing Raid in the Mediterranean organized by Lorenzo. It is a celebration of small boat sailing, friendship and joy. The original link can be found at Enrico's site. Enjoy.
There's Alan and Paul at left, sailing Graham's EC 22 I'm told by Dave, and Tom at right, working their way south from checkpoint #1. Light winds for the sailors, good condition apparently for Tom's paddling.