Saturday, February 16, 2019

one less bridge

Good news from down south in Beaufort NC as the new high-rise Gallants Channel Bridge is open and Grayden Paul bascule bridge is locked open for boat traffic and in the process of being removed.  Here's a nice little video tribute the to the old bridge that opened in 1957 (the same year I was born).

Heading south from Pamlico Sound to Beaufort I take the Adams Creek Canal, often spending the night along the canal either Cedar Creek or Back Creek, which leads to Core Creek and then Gallants Channel that runs down on the east side of the Newport Marshes.  I have never timed it quite right, having to wait anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes for a bridge lift.  The bridge tenders have always been great, but they have rules to follow, opening on the hour or half hour and no openings during rush hour.  (Years ago with about a 10 minute wait the bridge tender asked if I could motor over to the side where he could take some photographs of SPARTINA.  How nice!)  A strong current runs with the changing tide and it is not a great place to sit and wait for a lift.   Those days are in the past and it will be a much easier passage into Beaufort, one of my favorite little towns.

Cold and rainy this weekend so no sailing.  I've got some maintenance work to do and hope to get ahead of the curve on that.  

Monday, February 11, 2019

Oh Baby!

Check out the cover of the March/April cover of Small Craft Advisor.  That's Baby and Tom Head sailing the John Welsford Pathfinder FIRST LIGHT inside of Plantation Key.  Very cool to see this.  The only problem is Tom will be surrounded by autograph seekers on the beach at Fort DeSoto in early March as he preps his boat for the Everglades Challenge.

a winter's sail

Sailing was in doubt yesterday morning.  I made the drive south along the old Dismal Swamp Canal, the water in the ditches covered with a layer of ice.  32° when I got to the ramp in Elizabeth City, a stronger-than-forecast wind blowing out of the NE.  I had made the drive so might as well give it a shot.  I am glad I did.  (The cold inspired a quick rigging of SPARTINA, rushing to get the knots tied before my fingers became stiff.)

I of course wore the mango suit along with good quality thermals and a wool sweater.  The puppy drum-patterned buff kept my ears warm. 

The wind held steady for a couple of hours, almost enough to reef but not quite.  I had brought the GoPro camera along and decided to experiment with mounting it on the gaff, at first just above the jaws and then later at the peak.

The wind fell off about noon, then returned 20 minutes later out of the SE.  Perfect for a sail back to the dock, tacking our way back and forth across the Pasquotank River.  It was late afternoon before I hauled out.

Why is it the days when I almost don't go sailing turn out to be the best days on the water?


Saturday, February 9, 2019

cruising (sleeping) gear

An add from Outdoorplay caught my attention with the release of new models of sleeping pads, which meant there might be some of the old models on sale.  And there were.  The older model Therma-a-Rest EvoLite Sleeping Pad was marked at 35% off.  A good deal at $78 but am even better deal was available at REI with a clearance price of $60 with no shipping cost. 

This will replace my old Therm-a-Rest pad bought 11 or 12 years ago as a "second" from CampMor for about $20 (I think I got my money's worth out of it).  Self inflating with a two-inch lift, weighing in at 1.4 lbs and fitting in a stuff sack half the size of the old rolled up pad, I think this will be a good investment.  A good night's sleep is important.

three months, five knots, three weeks

Food arrived from Amazon.  Now the trick will be hiding it away so I don't eat it in the next three months.

Webb has very steady sailing in the tradewinds, his last mark showing over 5kts with wind and waves on the port quarter.  

Three weeks from today is the start of the Everglades Challenge.  Tom tells me he has been paddling 10 miles a day as training.  I'll never compete in that event but just following it online always marks the beginning of the end for winter.

Borderline sailing weather tomorrow.  Might sneak out on the Pasquotank for a few hours.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Super Sunday / The Windward Passage

No sailing today on Super Sunday.  Just one day off this week and I've got some projects to work on including building new saw horses for the spring bottom painting on SPARTINA.  

With the cold short days I always start thinking about the spring sail, this year's will be down on Pamlico Sound.  I placed some food orders this morning for the cruise.  At top are the buffalo/cranberry bars, part of my steak and eggs sailing breakfast (the eggs being Rx bars that I'll buy locally).  The Callipo canned tuna is for lunch.  And the Mango ginger chews are for snacks.


Webb is approaching the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti.  Looks like he will have contrary winds to get to the passage but once through he'll have the Tradewinds to carry him to Panama.

I have no favorites in the Superbowl.  Just hoping for a good game.

Monday, January 28, 2019

sunday sail

"You're really going sailing today?"  That was the voice of my wife, the Pilgrim, as we were on our morning walk yesterday.  It may well have been the voice of reason too.  A hard frost on the lawns and rooftops, temperature right at freezing.  

I hesitated when I got the ramp in Elizabeth City.  The temperature had barely climbed to 35°, a slight overcast and not a breath of wind.  But I was down there and wanted to sail.  I decided to give it a try.  The light breeze arrived just as I backed SPARTINA down to the water.  Wearing thermals, a heavy wool sweater and the mango drysuit we pushed away from the dock for a wonderful sail.

The breeze was at six or eight mph most of the day, sometimes creeping up to 10.  The overcast came and went, the sun peeking through at noon.  Early afternoon I began to head in but the breeze was so good I stayed on the water for another hour.  It was a wonderful winter day on the water.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Webb's plan

From Webb's journal.  I've added his current yellow brick track.  Leaving out of Hilton Head he was 25,000 miles in to the circumnavigation.

      My route will be from Hilton Head Island outside the Bahamas through the Windward Passage at the east end of Cuba and then to Panama.  Trade winds from the Windward Passage on.

        I find it satisfying that the completion of this voyage can be seen in this GRIB (at top of the post, the GRIB being now over two weeks old).  I am increasingly inclined to sail from Panama directly to San Diego.  The final stretch hard on the wind should be less than a thousand miles.  It may not all be strong wind.  I will try to find an angle against it that is not too hard on a little boat and an old sailor.  And there is the possibility in winter of a low that will bring south wind.