I almost did not go sailing today. The forecast for this weekend, good early in the week, seemed to deteriorate as the week went by. Chance of thunderstorms, then 20% chance of storms all day, then 30% and then last night 40% chance of rain/thunderstorms all day.
At 5 a.m. today a terrific storm passed over our house. During my morning walk under grey skies I could hear thunderstorms to the north and south. The forecast when I got back home still said 40% chance of rain/thunderstorms all day. But a close look at the radar showed clear skies to the west. So I headed for the ramp.
I'm glad I went out. The weather was great. Unusual wind out of ENE, but that was fine with me. This was my first sail of the year with the snowbird fleet passing through. There were seven snowbirds anchored in Crawford Bay, six sailboats and one power boat. I was very happy to see two of my favorite designs anchored out there. That is a Nor'Sea 27 anchored in the foreground, a Bristol Channel Cutter is just to the right of it. Both were designed by Lyle Hess.
In the fleet was Blue Norther out of Oriental, NC. I think this is the same yawl I saw up here last year, just after returning from the Skeeter Beater. I sometimes feel like Quoyle, the main character in E. Annie Proulx's book The Shipping News (without all the personal tragedies, thank you very much). I like to keep track of who comes and goes through our harbor each spring and fall.
(An interesting note on the book, the author was influenced by The Ashley Book of Knots, a 1944 publication. She used names of knots for both chapters and names in the book. Quoyle comes from coil, rope kept on the dock "so that it maybe be walked on....")
I passed by the Nor'Sea 27, called Daphne, a couple of times before a woman came out of the cabin into the cockpit and just as quickly disappeared. It was then I remembered that a distinctive feature of that design is the aft cabin - that's where she had gone to. Moments later she was back again. I was just then passing by the stern and said hello, told her I was a fan of the Nor'Sea design.
I asked if she had been down south the winter. Yes, she said, the Bahamas, and now "I'm heading back home." The "I'm" caught my attention. "Singlehanded?" I asked. She said yes, and she was traveling in company with the boat next to her, the Bristol Channel Cutter. Wow, that is pretty cool, two Lyle Hess designs sailing together.
Any good story like that, these days, has got to have a website. So I googled around a bit and here it is. That was Teresa I was talking to, a school teacher who gave up her home and career to pursue a dream. She has a great story and tells it well on her website, check it out if you have a moment.
And above is the Bristol Channel Cutter Elizabeth, here you can find the blog for that boat. I'm strictly in the small, open boat camp. But I still enjoy reading about long cruises and open ocean passages on any kind of boat. I think it is great that the people have the opportunity - or I really should say MAKE THE OPPORTUNITY - for these adventures. My meeting with Teresa was brief to say the least, yet I'm glad to have learned about her story, her adventure. It is this kind of thing that keep me going back out on the Elizabeth River again and again.
As for the weather, does that look like 40% chance of rain?
Looks a lot closer to 60% sunshine to me.