Friday, January 14, 2011

the ripple effect

 Webb Chiles called it a mutual ripple effect in a journal entry a few days ago, the actions moving out like ripples from a stone dropped in a pond with distant and unknowable consequences.  The ripples, it seems, keep on coming.

Yesterday, a cold winter day with clear blue skies, one day too many with ice lining the creeks, I was trying to remember what it was like to sail in hot weather.  Spring seemed like a distant dream.  I get back to the office to find an email from Curt, of St. Augustine, Florida, that reminded me of warm weather, small boats and good sailing.  That's Curt above (I'm guess he is the one on the right) in "Annie,"his wood Drascombe Coaster.  Curt came across this blog and wanted to say hello.  He mentioned he had read one of my favorite books, Spartina.  He had also enjoyed the adventures of Webb Chiles.

Notice the similarities?  At the top of the post is Curt's Coaster, a lapstrake yawl.  Above is Webb's Drascombe Lugger Chidiock Tichborne, a lapstrake yawl.  And below is Spartina, a lapstrake yawl.  There are differences of course.  The Drascombes are longer than my Pathfinder.  Their mainsails are loose-footed.  Curt's Annie has a cabin.  But still I can help but notice how similar they all are.  I sometimes wonder if I chose the Pathfinder design subconsciously recognizing design elements from Webb's books that I had read over a decade earlier.

And the ripples continue to come.  While emailing about trips and boats Curt mentions that he had once sailed a boat single-handed from the Chesapeake, Virginia (where I live) to St. Augustine, where he now lives. He bought the boat, he told me, from a man who had sailed her from New York City to Chesapeake.  When he bought the boat she was tied up at the Great Bridge Locks on the west side of the bridge.

I told Curt that that reminded me of a man I had come across here in Chesapeake in the late 1980's.  I did not know him directly, but had heard that he had sailed south from New York with his family.  The wife wasn't happy with the voyage.  She was miserable and did not want to go on.  Coming through the Great Bridge Locks they saw a house with a "for sale" sign on the west side of the bridge.  Tied the boat up, walked into town to find a lawyer and bought the house.  And sold the boat.

That, Curt confirmed, was the same boat he bought.  What a small world.  There is Curt in the boat, below.

So Curt tells me now he is headed for some sailing in a couple of my favorite places - Oriental and Ocracoke.  He can't go wrong with that.  His trip reminded me of our cruises down there in North Carolina.  And just the idea of the trip warmed a cold winter day.

I doubt that I will see Curt this year.  Bruce and I will be sailing on Chesapeake Bay about the time that Curt is on Pamlico Sound.  But maybe later we will cross paths.  Who knows?

The ripple effect, stones dropped in a pond with unknowable consequences.

Fair winds, Curt.


1 comment:

Baydog said...

Sail away, away
Ripples never come back.
They've gone to the other side.
Look into the pool,
Ripples never come back,
Dive to the bottom and go to the top
To see where they have gone
Oh, they've gone to the other side...