That is Ode to Joy, the Tartan 34 that belongs to my friend Paul. He normally keeps it on a mooring on the Lafayette River near his home, but in the winter months he keeps it at the Waterside marina in downtown Norfolk. During the off season the slips at the marina are either very inexpensive or maybe free. I saw it there this morning when I went for a pre-work walk along the waterfront.
Seeing Ode to Joy made me smile, I've sailed on her a few times. And the name reminded me of how good it felt to be out on the water yesterday in Spartina. Joy is the perfect word. The wind was gustier than I had expected for a first sail of the year. But with a single reef we handled it just fine. Not burdened with all the gear and supplies for cruising, Spartina felt light and nimble in the breeze, heeling over to dip the rail in the water and holding steady there as we sailed into the wind.
It did not surprise me that Spartina could sail like that, she is a well designed boat. It did surprise me that I felt so comfortable at the tiller after a long, cold winter off the water.
Curt sent me his planning map for his May sail down in North Carolina. He'll be there just a week or ten days after I do my spring walkabout in some of the same water. This is a revised plan where he goes from Oriental to Beaufort to Cedar Island, and maybe Ocracoke, in a counter-clockwise fashion. I think he originally intended to go on a clockwise path from Oriental to Cedar Island and then down Core Sound to Ocracoke. But going the opposite way let's him take advantage of the typical winds out of the southwest.
Bruce and I had talked about this very topic last spring as we planned the Tag Team sail with Paul and Dawn. We had chosen the clockwise route. A few weeks before sailing Paul mentioned that counter-clockwise might be more efficient. But we stuck with clockwise for a few reasons. One, we had done the counter-clockwise path a couple of years earlier. Two, this route spread out planned stops at Oriental (a favorite town to visit) and Beaufort (another favorite). And three, in our earlier experience the typical summer southwest winds were in fact out of the east, so go figure.
In my opinion it doesn't really matter. Sailing into the wind, sailing down wind, it is all a lot of fun. On the Tag Team sail the southwest wind did kick up on Day Four, the longest day of our trip. The photo below is from Core Sound as we turned south towards the Swash, spending the next few hours sailing hard into the wind. Thinking back now, I'm glad we chose that path. Not because one way is better or worse than the other, it is just that I have really great memories of that day on the water.
Curt, thanks for sharing your plans. You can't go wrong either way.