I spent about 40 minutes on the phone with Bruce last night going over plans for the fall trip. We talked about the route, the options, equipment, tides and rental cars. There are still a lot of details to be worked out but I think we have the basic plan set.
When we talk about the trip we often refer to Washington Tuttle's circumnavigation of the Delmarva Peninsula. The only record I have of that sail is four wrinkled, annotated pages that I printed off the internet many years ago. I can no longer find the trip on the web.
I keep Tut's story in a folder along with print out of several other small boat journeys that I have come across over the years. I read and reread them for years before building Spartina. And once Spartina was built I read them again to steal ideas for small boat cruising. Along with the Delmarva circumnavigation there are stories about David Perillo sailing his Navigator in the Fiji Islands, a Sea Pearl trip to the Maquesas off Key West, and sailing southern New England in a Wayfarer Dinghy. They are all a pleasure to read.
A couple of the best stories in the folder come from the old Small Boat Journal, a magazine that existed from 1979 to 1991. I had a subscription for years and even now find an old copy or two tucked away here and there. I really miss that magazine. Fortunately someone by the name of Chris Councill has put many of the SBJ stories online. You can find an index here.
Above is the cover art for Dinghy Down the Keys, published in SBJ February/March of 1990 (their last full year of publication). Lowell P. Thomas tells his story of sailing a home built 14' Bahama style dinghy - built for $300 - down the Florida Keys. Thomas tells us about the boat, the trip, navigation and sleeping on board. It is the story of mangroves and crystal clear water, a simple boat and a simple, relaxing journey.
And above is the cover art for Down Pamlico Sound in a 17 foot Open Boat. ( Boy does that title strike a chord in my heart.) I first read that story in the spring of 1988 while living in Waco, Texas. I did not know it at the time, but I would soon be moving from Texas to the mid-Atlantic with Pamlico Sound just an hour or two away. Tim Lemmond's story is about sailing with his father on board a Bost Whaler designed Harpoon. The planned 17-day voyage was less than a success, they were half way into the trip when the boat was dismasted approaching Ocracoke's Silver Lake. I think of their trip now and then, and look forward to the day when I can sail Spartina down that same channel to the harbor at Ocracoke.
Late in the evening I sometimes find myself digging out the file to read these stories. While I once read them to fuel my dreams, I now read them to compare notes. I can hear the wind howl, feel the boat heel and enjoy their voyages as much as I've enjoyed my own. And they remind me how much fun it is to hop on a small boat, cast off and just sail away.
It is hot today, hotter tomorrow. The weekend forecast says it should cool down (relatively speaking) to the low 90's. But wind is a problem with a forecast of a mile or two per hour. I do hope to get out for a sail this weekend, but it will take more wind than that.