Monday, July 8, 2013

a lap around the lighthouse

The forecast was pleasingly accurate yesterday: sunny, highs in the mid-80's and a steady wind out of the wsw.  A perfect day to sail a lap around the lighthouse.

Rigged and launched before 7 a.m., we raised full sail off Waterside Marina.  A quick pass through Crawford Bay and then headed down the Elizabeth River on a beam reach.  This was easy sailing, making 5 to 6 knots in the steady breeze.

I tried out my new REI hat, one that I first saw a scientist wearing a couple of weeks ago on a visit to Paradise Creek.  I've tried broad brim hats over the years without much success.  Either they are too stiff to fold up and stuff away, or they are so flimsy that the brim blows back in a breeze and they lose all usefulness.  This one seemed just right.  (And don't I look great?)

It wasn't even 10 a.m. and I was rounding the corner at Craney Island with Middle Ground Lighthouse in sight.  The wind was coming straight down the river so I rounded up and tucked in a reef.  The photograph at the top of this post is sailing at six knots up the James with a reefed main.  It has been awhile since I had spray coming over the bow.  It felt good.

I rounded the lighthouse, which is now privately owned.  That has got to be pretty nice - owning your own lighthouse.  

Then it was a great run back down the James and into the Elizabeth River, dodging some tugs and container ships along the way.  I am finally "learning" the new sails.  They are certainly more powerful than my last set of sails, much more responsive to the wind.  I still have some learning to do.

I tucked in behind the coal pier as the container ship below passed by.  They have to make a hard right turn into the APM terminal, so I gave them plenty of room.

Back down to Norfolk I was very pleased to share the river with some smaller boats.  These two boats, plus a couple of sunfish were out enjoying the day.

I had my gps tracking the day's sail.  Back in at the ramp it showed I sailed 25 nautical miles at an average speed of a little over 4 knots.  Sunshine, wind, great sailing and small boats.  Does it get any better than that?



Baydog said...

San Juan 21. Believe it or not, a fast boat. We sailed one in the summer of '77 on Metedeconk River in the Tuesday night series and cleaned up. Nobody knew where we came from!

Bill said...

No, it pretty much doesn't get any better than that.

Rich said...

Great seeing you out there Steve. Next time I will make sure I have a headsail up! :-) Actually, next Sunday I hope to test out my new Assymetric Spinnaker if you are out there. It should be a great photo op! Best Wishes, Rich of "Heritage"