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.
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?