Monday, January 13, 2014

crossing paths

Paul of Dawn Patrol fame has sent me two GPS tracks of Dawn Patrol's sailing in North Carolina last year.  I have overlaid them with Spartina's track, in white, above, to see how our trips compared.  The red and blue track is from a scouting trip by Paul and Dawn, photo below, in preparation for the 2013 Watertribe North Carolina Challenge.  The yellow track is from Paul and his son Alan sailing Dawn Patrol after the NC Challenge was cancelled due to high winds.

Though we keep in touch by email, I have not seen Paul, Dawn or Alan for a couple of years.  Paul tells me they did get a glimpse of me, or at least of Spartina, last October.  More about that later.

Both of us, in a sense, lost the Alligator River to weather.  For me it was a river hidden in rain and fog, the second day of the fall trip.  From what I could see, I want to go back again and do some more exploring.  

Paul and Dawn, you can tell from their north-bound track, were tacking into the wind, wind at 20 to 25 and gusting.  They clung to the western shore to avoid the three foot swells out on the main part of the river.

The boats took alternate routes heading east to Core Sound.  I sailed outside to Cape Lookout, then through Barden Inlet and up Core Sound.  Paul and Alan, sailing aboard Dawn Patrol after the NCC had been cancelled, threaded the shallows south of Bird Shoal and beneath Harkers Island.  

We headed up Core Sound within a few days of each other, both dealing with the strong north winds that led to the cancellation of the challenge.  We all got our share of tacking in on our way north.

Our closest encounters were in the canals behind Cedar Island.  Paul tells me that they were crossing the bridge over Thorofare Canal on their way to breakfast in Atlantic and saw Spartina's sails - just mizzen and jib up in the strong wind - heading across Thorofare Bay.  It was later that day when I was anchored off Turnagain Bay that Paul txt'd me that the NCC was cancelled, any sailing would have to be done on their own.  They did wait a day before launching and Paul tells me they may have again seen Spartina's sails in the distance crossing the Neuse River.  I did not see them, I was too busy looking at the waves in front of me on my way to Broad Creek

Paul and Dawn, during their spring exploration, enjoyed the hospitality of Big Trout Marina, something that I also did on the fall trip.  Dawn talks about a seafood dinner with beach music playing in the background.  I will always remember enjoying a trout burger after receiving a withering look because of my bare feet.  Big Trout Marina is a great place to visit, run by wonderful folks.  I would mark a waypoint at the mouth of Far Creek if you are sailing or kayaking that area of Pamlico Sound.  

At Long Shoal Point, Spartina and Dawn Patrol each had wind on the nose and a desire to avoid sailing out around the very long Long Shoal.  I was sailing north with strong north wind, cutting inside the shoal through the shallows near a wrecked shrimper.  Paul and Dawn on Dawn Patrol were heading south with south winds, also cutting inside the shoal.  Dawn reports see two shipwrecks.  (It looks like they were much closer or maybe even inside of the shipwreck I saw.)

It is fun to compare these trips, I will spend some more time looking at our tracks.  I had in fact hoped to see Paul, Dawn, Alan and maybe a few other friends from the Watertribe, but the weather put an end to that.  Maybe someday we will cross paths on the water, hopefully close enough to say hello.


DancesWithSandyBottom said...

That was fun. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve - I really enjoy this blog, and I think you have the nicest pathfinder I have seen. As you have pointed out in the past, it has a rougher finish than some, but to me it is perfect. I bought the pathfinder plans a few weeks ago, and I wonder if you have any advice on these 2 changes I plan to make. Nothing better than getting advice from someone who has used the boat so thoroughly. The first is to increase motor size to Honda 5 hp and swap the well to the other side so the motor can be pushed to the side as far as possible (the motor handle won't get in the way on the other side). The second is to fit a bimini under a boom similar to yours. Happy sailing! (Miles)

Steve said...


good to hear from you. Good luck with the build.

As for the outboard, the 2.3 is plenty of power for me. I typically use it just above idle speed, which carries us at hull speed. The 5 hp is twice the weight - 30 extra pounds on the stern - and that is something I would want to avoid. Why carry the extra weight, not to mention the expense and size of an oversized outboard?

I don't think it makes much difference which side the motor is mounted on. I like having the handle outboard where I don't notice it. I would sketch it out and see what works on your boat.

I do think a bimini would work.

Good luck. Let me know how the build is going.