Wednesday, January 29, 2014

the voice of experience

He talks of azaleas, camellia bushes, live oaks draped with moss, and camping at night at the shelter dock.  This is the voice of the late great Frank Dye, a remarkable open boat sailor known for sailing a Wayfarer Dinghy from England to both Norway and Iceland.   The Telegraph newspaper's obituary for Dye, who passed away in 2010, described him as a cult figure and I think that is exactly the right term.  

I have read and reread his book "Sailing to the Edge of Fear,"  where he writes about sailing his boat "Wanderer" from Florida to Novia Scotia and the western reaches of the Great Lakes.  Sometimes with his wife Margaret along, mostly single-handed, he sailed without an engine and very little in the way of technology.

His chapters of sailing from Norfolk to the top of Chesapeake Bay were, and will be in the future, source material for planning trips on the Bay.  His discussion of sailing Delaware Bay played an important part in researching the Over the Top 200.  Now I am reading earlier chapters in the book, those where he sails from South Carolina to Beaufort, NC.

Dye talks about about a thick sea mist, no buoys, no sound, no nothing.  A big channel joining a sound from the left, with the ocean invisible on the right, and multiple streams causing cross-currents.    "We have no idea what the tide is doing" he says.

In Charleston the day goes from an afternoon sky to semi-darkness, then black and blacker, and finally "evil purple black" under the threat of a tornado.  Dye was traveling up the mid-Atlantic in spring, the season for tornados.  I hope to make my passage in the fall, and tornados should not be a problem, but of course hurricanes could.  

"The marsh, swamps, and reed beds of Georgia and South Carolina are vast and lonely; the creeks tortuous and tidal with the main channels occasionally marked by beacons, but it's easy to get lost if we don't keep the position up to date on the chart."

I do need to get hold of a chart book and start tracing his trip.  The log mentions Georgetown and Wynah Bay with wind against tide, and the emerald green water of the Waccamaw River.  There are lots of details in the book, details that will make much more sense once I have a chart in front of me.

Work schedule is still up in the air, so I can't do any serious planning right now.  But I do kind of like the "vast and lonely" part.  

If not this year, maybe next.


*Freeze dried meals have been ordered from Campmor and should be here, if they can make it through the snow, as soon as tomorrow.  There will be enough for three weeks of sailing.

*This blog has been under attack by bots.  The "hits" have soared to over a 1,000 a day, but they are from automated bots, which I don't completely understand.  I've read that they cause no harm.  I hope that is true. 

*Still no word on the leaf springs needed for Spartina's trailer.  I will give the shop a call early next week. 


1 comment:

Baydog said...

I think the key to being a great sailor/explorer/navigator is simply not being afraid of going out and accomplishing what you set out to do. Fear is the single biggest barrier keeping dreamers from realizing their dreams. What's the worst that can happen? That's the question