Glancing at the calendar I was surprised to see the spring trip is exactly three weeks away. Preparations are complicated by the fact that I will be on an Eastern Shore/Baltimore/Bertha's Mussels/O's game road trip with my oldest daughter during the three days preceding the trip. This means I will need to have Spartina packed and all the other gear stacked and ready to go about four days prior to setting sail. I'll begin sorting gear and clothes later this week, pack the following week and organize the food in the days before heading to the St. Michels and Charm City.
For the Pamlico Sound sail I'll put in at Shawn's place in Hobucken and then head whichever way the wind will carry me, the unshaded area above being my sailing grounds. I would like to make it to Ocracoke, if possible, but I would also be very happy visiting Wyesocking Bay, the Pungo River, Belhaven (lunch or dinner at Fish Hooks Cafe??), Mouse Harbor and the Bay River. I've got plenty of open water, a good book and about six or seven days, I don't think I can go too far wrong.
Below you will find a speech by Webb Chiles, read for him at a meeting of the Ocean Cruising Club in England and read by him at a luncheon in Whangarei where he was awarded the organization's Jester Medal. Congratulations to both Webb and the fine boat GANNETT.
GANNET and I thank the Ocean Cruising Club for awarding us the Jester Medal for 2014. That this is in a way from one small boat to another is especially pleasing.
I have never owned a boat larger than 37’, nor one costing more than a mid-priced car. Yet I have owned three great boats, and two of them were small. CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE, a Drascombe Lugger, an undecked 18’ yawl built in Devon; and GANNET, a 24’ ultralight Moore 24 sloop from California.
I have great affection for small boats which are capable of far more than many expect, with an immediate and intimate experience of the sea—sometimes too intimate. And as I learned while sailing CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE, once you arrive in port, the view is the same from an 18’ boat as one many times that size, and the mooring charges less.
GANNET has only two feet of freeboard. What I like to call her Great Cabin has little more than three free of headroom and a maximum beam of 7’2”. I am a relatively tall man and can sit upright only on the cabin sole.
Solving how to live in that space has been an interesting and satisfying exercise. Thanks in part to technology—I carry more than three hundred books and six hundred albums of music in my iPhone and iPad mini, which are also my chart plotters, I can live indefinitely on GANNET and, by my standards, live well. I can sail, write, read, listen to music, take photographs. I can fit every important part of my life aboard, except Carol, my wife, who doesn’t want to fit aboard anyway.
Once I likened CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE to a small, brave dog: the terrier, if not the terror of the seas. GANNET is perhaps most like her namesake birds who I enjoyed watching hunt in late afternoons from the mooring on which I kept my previous boat in The Bay of Islands: beautiful and, as any who has seen them dive knows, capable of stunning acceleration.
A sailor is an artist whose medium is the wind. I wish all of you the joy of creating your own masterpieces.