Thursday, July 14, 2016

looking back, looking forward

Sometimes I feel like that weather channel guy, the one that is always going to the hurricanes, blizzards and tornadoes.  If that guy gets on an airplane with you, get off the airplane because you are headed for bad weather.  

My last three cruises have all been affected by tropical storms or hurricanes. Spring of 2015 is was tropical storm Ana that came ashore in the Carolinas May 10 when I was out for my spring sail.  Fall 2015 we sailed up Chesapeake Bay caught between a low pressure system off the Carolinas and a high pressure system coming in from the northeast, and all that followed by the approach of hurricane Joaquin.  And of course this spring it was tropical storm Bonnie, which lost its power over the Carolinas but left behind a massive amount of moist air that turned into rain, fog and thunderstorms.  Above is weather radar as I was leaving after four days of rain, with four more predicted.  

I had five days of great weather before the storm came in, and always enjoy sailing down to Beaufort and the very tropical feeling Cape Lookout.  The sail up Core Sound, starting with the winding channels of Barden Inlet, was a treat too.

The storms showed up in the early morning hours of day six.  I was please with the way both Spartina and I dealt with the weather.  We set a speed record - 8.9 mh up West Bay wish a fast moving squall coming up from the south.  I was looking for some protection where I could round up and reef but the storm passed us by.  I was glad to reef and double reef crossing the Neuse River, but should not sailed into shallow water, which was very rough because of the strong wind, before turning north up Pamlico Sound.  I used a variety of sailing combinations, full sail, single reef, double reef, mizzen and jib and jib only, depending on the situation.  Never felt at risk.  

The new boom tent was a huge success, kept me dry but still allowed a very comfortable air flow.  Best investment I have made in a long time.  Roomy and comfortable, it gave me space and time to dry things out after rainy days.

I took too much food.  Too many snacks.  Part of that is that I always take more than I need, but part of it was that I just had less of an appetite than in the past.  Loved the dried mango and the big jar of peanuts.  Dried cantaloupe melon turned out to be too sweet on hot days.  Wish I had brought dried strawberries.  Should have spent a few more bucks and bought medjool dates instead of the lower grades not-quite-as-sweet dates.  Cashew nuts were excellet as were the pumpkin seeds.  All the freeze dried meals save one - spaghetti with marinara sauce - were excellent.  I used Curt's idea of dressing them up a little with a dash of olive oil, which was great.

I will be looking forward to sailing to Washington (NC, not DC) on a future trip, plus visiting North Creek, South Creek and Blounts Bay - all of which come off the Pamlico River - and revisiting Ocracoke Island.

The fall trip will include the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum's Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival.  I'll put in a week early in Cambridge, sail north to explore a few rivers, come back for the festival and then have a few more days on the Choptank and maybe Little Choptank.

In between now and then there is a lot of day sailing to do, maybe a weekend trip to sail out of Cape Charles when the Buy Boats are there.  I can't wait.


Bill said...

Steve -

Your comments about using various sailing configurations and never feeling at risk made me think of the book "First You Have to Row a Little Boat".

Are you familiar with it?

If not, I recommend it - here is a link:

It's a nice, easy read, and I enjoyed it. I read it for the first time a couple/few years ago. I recently found it on a shelf and I'm now reading it again.

Steve said...

Thanks, Bill. I'll look into it. Hope all is well up in Richmond.