Thursday, September 20, 2018


On the road early tomorrow morning.  Below is my tracking url.  Looking forward to seeing friends in St. Michaels in a couple weeks.

the Gulf Stream

It looks like Webb has gone ENE into the Gulf Stream where he'll get 2 kts, maybe even more, help from the current.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

ARC GLORIA on the waterfront

Columbian tall ship in town.  
Fifty years of training at sea.
This year's class: 51 women, 3 men.

Monday, September 17, 2018

bound for Chesapeake Bay and St. Michaels

Webb Chiles cast off this morning from Hilton Head, bound for Chesapeake Bay, St. Michaels and the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival.

He had a favorable wind (top image) and off course the Gulf Stream (below) to carry him north.  You can follow his yellow brick track here..

I will scan the waters as I cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel later this week on my way to Cambridge to launch for the fall sail.  Maybe I will see the grey hull and white sails of the 24' Moore GANNET that Webb has sailed over 25,000 miles on his current circumnavigation.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

no one said goodbye / no translation needed

The past few days on Hatteras Island no one ever said goodbye.  Not the people at the hotel, the clerks at the grocery store, folks out for a walk on the beach, deputies, friends or waitresses in restaurants.  They did not say "see you later"  or "take care."  Instead, they all said the same thing.  "Be safe."  

Hurricane Florence threatened but did not damage Hatteras Island.  The first high tide with a storm surge, late morning Thursday, breached the dunes.  Not a problem in itself, but weakness in the dune line makes the narrow parts of the island vulnerable to following high tides with storm surges.  Fortunately for the island Florence moved on and the the surge decreased the following high tide.  

There may have been hurricane force gusts, but only briefly.  There were warnings about tornados.  Water spout were seen skipping from the sound to the ocean.  But there was no damage, no homes flooded, no injuries. 

Leaving the island this morning, we had to talk our way past a checkpoint, we had breakfast in the upper Outer Banks.  Heading back north, the waitress said "be safe."


I have been following the blog posts for MiRaVar, Lorenzo's sailing raid on the French coast of the Mediterranean.  Written in French and Italian, I've had to use google translate to read the entries.  The latest posts - photographs of sailing boats, beautiful water, smiling faces - need no translation. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

the boxer

A Hatteras native was explaining the problem to us yesterday.  Storms like this, the ones that hang off they coast, they just keep on hitting.  He squares up to my colleague and punches him solidly in the shoulder.  My co-worker looks a little bit stunned but before he could do anything the islander continues, saying the storm hits again, and again, and again, and again, getting louder with each "again" until he was almost shouting, accompany the word with another solid punch.

We had round one for the boxer named Florence this morning, high tide just before noon.  The dunes, man-made dunes, breached well over an hour before full tide.  Ocean water running down the streets as if they were rivers, pieces of wood, asphalt and streets signs being carried downstream. 

I wanted to get to Hatteras Village at the southern tip of the idea but the last stretch of Hwy 12 between Frisco and the village had multiple breaches in the dune line.  We could have made it there, but if the road gave way we wouldn't have make it back.  We'll save that little trip for later.

I have received many emails from friends checking in on me.  I am find, safe and dry.  Thank you.  We've got electricity and internet and ac.  The grocery store across the street is open.  This is easy.  

We'll see how we are doing after round 2, round 3 and round 4.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

X marks the spot

I guess I did not take the hint from yesterday as I checked into a boarded up Buxton motel a mile or two from Cape Hatteras.  The gentleman at the counter had to use a drill to remove the plywood sheet from over my hotel room door so I could get in, a first for me.  He also gave me a late bucket and several towels to collect rain water that blows in under the door, not a first for me.

The forecast for Hatteras has improved, which unfortunately means the forecast had gotten worse for areas to the south, mainly between Wilmington NC and the South Carolina line.  If the forecast holds true they may have a very difficult time over the next few days.

The above wind map is the forecast for 11 a.m. tomorrow with the eye of the hurricane just off Cape Fear/Wilmington.  My location is marked by the red "X" and indicates winds of about 35 mph, not at all uncommon for the Outer Banks.  I still need to get a look at rain and wave forecasts to get the full picture.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

take a hint

We did not make it to Hatteras Island.  A phone call let me know that the people who run the hotel I consider to be "safe," people who never evacuate the island, were in fact evacuating.

I hear that most of the island is empty.  I will find out for sure tomorrow when I sneak over for a day trip, returning to Nags Head in the evening.  Nags Head and the upper Outer Banks has evacuated too.  It is like a ghost town.

People who never evacuate are evacuating.  Maybe I should take a hint.

Monday, September 10, 2018

waiting on hurricanes

An email from friend and fellow Pathfinder builder/sailor Rik tells me that he is waiting in Aruba for Hurricane Isaac.  By this time tomorrow I will be on Hatteras waiting Hurricane Florence.  Rik tells me he has made use of his wait by producing a little video about his Pathfinder VANESSA competing in the Aruba International Regatta.  Take a look and you'll see some serious sailing.  Direct link below.

I enjoy having a Pathfinder sailing in common with Rik.  Waiting on hurricanes, not so much.


Sunday, September 9, 2018

just wondering

How well do butterflies do in 130 mph winds and 20 inches of rain?

Friday, September 7, 2018

next Wednesday

Scenario 1: If the high-pressure ridge is stronger and extends farther west, that would increase the chance of a hurricane landfall along the East Coast, particularly over the Southeast U.S. coast between Georgia and North Carolina, with the hurricane then driving inland.
  • Prognosis: Increasingly possible. The latest 0Z and 12Z runs of the European, GFS, and UKMET models all support this solution.
Scenario 2: If the high-pressure ridge is weaker and doesn't extend as far west, that would diminish but not eliminate the chance of a landfall. However, that could still bring Florence uncomfortably close to the East Coast, resembling a slow moving nor'easter. Several days of damaging surf, coastal flooding and beach erosion would occur in this scenario along at least a portion of the East Coast, with the mid-Atlantic coast at risk of a direct hit.
  • Prognosis: Possible
Scenario 3: Florence may remain sufficiently far enough offshore to avoid even significant coastal flood impacts.

Monday, September 3, 2018

the golden spoon, from the Pilgrim

Checking my fishing gear yesterday I noticed that my favorite casting lure for fall on Chesapeake Bay, a golden spoon, had lost its luster.  I put it in a little bag with some ketchup - don't ask me where I got this idea I don't remember - and let it sit overnight.  Bright and shiny this morning it is soaking in fresh water to clean the ketchup off. 

In the fall bluefish and stripers often chase the bait fish to the surface, easily recognized by the erupting water and gulls diving in to grab a fish.  Cast a golden spoon into that and there a good chance you'll have a fish on the line.

Haven't completely decided the path for the fall sail.  I'll put in at Cambridge and work my way north.  How far north I do not know.  I would like to get back to to explore the Chester and Corsica Rivers, maybe even making it up the Chester to Chestertown.  And then of course back down south to St. Michaels.


I received this and a few other photographs from the Pilgrim this morning from somewhere near Astorga, Spain.  This is supposedly a busy time for the Camino, but look down the path to the right and it appears to be not too crowded.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

to drift or not to drift, a sailing raid

The question for the holiday weekend is should I drift, or not.  Hot and humid, the wind forecast has proven accurate for Saturday and Sunday at almost no wind, save for the violent thunderstorms that form in the late afternoon.  I've been doing boat work and house work to keep busy, checking the forecast for tomorrow and hoping for better.  That's is tomorrow forecast above, purplish-blue for 0 to 5 mph wind.

I checked last year's sailing and was pleased to find the image above, a favorite by friend Mike Goodwin.  Obviously we had much better wind then.

I have been following, via google translate, Lorenzo's plans for an upcoming sailing raid near his home on the shore of the Mediterranean.  Translating as best I can, it looks to be 60 to 80 miles of sailing over four days, perfect for Lorenzo's finely built Pathfinder ASTRID.  It is coming up soon, the dates are September 12-16.  I'll look forward to reading about the sail (then shortly thereafter take off on my own little raid, 14 days on Chesapeake Bay).

Thursday, August 30, 2018

video from Barry

Barry, the sailing friend that always has a camera in his hand (in fact his blog's name is Eye in Hand) produced a very nice video from our shared sailing at Gwynn's Island and on the Rappahannock.  The direct youtube link is here (copy and paste into your browser)...

And these are some screen shots I grabbed from the video.  Nice work, Barry, thanks very much.  I never get to see SPARTINA sail so this is a real treat for me.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

two pathfinders on Chesapeake Bay

In an email Bobby tells me that there were in fact two Pathfinders sailing Chesapeake Bay this past weekend.  Could that be a first?  Maybe so.  While I had SPARTINA on the Piankatank and Rappahannock, he was sailing LAGNIAPPE to Annapolis.  Very cool.  I enjoyed this comment from his email....

I have fallen in love with the mizzen. It sits back there, mostly unattended, providing just enough propulsion to keep the boat maneuverable in light air or tight quarters, and keeps her in the wind for raising the main.  I think I'm a yawl man from here on out; so much more controlled than a sloop. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

fresh water

Yeah, that's me, pulled over by the side of the road in pre-dawn darkness, trying to get the trailer lights back on.  They lasted all of three miles before going dark.  I get them back on, then I'm back on the road.  Or at least until they go out again.  It's before rush hour so not too bad sitting on the highway shoulder.  I get the driver's side lights working and settle for that.  Plus dawn is near.  

Another bridge over a river, smaller road, lighter traffic, open space.  I can breath again.  

Through the swing bridge from Milford Haven to the Piankatank about 9:00, glad to be on the water.  Stunningly beautiful day, more like early fall than the typical hot, humid August.

Rounding a shoal I get a wave from a crabber.  I ask how the catch is this season.  Catching a lot, he says, but that drives the price down.

This is fresh water to SPARTINA, we've never sailed the western shore of the bay.  Old Tidewater Virginia, winding rivers and creeks, farms along the shore.  

Forecast is for 5-10 out of the east and it is exactly right.  A few minutes of 5 mph wind, then a few minutes of 10 mph.  We head north across the Piankatank for Stingray Point.

I shake my head and smile, I can't remember as August day like this.

Easy enough navigation.  I didn't do too much planning.  Just round the point into the broad Rappahannock, a small fleet of fishing boats anchored out off of Deltaville, then head up river.

Mid-afternoon we sail past Parrot Island to the mouth of Locklies Creek, tie up at the docks at Merroir Tasting Room, the spot on the waterfront where you can taste all the oysters you want - and more - from the Rappahannock Oyster Company.

I sit in the shade reading the newspaper.  Barry arrives and says let's go sailing.  I try to pay for my iced tea but the waitress says it's on the house.  I leave a nice tip.

A late afternnon sail on the Rappahannock, catching up with each other as we hadn't crossed paths in a long while.

Then back to the dock for a couple dozen oysters, plump and tasty, washed down by Sculpin IPA.

And smoked cobia and arugula with pita bread.

And the tasting rooms version of salad caprese.  And another dozen oysters.  Talk about good.

Then I cast off to anchor out for the night, Barry grabbing a nice photo from the docks.

A beautiful evening with a moon so bright I wake twice wondering "who turned on the lights?"  I drop down the top of the bivy and drift back to sleep.

Another fine day, this one with lighter winds.  Motor-sailing down the Rappahannock to Stingray Point, finding wind back on the Piankatank.

Back into the ramp and there's Barry waiting for us.  He hops on board with that camera that he seems to always have in his hands.

A nice sail, then lunch at The Hole in the Wall restaurant, I set off in SPARTINA and soon Barry is out in his melonseed.  Wind on the beam for a sail behind the sandbar south of Gwynn's Island.


I grab of few pictures of Barry, he takes some of SPARTINA.  Then he waves goodbye, heading back to the ramp.

And I stay out sailing, tacking up and down Milford Haven, a losing Orioles game on the radio.  Back and forth on the water just enjoying life.  Yeah, I know, simple things for the simple minded.  I'll take it.

A peaceful night anchored behind the sand bar.  

The sun peeks up beneath the morning clouds.  Geese fly over on the way back to the dock reminding me that fall is coming fast.  We haul out and head home.  An excellent weekend on the water.