I did my usual visit to David Perillo's Open Boat website
out of New Zealand and was very happy to find a photo showing both Spartina and Kevin B's Slip Jig in the latest photos gallery. Bruce shot that photo as we sailed alongside each other from Dividing Creek to St. Michaels on day seven
of the Crab House 150. It was nice to have two John Welsford designs, Kevin's Navigator and my Pathfinder, sailing together.
I scrolled down a few photos on the Open Boat page and found David had published another photograph from Spartina, this one from Spencer Bay
(site of the battle of "Mosquito Creek") during the SkeeterBeater.
It makes me feel good to have some photos of Spartina published on Open Boat, thanks very much David. While building Spartina and dreaming about cruising I was visiting Open Boat every week, reading about David's weekend sails on his Navigator Jaunty and studying all the reader-submitted photos of open boats.
I've never met David, he lives on the other side of the world. But he has taught me a lot about small boats, sailing and enjoying life. In fact it was through his story about sailing a Navigator in the Fiji Islands
that I first heard about this boat designer named John Welsford. I googled JW and less than a month later I was shaping the stem and cutting frames for Spartina.
Last I saw David had sold Jaunty and was building a new boat. His site shows a lot of progress, I hope he launches her this season. There he is below with his AWOL design (also from the boards of John Welsford). I can't wait to see what adventures he will have on that boat. (David, hope it is ok that I used the photo.)
And speaking of people I've never met that affected my life, we got an comment posted to the blog from Doug Cameron the other day. He said he enjoyed our Chesapeake Bay trip and had a question about the bivy sacs we use on Spartina. Something about his name caught my attention but I could not place it. So I looked at his profile and saw he had completed some Everglades Challenges and the Watertribe NC Challenge. I finally made the connection when I went to the Watertribe Rogues Gallery and found out he was RidgeRunner
. I then knew exactly who he was and that he had a direct effect on the first sail Bruce and I did together.
That is Doug/RidgeRunner above, left getting ready for the 2009 Watertribe NC Challenge in his Core Sound 20. (Doug, I borrowed a couple of photos. Hope that is ok. If not let me know and I'll take them down.) And below is a beautiful photograph from, I think, one of his Everglades Challenges.
Doug/RidgeRunner changed the plan for the sail I did with Bruce in 2007. At the time this was to be my second cruise on Spartina and the first ever sailing for Bruce. We had planned to put in at Harkers Island and sail just the lower part of Core Sound and Shackleford Sound over to Beaufort and back. I figured we would learn about cruising together with sails of a few miles a day. But then I read Doug's piece about his sailing the 2003 Everglades Challenge
. He mentioned in the very well-written story that several participants, including himself, were grandfathers.
I emailed Bruce that night and said we have got to change our sailing plan. If a grandfather (obviously one who is adventurous and in great shape) can do a 300 mile sail single-handed, then we can certainly do better than a few miles a day. Soon I sent Bruce a new route that had us sailing up Core Sound, across the bottom of Pamlico Sound, down the Neuse River to Oriental and then down the ICW to Beaufort and back to Harkers Island. Certainly not the 300 miles of the EC, but at about 100 miles a pretty good sail for a couple of newbies like us. You can read about that trip here
. (I'm not sure of Doug's age, he may be a few years older than me, maybe not. But grandfather or not, after reading about his EC's and other races I would not want to compete against him).
So thanks to David, whom I have never met, for telling me about Welsford boats. And thanks to Doug/RidgeRunner, whom I have never met, for inspiring me to be a bit more adventurous out on the water. I hope someday I get to meet you guys and say thanks in person.