Monday, June 1, 2009

a few reflections

Those are Spartina's sails reflected in the glassy water of the Neuse River, the bow wave rushing by at the bottom of the frame, near Wilkinson Point.  We had left Oriental under light winds earlier in the morning.  The breeze came and went, but didn't pick up until a couple of little rain showers passed by.  The showers were so small and isolated we could steer right around them.  The rain moved on and the wind kicked up and blew all afternoon and in to the night.

Still looking at photos and packing gear.  Lots of thoughts about the trip but need to get them more organized.  But off the top of my head.....

  • We sailed much faster than I had expected.  There were a couple of reasons for this.  The winds, normally out of the southwest this time of year, came out of the north and east.  Much of the first three days of the trip were spent sailing on a reach, broad reach or run.  We made great time.   Also Bruce had developed his sailing skills to a point where he could handle Spartina in a pretty good blow.  I'm used to single handed sailing where I need to heave to to get lunch, take a break, put on foul weather gear, etc.  With two of us sailing we could handle on the little chores without heaving to - we just kept on sailing.   Average speed on my past couple of cruises came to exactly 3 nautical miles per hour (a couple of years ago I had emailed a veteran Wayfarer Dinghy cruiser and he told me to expect to make 3 nautical mph).  This trip we average 3.3, a ten percent increase.  That, of course, was the average.  We spent lots of time at 5, 6, 7 or more knots. 
  • I packed too much food.  I've done this in the past.  It's not a problem, there is plenty of space.  But I want get the supplies down to what I really need.  Somewhere on the Watertribe site there is an article that says get out all the food you need for a trip, then take only half of that and you'll be fine.  Sounds about right.
  • My Mom asked me if we got caught in "a" rainstorm during the trip.  We got caught in lots of rain storms and it was not problem.  They were isolated showers, usually small but sometimes a little larger (like the one seen in the top photo of Bruce's five favorite photos below).  We would see them coming, pull on our rain gear, tuck in a reef if it looked to be a decent sized squall and keep on sailing.  We got to appreciate the wind that came with the rain (and usually the wind hung around long after the squall had moved on and skies had cleared).
  • We were asked if we had thought of turning back for a day or two or sailing further on as we came in to New Bern two days earlier than expected.  This had not occurred to either of us.  We had set several goals for the trip - sailing from Engelhard to New Bern, visiting Bath, Vandemere and Oriental, taking photographs and having fun.  We accomplished everything except visiting Vandemere - the wind was so good coming out of Gale Creek and down Bay River we just couldn't give up the sailing to turn back up river.  But we were happy with everything we did.  The days planned for sailing were just a way to estimate food, water, etc.  We never had a goal of spending "x" number of days on the water.
On our fall '09 trip up Chesapeake Bay to the St. Michael's Small Craft Festival (looking for a name - the Bay Daze 150 maybe??) we'll build a contingency that will give us some room for a faster or slower passage.  We'll start somewhere around Onancock and sail north along the eastern shore of the bay.  If we are making good time as we get to Tilghman Island we can head over to the western shore and visit Annapolis and then go north of Kent Island before going south to St. Michael's.  If we are not making good time we'll sail up past Tilghman and turn in to Eastern Bay and the Miles River for a more direct approach to the festival.  
Still a lot of thinking to do about that trip, four months to do the planning.


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