"When I think of all the fools I've been it's a wonder that I've sailed this many miles." -Guy Clark

Sunday, May 16, 2010

40/60 or 60/40

I almost did not go sailing today. The forecast for this weekend, good early in the week, seemed to deteriorate as the week went by. Chance of thunderstorms, then 20% chance of storms all day, then 30% and then last night 40% chance of rain/thunderstorms all day.
At 5 a.m. today a terrific storm passed over our house. During my morning walk under grey skies I could hear thunderstorms to the north and south. The forecast when I got back home still said 40% chance of rain/thunderstorms all day. But a close look at the radar showed clear skies to the west. So I headed for the ramp.

I'm glad I went out. The weather was great. Unusual wind out of ENE, but that was fine with me. This was my first sail of the year with the snowbird fleet passing through. There were seven snowbirds anchored in Crawford Bay, six sailboats and one power boat. I was very happy to see two of my favorite designs anchored out there. That is a Nor'Sea 27 anchored in the foreground, a Bristol Channel Cutter is just to the right of it. Both were designed by Lyle Hess.

In the fleet was Blue Norther out of Oriental, NC. I think this is the same yawl I saw up here last year, just after returning from the Skeeter Beater. I sometimes feel like Quoyle, the main character in E. Annie Proulx's book The Shipping News (without all the personal tragedies, thank you very much). I like to keep track of who comes and goes through our harbor each spring and fall.
(An interesting note on the book, the author was influenced by The Ashley Book of Knots, a 1944 publication. She used names of knots for both chapters and names in the book. Quoyle comes from coil, rope kept on the dock "so that it maybe be walked on....")

I passed by the Nor'Sea 27, called Daphne, a couple of times before a woman came out of the cabin into the cockpit and just as quickly disappeared. It was then I remembered that a distinctive feature of that design is the aft cabin - that's where she had gone to. Moments later she was back again. I was just then passing by the stern and said hello, told her I was a fan of the Nor'Sea design.
I asked if she had been down south the winter. Yes, she said, the Bahamas, and now "I'm heading back home." The "I'm" caught my attention. "Singlehanded?" I asked. She said yes, and she was traveling in company with the boat next to her, the Bristol Channel Cutter. Wow, that is pretty cool, two Lyle Hess designs sailing together.

Any good story like that, these days, has got to have a website. So I googled around a bit and here it is. That was Teresa I was talking to, a school teacher who gave up her home and career to pursue a dream. She has a great story and tells it well on her website, check it out if you have a moment.

And above is the Bristol Channel Cutter Elizabeth, here you can find the blog for that boat. I'm strictly in the small, open boat camp. But I still enjoy reading about long cruises and open ocean passages on any kind of boat. I think it is great that the people have the opportunity - or I really should say MAKE THE OPPORTUNITY - for these adventures. My meeting with Teresa was brief to say the least, yet I'm glad to have learned about her story, her adventure. It is this kind of thing that keep me going back out on the Elizabeth River again and again.

As for the weather, does that look like 40% chance of rain?
Looks a lot closer to 60% sunshine to me.



Baydog said...

How about 100% sunshine! Weathermen and women should often be tarred, feathered, and set out in the commons for all to expectorate in their general direction. Sometimes they're right, although. I should have followed my instinct last Friday as you did in this post. Maybe we would have had a sail. We sailed today, however, and I have the sunburn to prove it.

Steve said...

I got a little sunburn myself. Are there weathermen or women anymore? I suspect it is all computers.
As my fishing guide friend says "If you wait until things are perfect then you'll never go."


RichC said...


The BCC (Elizabeth) was Ben Eriksen and NorSea 27 (Daphine) Teresa Carey and they are returning from a winter in South Florida and the Bahamas. They just made the 5 day passage and are holed up in your neck of the woods. Small world.

Steve said...

Yes, I agree. A small world, especially when it is on the water. That is one of the reasons I like sailing the Elizabeth River. The ICW's Mile Marker "0" is right there off of Portsmouth's Hospital Point so we get lots of cruisers passing through. Crawford Bay is a very popular anchorage for bad weather or just catching up on some rest after a passage.
Do you know either of them?


Ben Eriksen said...


Great pics! Sorry I didn't poke my head out too... was deep in the middle of some new web design project. Are you going to Maine for this?


Steve said...

good to hear from you. I believe I saw you still anchored out on Crawford Bay this morning in heavy rain. I hope it clears for you soon.
I've heard of the Small Reach Regatta and I think there was a Welsford-designed Pathfinder (same as my boat) there last year. I won't be making it up there for at least a few years as I've got kids in college. But Maine is definitely on my cruising list.
Elizabeth looked fantastic. I've always liked the BCC and yours looked in mint condition. I confess to sailing by a few times hoping to say hello and ask a few questions.
Good to hear from you. Have a great, safe trip up north.

Dan said...

Nice pictures of the NS27 and BCC. Teresa's blog is how I "discovered" the NS27 that eventually led me to getting my own as my first boat. It's a fun boat and enjoy it very much although I've only sailed it once since I got it. Always something to learn while messing around on boats.