Monday, May 29, 2017

my love, in gaelic

The light fog lifted this morning to reveal the stoutly built "a RÚN," a Kaiser built boat meant for blue water sailing.  Sliding across Craford Bay I was photographing her when I noticed the owner was behind the dodger photographing me.  I rounded up to speak to say hello.  Her homeport told me she was headed to Philadelphia, the man aboard said he and his wife/spouse/partner (not sure which) were coming back from six months in the Bahamas.  How nice.  I asked him about the cutter's name: a RÚN.  It is a gaelic term of endearment - "my love."  In fact next year they will be sailing a RÚN to Ireland.  I wished them a good and safe journey.

I had Spartina on the Elizabeth River for three days, each day providing variations on weather.  Saturday was sunny and comfortable, but with shifting winds.  No complaints, it was a pleasant sail made enjoyable by the lack of summer heat and humidity. 

Sunday was overcast but with steadier winds.  The oldest daughter, a builder and original crew member of Spartina was on board, as was later in the morning the Pilgrim.  A touch of light rain that disappeared quickly, it was fun to have a crew on board.

Today was fog and low clouds giving way to blue skies and puffy white clouds.  Steadier wind in the morning then dropping off in the afternoon, a nice day to sit back against the coaming and nudge the tiller with my knee.


I also tried out for the first time my new five pound Manson Supreme plow-style anchor.  With just five feet of chain the anchor quickly buried itself in the mud/sand bottom of Craford Bay.  It will do even better when I use the anchor and chain with a five pound mushroom anchor as a sentinel for overnight anchorages.  The only reason I was able to buy the $150+ anchor was a tip from Kevin M who sent a note to several sailing friends about a clearance on Manson anchors - my five pounder costing $30 plus $10 shipping, not a bad deal at all.  

When I ordered the new anchor I did not know at the time how badly I needed new ground tackle.   I mean you can't wear out an anchor, can you?  Switching the chain from the old to new anchor on Friday I looked inside the old ten pound navy style anchor to see that the pin that holds the flukes to the shaft had corroded/worn down to the point to where it was less than 1/32 of an inch wide.  Wow.  I needed a new anchor.  Thanks, Kevin.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

chef and sous chef

Glad to have the oldest daughter home for the holiday weekend, crawfish, clams and corn coming out perfectly.  Caught a little off-guard when I noticed she had a tiny tattoo but had to smile when I saw  it was............a sailboat.  

Saturday morning

Friday, May 26, 2017

the three "C's" of a summer weekend meal

Corn, clams, crawfish.  Steamer night tomorrow.

And I won't even mention the strawberry/rhubarb pie.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

a few photographs

Just now catching up from the trip.  Spartina washed, geared mostly stowed back in the closet, leftover food sorted out.  Haven't had a chance to look at the logbook but hope to do that next week.  I have somehow ended up with a four-day weekend, one with a nice forecast for some local sailing.

Enjoyed the trip, of course.  Not a drop of rain during the eight days.  Good to visit Ocracoke, which I reached by way of the Nine Foot Shoal Channel instead of the usual Big Foot Slough Channel.  Missed Kevin M. there in his Marshcat by three days.  Did not get to Oriental but did reach Bath and Washington.  Washington proved to be a very nice town to visit, friendly people, several restaurants and a very nice waterfront for accommodating sailors.  Had to wonder if it was my last launching out of Hobucken as the marina is in transition.  We'll have to wait and see on that.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

the track, sheer joy

Above is the gps track from the spring sail, 240 miles of wonderful sailing.  And below is a photograph of joy, Webb somewhere on the Caribbean.  He has posted his St. Lucia to Marathon sailing log here.

Saturday, May 20, 2017


Back home after a great trip.  Rock Hole Bay, Ocracoke, the marshes behind Cedar Island, Bath, Washington and a couple of other nice anchorages, it was a very relaxing week.  Up most days and sailing by 6:00 or soon after, I spent about eight or nine hours each day sailing.  Dinner, clean up and reading, I was ready to go to sleep as the sun went down.  I haven't looked at the log yet but believe we averaged about 35 miles a day.  Light winds one morning and one afternoon, but other than that, plenty of wind.  And not a drop of rain.  First time in three years I have sailed NC without a tropical storm hovering about.  

Photos are from this morning, leaving Ditch Creek for the brief sail up Jones Bay to Hobucken, top, and on the narrow creek leading to Pate Boat Yard, looking up to wend our way through the trees leaning in over the ditch.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Washington NC

Sailing through the old train trestle to the Washington waterfront.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

this morning

Leaving out of Turnagain Bay at dawn. Reached Bath this evening.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Monday moring

Very windy overnight and this morning. Will wait an hour or two for 
the winds to drop to a forecast 10-15.

Friday, May 12, 2017

sushi tonight, sashay tomorrow

Went over the watertribe gear list, everything there.  Everything stowed and this afternoon stashed in the back of the jeep or in the boat.  Nice dinner tonight, heading south tomorrow.

Current forecast has me thinking about heading over to Ocracoke early in the trip,  then south to Cedar Island and Core Sound, cutting across the Thorofare and Old Canals to the Neuse and maybe Oriental.  But we will see which way the wind is blowing.  Here's the tracking url....

Thursday, May 11, 2017

spot tracking url

Hope to be on the water late Saturday morning.  Forecast: a little rainy on the first day, then sunny for the next few.

Spot tracking url is below or just click here.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

a different kind of wind

Looking at the forecast, which I don't completely trust since we are still a few days out, but things are looking pretty good as of now.  Maybe a little rainy on launch day then sunshine for at least a few days after that.

What is a little unusual is the direction of the wind.  For three or four days it will be out of the W, WNW or NW.  Typically I've dealt with SW, N or NE winds.  With the forecast, which will certainly be changing up until launch day, I've been thinking about the route I might take.  Ocracoke, Wysocking Bay, Caffee Bay, Belhaven, Bath and Washington all still not the list.  Maybe Oriental too.  We'll see.  

The photograph is from a few years ago setting off from Bluff Point to Ocracoke just after dawn with a steady SW wind.

Monday, May 8, 2017

sanded, varnished

Schooner Virginia's blocks, sanded, varnished 
and waiting for uprigging

Sunday, May 7, 2017

packing / Mona Passage

The spring sail is still a week away but with a busy work schedule I am doing most of the packing now.  All the gear is in good shape (some of it has been in use for nearly a decade now) but I've been replacing batteries, clearing gps tracks and updating my spot profile to show sailing on Pamlico Sound.

Food and water is all set.  I think the only thing I need to buy is a backup anchor light as my old one gave out last fall.  As for launching, Shawn has sold Pate Boat Yard but he was kind enough to put me in touch with the new owner who quickly agreed to allow me to use the ramp and leave my jeep/trailer on the property.  They did ask that I sign a liability waiver which I was happy to do.  Though Shawn is no longer the owner I do hope to see him down there.


Webb has passed through the Mona Passage between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic with what appears to be excellent conditions.  His journal says he plans to turn west and then north west, sailing north of Cuba in the Old Bahama Channel.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


I finally pony'd up the $14.95 for southern Atlantic coast - Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida - charts for my iSailor app.  That's beyond an incredibly cheap price when you consider a single NOAA paper chart can cost from $12 to $18.

Certainly won't be using it for navigation but it would work as a backup in case of gps problems.  I thought it would be nice to have to do screen shots of anchorage while there, plus evening research as I'm thinking about the next day's sail.  The screen shots here, from top to bottom, show Mouse Harbor, Ocracoke and Wysocking Bay, all places I might be visiting in about two weeks.

I've started with the packing - fishing gear last night, clothes tonight.  The majority of gear checking/stowing will be this weekend.  Can't wait.