Monday, December 31, 2018

video fixed, I hope

Barry tells me my video was not playing.  I think I have fixed it.  Try here. But before you do, consider how valuable that 1:25 of your life might be.  Might want to spend it elsewhere.

Happy New Year!  steve

shaky camera, bad audio

Every time I get that first view of the Pasquotank River it takes my breath away.  Each and every time.  And I've seen that view for thirty years now.  Down past the Dismal Swamp to old highway 158, right turn on North Water Street and I look to my left to see that beautiful river.  The water, stained a tea color by the the swamp's cypress trees, ambles a dozen miles from Elizabeth City waterfront down a gently winding tree-lined path to Albemarle Sound.  But it always looks to me like a river that goes on forever.

A wonderful day of sailing, the last sail of 2018, yesterday.  For some reason I got the bug to shoot some video with the GoPro.  Shaky camera and bad audio, don't bother watching it unless you got a minute and 25 seconds of your life that you will never want to get back.

Shooting videos will always be an exception for me, I prefer still images.  I'll leave video to my sailing friends who know how to use a steady camera and capture clean audio.

Yesterday was also a good test of the new Stohlquist Amp drysuit.  The water was cold enough - 50 degrees - to wear the suit for safety but the air temperature was up to about 65 degrees.  I had to wonder if the drysuit would be too hot, or maybe even clammy with the warm weather.  It was not.  It was in fact very comfortable.  Stohlquist advertises a four layer waterproof/breathable material and I guess they aren't kidding about the breathable part.  I have only used it twice but have to say I am very pleased by both the comfort and safety it provides.

A great way to end the sailing year.  Looking forward to 2019.

Sunday, December 30, 2018


Whipped by the wind, bleached by the sun.  How many miles has the pennant flown at the top the the mast during a decade-plus of cruising?  The pennant, a gift from my Mom, arrived the evening before SPARTINA's first cruise.  How many days snapping in a crisp wind?  How many peaceful nights tucked back in a tiny cove?  How many dew-covered dawns tinted orange by the sun peeking over the trees.  Sometimes I think too many, sometimes I think not nearly enough.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

last sail of the year

Reports to the Elizabeth City Coast Guard station of a giant mango sailing a small yawl on the Pasquotank River proved to be false.  It was just me out for the last sail of the year on a beautiful day.  I even shot some video and hope to have something to post tomorrow or Monday.

south to Betsy Town

last sail of the year

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

double reefed

A sailing friend sent this photo from a couple of years ago.

Double reefed on a gusty early spring day.

A nice surprise for Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas to all.

Monday, December 24, 2018

can you see me now?

First winter sail with my new Stohlquist Amp drysuit* and I was very pleased with the results.  Temperatures starting the low 40s and then climbing to almost 50 degrees.  The water temperature is the key to winter sailing though, yesterday being 51 degrees and it will only get colder as winter goes on.  Capsizing in water that cold can of course be fatal and that's the reason for the drysuit. 

The color is "mango" and it is surprisingly bright.  My friend Rik from Aruba tells me that mangos come in a variety of color and I will bow to his tropical knowledge.  The important thing is if somebody is looking for me I will be easily found.

*a note about the cost.  I believe the drysuit lists for $625 but a little searching on the internet shows they are usually available somewhere at 25% off.

I wore my Ice Breaker thermals, jeans and long-sleeve tee-shirt and a wool sweater and found it to be comfortable and warm.  The drysuit is designed for kayakers so there is lots of mobility, feeling about the same as foul weather pants and the heavy jacket I have worn in the past.  The only difference was the snug seal around the neck but I quickly got used to that.  I do think the drysuit will add to my comfort and safety during the winters months, letting me get out on the water a little more often.

I do not take passengers out on SPARTINA from December through early March precisely because of the cold water, but those aren't passengers with me.  Those are the daughters in town for a Christmas visit and an unexpected sail.  As co-builders and members of the original crew of the little wooden yawl they are always have a spot on the boat.  

Not a lot of wind yesterday, but sunny and pleasant and and wonderful to have the crew on board.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

photobombing The Ash Breeze magazine cover

From Kristen comes this photo of the cover of The Ash Breeze, the magazine from the Traditional Small Craft Association.  Very pleased to see that SPARTINA snuck up in the background, right above "circumnavigate," for some face time while at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum's Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival.  Had a great time at the festival.  Now, on a cold, windy, rainy night, it seems like a long long time ago.  Glad to have this photo bring back some memories.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

an interpretation

I sent my friend (also my boss) at the office the photograph below as Tom and I had oysters and stone crab claws at the Mar Bar just off Tavernier Creek last week.  Above you will see his interpretation of the scene.  How nice.

Both the oysters and stone crab claws were excellent.

Thursday, December 13, 2018


Just had a couple of great days of sailing with Tom Head on his Pathfinder FIRST LIGHT.  Most of the time we were accompanied by Tom's Sea Beagle "Baby."  Baby is always on the lookout for pirates (powerboaters) and mermaids.  Don't ask me to explain the toilet seats, particularly the one with a sticker from the oldest daughter's college.  Wonderful sailing on the bay side of the keys and the ocean side too, running with the current through Tavernier Creek.  A great trip, Tom, thanks very, very much.  steve

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

just found this

Working on the last day of the log and came across this video clip from Tom as we sailed into St. Michaels.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018


Jim B from the Outer Banks sent this "meme" to me.  I had heard of memes but did not know exactly what they were - I don't do facebook.  But this is a meme and the photo bottom center is from sailing on the Wye River with Kevin in the famous SLIP JIG not far behind.

For the record this is both what I think I should do and what I really do.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

day 11 - pecan pie

Calm night, heavy dew in the morning.  Anchor up and idling down Queenstown Creek 7:00.

A light breeze and all sails up just inside the mouth of the creek, baitfish snapping at the glassy surface of the water, the sun peeking through the trees.

Just over a knot making our way out on to the Chester River.  The sun catches a deadrise working in the distance.  Another deadrise comes out of the creek, no name on her stern, diesel rumbling and blowing black smoke straight up in the air.

Out away from shore more wind as we sail by the fish weirs.  Two knots, then 4 knots, by 8:30 making 5 as we approach the winding, tide rushed Kent Narrows.  I call for the 9 a.m. lift, the tide rushing south to north and SPARTINA the only boat passing through.

No rush today and a pleasant morning.  We duck into a cove with condos to the north and a wildlife refuge to the south.  Deadrises work trotlines.  Anchor down and time for a nap.

At 10:30 sails up and out past the wildlife refuge quickly tuck in a reef with the south wind building.

Still plenty of time to reach Tilghman Creek, my planned destination, so I take the long route and sail west over the top of Parsons Island then tack back east.  I find myself in lumpy, confused water.  The south wind travels up to Tilghman Point, each side of the point creating waves that cross each other north of the point and south of Parsons Island, exactly where I am.  The wind is good and strong and SPARTINA powers through the chop but I soon find I've got a headache from the jumbled motion.

We tack southeast to the far shore, then come about towards Tilghman Point, the water on the the Miles River now calmer and less confused.  

At 3:00 I near Tilghman Point and tack back out on the river for an approach in to Tilghman Creek.  Looking south I see a set of sails rounding Deepwater Point.  Tom, aboard his Pathfinder FIRST LIGHT.  

Video by Tom

I had cast off about 12 days earlier, he had trailered 1,200 miles up from the Florida Keys.  What are the chances we would be sharing tacks into Tilghman Creek.  Tom lets me take the lead into the creek and of course I make a cut to close to the point on the south side of the creek.  The centerboard touches bottom, I round up, tack out and then turn back into the creek.  After dropping anchor Tom comes along side, we shake hands and smile.

Tom came bearing gifts - cold beer with slices of lime and a wonderful stew.  We sit and talk about our trips, the coming weekend in St. Michaels and the fact that two Pathfinders are rafted side by side.  A great evening on Tilghman Creek.

Then Tom brings out dessert, a couple slides of Pecan pie he had picked up on the road up the Eastern Shore.  Life is good.