Cast off from the mooring 7:15. Cold, cold, cold and a heavy dew on the boom tent. And eagle circles low off the water near a wooded point. I motor to the town dock in Centreville, my bare feet freezing on the frost-covered wooden dock. I walk the few blocks to a convenience store to top off my gas can and pick up a few snacks.
Full sail back down river to the nice little yacht club and circle around off the pier until I see a woman walking down the ramp. I had never met Wendy Mitman Clarke in person but I had corresponded with her over the years. A ways back she had asked for some photographs when she worked for Chesapeake Bay Magazine. More recently she contacted me looking for some photographs of Webb Chiles for Good Old Boat Magazine. Then just a few weeks ago Wendy, now editor in chief of SAIL Magazine, emailed me asking if we could get together to talk about the cruising I do on SPARTINA. I'm not much on interviews so I said "Why don't we just go for a sail?". So here we are going for a sale.
I tie up at the small dock and walk up to greet her. Though we had never met, we have several friends in common and I tell Wendy it seems like we are old friends. We cast off in a building afternoon wind. We talk as I'm raising sail and Wendy says "oh I've got to get out my notebook." She has lots of questions about where I sail and why, and many more questions about SPARTINA and her construction. I do the best I can to answer, no-one has ever accused me of being well-spoken. The sail is a treat, excellent wind and just keeps getting stronger. On a second tack out on to the Chester River Wendy suggests we had back to the Corsica River, spray from the waves on the Chester is flying onto her notebook. On hte way back in Wendy breaks out her own camera and starts taking photographs.
We talk a lot about the friends we have in common, Chesapeake Bay, boats and her new job. We find we have one more thing in common, we are both "old school" journalists. She began her career in an Associated Press office, and of course I did a few decades as a newspaper photographer. Talking about the way things "used to be" in journalism reminds Wendy she has to do a little video of our sail for the magazines Instagram feed. She says this is all new to her and wonders if she should shoot video of herself talking or video of me sailing the boat. I suggest she can do both and show her a new app on my phone that uses the front and back cameras at the same time. So she is shooting video and talking and I'm sailing and all of a sudden we get a good gust of wind. SPARTINA heels, Wendy just smiles.
Back at the dock we transfer the video to her phone. It is windy and noisy, not the best audio for a video but fun and good atmosphere. Wendy asks me where I'm heading in the afternoon. I say I'll probably head back to the town dock and grab dinner at a restaurant. She says she and her husband will meet me there.
I'm back at the dock at 2:45, do some cleaning on SPARTINA and set up the boom tent and sleeping gear. Wendy and her husband meet me in the evening and we walk up the hill for an excellent outdoor dinner at Doc's Riverside Grille. It's a great evening with some really good folks. They walk me back to SPARTINA and head off for home while I slip into my sleeping bag.