Spring Cruise 2006
04/17/2006, Oriental, NC
It had been a long time since we had actually been sailing. Cold weather, holidays, and work requirements kept us on land far too long. We had planned the spring cruise for the weekend before, but a gale warning for the sound made us decide that home was a better place to be. One of my favorite nautical quotes is, "Sailors don't have plans, just intentions". The plan (intention) was simple. Sail to Oriental on Saturday and sail back on Sunday. That sounds simple but you would be surprised how many times a plan that simple is hard to follow, but this was not one of those times. This was one of our best weekends ever on the water, and one of the best weekends in recent memory. The weather was, at the risk of over using the word, spectacular all weekend. This is the main ingredient in a successful and enjoyable trip. Judy's sister Nancy accompanied us this trip assuming the role of ship's artist and honored guest. Here's how it went.
Spring Cruise 2006 Pictures
Spring Cruise 2006 - Movie
Saturday April 15, 2006
We didn't have to be in a hurry to leave since it's really not a long trip from Whortonsville to Oriental. Since we arrived so late on Friday, no one was in a hurry to get started. We greeted dock mates that we hadn't seen in a while and set about the tasks that would get us out on the water. We had to hank the headsail to the forestay, install the bimini canvas and several other little things that seem to take a lot of time. We left the dock at about 10:30. There was lots of sunshine and temperature in the 70s. Due to a very strong southwest wind for the previous days, the water in the creek was low. I think we dug a little trench in the bottom for about the first 200 yards after we got out of the slip. At the mouth of Brown Creek, we found a lovely breeze blowing about 12 to 15 knots. This is perfect for sailing, and since it had not been blowing all night, the wave action was light, which is even better. Since Oriental is almost due southwest of the mouth of Brown Creek, it was necessary for us to tack back and fourth. Southwest was the one direction in which we could not travel. When the weather is like it was Saturday, taking an indirect route is NOT a problem. Judy served her famous chicken salad on pita bread sandwiches. These are a favorite of the crew because they taste great, and lunch can be eaten using only one hand. Sometimes you can't spare the other one. The boat performed well. Her helm is almost perfectly balanced when she is close hauled, requiring only minor steering adjustments every 10 minutes or so. We arrived in Oriental after tacking only 3 times. We tied up with the assistance of the dock master and Nancy and Judy left for a shopping trip. After the boat was secured and the crew returned, Judy and Nancy cooked the captain's personal favorite meal, grilled salmon with brown rice and a fresh salad. Somehow it's just better when cooked off the stern of a sailing craft. Oriental was more crowded than usual. The Oriental Marina / Hotel had a deck party complete with a live band. The band was set up less than a boat length from our bow, so we had prime seats to watch the performance. The band was quite good and not too loud. The crowd was, well "not so young" so the music was mostly Carolina beach music which is about as good as it gets as far as we are concerned. The party was over at a civilized hour and we turned in for a good night's sleep.
Sunday April 16, 2006
We woke to another lovely day. The crew didn't seem inclined to rise very early so I went over the "The Bean" (coffee shop) for a personal cup of hot leaded coffee. When the crew stirred, we had a simple breakfast of my Mom's homemade yeast bread with peanut butter and jelly. We made the boat ready and left for Whortonsville at about 8:30. On the river we were a bit disappointed with the wind. It was pleasant enough but very light. I knew that time constraints would not let us sail long in a light breeze because we had to cover 250 land miles after we got back to our dock. We sailed for an hour just because it was so pleasant and we were about to douse the sails and crank the diesel, when the wind piped up. Weather on the Neuse River and Pamlico Sound is quite amazing. It can literally change in 15 minutes. Of course, as luck would have it, the Sunday wind was from precisely the opposite direction from the Saturday wind, and again, we had to tack to get home. The good news is we had enough wind that our travel time was almost as fast as under (diesel) power so we were able to sail all the way to the mouth of Brown Creek. We arrived at our dock to find much higher water than when we left. This made the task of docking much easier. We met other dock mates that we hadn't seen in a while and enjoyed visiting. Joey and Dorothy's "Dawn Treader" the Hinkley B-40 was back from the yard and looked very pretty sitting at the end of the dock.
This was one of those rare trips where everything went well. We did have one close call but managed to return to the dock with no major damage to the vessel or the crew. We cleaned, packed, covered and departed at about 3 pm for the 5 hour trip home, but it only takes 20 minutes of excellent sailing to offset 5 hours of bad road!
Spring Cruise 2006 Pictures
Spring Cruise 2006 - Movie