James Dodd and I took Aria to Southport for the weekend, where we met up with Ben Edkins and Danny Caswell. We arrived in Southport at 1500, tied up Aria at the marina, then jumped aboard "Winds of Freedom," Ben's Beneteau 36.7 to crew for Ben, who was trying out a new gennaker rig. Two boats in one day - a sailor's menage a trois, you might say. We had dinner at Mr. P's, then cigars and scotch aboard Aria.
On Sunday, JD and I cast off from Southport Marina at 7:20am and came through the Western Bar Channel into NNW winds at 15kts and gusty. Thrilled, we put up the sails before we were even out of the channel, and began making 6.9kts at times, directly at the Little River Sea buoy. We tucked a reef into the main for comfort in the gusts, and I went below and cooked up a full breakfast - western scrambled eggs, sausage links, orange juice and coffee (served in dog bowls, of course). By the time we arrived in Little River, winds were gusting as high as 28kts and had moved NW, forcing us on a course well outside the sea buoy. By this time, we had doused the staysail, tucked in a second reef in the main and one reef in the genoa. Abeam of the sea buoy at 1400, and faced with another hour of tacking back to the jetties, we'd decided that we'd had enough fun for the day. We fired up the engine and motorsailed home.
It was a great weekend of good friends and good sailing! I shot a video, which can be viewed here
or on the Aria's Youtube link at right. I also posted some pics in the gallery album, "East Coast Sailing Misc."