Cool Weekend July 2011
17 July 2011 | Whortonsville, NC
The title of this log entry, may be considered by native Carolinians to be a sarcastic crack like "When donkey's fly" or "When H... freezes over" but for a single very unusual time we actually had a relatively cool weekend in July. We spent the first several days of July camping with my cousins on Lake Norman. An almost constant breeze saved us from heat stroke several afternoons. The first mate had spent the early part of the next week with her sister and parents in Charleston. She reported a very pleasant visit with the exception of the oppressive heat. At home the afternoon temps hovered in the high 90s with heat indexes often in triple digits. With a 9 to 5 job we have to go to the boat when we can and we had planned for this trip. We were delighted when the forecasters happily announced that we could expect daytime temperatures in the low to mid 80s (I said "relatively" cool) and nighttime temps in the mid 60s. The winds on Saturday were to be light to moderate and from the East.
Friday July 15, 2011
We packed lightly for a standard weekend coastal visit and left shortly after work on Friday afternoon. The decrease in temperature and humidity was already evident at home. It rained on Friday morning but it was not stormy. We made good time even with several stops. We were treated to a spectacular moonrise on the way. We had a bit of excitement on the four-lane portion of Highway 55 in Pamlico County when a fair sized black bear darted in front of us and several other cars. He was probably 30 yards ahead of us when he crossed our path. I had no idea bears could move that fast. Luckily he made it with no injury to himself or vehicle passengers. Arrival and unpacking was uneventful except that we felt we did not need to deploy the air conditioner, which is unusual for July. We enjoyed a cool drink while viewing the full moon and night sky for a while before we turned in.
Saturday July 16, 2011
The weather was as promised on Saturday morning with low humidity, moderate temperatures and a nice breeze from the East. The skies were an intense Carolina blue with numerous white (and some not so white) puffy clouds. We were definitely going sailing. If not today, when? Nick and Jeanette were planning a day sail as well as Bob from Motivation and some of his friends. Don and Trish from Ragtop were planning to anchor out at South River.
After breakfast, getting the boat ready and a brisk walk we left the dock before noon. The wind was on the high side of the 10-15 knot forecast, and it was indeed from the East. We motored straight into the wind to avoid tacking out of Broad Creek. We set the mainsail and left the headsail furled for a while. Conditions were not too bad but we were not in for a casual relaxed outing. On a 30-footer, wind over 15 knots makes sailing a contact sport. We unfurled the jib on a close reach. This dampened the motion but the mate was still a bit uncomfortable. She tends to take charge of steering duties in lumpy seas. This evidently takes her mind off her queasiness. Experienced Catalina 30 skippers say that reefing early is a good idea. If we had planned a daylong sail we would have reefed at the beginning. It was a judgment call and I judged it was too much trouble to reef for a short sail. We later saw a sister C-30 come out of Broad Creek with at least one reef. She may have been traveling and I applaud the skipper's judgment. At one point we got a sudden, very strong gust from windward that gave us quite a start. We were not close hauled but the intense gust caused the little ship to heel sharply, then she "rolled" up into the wind proving that she was working exactly as designed. There was never any danger but the incident added to the mate's anxiety. We had planned lunch on the water, but we needed all four hands just to sail the boat. A quick snack and a drink sufficed until we could get to calmer water. I had positioned the boat so that the return trip to the Broad Creek entrance would be an easy broad reach. This allowed us to stay out on the water for a while longer since it was a less intense point of sail. We fell in behind Nick and Jeanette aboard Snowbird headed for the creek. Ragtop was leaving the creek as we were coming in. We hailed them on VHF and wished them a pleasant sail and evening on South River.
I had consulted the resident canvas expert (Jeanette) earlier on how to clean the green "north side of the boat" mold from the coach roof cover and mainsail cover. She advised me on how to proceed and offered her concrete driveway as a work area. I scrubbed for a while and got good if not perfect results. I hung the covers out to dry and went to Oriental in search of sail slides. I found an exact match for the old slides at the consignment shop at what I thought to be a good price. I was not able to find the matching plastic shackles that I was looking for but it is not an emergency. Replacing shackles and slides can pro ably until this winter anyway. Maybe I can find the matching shackles for a good price by then.
Dinner was a simple affair of salmon patties (a Southern Star favorite both aboard and at home), brown rice and fresh grilled yellow squash with onions. Brother Jack had given me a nice batch of small fresh okra pods. Judy is not an okra fan but I enjoy steaming it in the microwave long enough to get it really hot. You gotta REALLY like okra to eat it steamed. We enjoyed a simply beautiful evening and were treated to yet another spectacular moonrise. We both read for a while and turned in at a reasonable hour.
Sunday July 17, 2011
Sunday morning was as nice as the rest of the weekend had been. Even the bugs seemed to have taken a break. We were up earlier than usual. Judy wore long sleeves while she enjoyed her coffee on deck. She made pancakes with fresh blueberries for breakfast. The fact that the alcohol stove was fired up at dinnertime on Saturday and at breakfast on Sunday alone says volumes about the pleasant temperatures. The wind forecast was for lighter, very manageable, winds but we typically don't take the boat out on the day we are going home.
We had hoped to see Bill and Susan this weekend. They have a new boat and we would have enjoyed a tour. Maybe we can catch them on our next trip. In the mean time looking at Whirligig, I can quote the little boat yard worker speaking of Southern Star saying, "She shore got purdy lines Cap'n"
This was a splendid weekend and a pleasant break from work and the heat. Someday, maybe we will plan trips to the coast around nice weather but for now we come when we can and are thankful we can do so. We stopped at Ruby Tuesday in Kinston for lunch. They have a respectable salad bar. The variety is not as big as some places but the quality is high with mostly fresh fixings and very few canned items.
Note: The picture above is a record shot because we forgot to bring the camera.