America in Beaufort Sept 2016
29 September 2016 | Beaufort / Whortonsville
We were still waiting for a break from the oppressive heat. We got some relief in late September, although it was not what we had hoped for. We are planning a land trip to the Annapolis sailboat show and Washington D.C. with a stop in Winston Salem to spend a couple days with Judy’s Brother Keith and wife Robin. That will take most of October so we wanted to go to the coast for several days hoping the weather would actually allow us to sail. We still have several days of preparation to get ready for the land cruise. Preparing the new camper will take a while longer than the old one.
Judy is on an email list for the NC Department of Cultural Resources. They send emails about interesting events around the state. Many of the events are not highly publicized. The latest message said that a replica of the famous racing yacht “America” was to be in Beaufort for two days. For 5 bucks we could board the vessel and check her out. This event pretty much decided our schedule. Our friends Becky and Charles were aware of the event as well and had already decided to go.
Wednesday Sept 21, 2016
We were in no hurry to leave so our departure from home was almost 11:00 am. We learned a long time ago to just enjoy the ride and not worry about how long it takes. That was a good attitude to have for this particular trip because it took us almost 7 hours. We stopped for gas and groceries as well as a stop by Matthew’s house to retrieve a cooler that Judy had left on her last babysitting gig. We also encountered a wreck on I-40 which tied up traffic for some time.
It was cool enough that we figured we could do without the air conditioner. We unpacked the boat and had snacks for dinner. We were alone at the docks and it was very quiet.
Thursday Sept 22, 2016
We were up early. The trip to Beaufort was over an hour and a half. We had made arrangements to meet Becky and Charles at some point. The friends of the NC Maritime Museum were the sponsors and did a really good job of organizing the event. Becky and Charles heard a talk on Wednesday evening about the original boat and her history as well as the much shorter history of the replica. I won’t bore you with a history lesson here but for a recreational sailor, “America” is of great importance. She was built as a racing machine and at the time was probably the fastest boat in the world. Her challenges to the British sailing community were the genesis of the “America’s Cup” races. The races are named for the yacht “America” not the country “America”.
“America” (the replica) was behind a restaurant. The ramp going into the restaurant allowed a great view of the decks and rigging of the vessel. Judy and I went aboard and heard a much abbreviated talk about the boat and walked around the decks for a while. Down below was pretty much what you would expect. The boat was built to be fast. Comfort would have been of minor importance. It was a lovely craft; she even LOOKED fast with her narrow hull and huge amounts of canvas. She was really big. I don’t remember the exact length but it was over 100 feet. You really could not get a good look at the entire vessel until she left the dock because she was so closed in when she was tied up. The most impressive part was watching the captain move the ship away from the dock when he took her out for the two hour cruises they were offering. With her 10 foot draft, simply getting her in the Beaufort inlet and tied up to the dock without running aground was a remarkable feat to anyone familiar with the waters. There would be very few places where she could land in North Carolina and points south. I think her next stop would be Wilmington NC.
We enjoyed a late lunch with Becky and Charles and had a nice chat with one of the volunteers. We rested in Becky and Charles’ hotel room for a while before we left for Whortonsville. Our late lunch didn’t leave much room for dinner. Personally, I was worn out from the day of walking the docks and driving. We took the Cherry Point ferry home which shortened at least the drive time if not the overall time.
Friday September 23, 2016
The weather forecast did not look good for Friday but Saturday looked nice. We needed a “down” day, or at least I did. As I get older sometimes there are days that I simply don’t feel as well as others. This was one of those days. The unsettled weather stayed all day. One minute it looked like the sun would shine and the next a downpour. We had put up the air conditioner because the heat had returned. I put our rain tarps out in case it did rain, and we headed for New Bern for the day. We had some shopping to do that had nothing to do with the boat. We needed a few items for the camper and I wanted to pick up a small part so at the Ford dealership so I could complete the vented tailgate installation. We got a few preparation things off our plate. We had a great lunch at the Hwy 55 diner in New Bern. It was a small place with great fresh made burgers. The trip back to the boat took longer because of an accident at Pamlico County High School. I hope no one was injured. Joey and Dorothy were at the dock when we got back and we enjoyed talking to them and catching up. Again dinner was just snacks.
Saturday September 24, 2016
For once the weatherman was right. To quote my dad, “A blind hog will get an acorn once in a while”. We got the boat ready and left the dock at about 11 am. We motored out Broad Creek and set the sails. It was a lovely day, and not so awfully hot. Unfortunately there was not much wind. When we started it was probably 5 knots or less and diminished as time went by. We stayed out anyway hoping the famous lower Neuse 2pm wind would kick up but there was no luck there either. We had a cold cut lunch and bobbed around for a while after 2 pm and decided to call it a day. Shortly after we started the diesel we noticed a dolphin. Soon there were more until they were easy to spot. Most were juveniles but there were adults along as well. They were just chasing the boat and having a great time outrunning it. We have seen many dolphins in our travels but never this many and for this long. They usually lose interest after a few minutes. Anyway, Judy did actually get a great video that I will attempt to post on YouTube at some point. I wish my 3 grandchildren could have seen the dolphins.
When we arrived back at the dock there was a regular crowd. Stefan and his children were there as well as Bob and Tammy. John had arrived on Friday. This was the most active the dock has been for a while at least when we have been there. Just like old times! I was able to connect to my traffic net and Judy fixed one of my all time favorite, super simple, meals, salmon patties and rice with green beans. It was great! By 9:30 we were both falling asleep so we turned in.
Sunday September 25, 2016
The weather was much cooler as predicted but it was very overcast. We took our time with breakfast and had several conversations with folks on the docks before we got the car packed up and headed for home. We will probably not return to Whortonsville until late October or early November. We took the air conditioner home with us. Surely the weather will be cooler by then.