Monday, June 28, 2010

Our Sailing Cruise: A Brief Summary

Our sailing trip covered a total of 210 miles (183 nautical miles).  The 8 days on the water varied in distance.  In order from day 1 to day 8 our daily distances were 15, 30, 29, 45, 22, 16, 40, and 13 miles.

Quite an ambitious trip overall, we were up before sunrise each morning, on the water often by 6:30, one morning at 5:30 for our longest day, and anchored by 4:30, asleep each night by 9.

The route included camping at anchor 5 nights (Dixon Creek, Dipping Vat Creek, the Swash, Cape Lookout, and Beard Creek) and in slips at marinas in Oriental, Beaufort, and New Bern. We sailed on creeks, canals, rivers, bays, and sounds.   Heavy seas kept us out of the ocean and Beaufort Inlet as originally planned. 

One afternoon, Paul and I even visited with Graham Byrnes at his boat shop 4 miles west of Vandemere. Graham designed our sailboat, a Core Sound 20.

Dawn visits Graham as he works on the award-winning "Marissa" power boat

During our trip we experienced low winds, high winds, no winds, and a few menacing thunder storms.  On Core Sound we sailed through a tiny dry whirl-wind (what you'd call a "dust devil" on land.)  Days were filled with short tacks, long tacks, fast downwind rides, and lots of wet rides beating upwind. Winds were primarily 10-15 mph SW or WSW throughout. Luckily, we had enough winds in the evening to have had no problems with bugs  --wonderful!   A few evenings’ temperatures were in the 70’s, but overall it was a very hot week with 90’s and heat indexes near 100+.

There was no plan or assumption that the two boats “Spartina” (above) and “Dawn Patrol” would stay together beyond the first night, when we’d planned a meal together (hosted by Spartina). But we found the boats to be quite compatible, and the crews to be of similar sensibilities.  Almost always within a few miles of each other, and within sight of each other, it was just more fun. We’d tie up together each night, have a beer or glass of wine, share our days experiences on the boats, previous sailing and paddling experiences, and just enjoying each other’s company getting to know each other and becoming fast friends.

We had borrowed Ken Pott's 2hp 28lb Honda motor, and did use it occasionally. For the type of touring we planned, it seems almost a requirement. We followed a planned route (including very protected wind-less areas of the ICW and some small canals), and managed to stay within our original schedule. The motor was also handy, if not essential, entering and leaving the various marinas and passing under the drawbridge in New Bern (where they asked about auxillary power).  In the end, we used less than a gallon of gas.

Our boat was built during a 4 month non-stop frenzy in 2008.  Paul and our son Alan built it in time to race in the March 2008 Everglades Challenge and other  WaterTribe Challenges  --most recently the Septermber 2009 WaterTribe NC Challenge (about 100 miles).  But our cruise with “Spartina” was exactly the kind of cruise I had hoped and dreamed our boat would allow us to do.  I'm thrilled that it was such a wonderful success.

I'll be posting photos and more stories over the next couple of weeks, and make sure to check "The Log of Spartina" blog for additional trip reports.  Steve's been writing great trip reports of his annual sailing trips on his John Welsford designed Pathfinder for a few years now.  That is how we met, blogging and via e-mail.   Paul and I snapped about 700 photos (maybe 1 in 20 worth looking at), but Steve and Bruce's photos will be of professional quality, and really worth looking at.

1 comment:

Captn O Dark 30 and Super Boo said...

You look at ease sitting on the toe rail helm in hand; glad the trip was a glowing success.

First trips can make or break the spirits of would be sailors. A bad sailing experience stays with you awhile.

Your inside passage and well planned out trip made all the difference.

Great post!