Logging Some Serious Nautical Miles This Year

It’s been a great year for sailing so far. After a cold and wet winter, kicked off the spring in full stride. Quite a few daysails and have been to Ocracoke three times already. This year’s theme is “30 Days of Ocracoke” and I’m closing in with 18 nights already. I was told I can only count the nights that I’ve stayed there, travel days don’t count. So with 12 days to go, I have two more trips to Ocracoke this year. Definitely earning the VIP status at Anchorage Inn Marina. Spent a week there the end of April and then almost two weeks for the Memorial Day weekend to the following weekend for the Ocrafolk Festival. Will be doing the same next year, great time.


But what’s to talk about at Ocracoke if not food? As usual, I over-provisioned the boat. The thought was that I would just cook adn eat on the boat everyday. In Ocracoke? Really? I came back with 3/4 of the food I brought out there.


I have to say that I am more than blessed to be in the field that I am. I’ve always loved technology and technology is truly an enabler for life. I get to telecommute full-time with just the need for reliable internet and voice. When it comes to connectivity, “Ocracoke does not suck”. Here’s a sample of the bandwidth, my “office” down below and the “on-deck” office with a great inspiring view. It seems like when I’m at Ocracoke or on the hook at Cape Lookout, I get a lot of work done, I just get in that zone. The ideas flow and the pace of cranking things out is amazing.


So that was the two week stint at Ocracoke. But not done yet. This year’s Neuse Sailing Assc. weeklong has to go down in history as one of the best in a long, long time. An entire week, several ports of call and I burned about five gallons for the week. Literally sailed every leg. Left on a Friday afternoon and put the sails up leaving Oriental marker #1 and was fortunate enough to use them entering the Bay River. Up Goose Creek and anchored out for the night in Eastham Creek. A great evening, a brief rain and a great nights sleep. Next morning was a fantastic sunrise.


The next morning it was up and at ’em with the sail to “Little” Washington. Where fate would kick in but that’s a whole other beautiful post. When we left the anchorage going up Goose Creek at 7:30am in the morning, it was already blowing up to ~20kts out of the northeast. As we entered the Pamlico River and turned to head west, sails were raised and it was off to the races, all the way till we hit the channel going into Washington.

I’m having a little ignition switch or solenoid problem where sometimes it won’t engage and it happened as I was entering the channel. Tried a few times but it wouldn’t kick in. So I’m thinking, at least the wind is from the right direction andI’ll be sailing in hot, straight to the docks, hope there’s enough folks to catch lines. But eventually it engaged and started the engine and that was a relief. Oh, note to myself, troubleshoot that this weekend….duh. So upon getting to Washington, the mission was to locate a coffee shop. But first, a wonderful surprise which started with…”Hi Tony”, as I sat on the side of the boat soaking in the day’s sail.


We also got a tour of the Pacific Seacraft factory where I felt the urge to put down a deposit on a PSC40. Got to see Jimmy Buffet’s new boat that’s being built. No pictures were allowed obviously but the tour was great and learned a lot. After a couple of days in Washington (and spending a few hours at the coffee shop Sunday morning) it was off to Bath Creek for anchoring out and a fantastic NSA social. Thanks to Steve and Carol for being such fantastic hosts! An evening of great conversation, beer and local bluecrabs. When I say local, I mean from crabpots off their dock. I’ve had bluecrabs many, many times before but these were definitely the sweetest I’ve ever had. What a fantastic taste. Also, who knew bluecrabs had built-in pull tabs to make it easy to open them.

And then that night, the strawberry moon and was also the summer solstice. What a great day and night. Then there was a long conversation with a mermaid that made it even more special.


Then leaving Bath and Bath Creek and off to Dowry Creek Marina. Two nights there and had a nice relaxing time.


The first night, brought a bit of Jamaica with me. oxtails, curry goat, rice and peas.


The second night, instead of going to Spoon River for dinner with the fleet, Mike, Brenda and myself stayed behind and decided to grill out. Adding to the evening, Nancy accepted the invite and joined us and we had a wonderful evening.



And that’s how that segment ended. Later that evening there was a discussion if we should head to Ocracoke because of the high winds in the afternoon. Was supposed to hit 40kt gusts by 4pm. So we decided that the next morning, 5am, we’d all have our power disconnected and engines running and meet to make the decision. At 5am, we did. Let’s roll. It was already blowing significantly when we left under the cover of darkness before the full sunrise. Got the sails up and we were off again. I had a reef in but the wind lightened up so like the genius I am, fully raised the main. WRONG!!! The wind picked right back up and I was over powered even with letting out the mainsheet. And with all that, I happened to have picked up a crab pot. That is the worst feeling and sound as you hear it thumping on the bottom of the boat, praying that it’s not around the propshaft. Did a few 360’s in each direction to try and free it but no luck. It wasn’t until I hove-to to reef the main that it fell off. Glad it did because the only other option would have been to put on the harness, run the backline and tether in to dive over. In the middle of the Pamlico in 3 to 4ft waves and high winds, to free the pot. Glad it didn’t come to that. But what a fantastic sail over.


Well, back in Ocracoke. One of my favorite places. First things first, soon as you tie up, you go straight to SmackNally’s for a burger, fries and beer and that’s exactly what we did. Took the wings out the freezer before leaving Dowry Creek so we could deep-fry them for the social. Got the vhf call to check that they were defrosting properly, all was good so “back to 16”. Continuing on the theme of “Ocracoke does not suck”, it was a fantastic three days. Everything from great food to great social events to even picking up a mermaid for the sail back to Oriental. Sometimes, single-handing can be exhausting and having a first mate really helps. Thank you Nancy for making it a great sail back.


Well that was Ocracoke and the weeklong. What a wonderful time, just fantastic and memorable. We’ll see what happens for next years weeklong, will be hard to beat but we’ll try.


Another Weekend, Another Event

Man, I’m just unraveling here. Not paying attention. This past weekend was a South River anchoring kind of weekend. It’s a good thing I left late as some friends were out of ice, so no mixed drinks. But as it seems, they were fine, they just drank words of wine till I got there. Now thinking about anchoring and reflecting on Cape lookout, South River had light winds out of the east and I anchored in 8ft of water. But I “dumped it all”, the chain that is so I had about a 12 to 1 scope 😉    Which brings another issue, I need a wash down pump.

So all is well, dinner, drinks and friends. What could go wrong? I’m headed out the next morning back to Oriental motor-sailing out of South river and the engine slowly dies. It’s not the sound you like to hear. The way it died led me to one of two things, clogged fuel filter or worse, fuel pump died. It’s one of those two, has to be. the notion that the tank was empty didn’t cross my mind till I looked at the tank directly. But the darn fuel gauge still read 3/4 full. Obviously, it’s not working. Now usually I’m always topping off the tank before headed out on a long trip but to South River? Didn’t even think of it. I must have used more fuel than I thought going to Ocracoke, Cape Lookout and day sailing throughout the summer than I thought. Just slipped my. mind.

So called BoatUS and put up full sails headed back to Oriental doing about 3kts. It is a sailboat after all. Powerboats, take note. And as I’m sailing back, here comes this fog rolling in across the Neuse reminding me of Steven King’s novel, The Mist. What else could possibly happen, weird creatures flying out of the fog?

Well, BoatUS met me between Garbacon Shoal and Oriental #1 and brought some diesel. Now, I’m glad I went to the Yanmar three day class where I learned the idea of adding a primer squeeze build inline before the Racor filter. Much easier to prime a diesel after running our gas, not having to press that little lever dozen of time to get full flow.

So got back to the slip and promptly went to Waterstreet Grille for breakfast. After the morning incident, nothing better than a good omelet. So to counter balance the bad karma morning, decided on blessing the day with good fortune by heading back out with friends for a great afternoon sail. The winds were nice out f the north between 15 and 20kts. Made for a perfect day. As I single hand a lot, thanks to Richard and Lisa for joining, I was a passenger the whole afternoon.

And thanks to Richard for putting up with my Crablegs addiction as we stopped at MJ’s Raw bar in New Bern on the way home. Did some good damage. Definitely going to be a regular stop. Great weekend.

Day after new Years Day … motoring

Zero wind, no wind, nada, nothing. But it was still a great day to be on the water. Autopilot working again after the rudder stock repair, and that’s a whole other post to vent on. Did I mention zero wind? Yup, which means the Iron-jib got a good workout. We’re headed for a cold spell (it is winter you know) so the next opportune time from a warm spell is when I’ll be doing some pre-spring maintenance and projects.