Since 1978 I have been fortunate to sail wooden boats. In 2006 I set out to find a Drascombe Longboat Cruiser for single-handed expedition sailing. This is the continuing story of how it came to be, our adventures, notes on the maritime world and other things I don't want to forget...

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Monday, May 30, 2016

Back to Hobucken

Pamlico 2016    May 11   
Day 8

Boots had offered me a shower so I came in when I woke up. It was fine... and time. We had coffee on the porch, I thanked them both for the hospitality and cast off. The wind was light but with no hurry Annie drifted with the tide. By late morning Indian Island came into view. The sun was high and hot and as we approached I decided to anchor and take a dip.

Back onboard I motored into the canal to return to Hobucken. It was a bit of a challenge to locate the cut, but it was found and as I tied up I could hear the sounds of Happy Hour. Joining in, a good time was had by all. Decided to sleep at the dock and was saved from the oppressive by battery fan. Life saver.

29 nm, 3.6 kts avearge, 6.2 max

Saturday, May 28, 2016

30 Years Later

Pamlico 2016    May 10   
Day 7

I awoke to a beautiful day. After a nice breakfast of 'fortified' MH Breakfast Skillet. I pulled out the painting composition book and continued drawing studies I had started in Oriental. Noticed people stirring on the shore and before long there was a kayak headed my way. The fellow pulled up alongside and when I introduced myself he immediately remembered me. We were acquaintances from college days and had many mutual friends. He has always gone by Boots and he had built the house on the bay where I was anchored. We reminiscenced for a while and he invited me to stay over and have dinner with he and his wife Lou. I had decided to work upriver to Washington (Little Washington to eastern Carolina folks) but agreed to stop back in later and take him up on his dinner invitation. Duh.

Tidying up on a sunny day. Coffee filter drying on the tiller.

Avocado and sunscreen still life

Light wind and a little kick from the motor carried us up river. The dockmaster in his golf cart pointed out a free tie-up slip and helped me by taking a line. We chatted and he said it was fine to stay while I explored the town. Grabbed a sandwich the size of a small canteloupe at the local bar, ate half and asked for a small bag of ice to keep it fresh.

I sat on benches and drew the architecture. Pretty quiet all and all... a few people passing from time to time. As I returned to Annie I noticed the wind had picked up from the east. Afternoons often bring a 'sea breeze' that funnels up the rivers that feed to Pamlico Sound. With it came a lot of  forest material dislodged by the rains and high water. The current was wind-driven and I fended off a large log that barreled down on Annie. It was time to go.

Watch out

Old railroad bridge, Little Washington

Little Washington

Motoring into a stiff headwind, we finally reached Blounts Creek as the sun went down. I slowly pulled up to Boots' dock, tied up and enjoyed a steak dinner and vibrant conversation. It is somewhat amazing we all survived the late 60s!

My friend Steve is in the bay inside Cape Lookout on his current spring cruise. The Cape is a bit southeast of Harkers Island. Did he enter from the north or run the inlet, go offshore and slip in from the west? Will find out later but I sure of one thing... he is having a great time.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Another Oldest City

Pamlico 2016    May 9   
Day 6

Overnite the wind changed. I was set up for the wester but in short time it had gone north, then around to the east. There was a bit of land about three hundred yards or so to the east but with the whole northern Pamlico Sound to fetch up on, it got bumpy. With the darkness of the new moon I decided to let out scope and stay put, not wanting to seek another anchorage. She did well rocking and bashing but left me with little sleep. I had decided to head east for Swan Quarter, fill up the fuel and continue to Ocracoke. I had a feeling that it would not be wise and aborted.

With three days left in the trip I decided to take my time and explore the Pamlico River. Tacking downwind I reached the town of Bath mid-morning. It wasn't apparent where to tie up until I saw a cruising boat that had passed me tied to a long dock. They said it was a state dock and was free for the day. I went ashore and walked the streets looking at old houses. Bath is the oldest city in North Carolina. Not anywhere as old as my previous home of St. Augustine, Florida but very well kept and interesting. I met a fellow named Jim who was photographing for the NC Department of Culural Affairs. He worked on exhibits and we had a lot of stories to share. He took me down the road to get gas and bought me lunch at the local barbecue place. A real nice guy. 

On our return I broke out to take pictures and draw on the quay. Cast off in the late afternoon and ghosted on light air upriver toward Washington until 'bug hour'. Motored into Blount Bay and anchored near the creek feed for the night.

Bath, NC

Photo courtesy of Jim

Edward Teach's (better known as Blackbeard) house


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Wester

Pamlico 2016    May 8    
Day 5

I woke from solid sleep. Nice to be still after a long run. The sunset the night before had been enough to know that there was still good in the world.

I motored through Old Canal and sailed north on Turnagain Bay on a wester. Not one boat had I seen since Atlantic.


Crossed the Neuse River on a beam reach in a 20 kt wind... double reefed main and 1/2 furled jib. It was hard going with the chop swell on the beam. Lot of rolling and an occasional punch. Contemplated continuing north but wasn't sure of the marked prohibited area and turned back to retrace my track up Jones Bay. The wester funneled out the bay and after an hour of sloppy beating I motored into the ICW cut toward the Pamlico River. 

Anchored in lower Spring Creek away from land to get a breeze. 
29 naut. miles, 3.8 average, 7.1 kt. max, 7.1 hrs. moving time

Monday, May 23, 2016

Up the Core Sound

Pamlico 2016    May 7    
Day 4

Oatmeal and hot tea at 0600. Motored on flat water to Harkers Island Bridge, hailed on Channel 13. Jockeyed tight buoys into Core Sound and picked up a soft, cool breeze from the SE. Incredibly beautiful, sunny, tide with me.

Harkers Island

North through Middle Sound, broad reaching and running downwind wing in wing at 5 knots. Ran aground in the spoils off Marker 25. Got free and anchored off town of Atlantic for lunch.

At 1300 started north again in Caribbean blue water toward Thorofare Bay. Wind clocked to W and put up a mean chop, 15-20 kts against us. Hove to half way in and double reefed. Tacked for a couple hours making slow progress. Motored at low throttle through Thorofare Canal to conserve dwindling gas supply; bucking headwind at 2.5 kt speed.


Lunch off Atlantic

Atlantic, NC

Cedar Island looking north along the canal

Continued to Long Sound , anchoring in a feeder creek against the west-protected marsh.
36 naut. miles, 10.5 hrs. moving time, 3.4 kt average, 7.9 kts max over bottom

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Logs and Old Friend

Pamlico 2016    May 6    
Day 3

I awoke, took a bird bath at the new boater restroom facility and grabbed a few pics of the sunrise.


The Bean continues to be THE meeting place for Oriental. Small but comfortable it is a sailors dream.... coffee, warm and dry easy chairs, battery recharging plugs, and welcoming people interested in you and your stories. Even with everything still soaked from the rains, streets flooded and the skies suggested more of the same, the small coffeehouse filled up with regulars. I slipped in and sat with Keith, the 'guru' of, recollecting the first time we met 5 years ago. He no longer provides his subscription wifi to the boating community, but most everything else seemed about the same. To me that is a good thing.

I was ready to move on. Stored the damp cockpit cover, tidied up and cast off. A brisk broad reach across the Neuse led into Adams Creek and the cut south to Beaufort. Motor sailing, the engine ran well and it was a nice early morning slog with only the occasional log to navigate.

I was in awe of the weather. Clouds continue to thicken and race by. Patches of sun would break through only to disappear in a second. As the cut opened into the Newport River and continued into Gallant Channel to port, I was admittedly happy that another downpour stayed away.

I discovered upon entering the Beaufort waterfront that the folks at the North Carolina Maritime Museum were preparing for their annual Wooden Boat Show. While talking with volunteers I ran into my old friend designer John Marples who had come down from Maine with his wife Robin to represent Wooden Boat Magazine. He came aboard Annie and we talked about everything and everybody. I was also fortunate to have a 'pre-game' behind-the-scenes tour with Paul Fontenoy, curator of Maritime History. It was nice to exchange curatorial small talk with someone who shared many of my own experiences.

After leaving Beaufort in the late afternoon, 'we' continued east toward Harkers Island, anchoring behind a grove of trees lining the shore. Drying out the cockpit cover I supped on Mountain House beef stroganoff. It was nice to again be alone with my boat.

23 kt miles, 4.1 average, 7.1 max