Saturday, May 24, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend Warm-Up

After several weeks of hectic and tiring business travel I seized the chance to spend a couple of days on the water. Arriving at Regent Point Marina in the early morning I spent several hours using a pressure washer to take off most of the old oxidized paint that some previous owner had applied to the deck non-skid. The pressure washer was remarkably efficient and the difference in appearance is truly striking. As you can see in the photo below the cockpit and lazarette are still awaiting the "treatment."

The main hatch seal has been replaced and the starboard eyebrow and handrail have been rebedded and so far the salon seems to be dry. With some temerity I went ahead and removed the plastic from the new cushions. (They are not really as "gecko green" as they appear in this photo).

The fabric is called "Coral Palm" which I purchased for a significant discount from Sailrite. The image below is much more true to the actual color. It carries the overall "green" theme of the boat through to the interior and is nicely accented by the rich dark teak sole and bulkheads.

After filling up with H2O, diesel, and provisions I decided to head out. Originally, I had planned to sail down the Rappahannock, around Windmill Pt Light and then up to Reedville on the Great Wicomico.  That would have been a fun trip but after some reflection I opted for a route that was slightly less challenging. After negotiating the narrow passage out of Lockies Creek and reaching deep water I set a course for Windmill Point.  With a gentle west breeze blowing 8-10kts it was a perfect day to work on sailing skills.  Tacking and jibing back and forth across the river for a couple of hours I gradually worked my way to the end of the river and into the Chesapeake Bay. Turning back towards the NorthWest I plotted a course for my final destination, Yankee Point Marina.  Unfortunately,  I had made little headway when someone turned off the fan and the river went glassy. So after furling the jib, dropping the main and hoisting the "Iron Sail" I motored past the Norris bridge and up the beautiful Corrotoman River, arriving at Yankee Point Marina around 5pm.  

I was greeted by Harold "Chief WannaSail" Lawry as soon as I docked at Yankee Point Marina. An iconic character whose remarkable life full of diverse experiences is reflected in the lines of his classic Native American features. Harold lives at Yankee Point aboard on a AMF Paceship where he serves as a "unofficial welcoming party and host" and you couldn't ask for a more interesting and generous compatriot.  

Harold "Chief Wannasail" Lawry

Around 6:30 a squall line of severe thunderstorms interrupted our Corona inspired philosophical discussions. The rain came in horizontal sheets as straight line winds picked up well over 40kts accompanied by lighting cracking all around us. But, it was a typical summer storm and passed quickly leaving us with a much cooler and less humid evening as a reward for surviving the tempest.  

Yankee Point Marina

The next day began with a quick breakfast and a farewell to Harold who hailed us away from the dock with his manual fog horn. With a NW wind blowing a steady 12-15kts I raised the main, unfurled the jib, rigged a preventer and was soon flying down the river wing-on-wing, averaging close to 7kts with the current of the falling tide adding to my speed. It is very easy to understand why "Gentlemen don't sail to windward!"

By 1:30pm I was well past Windmill Point and the wind had increased to 15-18kts. While I was thoroughly enjoying the day I began to realized it was going to be a very interesting trip if I was going to reach Regent Point Marina before nightfall. Time to tack! 

And Tack! 
And Tack!  

While it was a great workout that left me with sore shoulders and some thickened callouses on my hands, it was also very rewarding to see how well the Sea Sprite, with it's fractional rig, could point. It took more than 4 hours but I eventually found myself at the entrance to the Lockies Creek channel. It was a particularly proud achievement as I had watched a number of other boats out of Regent Point drop sail and motor back.  Sure they were well into their second bottle of wine by the time I reached the dock but in their hearts they knew who was the better sailor on this day!

S/V SeaSprite's next adventure awaits - Regent Point, VA to Manteo NC.  Stay tuned!

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