The Commodore's Log
Welcome back to the Commodore’s Log for our August Neuse Juice! Becky, Grace, Jack and I were so happy to get back down to Oriental for a few weeks in July as a family of four. Lots to recap below, but a huge highlight and personal shout out to Sharon Stephenson and all the volunteers who put together an amazing Dinghy Poker Run! I won’t spoil all the good news, so please read on for more details. Look forward to seeing everyone at the Lazy Days Cruise on the Neuse next weekend!
s/v Blue Mind
2019 Dog Days Cruise to Little Washington
A heat wave and some powerful afternoon thunderstorms presented real challenges to those sailing to the Washington waterfront for our Dog Days Cruise, July 4-7. Nevertheless, more than a dozen boats arrived and enjoyed the fireworks display over the water Thursday evening and a several fun socials.
One skipper caught in a squall in the Bay River on Wednesday told of blinding rain and winds strong enough to spin his boat around. That’s always a risk in July. Boats came on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and all arrived safely. The NSA filled nine slips along the city docks, with some boats tying up to the free bulkhead. At least two boats anchored in the river, which turned out to be less crowded than usual, due to the weather no doubt, and a perfect spot for watching the fireworks.
The social on Friday in Crab Park, as it’s called, just NW of the dockmaster’s office and overlooking the dinghy dock, turned out well as the thunderstorms seemed to part as they approached the waterfront, allowing us to finish most of the food, beer and wine! And in traditional; NSA fashion a social was held at Crab Park again on Saturday. Boy does NSA know how to party!
Several members took in the sites along the waterfront during the weekend, including the North Carolina Estuarium. Others gathered for wine tastings or ventured down to the famous Backwater Jack’s Tiki Bar and Grill, known to be a Jimmy Buffett hangout. No Buffett sightings, unfortunately.
The return home on Sunday was also a challenge, weather-wise, but again all got back safely. Maybe heavy weather sailing would be a good winter seminar.
Thanks to all who came by water and land. Some photos of the fun are below.
Carl and Donna Crothers
2019 Cruise Planning Calendar
Four cruises remain for the 2019 season. Time is flying by…
August 10 – 11 Lazy Days Cruise, Neuse River day sailing and Sea Harbour Social/Party
The remaining cruises now have cruise captains, which makes the VC of Cruising HAPPY! Now we need to find the VC of Cruising for 2020. Please talk to me if you have questions about the role of VC of Cruising and talk to Paul if you're interested in serving the club in this capacity!
Vice Commodore Cruising
There are still many fun events coming up during the NSA’s 2019 sailing season, and we have several new members who will be joining us! Please welcome Susan Burke of New Bern, with S/V Day Dream at Pecan Grove Marina, and Robert and Anne Smith of Pinehurst, with S/V Selah, also at Pecan Grove Marina. It is great to see our membership continue to grow!
If you have friends or neighbors who might enjoy being NSA members, be sure to invite them. There remains a full agenda of events all the way into November. And if any current members need a new burgee, please let me know – we have plenty available for $25 apiece.
Look forward to seeing you on the water!
Vice Commodore Membership
Dinghy Poker Run
We have NSA caps, visors, tee-shirts and koozies still available to purchase. I will continue to post on our Facebook page and the events forum when merchandise will be on site to purchase. You will want to bring some extra cash to the Dinghy Poker Run for your purchases! Looking forward to seeing you there!
V/C Social Media
s/v Cool Change
New York to Newport
New England has been a delight for the crew of SoundWave. We left the heat of Philadelphia after July 4th and traveled back down the Delaware River (not a sailor’s paradise) to turn north into the Atlantic seeking cool temperatures. Night two was a beautiful and calm overnight passage that we shared in 3 hour watches. When one was on watch the other slept in the cockpit for company since this was just the two of us. Most of the night was passing the lights of Atlantic City with little ocean traffic . . . peaceful.
The morning was majestic! We pulled into New York Harbor at daylight (“hello, Lady Liberty!”) and were treated to first-hand views of the iconic scenery. Cruisers are blessed with a romantic view of cities and this is one of the world’s best to see from the water. More on that in another installment.
Wouldn’t normal people stop in NYC and check it out? Not us. Too hot. We kept going along the East River to Port Washington on Long Island Sound and found it to be the perfect base for seeing the Big Apple. After one night here to get the lay of the land we took off up the sound to make our way to Newport, RI. We anchored and moored along the way (2 days) and found it a great area for cruisers. The sound is often 200-300’ deep and not very busy with traffic. There are great destination towns along the way: New Haven, Ct (Yale Univ) and Mystic. At the end of the sound is the most enchanting areas for sailors . . . Newport and Block Island.
Cocktails on the Lawn of Castle Hill at the entrance to Newport.
We stayed in Newport for 3 weeks we loved it so much. The perfect weather! Our plan was to continue on to Boston, but we decided to save that for next summer. We also didn’t get to Block Island, but our mooring neighbors did and they were such fans that they spent a whole month there. Highlights in Newport were: Going to the 175th NYYC Regatta with friends, Anchoring at the Newport Folk Festival one weekend, Touring the Breakers Mansion, sailing Echo, our dinghy, watching an incredible show of all types of boats parade past our mooring field, touring the historic town, and eating way too much great food!
Up close at the NYYC Regatta
This was an easier trip than we imagined. We encourage all of you to put it on your list if you haven’t already been there. It was funny how many people we knew were in the area. Some of you were just here a day or week before us. With better planning we could have enjoyed a sail or dinner together. It is indeed a small world. We had friends from Raleigh meet us who were coming for the Regatta and we were honored to meet Amy and Wade for dinner in Providence one day. Many people commented on the Oriental, NC markings on our boat and wanted to talk about the time they passed through the area. Great job friends and town folk who always do an impressive job of making that sweet town charming to visitors!
Two days ago (8/2) we departed to make our way back down LIS to Port Washington. We are going to leave our boat here on a mooring ball and fly home to move our kids back into college. We believe that this is a great place to leave SoundWave ($25/day and watched by launch drivers). We take a train to the airport and voila back to Raleigh. Not an expensive trip at all. Once we get back we are hosting another Raleigh couple who also has never been to the city. This should be interesting! After that, we will hang around NYC for a while and go back up the sound to Block Island to finish out the summer.
In Newport we moored at JBY boatyard for 3 weeks. Historic 5-Star boatyard, they are the leading Swan Yachts service & classic sailboat restoration craftsmen in the United States. Founded 100 years ago by Mr Wharton (the one for whom they named the Wharton School of Business at U Penn), there are 100 museum quality Swans, Hinkleys, Morris, Herschoff and more. It is a dream. I joked with the manager how the ugly duckling was a swan in a pack of ducks, and here was SoundWave, out of place in a flock of Swans. Coolest thing, this manager of art in machine looked at me and said wistfully, “yeah, but you got the miles.” Made me think about it; SoundWave has sailed over 2000 nautical miles since Thanksgiving. Not a lot, but not a little.
We feel like we have leveled up a notch. Not super-sailors like Misto, but better than we used to be. We call every mistake/lesson “picking up XPs” (experience points). We have had trials, scares, storms, failures and foulings, and we are better and more capable sailors because of them. There really is no substitute for hours at the helm, we are getting some real keel time.
On board, the focus on Life Safety remains high. We wore our vests 30 of 32 dinghy trips since Annapolis (the explanations read like excuses when I typed them out) and we scored 100% on #lifevest protocol while underway on the big boat. Believe it or not, one key component to cruising safety is PAPER. Two examples.
We did a 55 mile run up Long Island Sound using only paper charts, triangle, compass and dividers. No chartplotter or iDevices. (We did keep the depth sounder and wind instruments activate, thar be rocks out here). Keeping the saw sharpened.
We make a clipboard paper cheat sheet for the passage with ATONS, headings, distances. Sounds pretty basic, doesn’t it? If you have not navigated an unfamiliar 10 hour passage by paper in the last year, try it. The experience will surprise you, and make you safer when, not if, your systems go bye-bye.
The other safety paper may also surprise you… checklists. We have checklists for every evolution: anchoring, storm prep, departing a dock, fixing a hole in the hull underway, etc. We use them with critical discipline. When we screw up & gain some XPs, we update the related checklist. So we have this book of checklists and safety info, here’s a sample of our departure page.
This was inspired by the great book “The Checklist Manifesto” which I believe every human should read. These procedures have already saved us embarrassment, inconvenience, expensive repairs and maybe our lives. Put some safety paper on your ship. And use it.
We pray that every NSA member talks about Life Safety a lot.
~~_/) * ~
Chip and Honey Johnson