Jerry Zeider's Adventures on Pamlico Sound
Thought I'd take a few minutes and send in a report on the Pamlico Sound from the Outer Banks of North Carolina. This report is intended merely to convey the joys of trailering to other parts of the country to sail our wonderful Melonseeds.
Hatteras island stretches for some 50 miles southward. The body of water between the mainland and Hatteras is called the Pamlico Sound. Pamlico Sound is a treasure for small boating and windsurfing. While it is some 50 miles long and 18 miles wide, it never reaches depths of over 15 ft. If I were to sail from the town of Waves NC, where we stayed, to the mainland, I would have to sail for about 4 miles before the depth of the water would reach more than 3 ft. The absolute deepest water I would encounter on this trip would be 15 ft. What this means to small boat 'captains' is a vast amount of water that is pretty much off limits to boats of any large proportions. While I saw a few wave runners, I saw no other boats with motors except one small sailboat with an auxiliary motor.
A paradise for sailboards and small sailboats. The winds? It started to amount to something each day about 1:00 PM. From there, it grew. You'll have to take into account my excitement here, as usually I sail on a lake, and in the summertime lake sailing in PA is somewhat less than stimulating. The wind I experienced (and it was the same all three days that I sailed) started at 10-15 MPH and steadily grew to 20-25 MPH. This was not the puffy, shifty, on some off some kind of wind. It blew steadily and got stronger. When you are somewhat limited in your ability to read tricky shifting wind, as I still am, what a joy it is to just get out there and blast away for hours...sailing here there and everywhere.
Witchery is such a delight. The more I sail her the more I enjoy her. She has had to endure more than her share of my inexperience and mistakes. As I grow in my own confidence she seems willing to give me even more. I had to wait to use the launch area for a fellow in a Newport to pull out. The poor fellow was having a difficult time winching his boat onto his trailer. Although his boat was probably not much longer than mine, it had a small cabin and an auxiliary motor. It appeared relatively heavy. I offered what help I could, but it was not like I could just pick it up and move it like I do with Witchery. Once we got his boat on the trailer, his next problem was pulling it up the ramp. I truly thought his vehicle was going to end up in the water. He finally parked his boat over on the grass and I helped him prop the trailer hitch up for the night. I couldn't help thinking during this ordeal, what an easy job it is to launch and retrieve my Melonseed.
The second time I went out was "ride day". There were 15 people staying at our cottage in Waves. Most of them had never been sailing before, so I offered a ride to anyone who wished to go out. Today I also got to practice my man overboard drill. One of the rides involved my 7 year old niece and my 6 year old daughter, Erin. Erin it seems had just gotten a new hat. Well I guess you know what had to happen. About 2 miles from shore it blew off of course. I had the girls keep their eyes on the 'man overboard' while I made several passes to retrieve the hat. It didn't go exactly as planned the first few passes. Getting the girls to the opposite side of the boat, controlling the sail, and hanging onto the tiller, while scooping up the hat proved an adventure at first, but we finally did manage to get it back in the boat. Erin was certainly pleased at getting the hat back...and with her father for not giving up on retrieval. I get to learn something new, or practice old skill every time out.
I think part of my enjoyment of sailing centers around the fact that no matter how much you learn, there is so much more to challenge you if you want it. If you ever get the opportunity to go to this part of the country, I would highly recommend it. The sound is expansive, and the wind blows strong and steady. My wife Sue's brother says that they have been swimming as late as November. Sound like fun? It really was!
Hope you enjoyed hearing about one of your 'babies' sailing in a different part of the country.
Quincy to Duxbury Open Ocean Voyage
In September, 1995 Walter Crow skippered his "Upstart Crow" (MS #102) to what might be a modern day record for a non-stop offshore Melonseed voyage. Walter left Quincy Bay, Massachusetts at 8 am, sailed out to sea, down the coast past 8 coastal towns, and landed at sunset 10 hours and 36 nautical miles later in Duxbury Bay!
Sea and wind conditions were not for the faint of heart. The after-effect ocean swells from recent hurricanes were running 6', and winds averaged 12 knots with gusts to 20! Walter, a seasoned and capable sailor reported that the boat performed wonderfully in spite of the weather - the complete log of his journey is fascinating.
It's not how big your boat is, it's how safe, sea-kindly and manageable. Three huge cheers for Walter and also for "Upstart Crow".