By Diana Doyle
There was a bit of delay getting underway this morning … fog. The downside of these balmy temperatures (overnight was 68 degrees and perfectly calm) is that fog forms. The advance part of the fleet, ahead at Topsail Sound, could move, but those boats anchored in Mile Hammock Bay, or docked at New River Marina, had to wait until mid-morning.
This stretch of North Carolina is notorious for a string of low-clearance bridges that only open every half-hour, or in some cases, only every hour. You do everything you can to time your arrival, but the ... Read More
By Diana Doyle
In some ways, Bogue Sound is easy: Stay between the red and green dayboards. But it’s also deceiving. Just outside that narrow channel with cross-setting current or wind, it’s really shallow. As in birds-standing-on-shoals or fishermen-in-waders shallow.
There are also a couple of “trouble spot,” areas that continually shoal up in the channel, raising the stress level for deeper-draft vessels. One of these, Browns Inlet, has been the subject of a lot of discussion lately, since one of its slalom-course aids was off-station. Fortunately the missing aid G61A was replaced yesterday, and the fleet timed its passage ... Read More
Two single-hander boats caught up with the fleet in Oriental, North Carolina. We’d like to introduce them as the first of a series of boater bios on the rest of our Rally group. Welcome Paul and Has! And, this was not a set-up, but by coincidence, they BOTH won one of today’s raffle prizes! Today was Rally briefing #3, at the gorgeous Captains’ Lounge of Spooners Creek Marina. Has won the Mantus dinghy anchor and Paul won a copy of Atlantic Cruising Club‘s Guide to Mid-Atlantic/ICW Marinas.
Has Royer won the Mantus dinghy anchor. That sure will ... Read More
By Diana Doyle
If you’ve ever been to Oriental, you’ll understand the challenge. They actually fit 19 of the Rally boats, including four catamarans, into the inner harbor! A big thank-you to Oriental Marina & Inn, Pat Stockwell at Inland Waterway Provision Company, and the Waterfront Committee, for clearing town and commercial docks to make space for us. Dwayne Boettcher on s/v Foreign Affair captured this panorama showing the Rally fleet. You can also see us on the town’s harborcam.
When we arrived, the local band The UHOOs, came by to welcome us with some ukelele music. ... Read More
By Diana Doyle
Dowry Creek Marina is always a great stop: stunning location, friendly ambiance, poolside captains’ lounge with evening happy hour get-togethers. But for the Rally, Mary Klapperich and Nick Leva really rolled out the welcome mat, arranging a Downeast BBQ dinner with live local entertainment. Just another community band you might think? It turns out that Milton Bullock, of the hit Motown group from the 1950s and ’60s, The Platters, lives nearby! No kidding! We have photographic evidence—here’s Milton by Dowry Creek poolside, with Mary “Bubbling Brown Sugar.”
Boaters are always hungry, so first we demolished the North ... Read More
If you have friends or family in the Rally, and you haven’t heard much from them lately, don’t worry. We’re in the area of North Carolina known as the Inner Banks (protected by the Outer Banks). For ICW travelers, it’s known as the area with no cell service. Here’s an AT&T coverage map: That’s us, in the white, no service, area.
The remaining half of the fleet departed Elizabeth City (and its cell service) in the cloudy, drizzly, pre-dawn light. We wanted to get as much of a head-start on the building wind and seas. Here is s/v Ecola 2, ... Read More
Today was scheduled for our Albemarle Sound crossing, although “schedule” is a misnomer here. You don’t schedule the Albemarle. You go when it tells you that your particular boat model and your crew can cross. It’s only 16 miles across at the shortest point, but it has a vast fetch to the east. And it’s very shallow, only 20 feet deep. If you’re from the Chesapeake Bay, then you know that shallow depths do strange things to waves, forcing that energy into waves that are steep, square, and with short frequency. These two-foot waves feel like cinder blocks.
Late last ... Read More
In some ways, the Dismal Swamp Canal is one of the most challenging sections of the trip for the SAIL Magazine Rally. The navigation is a cinch, and lockmaster, Robert Peek, reassured us that the occasional “bump-bump” of a sunken piece of wood is no problem with a sailboat’s keel-protected prop.
But the canal also means that we need to fit our 20 Rally boats, plus all the other boats of peak season, into the locks. It took a couple of lockings at South Mills, rafting us all the way across, to get everyone through. Move over, there is lots ... Read More