A Day in Beaufort

17 Nov

By Diana Doyle

Downtown Marina

Today was a busy day, with all day set aside for the Rally fleet to tour Beaufort and experience Lowcountry culture, history, and cuisine. Thank goodness it was a glorious fall day – seventy degrees and sunny, and with a good breeze coming in over the sea islands! This panoramic shot of the fleet at the Downtown Marina of Beaufort was taken early this morning from the old Whitehall Plantation site across the Beaufort River.

The morning started with the option of a movie history tour. We had two vans for our fleet — at the ...

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It Isn’t All Sunshine

10 Nov

By Diana Doyle

Last year’s fall season was one of the coldest we’ve seen on the ICW, with morning ice on the decks as far south as South Carolina. This fall is balmy and warm — but is it ever wet! You may have heard about all the rain and flooding in Charleston where we’re heading in the next couple of days. So, today is a rainy-day portrait, introducing another intrepid Rally crew, with some bright colors and smiles…

Maureen Judd

Stephen and Maureen Judd on s/v Minuet

The Judds are on a beautiful Crealock-designed Pacific Seacraft 37, which they admit purchasing ...

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Southport Welcome

7 Nov

Southport Reception Group
By Diana Doyle

The fleet arrived at Southport, North Carolina, to a welcome reception by the town and Zimmerman Marine. The Mayor Pro-Tem Mary Ellen Poole (right of proclamation) and Alderman Todd Coring (behind right of proclamation) kicked off the wine-and-cheese deck party with a formal proclamation signed by the mayor himself:

Southport Resolution and Welcome

A big thank-you to Hank Whitley and his staff at Southport Marina, for doing the impossible and fitting 20 boats into their marina during peak season. They did a great job of flight control, bringing the Rally boats in one-by-one as the fleet turned off ...

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Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

6 Nov

Britanya and Winsome

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 ...

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Bogue Sound and Our Deep-Draft Vessels

5 Nov

Bogue Sound (1)

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 ...

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Welcome to the Fleet!

3 Nov

Paul Lang Has Royer Spooner Creek

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 Mantus Anchor

Has Royer won the Mantus dinghy anchor. That sure will ...

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Oriental, North Carolina

31 Oct

Oriental Harbor Rally Fleet by Dwayne

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. ...

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The Platters: BBQ and Music at Dowry Creek Marina

30 Oct

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.”

Milton Bullock and Mary

Boaters are always hungry, so first we demolished the North ...

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The Inner Banks

28 Oct

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.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 1.07.24 PM

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, ...

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Albemarle Sound

26 Oct

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.

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Late last ...

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