Well, I have thought for a few long weeks about what to do with the rest of this winter season and came to the conclusion that there isn’t a lot of winter left, so I may as well stay here in Oriental in order to get an early start on work that I want to do on the boat before next summer’s sailing season. Just putting my current plan down in writing makes me wonder about actually following through with it, though! The last few times that I have told anyone about what my plans were I have had to change them. I just think at this point that it makes more sense to tough out the remaining weeks of winter weather in place rather than sailing.
Just because I am staying in this area doesn’t mean that I won’t be moving at all. I will get out sailing when I have free time and when the weather is nice on days like today, or whenever else the mood strikes me to get out of the harbor. I don’t want weeds on the bottom to grow too thick, after all.
Today was just the kind of weather that makes me glad that I am living on my very own sailboat. The temperature reached about 65 degrees, the sun was shining brightly, and there was a gentle breeze stirring the surface of the Neuse River. I decided to head in to the town dock to see if I could entice anyone out onto Sirocco with me for a few hours. I thought that this would be the perfect time to go looking for unsuspecting crew, as the Bean was crowded, and there were many people out shopping at the farmer’s market.
Well, despite the crowds and the perfect weather I had a difficult time finding anyone who wanted to go for a sail! I eventually ended up with just one other person on board for our little jaunt on the river. Luckily, that person was Keith Smith, one of the energetic people behind the website towndock.net. He and I had plenty to talk about as we enjoyed one of the most pleasant January days that I can remember.
We backed away from the dock under power and then set the sails once clear, but while still in the harbor. I stopped the engine as we passed the Oriental Yacht Club, as there was just enough breeze to keep Sirocco moving at about 1 knot. There were a few tacks to be made to climb to windward down the channel, so that kept the crew busy walking the jib through between the inner and outer forestays, as there was not enough wind to blow it through. Sirocco made steady progress in this light air despite her 17,000 lbs and slightly scummy bottom. The wind was blowing at all of about 1-3 knots–not enough for exciting sailing, but perfect for making the galley an easy place to work! I served up a couple of fried-egg-and-tomato sandwiches and they quickly found their place in the crew’s bellies. The wind petered out completely leaving the Neuse River to become glassy and mirror-calm.
The breeze came up again just as we finished our sandwiches. It didn’t come up with any great force, mind you, but it was enough to blow us gently back to the dock while we enjoyed a cup of tea. Since a fair breeze was blowing, I decided to sail all the way in to the town dock–to a few cheers from onlookers who were watching the show from the front porch of The Bean, the local coffee house which is directly across the street from the town dock. I had furled the sails several boatlengths away from the dock and let Sirocco glide in gently on her own momentum, so a couple of bystanders who had not immediately understood what had just happened commented, “I thought you were going to sail all the way in!” It took a moment to explain that that was exactly what had been done.
It is now almost 11 pm and I still want to move the boat back out to the anchorage before I go to sleep so that the town dock is empty for whoever may want to use it in the morning. Time to get underway again…