I forgot about this write up in Small Boats Monthly. I do remember the wonderful photos my daughter took on our first (and only) joint overnighter in the bilges of UNA in Milford Haven. We’ve migrated to onshore camping when there’s crew. Long lumpy night that was behind windy barrier dunes. A reminder of the short article came in the form of an email from SBM. My friend and Owner of Molly pointed it out. The excitement of launching UNA that year is still vivid. Much else of 2014 is faded. The 10-month construction period has rewarded this builder with many more months of sailing and memories to boot. Winter will be easier now knowing that UNA will carry us along again this Spring. In the meantime, perhaps we can give her some love and fix a few neglected maintenance items. She asks for so little.
Despite drop outs from our little gang, we still had some wonderful sailing on Smith Mountain Lake. Camping facilities were adequate. The parties were good ones. Video below-
Zephyr, Molly and Mabu (all Caledonia Yawls) joined UNA for a 2 night cruise around creeks in Ingram Bay. Weather was mostly clear, winds variable and temps moderate. Delightful really. In fact, swimming was dare near perfect. “Racing” gave a good challenge.
The crew all took photos. Made for a fun mix of perspectives. Footage here:
Mid August sailing in Maine can be trying, or at times, non-existent. UNA, Molly and Little T put in at Rockland to visit Hurricane Sound, The Basin, Carver Harbor, Seal Bay, North Haven, Perry Cove and Pulpit Harbor to return to Rockland for the long ride home. There were a couple sunny days on either end, but the predominant “color” was grey, a perfect background allowing some sublime reflection. With each visit to this coast the outside world seems to have leaked in. However, those quiet and raw pockets still exist. I think we found a few.
Travelling by small boat frequently invites curiosity. Private space and time no longer are yours. Is it lunacy to sleep a week in the floor of a 19′ boat? Perhaps. You’d think that would ward off inspection.
“Are you guys Outward Bound?” If so, no one seems willing to come along.
“Oh, yeah, I had a little 8′ dinghy I’d row about.” Sorry, not the same thing.
“What kind of boat is that?” I never understand that question. Are you asking generically? Sailboat. Type? Balanced lug yawl. Design? Sooty Tern. What’s that? A seabird. Comical at times and yet the interest somehow validates the decisions to make the trip.
I won’t bore with too many details of the trip. The winds were light at best. The friendship was great. And, all those greys … beautiful.
UNA and this blog have connected me with people I’d otherwise likely never have met. Many are now friends. Several even dear pals. My buddy Kirk comes to mind. It was good catching up over a long overdue lunch last week.
Another fellow, Terry, began email correspondence several years ago. We even talked on the phone back when he was building Isobel, a lovely sister ship to UNA. We’ve yet to actually meet in person. Hopefully our boats will cross paths soon. Currently a 6 hour drive separates us, but what is that among friends?
Yesterday, at my request, Terry shared a few photos of his boat with permission to feature her here. Take a look.
Excellent work. UNA and Isobel must meet this Spring. I’d like to be there too. Thanks Terry!
Just got a text with this fine painting from Mabu’s skipper, Harris. He and his Caledonia were anchored just to windward of UNA that colorful evening on Yarmouth Creek two weeks ago. Seems like ages now. I can hear the slap of the water, cries of the geese …
Somehow the cold is gone.
Sub freezing temps and small craft warnings make neither a good nor wise cruise. Earlier forecasts were off a day. Our planned three day sail shrank to two. Five boats were to gather. Weather pared the group to three. Still, it the sailing was spectacular. The higher winds had dropped to a gentle breeze. The winter light became brilliant. The night would drop back to freezing, but the crazies wore on. That’s two Caledonia yawls, Mabu and Molly, and one Sooty Tern, UNA. We awoke to frost on cars and boats. By mid morning we were sailing off the wind from Governors Land on the James River for an 8 miles up the Chickahominy River. Our trio slid past banks of cypress trees and glided into the watercolor marshes of Yarmouth Creek. Drinks and yarns accompanied our late afternoon anchorage. Tents, sleeping bags, long johns and wool caps tucked all in shortly after sunset. A good book was the evening’s entertainment.
Daybreak offered little air. We motored back down the Yarmouth, took a cut called Shipyard Creek to meet the Chick again. There we raised sail and had a great beat home. Una was in her element.
It was a fantastic couple of days with fine buddies. Hopefully its not the last sail in what has been such a fraudulent year. If so, perhaps this video will stretch us to Spring.
Monday was “breezy” with small craft warnings. However, Tuesday and Wednesday were as perfect as perfect can be. Winds started at 8-12 mph from the NW moving to the W the following day. Air was crisp, evenings cool and skies blue. The attending boat count got whittled down to two, but that offered some spirited “racing” both days. It was Caledonia vs Sooty Tern and the leads changed hands enough to make both parties happy.
Enjoyed it Bob!
Attendance by the Old Bay Club was light, but the fun was invariable. Molly, Zephyr, Ginger, English Tart and Una sailed out of Belle Island State Park on the Rappahannock River. Winds were variable. Friends constant. Meals delectable. Glad we went.
Aren’t we a people who love to label? Sadly, our rush to categorize often dismisses the real chances of nuance. Some names stick, perhaps deservedly. Others are short lived, but some can be endearing. The term “hippie” wrangles some still. For others its a badge of honor. I use the term lightly to describe a somewhat counter current attitude to life’s hustle and bustle. Out of admiration I label the most diverse group of people I’ve ever met. My daughter says we all dress like bums (guys that is). Sure Crocs are ugly, but they work. This is our Old Bay Club, a Traditional Small Craft Association. With no rules nor officers, we somehow have struck a chord allowing everyone to sing. Granted we’re shabbily attired, yet no one person’s history matches the other’s. Ages vary, in some cases by decades. However, we all take the time to encourage each other to come along. Conversations are able to roll over the political speed bumps and set aside any “my way or the highway” discussion. That is until there’s the mention of sailing. That art is what bands our group together. For me it is a love for some buddies I’d otherwise never have been given the opportunity to know. This weekend about 20 of us spent time together through wind, rain and sun all tempered by wonderful food and drink.
Whispered wood stove conversations so as not to wake the fellow dosing off after a long day.
Friends bearing gifts … a beef knuckle for your dog!? Now who’s the favorite?
Watching a friend try a new dinghy as the same dog clambers aboard refusing to be left.
Delicious York River oysters large enough to choke on.
The beauty of sailing along a classic boat like Herreshoff’s Coquina.
Bike rides along country roads.
Rowing in a protected cove as winds roar over the trees
The elation of finding a waterman’s oar, an artifact of simple beauty, washed up in the marsh only to be asked later, “has anyone seen my oar”.
Watching a friend fly her kite with the delight of a 4 year old girl. Remember when?
A blustery sail with my “big brother” and my middle son pulling in the fresh air.
Knowing someone appreciates the surrounds enough to want to paint them.
Sailing with just my dog the preceding 3 days. He gets it too.
Introducing new friends to this group and having them comment on how unusual the band is.
Sorry I don’t have more. The fun overtook the documentation, but that too is a good thing. So we’ve a bit of the Monday morning blues here. Conference calls to be had. Until next time …
Thank you Boop.