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Alan Stewart

Graham sets off on OBX 130 2019

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I just want to say that I had a great week of sailing and would like to do it again. Like Pete found in the Chesapeake, summer sailing means dodging thunder storms. As it is shallow most everywhere around here, putting the anchor out and getting out of it is a good tactic. You may get bounced around for a while but if you are boating, that goes with the territory. It beats not being able to go for a sail. Going with a group gives a purpose and it is good to share experiences with like minded people.


There has been enough talk about using or not using motors. I have found that the motor is worth all of it's hassles. I could not have made my schedules without it. For instance Alan said as I was getting ready to leave "have you seen the forecast? 50% thunder storms and headwinds". I was rigged and ready, the thought of un-rigging, driving around a big loop to get there and re-rigging did not appeal to me.  I motor sailed to the mouth of the Bay River before shutting the motor off and started tacking. I got one good squall before the wind shut down and I motored across the mouth of the Neuse River. I had to motor through the canals where the wind stayed light and ahead meaning that I motored most of the way. We sailed most of the OBX 130 but leaving Cape lookout we had 2 hours of tide so we decided to motor sail to Shell Point at the east end of Harkers Island. There were a couple of narrow channels with very shallow water all around and a strong headwind wind where we had to motor or get left behind. Coming home I motored through the Thorofare canal and it's approaches. The wind was foul and diminishing once I passed the Hobucken Cut in the Bay River. I could have anchored for the night but I was almost home.


After I cleared the Thorofare Canal I put the anchor down and dropped the sails. I was hot, thirsty and hungry and I needed to get the wind vane set up for the open water crossing, so I had a lunch break. I came on deck to get under way and noticed that the wind had increased and looking to the west saw a big squall about to nail me so I went back below. Alan called to see if I was okay because my Spot tracker stopped moving and gave me the radar report that he posted. We could see that if I waited a while they would pass through. There was a smaller and final cell that was slightly further to the south that I might be able to dodge. The last cell was clear on the north side with a vertical wall. As my course was north, if I got going I might be able to get clear of it. I tried a new tactic for me, I motor sailed with just the mizzen. The wind was getting stronger as the cell got nearer, with mizzen and motor at a brisk idle I was doing a good 4 knots. With this rig I could easily drop the mizzen and tie it down without leaving the safety of the cockpit if the wind became too violent. It worked perfectly and I just cleared the cell, I could see the high rise bridge over the canal to the south get lost in the rain. After I got into deep water I had a wonderful sail across Pamlico Sound doing around 5 knots on a close reach.


All of this motoring cost me just shy of 2 gallons of fuel. 

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So, this is what I’ve been doing of late. It’s a digital drawing with “colored pencils”. Sorry for taking the initiative to draw it without asking, but here it is. 





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