A small, but willing and able, group of Claytor Lake Sailing Association boats have joined us to sail in North Carolina this week. It was a great reunion with Jim Callahan (Calypso) who helped bring High ZZ’s from Deal MD to Norfolk in the middle of December (read cold, wet, more cold…) and Marshal Spoon (Seagate) who helped us on the transit “outside” from St. Augustine FL to Cape Fear NC. All of us have gained experience and confidence since those trips, and it was great to see Marshall and Jim handling their own boats with aplomb. The highlight of our trip was a two day visit to Cape Lookout and a great sail back to Beaufort Inlet (see photos). Jim and his wife, Mary, got a great ride in 16kts of wind and 3-5’ seas in their 22 ft. boat….the very type of experience that breeds new confidence and seamanship. Deb and I got to see how High ZZ’s handled with a partially reefed jib….we pointed much better into the wind and lost very little speed than when using the jib full out. Our in-mast mainsail furler worked beautifully both coming out and going in and never jammed…erasing my fears of such “new-fangled” devices. I am now a big fan of jib furlers (ours also works great), so much so that we plan to add one to our staysail to make it easier to use, and more available at a moment’s notice. I am not a big fan of boat AC units as our “condensator” (a verturi devise that is supposed to remove the condensate from the pan under the coils) never works properly allowing water to drip into the bilge, causing our bilge pump to run at odd times (middle of the night) and freak us out about some through-hole leaking or some other potential boat sinking event. Remember, the two main rules of cruising: 1. Keep the water on the outside of the boat; 2. Keep the rig up (mast, sails…all pointing upward). Since we rarely use the AC (only 3 or 4 times since the warm season came) it is not a big issue. At anchor and while moving, there is always a nice breeze, it is only when we are stuck on a dock (another event we try to avoid) surrounded by other boats, buildings…when it is hot enough to want the “blow-cool” on. Speaking of anchoring…did I mention how much we like our Rocna anchor and 225 ft. of all chain rode? As is usually the case, we had a thunderstorm at 0300 while anchored at Cape Lookout. Other boats dragged, while High ZZ’s was steady as a rock!
Up next, a return to the Chesapeake, a cruise with friends Martin and Patsy Jansons, and then Matt and Sue Milovitch….but the fun comes with a cost….we will pull the boat in Deltaville for maintenance and repairs in August and be off to Venice for a rest at the house (for Deb).