Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Carolina Beach, NC 34º03.556N | 77º53.285W

We were told yesterday that we had nothing to fear but Cape Fear River itself.

Local knowledge and a little studying under our belts, we untied and motored into Snow's Cut, with, apparently, the same information as everyone else. There were two sailboats behind us, and out front was a veritable traffic jam.

Traffic, shallow water, tight squeezes. The entire trip has been claustrophobic.

But then, we rounded south out of the cut, crossing to the Cape Fear River, and the water opened up, the depth meter logging 30+ depths. Glorious.

All the other boats started putting up sails.

"If we're already going 8 knots, why would we put up sails?" I asked as the other boats flew past us.

Then, I started thinking, a pastime I always engage once my mouth has stopped flapping. Our displacement hull can only go 8 knots. But WAIT! The meter was using the GPS, telling us our speed over the surface of the globe, not through the water. What if we ran at full displacement speed on a running current? We could go faster!

I pulled out the staysail, the small sail between the mast and the jib, and quickly learned its limitations. The wind was almost full behind us, and the little sail running inside the lifelines couldn't catch enough wind.

That's when we pulled out the jib, the bigger sail on the front of the boat.

Starting at an already high 8.8 knots, we creeped up past 9 and topped out just above 10 knots. We were motorsailing, surfing, flying through water wide and deep. This is sailing.

How tempted we were to chase the Cape Fear right out into the even wider ocean where we dream of sailing on a four-hour tack across open water, the engine off, only the sound of water rushing across the hull. Yes.

Instead, not quite ready for water that open, we pulled into Southport in time for breakfast.

Wide open water. Soon.

Southport, NC 35º55.038N | 78º01.720W

Thanks to Barbara & Murray for dinner out in Oak Island.
And look at those homemade cookies from Barbara!


  1. I SPY BON-BONS! You lucky bastards!!

    You know what seems new'ish to this that I really love? Photos of Tammy taking photos. Perfect.

  2. Suzzane Evens sent me the picture of Valkyr our Downeaster 38 you took on the way by the South Harbor Marina on your way out of Southport. :)
    I Just wanted to say thank you for the picture. We are totally jealous of you guys.. we are planning on leaving the local stomping grounds sometime next year though and maybe will see you out there.