A North Carolina Family Affair


Sailing, to me, can be joyful either sailing alone or with friends. There’s a peacefulness and exhiliration about sailing single-handed, but it sure is nice to share the feeling with others aboard, too. On July 6th, I met up with my friend Michael Salley’s daughter Kelly, her husband Robin, and their daughters Lauren and Haley, who were all out visiting from the Greensboro, North Carolina area.


I took a half-day off from work and got to Splendido about 2:30 p.m. Winds were 10-15 with gusts to 25, so I got everything ready and left a reef in the mainsail for comfort in the gusts. Heading south toward Obexer’s, I snapped this image of Eagle Rock at the mouth of Blackwood Canyon, which is always a beacon for me after a day of sailing.


I picked up my guests at Obexer’s public dock, got everyone lifejackets and gave them the run-down about the boom, as it gets a bit swingy in the gusts. With gear safely stowed and drinks handed out, we headed east and quickly hit 6 knots running straight down wind, toward the northern point of Sugar Pine State Park. Robin did a great job as helmsman while I worked the mainsheet and managed the gusts. Things got a little swirly as we got to Sugar Pine Point, but Splendido handled it like a dream.


We rounded Sugar Pine Point and looked for a calm place to drop the hook, anchoring in about 15 feet of water. Air temps were around 77 degrees, but the water was legendarily chilly. I told our crew I like to think of it as “swimming in Champagne,” so we took turns jumping in. The photos tell the story best.


On the sail back, the winds kicked up, so the ladies all went below to relax and Robin and I sailed back toward Obexer’s. Wind was right on the nose, so we were close-hauled and had not-unpleasant spray coming over the bows as we beat into the wind. Finally, about a mile out, I turned on the motor to do a little motor-sailing to save time. We got everyone back on the dock at the appointed hour, and there were a lot of smiling faces — including my own after a fun afternoon sail and swim.


Fair winds and smooth sailing! DB


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