A North Carolina Family Affair

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Fair winds and smooth sailing! DB

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