Elizabeth City

Albemarle Sound

Today was scheduled for our Albemarle Sound crossing, although “schedule” is a misnomer here. You don’t schedule the Albemarle.   You go when it tells you that your particular boat model and your crew can cross. It’s only 16 miles across at the shortest point, but it has a vast fetch to the east. And it’s very shallow, only […]

Dismal Swamp Canal Janet Anderson

Elizabeth City Rose Buddies

In some ways, the Dismal Swamp Canal is one of the most challenging sections of the trip for the SAIL Magazine Rally. The navigation is a cinch, and lockmaster, Robert Peek, reassured us that the occasional “bump-bump” of a sunken piece of wood is no problem with a sailboat’s keel-protected prop. But the canal also […]

Dismal Swamp Welcome Center

Dismal Swamp Canal, Neither Dismal Nor Dreary Today

Today’s absolute highlight was the presentation by Deep Creek Lockmaster and local historian, Robert Peek. It’s hard to convey how fascinating his stories were, whether you are a history buff or not. The Dismal Swamp, a 14,000-acre high-elevation wetland, has hundreds of years of history. We learned that its tannin-rich waters are the purest in […]

Burgee

Departure Morning

It couldn’t have been a more beautiful fall morning for the departure of the SAIL Magazine ICW Snowbird Rally from Hampton Public Piers. We left to time a railroad bridge that was down to three openings a day due to construction. This meant everyone needed to be off the docks by 0800 hrs. Easy-peasy for […]

Ladies Food Shopping Joan Conover

We Leave Tomorrow?? Uh-Oh!

It always seems like the closer it gets to casting off the lines, the more things there are left to do. Today the fleet was scurrying around, starting at sunrise, vying for who would be first in line for the washer/dryer. I saw so many laundry loads hauled up the dock I’m amazed there was any […]

Sirius SOS Signal

The First 100 Miles: Clean Wake Club

Today was our first formal meeting and navigation briefing, with a breakfast sponsored by Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA). The SSCA is a worldwide organization for cruisers, with a motto of “leaving a clean wake”: helping other cruisers and contributing to the communities we visit by boat. It turned out that several members of the […]

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La Bodega Welcome

It was another day busy with boat jobs. Many of the boats needed fenderboards for the upcoming locks of the Dismal Swamp Canal. And when we get to the non-tidal regions of North Carolina, many of the marinas will have fixed rather than floating docks. It’s a lot easier to ride a piling on a board […]

Catamaran Cove

Outfitting and Errands

It isn’t all sundowners and socializing around here. What you don’t see, behind the scenes, is everyone working their behinds off, getting reading for the departure. Of course there will be plenty of services along the way—and we have scheduled provisioning, transportation and regular West Marine deliveries—but it’s still nice to have as much in […]

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Fort Monroe Photo Essay

Yesterday the Rally had the option of touring Fort Monroe. You sail right by this historic fort as you enter Hampton Roads and round northwest up the Hampton River to the Hampton Public Piers, where the fleet now docked. The fort was an active military base until 2011, and now it is open to the public […]

HYC Dinner (1)

Day Three with the Hampton Snowbird Rendezvous

Revitalized with last night’s dinner and dancing at the Hampton Yacht Club, today we were ready for more seminars. By the end of yesterday it felt like we couldn’t absorb one more bit of nautical nauwledge! But today we were ready for three great presentations: “Common Self-Inflicted Fails” was the title of the first session. Lou […]

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