Halloween Cruise to Beaufort
Great weather = great turnout! Although we’re a hardy group, who seem to show up in the most improbable of conditions, a beautiful weekend in late October proved to be irresistible to over fifty NSAers. Twenty boats registered, and many others arrived by car. The Beaufort Towndocks was able to accommodate most of NSA boats in the basin area, which made for easy boat-side socializing Friday evening between the larger “Endeavour” and the (much) smaller Endeavour of cruise captains John Messer and Pat Thomaier. Late night partyers took in the sunset from the sky deck at Moonrakers, and Saturday brought more sunshine as many NSAers strolled to the Beaufort Farmers Market. Witches and pirates joined regularly attired cruisers as 47 of us squeezed into the nearby Black Sheep restaurant for a Saturday evening pizza party. The weather took a turn for the worse Sunday morning, but patience was rewarded as the skies cleared for an afternoon return to Oriental and a farewell to a great 2019 cruising season!
Pat Thomaier and John Messer
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Welcome New Members!
As we wind up a fantastic year of “NSA Time,” I want to thank all the new members of the NSA, many of whom have jumped in and have gotten very involved with club activities this year. It is great to have new faces and ideas in the group! We have 36 new memberships (but about twice as many new members) so far for 2019. Our newest members who have joined within the past month are Skip and Karen Carney of Rocky Mount, with S/V Silver Sun at Pecan Grove Marina. Be sure to welcome them when you see them!
If you have friends or neighbors who might enjoy being NSA members, be sure to invite them. If you join the NSA at the end of the year, your membership will extend until April 2021!
Vice Commodore Membership
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A good time was had by all! A special thanks to Paul for organizing such a fun event, for choosing great food, for his delightful choice in t-shirt design for the bridge and most of all, for showing us what a multi-talented man he is!
2019 Photo Contest
To Enter 2019 NSA Photo Contest
It’s time to select your favorites and enter in the 2018 NSA Photo Contest. Log in as a member and select the PHOTO CONTEST tab. And select help, How do I upload photos if you need some coaching.
The 2019 categories are:
- Sailing Action - please name the sailing vessel/s in the photo/s
- Selfies - we want to see your smiling face
- Lifestyles - this is a good opportunity to show why NSA is so great
- Scenic - judging by what I've seen shared, you all have one to submit
- Fun/Wacky/Silly - always a favorite
All members are welcome, in fact encouraged, to enter the 2019 photo contest NOW through 13 Jan. 2020. Select your best photos, filter them down to no more than five per category and get ready to enjoy all the submissions.
Coordinator, NSA Photo Contest
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Sailing SoundWave -
Annapolis in October
SoundWave has had a magical time spending the summer north of NC. The Chesapeake Bay, the big cities of Philadelphia and New York, plus Long Island Sound seemed like millions of miles away when you are used to sailing to Belhaven and Beaufort. But, just like any trip that you take, the getting there seems long and the return trip seems short. Much of our summer cruise has been to many of these places twice . . . going north and then returning south. They are much more familiar to us now and the distance there seems so much shorter.
We plan to go back to Long Island Sound next summer and hit the places we missed; like Block Island and Martha’s Vineyard. Our main goal will be to get to Boston and Maine. This is pretty easy if we keep moving, do more overnights and don’t linger in one place for so long. This summer we stayed outside New York City for about 5 weeks. Next summer we can scoot by NYC and get on up north sooner. Every year we plan to expand our reach and experiences.
One place that we went twice was Annapolis. We spent most of a week there going north and three weeks there coming back south. On the return trip we wanted to see both boat shows: power and sail. The shows take up 1-19 of the 40 mooring balls in the harbor. Balls are first-come-first-serve. We planned to be early and in fact got there 11 days before the first show. Getting a ball was easy! Each day we would see more boats come and go until the weekend of the show approached and all balls were taken. Other boats that arrived anchored out past us. Mooring balls are $26 per night and if you stay 6 nights the seventh is free. The pump out boat is $5 per tank and they are available seven days a week. If you are interested in going to the show next year and have questions we are happy to help.
The view of the boat show from our mooring ball 39.
Getting around Annapolis is easy. Water taxis run all over the harbor and take people to various drop offs from 8am until 11pm. During the show days they run until midnight. The cost is $3 per person and a tip. The water taxi is one of my favorite perks of boat life (no surprise here). Hopping on and off is easy and quick. There is a dinghy dock during the shows and it is near the Dockmaster’s office. The normal one at the end of Ego Alley is taken up by the boat shows. Don’t expect to find space at the dinghy dock though. The place is crammed with boats and typically you would have to step through a few to get to the dock.
Our water taxi driver . . . he always remembered our boat name.
Annapolis is a walking town with plenty of restaurants and shops. The only problem with walking is when the tide rises and the street and boat show floods. This year we had a full moon and an extra high tide. The sailboat show got closed by the fire marshal on Saturday afternoon as so much of the show was underwater and the number of people was incredible. Floating docks and bridges were starting to look dangerous with the weight of the crowds. Don’t let this deter you from attending in the future. It is a great trip and a serious treat to get to walk around boats you have only dreamed of.
The flood tide covers the street next to the show.
Another fact about Annapolis is that it becomes NSA North during the Sailboat Show. We were thrilled to see many of the members who came for the weekend. We had spent 3 weeks on mooring 39 and met so many people during that time. The final week was a social with NSA members and some new people we had met along our summer trip. So many cruisers will tell you that they will see you in October at the show and they are serious. Hats off to Facebook for making it easy to connect with new friends and keep up with their travels.
A useful way to stay connected is giving out your boat card. The best we have seen have a common element: the contact info and boat description is on one side and the people’s faces are on the other side with a blank space for a recipient to record where they met. Names and faces are hard to remember, so this really helps. The next time we print cards I’m going to do this and I’m going to enlarge the font :)
My girlfriend, who visited in Newport, came to spend the weekend with us for the sailboat show, too. She was amazed at how many people we knew. Really, it seems like you are cutting ties with everyone when you sail off on a trip like ours. It turns out to be quite different. We have been making connections with the nicest people who love harbor towns and being on the water like we do. No matter where we went that weekend we were greeted by friends. She would ask how we knew each other and a crazy story of how we connected would be told. One new friend who came to our NSA social on board SoundWave was a man I had met just once when he was walking to the men’s room in a restaurant in NJ. It is so cool how boaters will just become friends in a few minutes!
We are back in North Carolina now to see our friends and family. The first order of business is the NSA Halloween Social. This group were the last friends we saw before we left NC on June 21st. I told Chip it may be months before we saw one of our friends again. That night at Coinjock, our first night alone, someone on the boat docked behind us said, “Hey Chip Johnson” . . . we couldn’t even go one day!
Although we have travelled what I thought would feel like a million miles away (especially going at a speed of just 6 kts) I have determined that it really is a small world after all.
The highlights of the last month have been two-fold. Mooring in downtown Annapolis (for both the US Power and the US Sailboat shows) and practicing traditional navigational skills. Each of these have reminded me of the beauty of the basics. One of our proverbs is “If simple is good, then simpler is better.” This becomes ever more true as we log the miles. (Simple is good for a simple skipper :)
Catalina introduced their new flagship, the C545 and we enjoyed the guided tour. Incredible showpiece, with a dumb waiter to raise drinks/plates from galley to cockpit. One aft cabin had two single beds with a motorized track so one twin slides over to join the other and makes a nice queen. But techiest of all was the jet thruster system. Wow. Like a Queen on the chessboard, this yacht moves in any direction with a nudge of the control.
Sideways to dock, angled to pick up a mooring ball or, theoretically, she can hold station and hover, e.g. take on fuel and never tie up/cast off lines!!! Anyway, while I have reservations about the digital valve control, this one-pump, centralized directable thrust, with better locations and maybe fewer batteries to maintain has a net appeal for this skipper vs tunnel drive (Like on SoundWave) or external or retracting propeller based units. Super bonus, serviceable from inside. Simple.
We got to board about 45 power and sailboats over the course of two weekends. Certain towering powerboats like trawlers and 3-deck salon cruisers battle a roll-poly ride in beam seas. I spoke at length with one of the engineers of the leading stability system at their booth. It is a unit, about the size of your galley fridge, comprised of a ball filled with a heavy viscous fluid, mounted on myriad hydraulic arms inside a heavy metal boxlike frame, all controlled by an electronic gyroscope and a computer.
They work, are coming standard on several top tiered boats and good news ... one can be retrofitted into your yacht by a good local yard!
Bad news. For SoundWave, 44’ 14-15 tons loaded, the right unit is $55k plus estimated $15k installation at the local yard. I held my breath for a second trying to appear nonchalant, joked about how I’m just going to slide Jerry cans back and forth across the cockpit for the time being…. man that is some non-simple system, and I would actually give a used boat with one of these a ding instead of a plus if I were in the market. Double ding if I planned to live aboard, much rather have another fridge, or life raft storage, etc.
The longer we are out, the more we appreciate readiness and seamanship. It accrues naturally from miles and hours at the helm, but it is magnified and solidified through training and drills. I am so weird, we even practice tying key knots with our eyes closed, to be ready for a parted sheet needing repair in the dark of night. Honing.
We decided to challenge ourselves and transit Cape May to Cape Lookout without using the chartplotters. The Chesapeake is a good place to sharpen your pape chart/compass/sight-taking game, with large ATONS and waypoints that are easily visible once they appear on the horizon, all in a relatively safe contained body of water. Skipper confession: I thought I had above average nav skills. I have some good experience. plus scored high on charting exams in training, and second day on a 22 mile leg, I missed the mark by over a mile. While still in sight, and only 10-15 minutes off course on a four hour run, I still have to extrapolate that to a big error on a 100 or 300 mile run. Dummy forgot to compensate for a calculated ½ kt northwesterly set from the Chesapeake current. Another proverb: “ You do not have to be sick to get better.” We will keep training.
Simple thing here, from the hiking/landlubber world is the best device I have found (made by Sunto) for taking hand-bearing sights. Accurate, no “swinging” of the bearing readings, $40 I believe every boat, ditch bag and life raft should have one and know how to use it.
We scored 100 on offshore and inshore #lifevest protocol (+jack lines/harnesses for offshore), and we were safe through a 36-hr overnight ocean passage in 6-8’ seas. While in Annapolis, I messed up and rowed over to a neighboring boat and back to pick up some books, forgetting my vest, preventing a perfect dinghy score. We want to be vigilant, and having been moored in Annapolis, ½ mile from a drowning victim (kayaker) in 15’ of water, we exhort you to establish your own #lifevest protocol, and treat it as critically as a seat belt in your car.
We pray that every NSA member talks about safety a lot.
Chip and Honey Johnson