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A Day in the Life of a Neuse River Sailor

On a warm morning in late September 2010 I walked over to Marian Claire to have a cup of coffee with Dan and Linda. Their two daughters, son-in-law and grandson were due in around noon, and I told Dan that if any or all of them wanted to sail in the afternoon, I would be happy for them to join me. In the meantime, I drove into town, got ice and groceries, went out to Fort Macon for a quick walk, and stopped by Alex & Bretts for a loaf of anadama bread to take to the evening festivities. Back at the marina, I walked over to the long dock, met Dan's family and made a general invitation to sail at 1:30. Around 1:25, Dan and his daughter Rae came around to the boat, and Rae came aboard. We cast off and motored out into the creek. Having sailed with her father on occassion, Rae proved to be competent at the helm, so I quickly raised the main and genoa while she handled the tiller. Soon we were sailing down the creek under a light breeze. Ching Ching powered past us with a full complement of John and Kathy with their daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren.

Out in the river, Ching Ching set sail and headed upstream, and we followed, with Rae at the helm. The breeze was light to start with but gradually gathered strength, and we were well heeled over on a broad reach by the time we reached the ferry crossing. Just above, we hove to and watched as the ferries crossed, then started down river close hauled. I took the helm for my spell and we sailed downriver with the spray flying and water lapping at the rail. Coming up the river we saw a beautiful big ketch which turned out to be Hi Flite with Dale at the helm, Cory waving and a full complement. We passed port to port at speed, then Hi Flite circled and followed us into the mouth of the creek. Cory got out on deck and doused the main but still Hi Flite rapidly passed us, with her 15 foot advantage in waterline. We tacked in the mouth of the creek and dropped sail abreast of marker 8 with a lashing breeze blowing straight out the mouth of the creek. Rae took the tiller while I got the main tied down and covered. We tied up at 4:00. I told Rae she could crew for me any time, and we joined the Boney family for a few minutes of chatting. Mike Doster came around and stated that in many cultures the time Rae and I had spent off on the boat would constitute engagement, which Rae accurately described as a typical comment to come from Mike. Shortly we all went to get cleaned up and ready for the evening festivities.

At 2 bells in the first dog watch I sauntered up to the clubhouse, aided Cory in coming to a decision that we would serve in the clubhouse rather than downstairs, and set out the bread and butter. By 5:20 there were enough dishes set out to do some serious sampling, which earned me a scolding from Maryl. The line formed at 6:00 even as items grilled on the charcoal and dishes continued to appear on the counter. The feasting was incomparable, even to the desserts, which included a lemon cake with heavy rum flavoring in the icing.

Around 7:30 Kate McNally took the stage and everyone gathered to hear her play the guitar and sing. She worked through a varied repertoire of country, folk and pop tunes in her beautiful voice. Kierstin was enchanted and went up afterward to get Kate's autograph. Kate turned out to be a wonderful generous person who projected that we were giving her a great gift by having her out, when really she is a highly regarded local musician doing us a huge favor to sing for us. Of course she is Bill and Helen Brinson's neice - kindness and generosity run in the family.