Of Mooncursers and other Spun yarns

Of Mooncursers and other Spun yarns
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Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sailboats Fair and Fine #38: read oldest posts first

I hadn't put my long underwear on so I donned them this time and they felt good after being wet. I went topside and began hoisting sails. In a few minutes we were barreling along in a stiff breeze with no waves. The water way only about fifty yards wide hand nothing more than a riffle on it. It feels kind of unnatural to sail in a good breeze with no waves but boy do you go. Around noon we were in the harbor sailing hard on the wind but it had fallen light so were kind of ghosting along. In the waterway you seldom get to let the boat sail itself. Here in the harbor we did and it was really pleasant and it's a great reminder as to what schooners and ketches are for. temperature was up and the sun was warm so we heated up some water and took baths in the cockpit. We finished and dressed just before a tour boat passed us.

We had passed under the guns of Fort Sumter and now were reviewing those along the Battery of Charleston itself. We were heading for the mouth of the Ashley river and beating against a swift tide. Progress was slow. We didn't care. The sun was low in the sky and just beginning to turn the sky pink. After a time we eased into and anchorage behind a red nun dropped two hooks and dropped back on them and hung beside the buoy about thirty yards from it. There were more boats coming into the Ashley and they began anchoring really close. We put fenders over the side just in case. WE wound up with six boats in a very small place and all but us left the minute their anchors hit bottom. WE generally try to make it a habit to stay with the boat at least through a change of tide to see how she will ride at anchor. I guess I don't trust my anchoring as much as some do. You never know though it may be divine providence they trust in or insurance.

It was getting chilly so we covered up in a blanket and watched the sun set under the Ashley Bridge while our coffee was making. AS the dark settled in over the distant Fort Sumter I tried the imagine the shelling back and forth between Yankee ships and the fort about one hundred thirty five years before. Cars running up and down the road beside the anchorage made that a little difficult. We were to stay a couple of weeks and I was never comfortable with the anchorage. The mud bottom had been churned up by thousands of anchorings over the years and boats dragged often in the strong tide. If there was much wind blowing we never stayed away from the boat where the wind was against the tide. There were boats running to and fro at anchor and some pulled out. One couple came home in the middle of the night and had to retrieve their boat from the coast guard station. They then took the boat out into the middle of the channel and anchored. In a few minutes the coast guard made them move and they ran up and down the river most of the night and come daybreak they anchored be side us way to close. At least this time they stayed aboard until the departed. We were glad to see them go.

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