Friday, October 31, 2003

Offshore Sailing School and the Nauticat 2003 Rally

Richard and Hildy Grossman paid us a visit in the Fall
of 2003
The skyline of Boston behind Scott Free
at our slip in East Boston
My instructor Scott from the Offshore Sailing School in
Charleston, S.C.
On the ICW at our first anchorage 
Shrimp Boats just inside the South Edisto River
Our Hunter 42 Passage - just the
two of us for six days
That's me looking pretty miserable. You can't tell from this
photo how bad the conditions were, except maybe from
my face. 
Joe Moran and Jack Webb at the 2003 Nauticat
Rally in Beaufort, N.C. We spent time with the Morans
during our first few years on the boat and still keep in
touch with the Webbs.
That's Peg Moran on the left
We became friends with Lee and Sherry on "Allesto"
and saw them many times during the next eight years.
They are on either side of Scott

We stayed in our slip in East Boston until early December and then had the boat hauled for the winter. We moved up to Tall Timbers for the season. Earlier in October we had two sailing experiences not on Scott Free.
First Heather signed up for a week long offshore sailing class in Charleston, S.C. A family of four was supposed to round out the class size, but she arrived to find herself the only student. Illness had caused them to cancel at the last minute. So she and Captain Scott (not her Scott) took off for a great week of sailing, after provisioning the boat of course.
Captain Scott was delighted that they'd be sharing the cooking. Classes started right away and there was homework every day and tests too. Written tests and tests of sailing skills, That included working on the engine! Every part had to be memorized and how they all related. For practical skills, for example, she had to captain the boat, doing all the navigation and making all the decisions for 24 hours. It was very hard. Only once did Scott give her a hint - on the ICW at a junction with the river that we knew was a problem with many boats going aground (we heard on the VHF). She steered one way until he couldn't help a reaction and she made a quick correction. That was it though.
The last day was the tough one. We had to get back to Charleston and the conditions were terrible. We had 30 + knot winds and waves from 6-8 feet. That means some of them were much higher. And the wind was on the nose so we pitched up and slammed down for 6 hours. Hunters are not strongly built. We couldn't comfortably stay below. The two of us sat in the cockpit for the whole time in full foul weather gear and tied to the boat with tethers.
Turning the boat sideways to the waves to enter the channel at Charleston was very scary. Scott had me do it so he could spot and time the waves. But once we entered the difference was immense. We had a rule about drinking while underway but Captain Scott grabbed some wine and we both drank from the bottle. He said Heather was the best student he'd ever had. Really he was a great teacher.
Scott flew down to Charleston and was on the dock to meet us. We were late and the 2003 Nauticat Rally was starting that night. We thought it wasn't far and had chosen the sailing school for that reason - the Rally was in Beaufort.
"Which Beaufort?" Captain Scott asked.
"You mean there's two!", we responded.
Oh, yes - we screwed up. A quick check of our registration information proved it was Beaufort, N.C., not Beaufort (Bewfort), S.C. Unfortunately a lot further off. We missed the welcoming cocktail party that night and pulled into our bed and breakfast about 10pm. The rest of the weekend was fantastic though. What a treat for us to meet other Nauticat owners, see other boats and talk about our new obsession.