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I awoke at 0600 and after making the needed head call I returned to my bunk to check out the weather on my Kindle, read the USA Today news, and listen to Pandora’s comedy channel for a bit. Tim, my friend from the marina, had invited me to ...join him to get breakfast so I got up after about 30 minutes, stuffed shorts, tee shirt and underwear along with other toiletries into my gym bag and walked up to the captain’s lounge to take a shower. That done I went into the TV room to wait for Tim and watch the morning news. I had forgotten a comb so I kept running my fingers through my hair in an attempt to obtain some modicum of order out of the tangled mess. Tim showed up early asking if I were ready to eat and where I’d like to go. “I don’t care,” I responded. Then Tim suggested Bo jangles which was okay with me. We drove over to New Bern just across the bridge as the sun was coming up over the water and it was lovely. I ordered two beacon, egg and cheese biscuits and a coffee and realized that one was more than enough about half way through the first one so I asked for a bag figuring I’d save the leftovers for later that night. Tim had to get to work so he drove me back to the harbor where I got busy getting the boat ready for the day’s sailing. I started up the engine to warm it up and then went below to gather up the usual sailing stuff, such as the hand held GPS, local chart, binoculars, and the VHF radio receiver/microphone. I put all that on the cockpit table which folds up from the helm stand and then got busy leading the genoa sail sheets aft through the snatch blocks to the winches. I opened up the lazaret and got out the winch handles attaching one to the starboard winch and the other on the mizzen sail’s halyard winch that is attached to the mizzen mast. While up on the aft cabin top I removed the mizzen sail cover, folded it up and tossed it into the cockpit to be stowed away later. I removed the bungee cord that I use to keep the halyard from clanging against the mast when the wind blows and attached the mizzen halyard to the head board of the sail then took a couple of turns around the winch and cleated the halyard off. I shut down the engine as it was warm enough and got busy changing out the propane tank which I had emptied a couple of weeks earlier while attempting to boil water for tea. I removed the cover from the top of the vented storage locker where I stow the three propane tanks that are used for the stove and sometimes to heat the boat when it is freezing out at night. Taking the up the wrench that that I have attached to the locker’s side with a lanyard I loosened the hose fitting and removed the empty tank. Then I remove the other two containers only to discover that one of them was empty as well. Swapping the last full tank for the newly emptied one I hooked the hose up and then put the two empties back into the locker thinking that I’ll have to make a propane gas run the next time at back down to the boat. It was getting close to 1000 hours, which was our designated departure time, so I gave Marina a call to find out how close she was to New Bern. Marina admitted that she had gotten a late start and was just leaving so she would be an hour late. No problem, it was a lovely day so I rode my bike up to the shop building and used the head there and afterwards I took some time and visited with Tony, who runs a sailing school. Tony has been busy charting sailing hazards in the area and marking them with buoys that he makes himself. He said once he gets all the GPS coordinates doubled checked he will post them in the marina’s office so that they will be available to everyone. What a classy endeavor on his part. Tony said he had contacted the US Coastguard, but they only deal with hazards to navigation in the more frequently utilized waterways, not the back waters of the Neuss and shallow parts of the sound. As it was getting close to 1100 hours I returned to the boat where I disconnected the shore power cord and coiled it up on the bow in preparation for getting underway. Just as I was coiling up the secondary bow mooring line Marina showed up and she started helping me by passing me the power cord coil which I left on the dock. Restarting the engine I told Marina to cast off the bow line first, then the forward spring line and then the stern line saving the aft spring line until last as I was using it and the engine in reverse to hold the boat next to the dock until she could get back on board. Once free of the dock we backed out of the slip and putting the engine in forward I cranked the helm over hard to port to pivot the boat’s bow around to head down the water way between the docks aiming for the harbor entrance. Once clear of the harbor I checked the GPS in order to set a course across the river to avoid the two shallow spots and pick up the channel near the red marker number 11 along the New Bern shore. Motoring along at a leisurely three knots we passed by some of the lovely shore side homes in this quaint historical village. Marina finished securing the fenders and mooring lines and joined me in the cockpit. We briefly held hands smiling at each other in our enjoyment and pleasure at being out on the water again. After passing beneath the bridges I slowed the boat and we hoisted the mizzen sail first and then released the genoa cranking in on its sheet as it began to fill. Turning the engine off the quite pleasure of a wind driven sailboat replaced the rumble from below. Setting the auto helm I tweaked the sail trim a touch and we ghosted along at a modest four knots. There were a few other sailboat out on the water and as many small crab boats tending their pots so traffic was light and I felt no need to do anything other than sail a straight course and relax in the cockpit keeping an eye on the water ahead. Marina went below to make lunch and soon returned topside with two plates that had turkey sandwiches, chips and fruit cups on them. I quickly finished my serving off and chased it with chilled water from the fridge. The weather man had predicted 10 to 20 mile an hour winds but it seemed to be much less than that to me as we barely got above three knots per the GPS. There were a few small clouds in the sky but it was mostly sunny and it felt so very good to have the warmth of sun soaking into my old bones. Thinking that with so little wind it would take a long while to return to the harbor we came about and set the sails up on the other side to head back home. Marina got a cushion and lay down on the starboard cockpit seat with a sigh. “Sailing makes you sleepy doesn’t sweetheart,” I said to her; Marina just hummed a little. We sailed along heading north west with me making slight adjustments to the sail trim to compensate for shifting wind angles, but for the most part it was relaxing in the cockpit keeping an eye out for other boats. Just before getting to the bridge we took in the sails and started up the engine. Marina got busy setting up the mooring lines while I attempted to raise the harbor master on the radio for help docking. I tried a couple of times but failing in that I called on the cell phone and Tom, the harbor master said he was away from the marina so he couldn’t help. No problem, we have done this scores of times so we would just do it on our own. Angling into the slip Marina stepped on to the dock to quickly take a turn around the cleat with the forward spring line as I put the helm over to the right. With the boat snug against the dock we finished tying up and shut off the engine. Because Marina had to get back to Goldsboro we quickly secured the boat by putting away the gear, covering the sails, and shutting off the through hull valves and the electrical panel. I left the shore power disconnected figuring that for a week the solar panels would keep the batteries topped off easily. Marina and I had a pleasant drive home together. All in all it was a perfect day.See More

— with Marina Mayton in New Bern, NC.

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