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Lots of boats come to Oriental, some tie up at the Town Dock for a night or two, others drop anchor in the harbor for a while. If you've spent any time on the water you know that every boat has a story. The Shipping News on TownDock.net brings you the stories of the boats that have visited recently.

Sail Magazine ICW Rally In Oriental
1st time visit to Oriental for many new cruisers
November 6, 2015

S
ail Magazine’s 2nd Annual ICW Rally docked at Oriental for the Halloween weekend. The Rally is geared to new cruisers, giving them a guided cruising experience on the ICW.

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The dog posed, but did not agree to an interview.

TownDock.net walked the docks and met many of the sailors – and their dogs – who spent a few days – October 30-November 1 – in Oriental with SAIL’s ICW Rally.

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Calm waters greeted boaters the morning after Halloween.

Ecola 2, a 34-foot catamaran from Littleton, New Hampshire, was actually a moving van for Jayne and Richard Johns. They were using this cruise to move to the west coast of Florida and set up a new homestead away from Northeast snows. Their house on land had sold; they were riding their floating home to find a new land-based home on Florida soil.

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Does this poodle want to move to Florida?
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As her Standard Poodle pondered the move to Florida, Jayne Johns relaxed with her needlepoint.

For Tom Jeffery and his wife Mary this was not their first time sailing south. They’ve done it for two other autumns, on a deeper draft boat than the 41-foot SP Cruiser they are taking on this rally. The Flossie B was designed for shallow waters such as those of the ICW. With “only a 3 ft. 9 inch draft with this boat,” says Tom, “it is really comfortable.”

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Tom, Sadie & Mary Jeffery on the deck of Flossie B. Mary was an elementary school teacher while Tom owned an IT company that provided services to major retailers. “Target was one of my clients,” he said, “but their trouble didn’t happen on my watch.”

They did encounter some discomfort on the trip from New England to Hampton, VA which was the starting point of the Sail magazine ICW Cruise. Weather associated with Hurricane Joaquin held them up for 8 days, and they had to hurry to get to southern Virginia for the rally’s start.

From the sound of things, as they spoke in Oriental of thee trip so far, it was worth it. This was the Jefferys’ first time through the Dismal Swamp Canal because on previous trips south with a deep-draft boat, they had taken another route. “We really were glad to be able to see the canal and meet Robert Peak, the lock master at the Little Creek lock..”

‘We met the Rose Buddies in Elizabeth City. After Elizabeth City, Melvin Bullock from the original Platters did a concert for us at Dowery Creek Marina. That was a lot of fun. They put on a southern style barbecue for us.”

After reaching St. Augustine, the end point of this rally, Mary and Tom will point the Flossie B farther south, to Key Largo, where their 3 children plan to join them for Christmas. After that, they aim to sail either the west coast of Florida or the Bahamas.

“When winter is over, we may leave our boat in Georgia or the Carolinas, go back north for the summer and sail our other boat, then just come back to this boat next fall.”

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Donna Schlachman was traveling with her husband, Rob Becker, aboard Kinship, ae Hunter 380. She was recovering from Halloween night on Sunday morning with a time out for Tai’ chi. She and Bob live 6 miles from the ocean in Seacoast, New Hampshire, not far from Exeter, home of the famed Exeter Academy. Like many from New Hampshire, they keep their boat in Maine.

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Donna Schlachman took advantage of being in port for Tai Chi exercises.
She said, “New Hampshire has only 18 miles of coast, but Maine has about 4,000 miles of beautiful coastline marked by granite cliffs. They do have more lobster pots than you have crab pots but the big deal in Maine is the rocky coast. They say if you have not hit a rock sailing off Maine, you have not sailed off Maine’s coast.”

George and Anne Golensky are from Monroe, Connecticut, 12 miles from Bridgeport, 6 miles from the ocean. This is their first journey this far south. They hired a captain to help them make it to Hampton for the start of this rally. George is a retired pathologist; Anne is a retied occupational therapist.

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Eight year sailing veterans, but novices to southern sailing, George and Anne Golensky on their Tartan 3700.
Following what is common to many making this trip, their house is on the market back in Connecticut as they plan to look for a new home in Florida. “We plan to leave the boat in Florida after January and return to Connecticut for the spring to be there when our house will hopefully sell.”

“When our house sells, we will come back and sail the keys and the Bahamas. We’ll live on the boat while we look for a permanent residence. We don’t have a time frame for that. We could live on the boat for a few months or a few years.”

George noted their first “adventure” was in the Dismal Swamp Canal. “We hit some logs in dismal swamp; there seem to be a lot of logs there as we felt the bumps. We had another challenge at the Wilkerson Bridge. Our mast is 62 ft 4 inches, close to 65 with antenna and wind indicator. I actually climbed up to take that down when we went under that bridge. Other than that, no surprises.”

“The Dismal Swamp Canal was a little more narrow than I thought it would be. It’s like a small road and has a smaller channel than we expected, but it was picturesque.”

George said they had taken in Oriental on foot: “We been walking around Oriental, the riverfront, all the way to Deaton’s. We really like it here. The waterfront is beautiful. We have enjoyed going to the coffee Bean for coffee and to the marine store (Inland Waterway Provision Co).”

“I think Oriental houses are well maintained and everyone is extremely friendly. Everyone knows everybody,” said Anne. George echoed her; “It’s just a picturesque town with beautiful churches like the Methodist Church. The houses and the churches have a manicured look.”

Not a long time sailor, George described why they sail instead of adopting other recreational habits. “We like the fact that we can use the power of wind to get places instead of using a lot of energy. It’s nice to sail quietly with no engine, the wind pushing you along.” Anne said, “It makes us feel we are in touch with nature.”

George added, “Sailing makes us be really in touch with the wind and the weather. That keeps us aware of the surroundings. And sailing, we are in no big hurry, we accept the fact that we are moving slowly.”

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A left-over spooky sky from Halloween draped the Oriental Harbor Sunday evening as daylight, by the clock, was one hour less on Sunday.

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Dwayne Boettcher and Carla Meister sail a Catalina 38, Foreign Affair. the name came with the boat and they’re of the mind that one should not change a boat’s name. A death in her family kept Carla from being on board when the boat sailed into Oriental Janet Boettcher, Dwayne’s sister-in-law, was standing in for Carla.

“I started sailing when I was 12.” says Dwayne. ‘When I was 16, I traded in the tiller for a set of car keys.

Dwayne put in a 20 year career in the US Army followed by 20 years as a business Manager for the University of Kansas Medical Center, KUMC , before sharing car keys with a tiller. At KUMC he met Carla who worked as a grant writer for a group of physicians conducting genetics research.

So what made him give up the car keys for a tiller again?

“I got back on the water 8 years ago when Carla and I went on Janet’s daughter’s honeymoon cruise.” In St. Martin, passengers on the cruise ship had a chance to crew on 2 12-meter vessels retired from racing in the Americas Cup in the 60s and 70s — the Stars and Stripes and Canada.

“I just told Carla we were going sailing for a half-day on a famous yacht. As it turned out, 24 from the cruise ship signed up. The man in charge directed all the US citizens to line up by the Stars and Stripes. There were 10 of us. He then asked who among the rest would be wiling to sail with the Americans. A German couple volunteered.”

“Then the man said, “‘Okay, it’s the Americans on Stars and Stripes and the rest of the world on Canada. Remember, Canada has no enemies.’”

This was Carla’s first sailing experience and she loved it.

Back in Kansas City a while later, Dwayne was talking with a friend about his return to sailing while in St Martin. “He said he sailed but I wondered where because I had not seen any lakes near Kansas City that were not full of tree stumps. He told us where there was a good lake.”

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Dwayne Boettcher and his sister-in-law, Janet Boettcher check their sail cover as Halloween Eve approached.

“I told Carla we were going to buy a sailboat. She pictured something like the Stars and Stripes, but she had a reality check when I bought our new 20 ft C-Scow, a racer.” It was cat-rigged with one big sail.

“Her name was Illusion and we raced her for 8 years, up till this spring. She got to the point that she was too demanding for the both of us. I had a hip replacement and Carla’s knee was not able to do its job.”

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Dwayne Boettcher and his girlfriend Carla in their C-Scow on a lake in Kansas. Contributed photo.

Retirement came this past year. They donated Illusion to a sailing association and launched their Catalina in Bear, Delaware this past April. “We have been living on board this boat since then, sailing on the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays.”

They had decided to go south to Florida and the Gulf states for the winter. They had heard about SAIL running the ICW cruise last year for the first time. “It looked like fun to us so we decided to do it this year.”

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Dwayne Boettcher keeps in touch with the celebrations in Kansas city after the Royals won the world Series.

So far, on this rally, says Dwayne, “Hampton was a highlight. There were so many things going on there, the navy yard, museums, places to go and things to do. Hampton was very friendly and welcoming to this sailing group.”

Janet said a favorite was Melvin Bullock of the original Platters at Dowery Creek.

The Dismal Swamp Canal was interesting, he says, but he preferred the theAlligator-Pungo Canal, with its more varied scenery – cord grass on one side, cypress and loblolly on the other. “I liked them both but I even thought the name Alligator-Pungo was more interesting.”

As for Oriental, he says, “This is a super place. We had heard about Oriental from other sailors.” He cites the welcome given to sailors and powerboaters alike.

The town, he says, seems to be living up to old traditions. “I see work boats and 2 fish houses. On the Chesapeake, there is a town that once had 50 seafood processing plants and now there are only two there.” The oyster catch there is 5% of what it was 50 years ago.

“Oriental still seems to have small independent businesses, even though we did see the Wal Mart graffiti. That’s the way the world is changing, but this is a town that is still not homogenized so that everything looks like everything else.”

“When we were in Wal Mart, Janet talked with another customer as she stopped to look for a Halloween costume to wear. Later, that customer passed us when we were loaded with grocery bags walking back to the harbor from Wal Mart. She stopped and gave us a ride back to the boat.”

“We are planning to come back here in the spring. Carla has not been here, but she has kept up with our blogs. She said this looks like a pretty place and she wants to see it. ”

Also on Dwayne and Carla’s bucket list is the Great Loop, the East Coast, and the Gulf Coast to the Mississippi, up the Mississippi, up to the Great Lakes and back to the East Coast. Next, they might sell this boat and try living in Europe for a couple of years.

“For right now, we will sail.”

Rounding out some of the unusual agendas of sailors on this trip is a dream for Curt Nilles and Melba Cober on a 26-ft MacGregor.

Curt is a retired maintenance mechanic and Melba is a retired nurse. The couple heard about this trip last year, thought it would be fun, so here they are.

They figure that since they had sailed the West Coast, the North Coast, (The Great Lakes), and with this trip will sail the East Coast, all they have to do when they get to Florida is sail around to the gulf and then sail the South Coast. Therefore, they will have sailed all four American coastlines.

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Sailing all four American coastlines is their dream. The English interpretation of their boat’s name, Il Nostro Sogno fits them perfectly, This Dream of Ours.

Hailing from Idaho, the crew says their boat takes them across land and sea. They can trailer it with their pick-up. When they want to travel by land from one body of water to another, they can stay in their boat when they park in an RV park. Once reaching water, they park the truck and as they did here take the boat on a journey.

Above are just a few stories from sailors during the visit of the Sail Magazine ICW Rally to Oriental, Oct 30 – Nov 1, 2015.

Posted Friday November 6, 2015 by Ben Casey


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