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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
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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.”

ofpmf 2015
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.

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Posted Friday November 6, 2015 by Ben Casey

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