Sunday, May 3, 2009
Life is good on a sailing and surfing trip to Cape Lookout, NC
Life is good On One Extremely Loaded San Juan 23 Sailboat In Search of Great Wind and Surf!
We decided to take our spring, surfing trip to Cape Lookout, NC the week after Christmas. When I say we, I mean four men, all gear junkies, all well into adult years, and all eager to try old hobbies with a new twist. The new twist is a 23’ sailboat used as a platform to transport gear and to provide shelter for a surfing/kayaking trip to the Cape Lookout National Seashore. How much gear and how many people can a San Juan 23 sailboat comfortably and safely handle? The key point to really visualize is the smallness of the boat and the massive amounts of gear and crew. Loading for both safety and comfort would be the primary challenge for this trip.
The plan actually started with three guys, two kayaks, one surfboard, and one dingy loaded on a trailerable, San Juan 23 sailboat, Willie Juan. The San Juan 23 is perfect for the coastal waters of NC because the centerboard retracts into a stub keel so you have the choice of a 2’ foot draft or a 5’ draft. Considering the number of times we ran aground during this trip, the retractable centerboard was a lifesaver. At the last minute a fourth friend decided to tag along. I must admit I was worried about space; however, we are all used to “roughing it” so we divided the cabin space into quarters and started a strict policy of space management.
Taking the toys along on a sailing trip can be a challenge. Space is always tight and securing gear so the boat is safe and functional is almost an art form. We secured two Liquid Logic kayaks at the bow. This was easy considering their small size. The 9’ surfboard was secured to the lifelines on the starboard side just forward of the beam. Any available line or surface that could take a clip was used as a clothesline for drying gear and clothing. We also had our fair share of electronics and camping gear. This turned out to be a piece of good fortune because the San Juan’s house batteries decided to fail quickly into the trip. Fortunately we had several handheld GPS units, VHF radios, a laptop for weather reports and movies, and Ipods for good tunes. With a small dingy in tow, we departed Beaufort, NC. By 4pm we were motoring against a strong ebb tide along Taylor’s Creek. I couldn’t even guess the boat’s displacement; however, I can assure you the 9.9hp motor didn’t push the boat with the same level of “humph” that I am used to.
To be continued...