Showing posts with label sailing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sailing. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


A lovely home built gaffer tied up at Town Dock today. Nicely rigged, complete with baggywrinkle.  The owner says he has sailed her 23,000 miles.

If I can ever figure out how to upload from my iphone, I'll put up a photo. Here it is.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Appeasement in Oriental?

There were some curious aspects to last night's meeting of the Oriental Town Board.

1. Although many members of the public attended, apparently hoping to learn more about South Avenue property negotiations, only two members of the public commented during the comment period. Neither appeared to be enthusiastic supporters of the proposal as it apparently exists. Grace Evans reminded the Board that back in the 1980's when she served on the Board, the Board adopted a policy not to transfer any more street ends to private ownership.

2. Perhaps one of the reasons more members of the public did not speak is that the proposal received from Mr. Fulcher has never been introduced at a business meeting of the Town Board nor was it tabled at Tuesday's meeting. Neither has it been posted on the Town's official web site. Following the public comment period, the mayor gave an exposition of his views of the issue, but there was no explanation of the procedure to be followed in considering the proposal, and the facts provided were sketchy at best.

3. Comments by the mayor and a few by members of the board seemed to constitute a discussion, but No Motion Had Been Made. There should be no discussion without a motion. The board did vote on a motion to go into closed session to deliberate on negotiating strategy. But we still have no official introduction of the matter to be negotiated.

4. Most curious, the mayor spent about fifteen minutes (I didn't time it) explaining that an important benefit of the proposal is the intangible benefit of improved relations with the Fulchers and the Henrys. He implied that a history of strained relations between the Town and Mr. Fulcher and the Town and Mr. Henry was caused by the Town Board's insensitivity to the concerns of both families.

I think it is a mistake to personalize policy disagreements. It is the duty of the Town Board, acting as our governing body, to protect and defend the long term interests of the residents, acting in accordance with state law. To that end, the Town has adopted a zoning ordinance (GMO) and has accepted responsibility for public rights of way established under North Carolina law. These laws apply to everyone in the town. Equally.

I wasn't here at the beginning of policy conflict between the Town of Oriental and Mr. Fulcher or the conflict over right-of-way law with Mr. Henry. But I have read the files. The conflicts weren't personal - they were business.

Both Mr. Fulcher and Mr. Henry have been successful businessmen. There was a time when businessmen were seen as "hard-nosed," meaning rational in action, making decisions on the basis of cold, hard fact. And on the basis of both personal and business interests. It would be good for the Town Board to assume this is still true.

I hope the Town Board will pursue negotiations concerning South Avenue in the same spirit - that is, in a rational effort to pursue the best long-term interests of the citizens of Oriental, protecting public access and use of the water.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Annual Migration

Sat on the porch of the Village Gallery yesterday afternoon overlooking Oriental harbor. A steady stream of boats, some sporting Canadian ensigns, but all with northern hailing ports, entered the harbor for the night.

The annual migration of those seeking warmer climes has begun.

Welcome to Oriental.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Effluent Issues

Whenever cruising sailors get together, the conversation eventually touches on holding tanks and pumpouts.

Last week an old friend and his wife stopped by on the way north from cruising in Florida. They were accompanied by two other couples and their boats returning to the Patuxent River. The inevitable subject came up. They complained that there are very few pumpout stations available for transient vessels in North Carolina waters.

This is a serious problem for cruising sailors.

It may also represent an opportunity.

Our friends were confident that cruising boats would drop into Oriental if they knew there was a readily available municipal pumpout facility.

17,000 boats go up and down the ICW every year.

A lot of potential visitors to Oriental and customers for our businesses.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Two Kinds of People

Long ago I concluded there are two kinds of people in the world: sail boaters and power boaters.

You may complain that not everyone owns a boat.

That misses the point. It is a question of attitude, not platform.

Sail boaters are always alert to the world around them. What is the wind doing? What will it do? Which way is the current moving? Sailors don't just analyze the surface of things. They want to know what's under the surface. There may be unseen obstacles.

Sailors know how to reach their goal by indirection. If the destination is upwind, change course back and forth (tack) to reach the goal. It might take a bit longer, but it works. They trim their sails to make the boat go faster, and sometimes to operate more efficiently.

Most of all, sailors know that every destination is just a way station toward another destination, not the end of a voyage. It's about the going, not the getting there.

To be sure, there are people who own and operate power boats who think along the same lines. I say they are really sailors at heart. Many of them own trawlers.

But if you hear someone express disdain for tacking and trimming sails, that person is a power boater. Especially if they just want to aim the pointy end in a particular direction and push the throttle all the way forward.

There's room in the world for both kinds.

As my fellow Oklahoman, Will Rogers observed:

A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sail Training: Building for the Future

One of the most heartening community efforts in recent years has been the building by local craftsmen of a sail training fleet of Optimist Prams. They built them the old fashioned way - out of wood.

Since then, each summer, residents of Oriental have been blessed with the sight of young sailors being introduced to the sport at the foot of Midyette Street.

We have Jim Edwards to thank for the concept and for establishing the training program.

It is good for Oriental because it livens our waterfront, brings families to Oriental, and trains the future generation of sailors. If we want to continue to be the sailing capitol of North Carolina, we need new sailors.

Jim wants to build a permanent sail training center and associated marina near the foot of Midyette Street. I have seen the proposal. It is a great plan and will be great for Oriental. It merits our support.

The proposed plan has been withdrawn, at least for now.