Went with Doug to help him pick up his new Marsh Cat, waaaaaay down in southwest Virginia. Marvin Spencer, of Brush Creek Yachts, did a beautiful job. I met Marvin many years ago at his shop in Plymouth, North Carolina. He had recently built his first Melonseed, and I had not yet started mine. When Amanda and I were driving back from Ocracoke I asked if we could stop in and have a look. Graciously, he not only said yes, but waited for us well after closing time.
He’s now built 10 Melonseeds, all beautiful, and many other boats, as well. When we went to pick up his latest creation, we invited him to come along for the first test sail, something he says he rarely gets to do.
Big fun, and great, drama-free first launching and sail. More photos and some video to come.
From the first evening. The Sooty Tern and the Marsh Cat playing in light air with the ducks and the geese. At dusk we slid both Melonseeds off the beach at Kinsale, and went for a row on the Yeocomico.
Beautiful evening, capped by the rising full moon.
In 1813, a handful of lightly armed vessels, sent down from defenses at Baltimore, confronted British warships out in the Bay and were cornered here in the Yeocomico. It did not go well.
Morning is clear and warm, with a light steady breeze out of the West. It will be hot today.
Several of the boats are out in the creek already, or working their way downriver. Doug’s new Marsh Cat is not yet finished, so he’s sailing the second Melonseed. From the beach I can see Caesura’s tanbark sail glowing and gliding against the bluegreen treeline in the distance. Then I, too, am off.
The last 60 miles are really rural, all winter wheat and young corn. The last 10 miles especially so – nothing else, just clouds and trees and blue skies. Going out is also going back, way back in time. Kinsale was another steamboat landing on the Chesapeake. The Yeoconimico River is a deep and sheltered harbor, several miles long, with many side tributaries. A village grew up around the comings and goings of the steamboats back in the late 1800’s, and it hasn’t been much else since. The little town must have prospered back then, though. Old storefronts still line what must have been Main Street, just a block long, and a little village square. Well kept houses, stately and demur.
Now a grain depot occupies the old landing, all silos and conveyors, and is doing a brisk business. A barge (there’s only room for one at a time), is pushed up alongside the wharf by a small tug, gets loaded with wheat seven days a week during the harvest, which is in full swing. Trucks lined up on the narrow lane down to the water. The wharf is so small that only one end of the barge can be loaded at a time, tipping lopsided under the weight. When one end is full, they turn the barge around and load the other end.