postcards from the road
Pete Peters at the helm of Obadiah.
Beautiful early spring day, in beautiful country, with beautiful boats.
Video from the weekend in Mobjack, Virginia. A mix of drone footage, shots ashore, and on board a handmade rowboat and a William Garden Eel.
A couple of Coquinas, a Marsh Cat, a Melonseed, and a flock of Caledonia Yawls. Perfect boats for these shallow waters.
Due west of Winter Harbor is the East River, also in Mathews County, near the little village of Mobjack. Just off a bay by the same name. The Old Bay Club gathered there last weekend for the season kickoff.
Not sure I could go at all, not even taking a boat, I got to the water mid-afternoon as the fleet was coming back from a day of sailing.
A small creek runs inland along the shore, making a safe harbor perfect for shallow water boats. The mouth of the creek forms a narrow neck with calm water inside.
The land and homes along this shore once belonged to one extended family. At the neck the creek was once spanned by a boardwalk, so you could stroll between houses for visiting, or walk to the village for church. Posts from the boardwalk still remain, and block the entrance like a portcullis. This keeps out the big boats; but again not a problem for little boats, which slip in between them to safety inside. They cruise through the gate like scouts on horseback riding into to a fort.
They got the boats settled for the night. A few anchored out. Most camped ashore.
By evening there is a fire going, lots of food and drink. It’s till cold here. The wind off the water is around 50 degrees and dropping. I stay by the fire, a compulsive fire poker to stay warm. Frogmore Stew a la Low Country feels good in the hand and in the belly.
(This is a post started last August; am just getting back to it.)
It will take nearly four hours of driving to get there, to get where the boat is, a boat built by hand in the loft of an old barn. We head out at sunrise while there’s still dew on the grass.
We don’t go east toward the coast, though, where most boats and builders of them live. Instead, we turn and go the other direction – to the southwest into the mountains. Instead of the land of crabs and oysters and skipjacks, we’re going deep into coal and bluegrass and moonshine country.
After 200 miles of driving we’ll still be in Virginia, though just barely. From south of Fries it’s just 10 miles as the crow flies to the Carolina line, and 20 to Mount Rogers, the highest peak in Virginia. This is where Marvin Spencer, proprietor and master craftsman of Brush Creek Yachts, lives and builds boats.
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.
postcards from the road
Last post from the Kinsale trip. Eight boats down the Yeocomico River. Crabbers, oyster farming operations, grain silos loading grain at a dockside depot, and fine weather.
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.