A compilation of sailing clips taken over several days. A cold north wind made for some blustery conditions at first, then calmed down as the front moved through.
Really lovely stuff, marsh sailing.
If you watch to the end, there’s an explanation of how I smashed the stem nose back in October at the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival in Saint Michaels. I still haven’t quite got over a wave of nervousness when trying to sail and take photos at the same time.
Surprised it took this long to have a mishap, but definitely shifts the balance from taking photos back to more attention to sailing.
Melsoneeds are designed for these marshes. Even with me aboard, both Aeon and Ceasura will float free in just 3 inches of water, and can sail in 6 with the board up. This place is their playground.
Even so, I got stuck on three separate occasions. Mostly due to inattention. Tacking right up to the grass at the edge of a creek, the boat would slow a little. Then, the centerboard deep in the mud, she would decline to come about. We’d get blown into the marsh grass. Looking behind I could see the graceful path cut through the mud by the centerboard, like a finger through chocolate pudding. Raise the board, push off with an oar, and away again.
I sail into the marsh, alone or with others, five times in 7 days. The camera only came out a couple of times, though, and only once when the wind was up. I’m still gun shy from a little mishap in St. Michaels, soon explained, when I should have paid more attention to sailing and less to taking pictures. So I only have a few photos. Video is coming.
But this I can tell you: There’s nothing like hissing through a salt marsh creek on a fresh breeze in a pretty little wooden boat – tall grass rushing by on both sides, past duck blinds and oyster bars, bow wave giggling along the rails.
Or gliding along at sunset, silent as a cloud, and rounding a bend into a flock of hidden ducks. The sudden explosive thunder of flapping wings and cackling calls sets your heart pounding.
Everything west of the island is wetlands – half sea of grass, half open water barely a foot deep, a 4000 acre living mirror of the sun. Every single stalk of spartina, rooted in black mud, refracts light like a prism. Luminous green, orange, yellow, russet, gold. The whole marsh changes color with a shift in the wind, passing of a cloud, the slow arc of the sun, like the wave of a wand.