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  • Chris Skrotsky

Autumn + Boating = Heaven!

Updated: Sep 27, 2022

FHYC members enjoy cruising in the fall. What a relief from the heat!

Autumn is upon us, and our Club is lively and busy. In cooler weather it is more pleasant for cruising Pamlico Sound, making way toward the Chesapeake, and heading out overnight to favorite anchorages nearby. Smaller boats are out at sunset, touring the inner harbour, Upper Broad and Northwest Creeks.

On the first day of the mid-September FHYC Pamlico cruise, three boats anchored in Bonner Bay, which is off the Bay River near the entrance to River Dunes. The boats included Gypsy Cat (Chris Town) Sugar Magnolia (Doug & Kathie King) and Island Girl (Greg & Lorrie Winfrey). After a nice flat-water cruise, anchors were down at the start of a thunderstorm. After the sky cleared, they enjoyed a peaceful night on the hook.

Those three Pamlico Cruisers reported experiencing a great ride to River Forest Marina in Belhaven with warm weather, humidity, and light winds, where they were joined by three more FHYC boats, Sunspot Baby (George & Lynn Stateham) Salt And Light (Ted & Beth Warnock) and Celestial Melody (Doug & Toni Smith). The following day was cooler and less humid, making for a perfect day trip to Bath where the group had dinner at Fish Hooks after a fun pre-dinner splash. On September 15, the cruisers tied up on the beautiful boardwalk in Washington, NC.

Sunfish racing takes place on Sunday afternoons at 2:00 in the inner harbour, with great views from the hillside at Pelican Park. Tuesday afternoon fun racing continues, and Ensign racing is also popular, starting on September 29, sponsored by Blackbeard Sailing Club.

An exceptionally interesting program was delivered at the September 8 general meeting. Members Steve Hustad and Anny Chiu, his wife, related the story of their summer cruise to the Great Lakes. Their 2022 Chevy Silverado pickup towed their 24’ Discovery cruising boat, named Bow Bay (beam 8.5’, weighing 7,000 lbs.) from Fairfield Harbour to cruise all the Great Lakes except Ontario.

Bow Bay is the size of a small camper trailer, with a V berth, table, a petite, equipped galley and a head. Better than a land-based camper, cruising by water is so fabulous you won’t miss campfires and s'mores. Steve and Anny shared lots of fun facts, including this: the cost of trailering the boat at 10 mpg for the Silverado was 5 times lower than cruising the boat at 2 mpg.

Temperatures were delightful with evenings in the 50s and days in the 70s during the months of June and July. Humidity was at a level that North Carolinian’s don’t bother to measure. Some of the highlights of the two-month trip include a full two weeks in Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands (south shore of Lake Superior), Green Bay, Wisconsin, an abandoned mining town of Fayette, Michigan on Big Bay de Noc (south shore of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan), Northern Lake Huron’s Mackinac Island, and Ohio’s South Bass Island (south shore of Lake Erie). Particularly intriguing, grounded aboard South Bass Island, is the Benson Ford Shiphouse, which is a private home overlooking Lake Erie, impressively and imaginatively fashioned to repurpose the superstructure and deck of a salvaged ship.

Steve and Anny have recruited two new neighbors into the Yacht Club and are working on a third. They really enjoyed the new member social last year, making them committed to sponsoring a new member each year, just because that is such a great party. Co-Chair of the FHYC’s Membership Committee, Pam Miller, said that most new members are sponsored by current members who meet them on the water, at a marina or because they are new neighbors. Current members are very persuasive. At this time, membership requirements include ownership of property in Fairfield Harbour and a boat large enough to require North Carolina registration.

The Yacht Club has an unbelievable mix of vessels, from pontoons to ocean-going, sail and power, runabouts, racers, fishing boats, weekenders and live-aboards. Club membership is split, with approximately 1/3 sailboat, 1/3 power boat, and 1/3 previous boaters who no longer own a boat. Members remain in the club after they sell their boats because of long-term friendships and because of the social aspect, with dinners, splashes, socials, and picnics in addition to community service projects. These gatherings also help in sharing experiences across the spectrum of boaters, because while there are some boats that are alike, no two boaters are, and everyone has a unique sea story.

New members are made welcome with all sorts of electronic communications, newsletters, announcements, meetings, committee activity and practical seminars. Active sponsors help introduce new members to others with similar interests, tapping into the collective experiences and local knowledge which members are happy to discuss.

The club has remained vibrant since inception in 1984, when a group of boaters, all new to Fairfield Harbour, gathered for a “splash.” A splash is any BYO-based gathering of FHYC boaters in a group larger than 3. Over the years, the group’s size and activities have changed, while the base of friendships remains strong. Barb Robinson is the 37th club commodore. Next month, our 38th commodore will be nominated, and the annual FHYC cycle will recommence in 2023.

For membership information about the Fairfield Harbour Yacht Club, please contact Pam Miller or Paula Phipps.

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