We met this couple who proudly gave a tour of their Lord Nelson 35, they have lived aboard since last Nov. and plan to go to the Bahamas this November. They recommended going to hear the Bassist at the Sugar Shack Friday night.
Here are most of the BYC boats and their flag. The big boat up front is Bill & Jan's Merlin, a Macintosh 47.
This is Neil & Teresa arriving at the Fulton Harbor entrance on their new Erickson 38 Totom.
Here is the Sugar Shack where the bassist was reported to be one of the top three in the US. I think he was among the top three in Nueces county.
This was our Fulton dock, turned out to be the best place to be.
Mark Hiler took this photo of us from his Catalina 400 Seaflight as he was closing in on us. We were sailing down the Corpus Christi Ship Channel in 15+ knot winds having a great time trying to stay ahead of him.
This is Johnny & Cynthia on their Valient 40 Concerto. We managed to stay just ahead of them all the way back to Corpus after we raised the sails.
This is Mark & Brenda's Catalina 400 Seaflight just after they passed us. Seaflight is lighter and quicker.
This was our best cruise so far since coming to Corpus. We had a great motor sail on Starboard tach all the way to Port A and then a downwind run to Fulton with the South winds. It was 10-15 most of the way but we motored sailed all the way since it was to be a 5-6 hour trip and we did not want to take any longer and miss our time at the Fulton Harbor. It was sunny and about 90 degrees but the wind is still cool here and not hot. We had favorable currents in the ship channel and reached 9 knots with the ebbing tide. Our AIS system worked great as two different Tows hailed us by name well in advance and requested that we take them on the "2" which means to pass Starboard to Starboard. We are sold on AIS and if your going to be traveling in the company of commercial shipping then this is just as essential to have on board as a DSC/VHF radio. We were cautious choosing our exit from the ICW and probably went about a mile to far to turn to Fulton but a couple of items on the chart looked best to avoid. On our return trip we followed the more experienced Concerto across Aransas Bay and they took us on a much shorter course. As we approached Fulton we were instructed to call the Aransas Navigation district by phone to find out our slip assignment on our approach to the entrance. The nice woman on the phone informed us our slip had another boat in it and to just enter the harbor and there would be someone there to direct us. Well there is plenty to get ready as you are entering a unfamiliar harbor. Usually they can tell you in advance if you will have a Port or Starboard tie so you can prepare your approach and your mooring lines. Well the admiral took the helm while I prepared lines for both sides of the boat since we did not know which we would moor to. We found our guy and he directed us to a very narrow slip, we probably had a 2 foot clearance on the width and it would be a windward tie so fortunately there were three guys ready to take lines, Lynn did an awesome job of getting the lines to them quickly and we glided into our slip. One of the dockmen asked if I used a bow thruster. "No Sir, don't have one". Without the help it could have gotten ugly quick though since the winds were piping 15-20. This was the best deal since we left the Pacific Northwest, $30 per night! I went to the Dock Formen's office which was a pickup located at the end of the dock and wrote a check for our stay.
Our neighbor Al who lived aboard their Lord Nelson 35 with his Admiral Sue came over and introduced himself. He stayed and talked awhile and convinced us we needed to go to the Sugar Shack around 9pm that night to see one of the top three Bassist in the United States. We talked about boats and I explained that I thought his boat was a Hans Christian, he explained that the guy who built Lord Nelsons had split from Hans Christian to pursue building boats his way. He took us on a tour and the outside looked like a Hans Christian and the inside woodwork just like a Passport. Definitely a go anywhere blue water boat.
Well the concern Sunday was to get up early and depart for Corpus since the winds would be building and for a lot of us getting out of these narrow slips would be a challenge especially for those of us with the wind right on the beam. A small dock crew of BYC folkes began to assemble to organize and help. Totom was first to go, then Bruce from Elan explained we needed to go help Concerto next, in the meantime Wave Dancer departed as we made our way to Concerto. We came back to our dock where a big Port A sailboat was preparing to leave, it looked like a while before he would be ready so I explained my engine was running and I was ready to go now, so I had 4 guys help us off and we needed all four to get it done safely. As I backed out I tried to keep the nose pointed to the wind but no way I would have to turn, go down the fairway and find a way to turn in the narrow area. Fortunately we naturally ended up on the port side of the Fairway and I can turn the boat in it's length as long as I am turning to Starboard so it all worked out perfect and we were on our way back into Aransas Bay with the rest of the BYC Armada. I put the main up before we left the harbor and increased the RPM to catch up with Concerto. I figured by following Concerto I would learn some local knowledge about navigating this bay & I was absolutely correct. Concerto lead us on a much shorter course than the one we came in on. The winds were still out of the South so we would be motor sailing till we got to the turn to the West in Port A. I like to run our Yanmar at least 2000 rpm since it is best to keep a load on a diesel and not run them at low rpms. However Concerto was running slower than I preferred but I thought it best to continue to follow and learn from him so I knocked the rpms down to 1400. There was no tow/barge traffic today which we thought was unusual for this part of the ICW, it was Sunday though. Just as we neared the end of the Lydia Anne channel, Concerto started putting out their headsail, I had noticed he had accelerated ahead a bit as we neared the turn. Well it was not quite yet time to put out the headsail for us so I upped the rpm & closed the Gap. Just before we made our turn I rolled about about 100% of our 130 genoa. The Admiral went down below and set the switches so I could turn off the engine and we were just behind Concerto. I was unaware but Seaflight was coming up from behind. The sails filled and we were off down the Channel. We slowly passed Concerto, the winds were a bit gusty & I had to mind the mainsheet to keep from being overpowered. Seaflight was now just behind us & I hailed him on the VHF and asked him to take a few pics of us since we did not have any of WS under sail. We got a few of him as well. Seaflight then took the Port side of the channel just as a tanker was approaching, we and Cocerto held our course on the Starboard side passing the ship properly in the channel, We both lost our wind for a while while the tanker passed and slowed to just a couple of knots, Seaflight however gained quite a bit as he passed to windward and there was no hope in catching him now. We were soon out into the open bay with nothing to obstruct the winds. I had to sheet out the main a bit more and we romped along around 7 knots on a close reach. As we were nearing Corpus I was thinking that this had been the best sail so far since coming to Corpus. It may have been the friends sailing along with us, getting to know our little ship better and being able to relax more, or just the whole cruise thing. Probably all that together. The Admiral & I now have our arrival routine down and barely have to say a word as we prepare to come through the gap into the Corpus Marina, put the sails away and motor to our slip. We used to look for help on the dock but it is not necessary anymore. It is nice when someone is there to hand a line to but we have it down now.