Here on the East Coast, as many may know, the weather has really sucked so far this year. Last weekend when we finally had a bit of nice weather Teresa suggested we take the boat out for a bit. Who am I to argue with taking a break and getting out of the slip, besides I wanted to move the boat to a new slip and this would be a good opportunity to do just that. We did not have a lot of time but thought we could head out for a late afternoon/sunset cruise so to speak. As the wind was light we thought we could cook out while underway. As it turned out a friend of ours was free and bored so I invited her along as well.


Sailing on the Cape Fear River is not great but it can be fun for a quick sail and when the time is limited, all we can do. Most of the time we can only sail in one direction or the other as there is no real tacking room and of course the wind will only blow up and down the river never across. As this afternoon the wind was out of the south we motored south for a bit so that we could sail back up to the marina and end the trip on a nice little sail. After we turned around and started our sail back I heard the Coast Guard announcing on the VHF radio that downtown Wilmington River front would be closed to boat traffic for a period due to the fireworks for Azalea Festival. Well this sounded fun, fire works on the river. Nobody was in a particular rush so we decided to keep going on past the marina and head the few miles downtown for the fireworks.


As we drifted/sailed in a 5 knot breeze under jib alone towards downtown Teresa fixed us a nice dinner of grilled steak and corn on the cob. She also made sure to keep the Mai Tai’s kept flowing which had both her and Songie, our guest, feeling pretty good. Slowly we made our way up river and past downtown where we made a good photo op for those walking the river front. I am sure we made a pretty picture sailing up the river with the sunset behind us.  Once past downtown we had to take in sail due to the pesky bridge that would only open two times a day and this, of course, not being one of those times.

As I started the motor and rolled in the sail I noticed a bit of a harbor of to the side of the river. This is a cut out that is a marina under construction but they have not placed any pilings or docks yet so it was wide open. I thought I would tuck in there and drop the anchor to get out of the river current and any river traffic. This also looked like a good location to view the fireworks. This proved to be a great move because as soon as I dropped the hook and shut down the engine we heard music in the air, good music at that. Teresa pointed out that it must be Wide Spread Panic as they were playing downtown for the Azalea festival. Well now, this was pretty cool, we get a back seat to a Wide Spread Panic concert while watching the fireworks. Although we could not see the band we could hear them very well as the sound bounced off the buildings.


Our short little sunset sail had turned into a really pleasant evening with good company and some unexpected surprises. That is when sailing it as it best when you get those special moments you really did not expect. Sailing and cruising can be filled with many challenging and uncomfortable moments which just serve to make these good moments so much more enjoyable. After all that is why we get out there and sail, to find those moments that can only truly be found by getting out of the slip.

Capt. Wayne




About the author: Capt. Wayne


Boat builder, Sailor, Surveyor, and freelance writer.