Night sailing has always been one of my favorite things. It feels quiet, eerie, peaceful, dangerous, thoughtful, exciting, comforting and mysterious all at the same time. It’s like that old drill of sailing with eyes closed, only the blinders don’t come off. The sounds are more intense. The boat feels like it is going very fast and the waves seem to pop up out of no where.
We took Insomnia out for a little spin after sunset last night for a cruise down the Elizabeth River in Norfolk past the Naval Station. Very light traffic on the river: only the Spirit of Norfolk doing some drill with the Coast Guard, a tug pushing a barge and a lot of helicopters and AWACs buzzing overhead. And the Navy patrol boat making sure I kept a distance from the warships lined up along the piers in Norfolk.
Very pleasant night out with about 10 knots and one little burst right after dark with a temperature gradient. Things settled down quickly after that. Trying to visualize the trip ahead and recalling all of the intense night sailing I have done up and down the Chesapeake Bay. Especially on the Laser. Two years ago, I was sailing up the Bay on July 3 and watched about 20 fireworks displays from every shoreline town within eyesight. Must have been Saturday or Sunday. Then nature’s light show kicked in as the bioluminescent marine life turned my wake to bright green for hours.
Looking forward to the challenge ahead, and thanks to the sponsors who are helping make it happen, Shoreline Sailboats of Avon, N.Y. who are providing the boat. McMurdo who are providing the safety and emergency alert gear. Gill, who are providing all of the clothing that will keep me safe during the journey. And Magellan, which provided the GPS navigation system.