First Sail

First Sail

Sailing season got off to a great start with a sunset cruise last night on Fayaway.  Any sail out of the Merrimack River begins with motoring out of the river.  There’s some setup involved in this process, and there’s a fair amount of checking out the stream of power boats zooming past you.  Sailing proceeds at a different speed than power boating.  There are benefits to both, but at that moment I wasn’t interested in getting someplace faster.

Approaching the mouth of the Merrimack the channel zig zags sharply.  Best to pay attention to the navigation buoys in this stretch.  Fishermen line the shores of Plum Island and Salisbury Beach fishing for striper and whatever else is biting today.  Seals bob in the current looking us over curiously.  The ride out is long but always different.

Steady winds greeted us out of the mouth of the Merrimack, and we headed north for a run up the coast.  It’s always amazing how far away from your day-to-day you feel when you get out on any body of water.  The Gulf of Maine certainly gives you that feeling.  Today’s sail takes us three miles off the coast of Salisbury, Seabrook and Hampton before we tack and make our way back towards the river.  A simple sail all things considered.  Nothing overly technical about it, just pleasant conversation and dodging lobster pots.

Just before we tacked for home we saw splashing off to Starboard.  At first we thought perhaps whales, but as we drew closer we saw fish jumping out of the water and splashing down to the surface.  We were looking at dolphins hunting for fish in the rip, and dozens of fish exploding out of the water to escape.  The fish shined silver and gold in the reflection of the setting sun, and indeed looked like the rays of the sun as they arced outward in their attempt to live to see another day.  Always in moments like this I regret not having my camera with me.  These aren’t moments when an iPhone can do the job.

So we sailed back to the Merrimack River, and when the wind finally petered out motored the rest of the way.  The ebbing tide combined with the current from the river made it a slow go coming back in, and the midges were able to make their presence known in swarms.  Thankful for bug spray, sunsets, good friends, a sound boat and another great day on the coast of somewhere beautiful.

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