Chickahominy Sunset Sail


Beautiful early autumn days here now, four in a row. We’ve spent them preparing for Winter. One day it was masks and hazmat suits, adding another 8 inch blanket of insulation in the attic. Nasty, dirty, miserable work. The next day, also beautiful, was loading, hauling, unloading, then stacking just over 3 tons of firewood under the porch roof next to the house. We’ll get at least one more ton before we’re done, and the dry wood will be all gone. Sore this morning.

Today was another heartbreakingly beautiful day, and each time I went out to do more chores little voices kept calling for us to come out and play, like Sirens. I wasn’t tied to a mast, so couldn’t resist.

About mid-afternoon I headed east with Aeon in tow, picked up Amanda in Richmond and in an hour we were rigging up on the ramp at one of my favorite spots – the mouth of the Chickahominy. I’ve never sailed from there, but have been there many times, and have much history with the place. Terri and I checked out the launch site last Spring, and I was anxious to try it.



The sun was already getting low when we hit the water. Winds had been light and steady all day, but were fading fast with the sun. I opted to try out the topsail for the first time, and it worked out very, very well. Still fiddling a bit with the rigging details, but for a first time it was an great success.



What a beautiful spot. Cypress trees line the shore and their knobby knees buttress the banks. Some stand well out in the water like sentinels in the middle of the channel.

Pulling away from the dock, a Bald Eagle swooped down and snatched the carcass of a cleaned fish from the surface and made for the tree line, a gull giving chase. Kingfishers zigzagged across the river. Great Blue Herons, and White, lifted over and settled back down into the marsh, a very slow game of hopscotch.

No frost yet, but the marshes have already lost their color, going from electric green to dun and taupe, like deer hides. I handed Amanda the camera, and she took most of the photos.



















Sailing close to the marsh edge, with the sun low, our shadow rippled across the sedge and pickerel and cow lily. The moon rose over the treetops.  A little bit of video here:



Youtube Link


With the last bit of sun, and the last bit of wind, we coasted up to the dock and hauled out. Geese honked, heading south. Big flocks of starling and grackle swirled overhead, nervous, looking for a place to roost before dark.






Can’t wait to go back.








7 Replies to “Chickahominy Sunset Sail”

  1. The Slip Jig video was quite fun, and rather exciting, to shoot. Kevin is an excellent sailor, so it was nice to sit back (ok, lean back) and watch him work. He makes it look easy. Am wondering how long it will be before I’m foolish enough to try the Melonseeds in those conditions.

  2. Barry,
    That was a beautiful video — I especially loved the shadow of the sail moving along the marsh grass. Beautiful boat, beautiful light, long shadows…and…peace. Thanks for that.


    1. It was very peaceful. I go back and watch repeatedly just for that. Something about gliding along magically, with no wind and no sound.

      And they DO look tall with the topsails up. I’m very curious to see photos taken from shore. Have no idea what they really look like in action. All I know is they work quite well, and am glad of it.

  3. I especially liked being a “passenger” for about three & a half minutes, gliding along effortlessly, serenely, almost silently. It was a breath of “fresh air” compared to most of the videos seen on Youtube.

    In my vision, the “entertainment” was the shadow of the top of the sail creating a small “animal“ at the shoreline.

    It’s as if the “animal” was paralleling (shadowing?) our track as we breeze along the water. I found it imaginative & neat. Your photos exemplified the beauty of being in the bountiful arms of Mother Nature.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *