News & Events for Chesapeake Bay
Sail to the Sun ICW Rally enters second week
Date Posted: 2015-10-29
Source: Waterway Guide Editor-in-Chief
Waterway Guide’s Sail to the Sun Rally is well on its way to Miami. Led by on-the-water cruising editor Wally Moran, most of the 15 boats left Deltaville, VA on 21 October for points south after a day of briefings and a bon voyage reception hosted by Waterway Guide staff at the Deltaville Maritime Museum. A few of the remaining vessels will join up along the way. Fair winds and stunning October weather welcomed the flotilla as they made their way down Chesapeake Bay for their first stop at Bluewater Yachting Center in Hampton, VA. After passing through Hampton Roads and queuing up for the bridges in Norfolk, the vessels turned right out of the Elizabeth River for a wonderful fall trip through the Dismal Swamp Canal. Boats rafted up at the canal’s welcome center bulkhead and enjoyed a quiet evening.
Following a stop in Elizabeth City on Friday for tours and provisioning, the boats departed in anticipation of another round of receptions and hospitality at Albemarle Plantation on Saturday. The marina there, along with residents of the Plantation and area yacht clubs, hosted a pot luck reception for the rally flotilla and other guests. The weather was picture perfect, highlighted by Spanish moss-laden cypress trees and the tannin-stained water of the Yeopim River. One of the stops on the Albemarle Loop, the Plantation offers a superb golf course, clubhouse, marina and restaurant in one of the most idyllic gated communities along the mid-Atlantic waterway.
The rally arrived in Belhaven, NC a day early to beat a nasty northeastern blow that stirred up the Albemarle Sound. There we were greeted by the staff of River Forest Manor and Marina where we secured slips and anchorages behind the breakwater by mid-afternoon. Belhaven is the “birthplace of the Intracoastal Waterway” and celebrates that distinction every year with a community festival that attracts locals and visitors to the quaint town. River Forest Manor has been a landmark on the ICW since 1947 and began welcoming boaters the same year Waterway Guide was founded. For almost 70 years the manor and marina has been a haven for transient and local yachts. New owners and investors are returning the great house and facilities to its former grandeur. Renovations are in full-swing and the Manor’s River Room played host to yet another reception for the Sail to Sun Rally participants.
Waterway Guide invited local businesses, sponsors and, in the fashion of Southern hospitality, asked other boaters in the marina to attend a grand reception catered by the owners of Spoon River, a local restaurant that has received impressive reviews for its cuisine, wine list and ambience, which is second-to-none. The owners of Spoon River have made a substantial investment to bring great food and service to the town, and they put together a stunning reception to entertain the flotilla and guests. Following that, The Tavern at Jack’s Neck graciously opened on their regularly scheduled night off to accommodate the Rally. The marinas, restaurants and shops make Belhaven a “must-visit.”
Several members of the Waterway Guide staff accompanied the rally, using the opportunity to put the company’s 370 Sea Ray Sundancer through its paces. Leaving the flotilla at Belhaven on Thursday, we made our way north and back to the office to continue work on our new Northern and Great Lake editions of the Waterway Guide. We also are completing our new Cuba Bound guide that will be out soon after the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, which kicks off next week. Hope to see you there!
Special thanks to sponsors and vendors of the Sail to the Sun Rally:
The Deltaville Maritime Museum
The Table at Wilton
Fishing Bay Marina
Deltaville Yachting Center
Dozier’s Regatta Point
Norton Yacht Sales and Marine Services
Bluewater Yachting Center
Dismal Swamp Welcome Center
Elizabeth City Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
Albemarle Plantation and Marina
River Forest Manor and Marina
Town of Belhaven Chamber of Commerce
Spoon River Restaurant
The Tavern at Jack’s Neck
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway Association