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by Bob Throne - Willow Grove, Pennsylbania - USA

Part One - Part Two

2014 Eastern Messabout  @ Elk Neck, MD

The title pretty much sums it up.  There was no one moment that grabbed everyone's attention ... just one fun encounter after another.  This was our fourth year at Elk Neck State Park (eighth overall), and without much publicity or fanfare, and with the cooperation of good sailing weather, about 40 boats and 70 – 80 people gathered for “just messin' about”. After the '11 gathering Steve Bosquette and Tom Maurer had driven out to Sail Oklahoma, the extravaganza Jackie and Mike Monies host.  As a result, '12 saw a “Peeps Scoop”, a “Poker Run”, optional lunch sail to Cabin John Creek, and evening “Talk-abouts”. A registration table, name tags, prizes,  etc., etc., etc.  Search on Duckworks for the whole story.  We cut back in '13, happy to hear about cruising and raids in Europe from Norm Wolfe, but mostly just enjoying the sailing, the outdoors and each other’s boats.

For 2014, after a couple of brunch deliberations, the ad hoc admirals wised up to the fact that folks mostly like to 'just messabout'. And so the “plan” was just to have the pot luck cook-outs Friday and Saturday and invite small boating raconteur Chuck Leinweber to do a talk-about.  The pot lucks were popular as usual, thanks to Eric Hughes, Paul Moffitt, several helpers and many delicious contributions.  But Chuck got stuck by stormy weather passing through Atlanta, and after a 10 hours of trying to find alternate flights into Philadelphia, gave us a rain check and headed back to Texas to help prepare the now infamous Texas 200 'Duck fleet.

After a false start Thursday waiting for Chuck,  Paul and Bill Moffitt (and Darcy) arrived early Friday and by the time I arrived mid-morning there was a sparkling sun, a fresh breeze and a dozen sails gracing the Elk River just up from the confluence with the Chesapeake.  This year we opted to spread out on the longer stretch of beach just beyond the stone break-water.  '13 saw us crowded on the grass next to the ramp and dock (and one loquacious ranger got a little officious with us). The extra room this year made for easy beaching and picnicking without other visitors walking through.  It was easy to see us and find us ... it's just a short walk on the path behind the jetty or sail over from the ramp.

There was lots of room on the longer stretch of beach. Margaret Truzkowski greets everyone  and watches out for her clan.  Looking NW here.

This is the view from the path to the SE beach beyond the jetty.
There is a little convenience shop just above the dock (looking E here).

As people and boats kept arriving Eric Hughes pulled in in his lovely mini-tug, (upper right) bringing free hotdogs and fixin's.  All kinds of boats seen!

One of the most pleasing aspects of the Eastern Messabout is the variety of boats that show up … many dinks and day-sailors, a sailing canoe, a skin-on-frame, a few small pocket cruisers, a couple production boats.  I don't have many designs  and builders identified, but folks can please chime in on the Duckworks Forum or our Eastern Messabout Yahoo Forum or Facebook page.  Equally satisfying was the presence of several families and boater's neighbors, including at least two families (Truszkowski's and Moffitt's) covering three generations.  A couple of playful dogs, too. Spreading out on the larger beach was a good idea.

Yes, I got some time on the water with my Wanderer and it's 150sf balanced lug and twin shoal keels.  A long sail with Steve Bosquette served to trim the balance, and I was very happy to be able touch the beach with the bow as I came in. Later Steve took it out while I sailed with Norm Wolfe and found it happy without the mizzen. I had never seen it from the water in another boat.

My Wanderer with first mate Steve Bosquette aboard ... light air but moving. That's a Core Sound 17 there.  Looking NW up the Elk River Friday afternoon.

Steve solo on Wanderer later Friday. That's a Duckworks burgee.  Looking W.

Many of us got to take the helm of Norm Wolfe's  well sailed 'Normsboat'; a Jim Michalak design.  Simplicity and performance ... and a congenial skipper.

Lots of boats, skippers & families, a sandy beach, bit of shade under the trees. This is just one stretch ... lots of them were out sailing.

Friday evening Paul Moffitt fired up his grill and others laid out the fixins and side dishes for a pot luck.  Delicious.  By this time old friends were getting reacquainted and new folks were welcomed. The shade eases in through the evening, making folks comfortable after a day on the water, in the sun.  Most were camping at the campgrounds.  A few folks sailed over there a mile and anchored out below the sites on the Elk loop; others pulled their boats.  Several campfire bull sessions rounded out the day.

Tom Maurer's site on the Elk Loop – spacious & level, with table and fire ring . Restrooms & hot showers are a short walk.  My bunk room both nights.

Tom's PDR “Water Dancer” and son Vaughn's Wacky Lassie; Paul Moffitt's Paulsboat & Pickup Pram & the CS 17.  Note the barge coming up river.

Tom Maurer captured this shot exploring down river in that PDR.  The new balanced lug has made it a real sailor.  Lots of folks took longer sails.

Paul Moffitt splashed this prototype Michalak Paulsboat here last year.  He and father Bill both went on to sail 'Ducks at the Texas 200 the following week.

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