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by Bob Throne - Willow Grove, Pennsylbania - USA

Part One - Part Two

2014 Eastern Messabout  @ Elk Neck, MD

Saturday saw more folks arrive and the whole day was spent “just messin' about”.  The pictures do a better job portraying things than my narrative.  Lots and lots of sailing ... picnic lunches ... children playing on the beach ...  dogs chasing balls out in the water ... taking turns with each others boats.

Part of the happy scene on the beach at Rogues Harbor, 2014.

All kinds of boats ... beautiful scenery ... and sunny, breezy weather.

This guy had a lot more energy than the rest of us Saturday afternoon.

Family time in a lovely setting.  The Suarez' regulars ... Truszkowski clan.

Not every boat had a sail and all were welcome ... and well used.  Tempting?

Steve Bosquette, who started this all eight or nine years ago, commented that this was the “best ever ... the most pleasurable yet”.  Perhaps most notable was how many folks got out on other skippers boats.  With Norm Wolfe I got to sail another balanced lug for the first time, which helped me know better what to expect from my own.  Aboard Eric's Ranger 21 we heard a “buzz-blurp” as he used his bow thrusters to maneuver in close to another boat.  Never sailed a PDR ? ... never been in a Skin on Frame ?  ... always wanted to try out a Potter?  ... no problem. All you had to do was hint or ask.

With all the sailing and talking and children playing, we got hungry!  So Paul Moffitt fired up his little grill again, someone popped up a table, and dishes appeared!  Supper was taken on picnic blankets, folding chairs and beach logs; families gathered around and new friends settled in by ones side.

There was more sailing after dinner, and as the shadows lengthened we gathered around in a circle to honor the life of Paul Helbert.  Paul had attended our first time at Elk Neck and made many friends, keeping up with several of us afterward.  Sadly, he lost his battle with cancer last year. His ashes have been passed to several of the messabouts he had so cherished, and I was privileged to say a few words before Tom Maurer, a fellow PDR enthusiast, spread a small vial of ashes on the Elk.  A fitting way to remember Paul.

In addition to the sailing reports, you will note the theme of friends, family and sharing in this and previous Eastern Messabout articles.  It seems that this very hands on, figure it out, get out doors hobby of ours attracts and encourages an easy conviviality that often leads to deeper friendship.  And it is clearly a family friendly sensibility.  Most of us find this character as important as all the boating talk.

Children learning to love the water and handle themselves with aplumb!

Ready to sail!  A mobile home park a mile across the Elk.

Tom Maurer offers Paul Helbert's ashes to the waters of the Earth.

Shadows fall across the beach in the evening as people wrap up another day.

With nightfall Saturday a few folks went home, but most adjourned to campsites and campfires. Both nights the Moffitts and Tom Maurer hosted congenial discussions around an inviting fire. A fire is a very ancient invitation to spin a tale.  I'm sure there were a few others, too.   Recounting the days experiences inevitably leads to stories from other adventures.

Sunday morning saw the dawn of another good day, and while  many folks broke camp and headed home, at least a dozen launched and sailed some more. Goodbyes included promises to gather again next year and to keep in touch. In the spirit of the beautiful environment we enjoyed,  folks cleaned up and carried all garbage out. Tom Maurer was good enough to walk the beach with a big bag and see if any possessions had been left.

Watch the 2015 Duckworks Calendar and posting on the several small boating groups for next years dates. Fair winds till then.

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