Cap'n Tom and the Flying Scot

Flying Scot - Bogue Sound - Camp Morehead - All Day Sail


Some of you who have read previous blog posts or the About section of our website may know that my love of sailing began when I was 13-years old as a camper at Camp Morehead by the Sea, a sailing camp located on Bogue Sound in Morehead City, NC.

The first day that I was at camp, after my parents had dropped me off in the morning, I barely waved goodbye and didn’t look back but headed straight for the 1,200-foot dock and the sparkling waters of “The Crystal Coast.” I had been assigned to go on a Flying Scot with Cap'n Tom Lambeth. As I stood on the pier, lifejacket in hand, I tried to remember – was it Cap'n Scott and a Flying Tom? Was Flying Scott the name of the counselor? Was Cap'n Tom the name of the boat? As a total sailing newbie, I just didn’t have a clew. (Yucka yucka yucka!)

Anyway, Cap'n Tom strolled up to where I was with a handful of other young campers, introduced himself, and said he was going to go get the boat – the Flying Scot – that he pointed out to us from the end of the pier. Anchored about 50 yards away and gently bobbing in the breeze, the small boat looked like something a child might draw. Nothing fancy, no confusing things on it, just a boat with a pole in the middle of it and another pole sticking out sideways. Cap'n Tom carried a large white bag with him, that I soon learned held the main sail and the jib, as he went down the ladder from the pier to the smooth sandy sound floor of the Sound. He waded out to the boat, rigged it, and then sailed over to us on the dock, expertly gliding the Scot alongside the pier so we could just step aboard it. "Well that seems easy," I thought.

Once on board and seated in the cockpit, I took in everything with curiosity, awe, and a bit of nervousness. I had no idea what the few metal objects affixed to the boat were supposed to do or what the purpose of all those ropes was. It seemed like a tangled mess! Little did I know that it was a masterpiece of human ingenuity… ropes and pulleys, cleats and masts, buckles and beams – a system hundreds, if not thousands of years old, that brought people from one corner of the earth to the others.

Cap'n Tom set sail, giving his clueless crew direction here and there, “See that rope – it’s called a line. When I say so, grab it and wrap it around this metal thing – looks like a spool for thread – wrap it clockwise – and then pull it so it makes a clicking sound.” Tom, super smart and older (he was all of 19!) was friendly, informative, thorough, and patient with us – exactly how a counselor should be!

In no time, we were a well-organized crew, following our captain’s direction and moving the Scot from one side of the Sound to the other. Any nervousness that I’d had evaporated, and I lost myself in the smell of the Sound, the feel of the air on my face and skin, and the sheer joy that sailing on a blue bird day brings.

Then, things got interesting.

And that part of the story, I will share with you in the next blog post. Until then, have a wonderful June week, relish each and every degree of heat and puff of breeze, and get yourself on a boat if there's any way that you can!

Patriotically, nautically yours,