With the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe displaying its quiet splendor mere blocks away, the artifice and forced glamor of the casinos just on the Nevada side of the border are set in stronger contrast than I’ve ever seen elsewhere. At least in Las Vegas, you’re so surrounded by casinos and flashing lights that it’s […]
I generally try to get out on the water when visiting coastal cities. It’s not enough to just feel a sea breeze on my face — I need to experience the feel of water passing under a boat’s hull and need to gain a better sense of the lay of waterways. After saying goodbyes to relatives and others in the wedding party, I had another half day in which to explore so I headed to the French Quarter and its waterfront where I caught a ride on the Carolina Belle, operated by Charleston Harbor Tours. Proved to be a great tour, which passed by most of the city’s noteworthy maritime attractions. These included the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, which has got to be coolest looking cable-stayed bridge in America; the War II aircraft carrier, USS Yorktown: and Forts Moultrie, Johnson and Sumter.
But the bonus of this boat tour occurred on the ride back in from Sumter. As an avid sailor, I had been following the competitors of the Portimao Global Ocean Race, a double- and single-handed round-the-world race on what are known as Class 40s, which are basically 40-foot, high tech, one-design racing sailboats for ocean sailors on a budget (I want one!). I knew that “Beluga Racer,” crewed by a German team, had been closing in on Charleston, the third leg of the race, that weekend. Lo and behold, there was Beluga Racer, coming into the harbor as we neared Sumter. We pretty much followed her into port, hard-pressed to keep up and amazed at her incredible speed under sail.
I had a blast on my earlier walk around The Battery and at the wedding, but by far, best day I had was on the water.