Tent for Coastal Marsh Sleeper

Small Craft Advisor|May - June 2020

Tent for Coastal Marsh Sleeper
Karen wants us to sail Clam Girl from Cedar Key up or down coast, lodging to lodging. Roger Barnes suggested in his thorough 2014 book, The Dinghy Cruising Companion, “A civilized solution is to sail between small harbour towns and check into a local hotel each night.”
Hugh Horton

Our shores are worth savoring. We don’t need a passport to find a vast food chain of bugs and vertebrates crawling, swimming, flying or slithering. No fruit bats here, but no manatees there. And, to keep one focused, we have five snake species that can kill you and an alien constrictor, a big one of which could embrace you to oblivion.

John Glass pool wrote in his excellent little book from 1973, Open Boat Cruising, “One thing which no cruising dinghy, however small, can do without is comfortable sleeping arrangements.”

From Cedar Key, lodging is a long day’s sail for Clam Girl’s ten foot waterline. At our dawdlers’ pace, to make it in one day means perfect timing and conditions, particularly in winter with shorter days and awkward tides. But, staying out a night or two would ease the distances. Although our coast is lovely beyond words, as the tide falls accessible camping sites dwindle because of muck, oysters, and marsh. Mixed semi-diurnal tides further complicate camping. The exquisite answer is anchoring and sleeping aboard.

Anchoring avoids trespassing, too, compared with pitching a tent landward of the beach cusp, which can require early striking and re-stowing. We won’t be racing and might need to wait for the tide, anyway, or linger for coffee, or watch clouds or a bird watching us.

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May - June 2020