” My wife and I have cruised the Atlantic circle via Greenland and Iceland to Denmark. From there down the Irish Sea to the Mediterranean and back by Morocco and the Canary and Cape Verde islands. She is safe, comfortable and a joy to sail.”
Ariel, Bristol 43’
Interview with the Captain – Charles Springett
About the Club: Rappahannock River Yacht Club
How would you describe what makes your yacht club special?
RRYC was founded in 1936 and has occupied the same facility on Carters Creek in Lancaster County, Virginia since 1941. We are a casual, friendly, family oriented club dedicated to sailing, both cruising and racing. The Chesapeake Bay is one of the finest sailing destinations in the world (no bias here) and we like to think the Rappahannock River is the best place on the Bay. Partly as a result of the fallout from the COVID situation we are seeing an influx of new people many of whom are avid sailors. They are all welcome.
What are the most important things you hope to accomplish on your watch?
Last year we replaced the dock that houses our 32 slip marina. It was a major financial investment and it is essential we keep the club on a sound financial footing as we go forward. My goal is to modernize club management procedures and governance structure without losing any of the charm attendant to our long history. As Halsey Herreshoff said when he visited the club in 2002, “Now this is a proper yacht club”
About the Boat
Why did you choose to buy a Bristol?
Ariel is a Bristol 43-3. Designed by Ted Hood and built in 1986 by Clint Pearson in Bristol, Rhode Island. The 43-3 is a center cockpit sloop with a centerboard. In the Chesapeake the shallow draft (4ft 9in) is an advantage.
What other kinds of boats did you consider before buying this model (and how did they compare)?
There are lots of quality offshore cruising boats out there. Having already owned a smaller Bristol we decided to stay with what we knew.
How did you come to find/locate her before purchasing (and what’s the boat’s history if you know it)?
In 2005 we scoured the East Coast and found her in Rhode Island. She was in sad condition and I do not think she had been removed from her shed for many years. I do know she had visited the Bahamas with a previous owner.
What boats have you previously owned?
We sailed a Snipe in Southern California in the eighties but when I moved to Virginia in 1998 we bought a Sparkman and Stevens Yankee Dolphin and then a Bristol 31-1.
Who first introduced you to boating/sailing?
I grew up in England and learnt to sail on small wooden sloops in the North Sea in high school as a naval cadet.
What are the features you like most about your boat?
Ariel is a solidly built and seaworthy boat. My wife and I have cruised the Atlantic circle via Greenland and Iceland to Denmark. From there down the Irish Sea to the Mediterranean and back by Morocco and the Canary and Cape Verde islands. She is safe, comfortable and a joy to sail.
Image from Satellite Track from Chesapeake Bay to Copenhagen below
What features/improvements have you added or do you plan to add?
Too many to list here but preparing her for that Atlantic crossing took me two years and a lot of work.
How do you typically use your boat over the summer, and where do you go?
In the summer we cruise the Bay although we have also spent three summers in Maine and points in between. We have sailed to the Caribbean and spent two winters in the Bahamas.
Do you belong to any other yacht clubs or other boating organizations?
Because we also have a home in Annapolis we belong to Eastport Yacht Club (EYC)
What is the biggest challenge you have in servicing your boat?
Ariel is now a complicated boat; keeping up with it all is a challenge in itself.
Do you have any advice for those looking to buy a Bristol like yours?
All the Bristols were beautifully built, but you have to like doing brightwork – there is lots of it.
What’s the story behind the boat’s name?
She was named Ariel when I bought her. I like the name, it is short – Ariel has a narrow transom – easy to recognize on the radio and although most younger people identify the name with Disney’s mermaid I prefer to think of her as Prospero’s sprite in the Tempest.
CHECK IT OUT
Click the gallery below for more photos and information about Ariel!