Lake Norman Edition
Posted on Sun, Jul. 16, 2006
Happy birthday to me
Dobbs, a Pittsburgh native who now lives in south Charlotte, purchased her Hunter 260 sailboat as a 50th birthday gift to herself. “I thought I really needed to do something different,” she says. “I had some experience crewing for my college roommate and her family, but I had never been a skipper myself. I thought I’d give it a try.”
Dobbs found the 2-year-old boat through a dealer at the Mid-Atlantic Boat Show. She named it the High C’s — for the high C notes she tries to hit as a trumpeter, for the high seas the boat sails and for the high C’s the boat cost.
“It had 150 miles on the odometer when I bought it and now it has 2,600 miles,” she says. “I do an awful lot of sailing.”
Boating with Buzz
Dobbs sails on Lake Norman two or three times a week, generally during the week and almost always in the lake’s largest racing event on Wednesday evenings at the Peninsula Yacht Club.
“I often go out by myself, which is called single handing in sailing,” she says. “My dog, Buzz, a Shih Tzu/Lhasa Apso, also comes along. He has a little yellow life jacket and likes to sit by my feet.”
One of just a few female skippers on Lake Norman, Dobbs did an immense amount of reading, took a sailing course in Oriental and was fortunate to find sailing people to give her hands-on training.
Now she doesn’t think twice about skippering a sailboat on her own.
“It requires an awful lot of focus,” she says. “You have to pay attention to what the boat is doing, what the wind is doing, what the water is doing, and on Lake Norman, what the other boats are doing. You have to plan ahead as you look to take advantage of where you are on the water and what the wind is about to do. It’s just a matter of being organized.”
Some of the features Dobbs likes most about the Hunter 260 are the comfortable salon — she often bunks overnight — and the swim platform that makes it easy to take a dip and get back on the boat on her own.
Still, there have been a few dicey moments while she has been single handing. Once, while sailing in Virginia, the 40-foot mast came down.
“The pin that holds the mast up came loose, and when I turned the boat a certain way, I looked up and saw the mast floating down towards me,” she says. “I was alert enough to step aside, but the mast was down, the sails were down and there were wires all over the motor. I radioed and called some friends for help. It was like mounting the flag on Iwo Jima, only on water.” — leigh pressley
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BOAT: Hunter 260.
JOB: Management consultant and part-time music instructor.
HOME: South Charlotte; keeps sailboat at Kings Point Marina