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10 Oct 2019 7:47 AM | Gibson (Administrator)

Since I live at the lake, I’ve been on various watercraft, of course power boats and pontoons, kayaks and recently even a stand-up paddleboard, but one method of water transport I have shyed away from is sailing. Even though I grew up in Maine, a sailors’ paradise, I never had the pleasure or opportunity to set sail. I was introduced to a local Rowan County resident, Tim Isenberg. So local, in fact, that he lives in the next cove from me. We discussed the merits of sailing over the other motorized means of transportation on water.

At a young 72 years, Tim finds time to help others with repairs of their boats and sails. Tim goes out when he can and when the wind is right. “I hope to see more sailboats out on the lake. Its free to enjoy. Sailing is not just technical, it’s romantic. The wind is constantly moving, the sailor is always moving; trimming sails and keeping sight of what is going around them and yet the activity is relaxing at the same time,” commented Tim.

Tim and his three brothers spent time fishing on High Rock Lake when they were young. His maternal family is originally from the High Rock Lake area, Panther Creek, so like a duck taking to water, he did the same. His interest in sailing was piqued when his son, Douglas, inspired him to take up boat building years ago when they built a Bolger Tortoise sailboat. Its sail was even made locally at Taylor Mattress Company. Tim’s profession for more than 30 years has been and continues to be woodworking. He and his wife, Carol, own Isenberg Cabinet Shop, Salisbury. His love of sailing and passion for wood; reclaimed, drift or otherwise melds his two worlds. Today, Tim sails and has competed in several regattas in North Carolina, specifically in Davidson County and Cape Look Out. Note: High Rock Lake has a marina for sailboats, Skipjacks Marina at Yachtsmen’s Point.

Currently, Tim has created a work of art, a 17-foot vessel, The Core Sound 17. The hull shape is derived from the dead rise spritsail skiffs which were utilized all over North Carolina for fishing and transportation. This style of boat is efficient, and many are restored and can be seen at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort. The blueprints for Tim’s sailing vessel were purchased from B and B Yacht Designs [], in eastern North Carolina at the north bank of the Neuse River. “100% wooden boat construction is still the way to go - covered in epoxy which is waterproof and yields a good strength to weight ratio.” This is the key to boat building and sailing, Tim shared with me, because it shouldn’t sink. Profound. The sailboat can hold up to three passengers, is designed for shallow water, and does not have a motor. So, rowing or paddling out and away from the dock is the mode of transport until the wind catches the main sail. The Core Sound weighs just 350 pounds, and the rig is very efficient. It is not low (you won’t hit your head like in the movies), and the wind behind and off the beam is controlled well. Oh, the Core Sound 17 does have a name ~ Kraken Jager. German for a Scandinavian sea creature and Jager is “hunter.” Tim mentioned that any boat over a certain number of feet should have a name to give it personality and perhaps an attitude for the skipper while out on the water.

It’s a Maine connection

The Isenbergs has spent much time up in Maine, my home state, and most recently just this past July visiting family and learning about Carol’s Maine roots as a “Downeasterner.” Tim’s oldest daughter worked for LL Bean for more than 20 years, and even their restored HRL home had a Maine/Bean feel to it. Tim and I got to talking about the scenic imagery of the Maine/New England coast with its abundance of lobster shacks, villages and islands along the coastline and how it is romanticized by movies.

We all have a little pirate in us

Did you know that many current phrases are derived from sailing, or pirate lingo? I am sure most of you have heard of ‘Even Keel’, ‘Above Board’, ‘Batten Down the Hatches’ and ‘Clean Bill of Health’. These and many other terms and phrases have been taken from sailing vernacular and have made their way into our everyday conversations. Even Figurehead, one without real power, is “borrowed” from back in the day as large vessels placed a carved, wooden decoration or figure on the bow of the ship to appeal to a certain group ~ Pirates of the Caribbean anyone? So, let’s grab some grub and ‘Dutch Courage’ at Tamarac, then cut and run when we are squared-away.

If you do see me out in the water, sailing, rowing or motorboating, wave and give a shout out. And if you see Tim in his Core Sound 17 yell out a big thanks for keeping sailing a mainstay on our lake.

Enjoy the lake!

#Sailing#HighRockLake #itsaROCOthing #BeAnOriginal #YourRowan 

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