Joyce on the Lake

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  • 10 Oct 2019 7:47 AM | Anonymous member

    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 

  • 10 Oct 2019 7:20 AM | Anonymous member

    July is here, school is out, boats are in the water and High Rock Lake recreational season is in full swing.

    Recently, I visited the busiest place on earth over the July 4th holiday weekend, or so it seemed, Tamarac Marina and Restaurant, 9120 Bringle Ferry Road, Salisbury.

    I have been here countess times, but with the holiday weekend, I saw much more than a store/local fuel stop. Perhaps owner Dan Black could rename it to Tamarac Marina & Campground, Bait Shop, Quik Mart, Karaoke Bar, Beach & Picnic Area, Pontoon Rental and Camping Supplies Super Store. The offerings are endless. How do they pack that much stuff in one location?

    I ran in just for a few summers’ fun-day necessities – ice, propone and fuel for the boat (I have a gas caddy, so can go by car and pump directly into the boat). OK, I knew it would be busy, its Saturday morning in the summer AND on a holiday weekend; but I was not prepared for what I saw as I traveled across the Bringle Ferry Bridge. Six boats deep waiting to fill up at the dock fuel pump, and likely to run into the store for munchies to bring back to their vessel of choice. There were families seated at the picnic tables, a few folks fishing off the edge of the property and more hanging out on the gazebo watching the boats go by. Seats inside the restaurant were just about filled and enjoying breakfast, getting ready for the day with family and friends.

    Even though it was jamming inside the store, Dan Black was in his office and he gave me a few minutes of his time, and we were joined by Sandy Mullins to chat about what Tamarac Marina means to the lake community.

    “The vision for Tamarac has been a convenient High Rock Lakeside location, good food at an affordable price, especially the seafood and steaks, and to be the first place you think of for your lake recreational needs from camping and BBQ supplies, to fishing bait and tackle, or if you find out that you are in need of last minute boat registration and fishing licenses. We have it here at Tamarac,” said Black.

    “Pontoon boat rentals range from half days to full weekends, and our camping sites have something for everyone, including full hook-ups to tent camping. Like any outdoor activity, weather determines visitors’ plans. Folks just need to call to reserve in advance,” continued Black.

    Fridays and Saturdays are the busiest days as lake enthusiast are getting ready for their weekend activities. Sundays are busy, but normally customers are stopping in for lunch, or a few groceries. “We pride ourselves on a friendly atmosphere here. Customers are valued and we treat them like friends,” commented Mullins. “That’s why Facebook is such an important tool for us, we can let folks know what the specials are; if there is a concert or fishing tournament. So, they can plan their day.”


    Karaoke is alive and well at Tamarac Marina on Friday nights. If you can sing like Johnny Cash, Jackson Browne, Nancy Sinatra or just want to watch and enjoy a beautiful night with entertainment, come on in. There was even an unofficial Elvis competition of sorts one night. Now, that was old-school entertainment. #BeAnOriginal

    Check out Tamarac’s Facebook page for dinner specials, and special events – Tamarac Marina and Restaurant

    Come enjoy what High Rock Lake has to offer. #HRLliving

    The summer is at its mid-way point, there is still lots of time and activities to join including the HRL River Rats Poker Run on Saturday, July 12; the Rowan Chamber Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday, July 27 and High Rock Lake Clean Sweep, Saturday, September 21 . 

  • 10 Oct 2019 7:10 AM | Anonymous member

    Lake living means boats and enjoying the waterways no matter what day of the week. Normally, High Rock Lake is busiest on weekends and of course holidays. But there are groups who figured on how to best enjoy our lake with a boat-filled gathering twice a month during the warm weather. Every second and fourth Tuesday evenings a group of boaters from Salisbury meet in the middle of High Rock Lake and have Happy Hour, merriment and munchies. If you are out and about on your boat, you are welcome to join.

    What is a Floatilla and how did it start? Shirley Price and her husband Ron were visiting friends and family in their home state of Kentucky enjoying lake activities which included weekend stays and excursions on house boats. It was the epitome of entertaining while enjoying lake life in their home state. So, in July 2015 Shirley decided to create the High Rock Bi-monthly Floatilla. Her Facebook page catalogs great pictures from past outings and will let friends and members know when the next Floatilla is scheduled.


    Getting to know your lake neighbors can be tricky. Many from the surrounding area come to the lake occasionally, while others live here year-round. Dozens of cove communities have created their own personalities. One such group is Anchor Downs. Most of these residents have known each other for years, enjoying what the lake has to offer such as the upcoming July 4th fireworks, and even entering the Rowan Chamber Dragon Boat races together under the team name Anchors Up.

    I asked Shirley to share a few stories with me so that I can give some color to the happenings on High Rock Lake for YourRowan.


    Shirley and her husband Ron always arrive first. Some of the boaters’ zip in like a race car and throw it in reverse for a ‘perfect’ tie up. While others come in slow and precise. Regardless of the way they add to our floating neighborhood, no one has collided. We are all thankful for that.

    Newer pontoon boats have issues for Floatillas for instance to maximize space most now just have a door on one side, so the ‘walk-through’ doesn’t happen on all boats. The Price’s boat doesn’t have a front deck, so they make do with lining up the back of their boat with another’s bow. It’s a big puzzle, that works.


    Floatilla guests have hailed from Kentucky, Arizona and California. Locals Mark and Bernadine Wineka from The Post have come out on a beautiful night, just right for a photo spread for Salisbury Magazine. Ron went to toss the anchor out, but the rope was broken and off the anchor went to the depths of High Rock Lake. We had to wait for the next boat to join us to properly anchor and start the tie-up. Oops.

    One evening several boats were tied up closer to shore than usual. We are normally more in the middle of Crane Creek. The wind was strong that night so the whole flock of us started to drift away en masse. One of our normal group members came to join, but since we were not in the normal spot, they kept going back and forth looking for us. The tied-up group kept yelling their names, but we all were laughing so much they couldn’t hear us. As the saying goes, ‘we were hiding in plain sight’. Its not that hard to find several boats tied up all together. The couple did find us, and we all had a good laugh together.

    If we drift too much even with anchors, we’ll pull the anchors up and the middle boat will move us ALL to a better place, even while we are all still tied together. The party must go on! The last time this happened, the smallest boat was in the middle, we all called it the little engine that could.


    Food is a hook for these gatherings, simple, yummy and sharable are the only requirements. Our most asked for item: Cindy Hart’s pigs in a blanket. Even if she can’t join the Floatilla on a night, the group requests her to make it and pass it along to me to bring onboard.


    Floatillas have been popular on the lake for years. On the Davidson County side near Swearing Creek, a group gathers every Thursday evening beginning in April, weather permitting. This group even has an email network to confirm the 6:30 p.m. meet up is a go. With a 7 p.m. blessing followed by a myriad of food prepared by friends and sunset watching.

    Normally six to 14 boats enjoy a mix of food, relaxation, and a lot of AHHH with those in attendance, especially with friends, and newfound lake owner friends. Paula Noonan says there is no pressure with this group, if you want to be social come on over, tie up your boat and jump into a conversation. If you want to simply enjoy the view, and take it all in by yourself, that is totally acceptable. Paula and husband Jim own a barge named ‘Dam Thang’. It’s the perfect vessel for hosting, complete with a grill. Someone even made pork chops one night! The most popular food item? The Noonan’s almost famous hot dogs, wrapped in chili, slaw and mustard. We welcome all new soon to be friends and your food items.

    Be An Original is the motto for Rowan County and this is just one example how we get to be ourselves, enjoy our region’s assets and showcase our community, and cooking skills.

    Check out our Facebook page - HIGH ROCK BI-MONTHLY FLOATILLA

    And this is what an HRL Floatilla is all about. We would love for you to join us; all forms of boating are welcomed.

    #YourRowan #HRLliving #itsaROCOthing

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