A great time to dock in the northern Outer Banks is kite time in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. The Wright Kite Festival July 19-20 offers an aerial display that’s hard to beat. While you enjoy the kaleidoscopic kites, you can also gain some knowledge of the birthplace of aviation at the Wright Brothers Visitor Center. Kites were instrumental in the Wright brothers’ research when developing the first airplane in the late 1800s. Large kites will be on display throughout the festival weekend, sharing the sky with the towering Wright Memorial. Bring your own kite and participate, and also learn how to fly stunt and power kites from experts. The festival is free although entrance into the park is $4, which supports the National Park Service. An ideal port base for exploring the Outer Banks is the town of Manteo on Roanoke Island. Rental cars are available from local firms that offer dockside pickup and delivery. The town’s Waterfront Marina is convenient to local eateries and shopping, and offers showers, laundry and dockage. The Pirate’s Cove Yacht Club at the west end of the Washington Baum Bridge offers gas and diesel fuel, dockage, and slip rentals. Other docking options include the Shallowbag Bay Marina and Marshes Light Marina.

Changes made to Lighthouse Challenge
The popular Screwpile Lighthouse Challenge on the Chesapeake Bay has announced three changes for this summer’s event. The sailing regatta has moved to a weekend date, starting with check-in on Thursday, July 17th and concluding on Sunday, July 20th with multiple races and an awards celebration. The format has changed to include a distance race for all fleets on Saturday. Fleets may sail different specific distances, but all will finish in the Patuxent River off downtown Solomons. For the first time the regatta will include a Strictly Cruising Class no rating certificate or club membership required which will race only on Saturday and Sunday for a reduced entry fee. Details are available at

Annual Pony Swim
The best way to watch the ponies swim from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island, Virginia, is by a small boat or dinghy. For the 89th year, thousands of spectators gather on Chincoteague to watch the annual swim—this year on Wednesday, July 30th. The purpose of the swim is to move the ponies from Assateague to Chincoteague to auction the foals. The auction serves two purposes: it helps to control the size of the herd, and the auction is a fundraiser for the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company. The Volunteer Fireman’s Carnival with rides, games, raffles, and lots of good food will be open each night during pony penning week from July 28 to August 2, beginning at 7PM.

By Christopher Knauss, Southern Boating July 2014