Chesapeake Bay Spring 2013

May 6

Leaving today with the hopes of putting SunShower in the water at Holiday Hill Marina without getting soaked. Small Craft Advisory tomorrow will keep me off the water, but at least I'll be ready to go when the weather clears.

May 7

I did get SunShower in the water and rigged without a drop of rain. Overnight and today it is pouring. Spent the day in Annapolis with a drive over the Bay Bridge to check out Kent Narrows. Small Craft Advisory expires at midnight.

May 8

U.S. Naval Academy

Dressed in full foul weather gear down to my boots, I motored out of the Rhode River expecting showers all morning with 10 knot southerly winds headed to Annapolis. The fog lifted as did my foul weather gear and I motor sailed in light wind up to the point where one bears west into Annapolis. The wind filled as predicted and three hours of delightful sailing ensued. Once docked at Mears Marina in the same slip I have had three times now, I walked around Annapolis.

Sultana, a replica of a British Royal Navy schooner that patrolled the east coast just prior to the American Revolution, was sailing out of Annapolis today. She is a school ship taking kids on cruises and teaching them about the history and environment of the Chesapeake Bay. Sultana is based in Chestertown, MD.

May 9

Breakfast followed by a walk around Eastport (to log Fitbit steps) set departure time from Annapolis at 10:30 a.m. Light winds dictated motor sailing to the Bay Bridge. This is the first time I sailed under it. My early years sailing with Garland were spent below the bridge and when I have sailed SunShower north of the bridge, I trailed her above the bridge. It is an impressive bridge from below! Once through the Bridge, the wind filled and I had a quick broad reach into the Chester River. Once in the River heading East, the tide and a beat slowed progress to under 2 mph, the signal to start the motor. I motor sailed until I could bear off and then reached again up to the entrance of Queenstown Creek. I had not planned to stop here on this trip, but the late hour and a possible threat of thunder storms ( note dark clouds building) make this the best anchorage option. It is a beautiful spot, plus an eagle flew by when I was setting the anchor!

May 10

Headed up the Chester River under power with a slight following wind. Just after noon, the breeze filled in and I sailed up to the junction of the Chester and Corssica Rivers. It is a wide area and I had several hours of fine sailing before heading up Davis Creek to the Lankford Bay Marina. Nice day on the water.

May 11

Small Craft Advisory today but the winds were not that high and the waves out of the south decreased in size by early afternoon. So I was able to get in another nice three hour sail in the same area as yesterday. The marina bus is not running regularly but a cruising group was here and the bus took us to Rock Hall for dinner. BTW, they had large boats and sailed all the way (34 nm) today from the West River only to return tomorrow! I did learn some local color at the bar of the Swan Point Inn (mediocre food). If you move to the area, you are known as a "chicken necker"; since newcomers buy chicken necks to catch crabs. I wonder what the natives use? Anyway, no matter how many years one lives in Rock Hall, if you are not born here, you are a "chicken necker." The man sitting next to me said he has been one for 40 years!

May 12

Stuck in Rock Hall again, just like a couple of years ago. A Small Craft Advisory in effect with winds at 15-20 kts and gusts to 25 kts means no sailing for SunShower today. Maybe she could handle the weather but her skipper could not! So it is a day for crosswords, blogs, reading and letting the Zen side of me surface. OK, it has not surfaced in 64 years but there is always hope, right? Took a walk to log steps (11,414 as I write) on my Fitbit and hope tomorrow I can head south under sail.

May 13

The Small Craft Advisory was suspended from 4:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., so I was up early, ate breakfast (with coffee) and was motoring out of Davis Creek before 7:00 a.m. Yes, that is truly too early for me but I needed to head south so I can get back to Holiday Hill Marina in time to make a wedding in Richmond on Friday. A fast reach down the Chester River with a reef in the sail got me very close to the entrance to Kent Narrows. But...I had to point into wind and waves for the final approach. With the main secured, I motored in with enough sea spray to dowse me to the bone. But a call to the bridge tender at 9:57a.m. found SunShower south of the bridge and heading to Wells Cove Marina at 10:05 a.m. I was truly glad for a hot shower! Tonight I ate at the Fisherman's Inn next to the marina. I was expecting it to be a fried seafood kind of place but to my surprise, I had a perfectly cooked dish; mussels, crab, shrimp and tomatoes over whole wheat pasta in a white wine sauce!

May 14

Small Craft Advisory in effect for tomorrow so today it's time to cross the Bay; a 20+ mile trip back to the marina. This plan will forgo a night on the Wye River and shorten my planned trip, but I need to make sure I can make the wedding. Heading south from Kent Narrows with 12-14 kt winds made for a great sail this morning out of the Eastern Bay. However, setting a course for the Rhode River called for beating directly into the wind; one tack toward Popular Island and the other toward Bloody Point Light with little progress across the Bay. It did not take much of this endeavor to decide to strike the sail and crank up the motor. I arrived back at Holiday Hill Marina about 4:00 p.m. and readied SunShower for trailering. I took Roger's recommendation and headed to Cantler's for dinner. I had a great crab cake but this is definitely the place to come with friends and pick crabs!

May 15

Pulled SunShower out of the water and was on the road to Lynchburg by 10:30 a.m. Even with all of the Small Craft Advisories, I did get a lot of good sailing in on this trip and explored two new places on the Bay I had not been. I must admit my aging body is really feeling the effects of an extended stay on my small craft. I think a one week trip with 5 or 6 days on SunShower will be my goal in the future. Truth be told, Maine last summer spoiled me. Gretchen and I sailed almost every day but returned to the comfort of a nice cabin with amenities each night!

Sent from Tom's iPad