2005 DELMARVA Reports

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Course Advanced Coastal Cruising; DELMARVA Circumnavigation
Date September 2-9, 2005
Students: Ronald Bukowski, Richard Matri, Bill Turner, Pam & A.D. Wilson 
Captain: Bill McClure

This class started like other Advanced Coastal Training Cruises that I have taught. We met in the morning and went over the introductions to each other and the boat. We followed with the course objectives and the safety issues: MOB, abandon ship, rules of the road, radio techniques, and reefing procedures. Then we planned our meals and provisioned with food and drink for the cruise. 

In the morning we conducted navigation planning for the cruise, and departed in the early afternoon after a fair tide came in. We proceeded up the bay, through the canal and out into Delaware Bay. The trip down the Delaware was cold and not much wind. What wind we did have was right on our stern so we sailed on with just a head sail. The weather service on the VHF predicted that a low was going to come through in the evening with thundershowers, strong winds and a dip in the temperature. By evening we were at the mouth of the bay, and the winds had picked up. The tidal current was with us as we sailed out into the Atlantic. The wind swung around to the Northeast and the seas increased to about 4 ft. as we left the land behind. 

By the morning the wind had increased to 15 to 18 knots and the seas were 4 to 6 feet. The constant wave action on the beam was beginning to take its toll on the crew as several fell into the spell of Mal de Mer. The weather service was predicting a cold front would follow in the evening but it was not predicted to be violent and was moving north. We decided to go on as we had a window and should be well south by the time the front came through that evening. The winds and the seas continued to increase through out the day and we were now making very good time with sails reefed and a six to eight foot sea. We moved steadily southward and reached the mouth of the Chesapeake just before dark. Safely into Little Creek at about 2100, everyone felt much better as we found our way to the showers and a good nights sleep. 

In the morning we fueled up and headed out for Tangier Island. After sailing all day against a Northeast wind we checked the charts again and found that we could not clear the overhead wires going into Tangier so we went on to Smith Island and made it just by nightfall. Crab cakes, and a piece of ten layer cake convinced us that this was the right place to stop. 

Next day we motor sailed up the Chesapeake into the NE winds to Annapolis for the night and then an early morning departure to arrive back in Rock Hall.

Captain Bill McClure
Rock Hall, MD
September 10, 2005

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