2005 DELMARVA Reports

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Course Advanced Coastal Cruising; DELMARVA Circumnavigation
Date September 23-30, 2005
Students: Bill Brewer, John Coyle, David Gifford, Richard Hoyle, Ted Nanavati,
Captain: Eric Petterson

Sept. 22- Students arrived at various times during the day. In the afternoon, John Coyle successfully completed his ASA105 Coastal Navigation exam achieving his ASA certification. Dinner at Ford's was enjoyed by all as we got to know one another and discussed previous sailing experiences and plans for this cruise. 

Sept. 23- This was a busy day, beginning with discussions of our route, daily student assignments, watch schedules, log procedures, emergency assignments, and the day's activities. This was followed by the students becoming familiar with the ship's systems, instruments, rigging and stowage. Ted Nanavati was hoisted up the mast for an inspection tour as well as running a new spinnaker halyard. We also walked through whisker pole deployment and storm trysail rigging. Additionally weather information sources were reviewed, ending with an internet retreival of the latest NOAA coastal forecasts for the Delaware Bay and coastal Delmarva. Finally a provisioning run was made to the Rock Hall grocery followed by the necessary stowage, aided by a sketch chart of the stowage completed by Dick Hoyle. Everyone celebrated with dinner at the Waterman's Restaurant. 

Sept. 24- John Coyle was navigator of the day. Unfortunately the students were able to experience first hand the effect that wind has on tides in a confined body of water like the Chesapeake Bay, since Halimeda was aground in the slip due to strong north winds blowing water out of the Bay. By 1050 the tide was up and we were able to power out of the slip and began our journey. We first sailed, then motored into 10 knot winds from the NNE. While underway we discussed VHF procedures and cockpit "housekeeping" of lines. We arrived at Summit North Marina in the C&D canal just as darkness fell at 1930, followed by dinner ashore at the marina. Ted Nanavati and David Gifford shared the navigation responsibilities for the passage to Norfolk, so they spent the time after dinner completing their navigation planning. 

Sept. 25- The day by discussing the upcoming currents in the Delaware and cautions for steering in a strong current. We pulled away for the dock at 0845, executing a standing-turn maneuver due to the tight space available. As we entered the bay the winds were on the nose; SE at 10-20 knots and against the favorable ebb current in the bay giving us a rough ride due to this wind against the time condition. As we headed further down the bay and headed more southerly, the winds matched our course change by veering to SSE. By late afternoon we found the Delware Bay living up to its reputation as a difficult body of water as we took heavy doses of green water over the bow. Finally we entered the Atlantic at 2000, raised sails and motor-sailed east to gain an offshore position for a better sail to the south. 

Sept. 26- As our desired course took on a more southerly direction, winds again responded by veering further and building, becoming S at 20-25 on the nose. We continued motor sailing under double reefed main and staysail, tacking frequently. The students were able to experience some significant wind and waves, and all students handled the situation very well. As night fell, an engine problem was encountered with the engine stalling apparently due to a blocked fuel filter. After changing the filter and engaging the electric fuel pump, the engine was again running well, however, later the night we experienced a repeat of the problem. 

Sept. 27- Rain squalls were encountered with heavy rains and gusts over 35. As day began to break, the wind continued to veer more westerly, becoming SW and dropping to 15-20. We were actually able to sail, and the sun broke out of the clouds. As we approached Little Creek, VA four Navy hovercrafts passed by on combat exercises. At 1530 Halimeda pulled into the slip at Taylor's Landing Marina in Little Creek. An early dinner was enjoyed by all at the Surfrider, followed by the arrival of an engine mechanic who we called to investigate the engine stalling problem. After a check of all fuel systems a small air leak was found in one of the lines; this line was tightened, the mechanic declared everything OK, and we had no further problems with the engine.  Bill Brewer and Dick Hoyle were to share the navigation duties up the Chesapeake to Annapolis, so they began their work after dinner. 

Sept. 28- In the morning we left the slip and pulled in at the fuel dock, getting some good practice at maneuvering in current. At 0945 we left the fuel dock and were able to use our dock lines to warp our way off the dock in the current. It was a beautiful day with flat seas and light winds for a delightful sail up the bay. Under way we discussed various navigation aids and the collision avoidance rules. By the time we passed Smith Point Light at nightfall the winds began increasing, becoming 20-25 from the south by the time we reached the north side of the Potomac and we had a boisterous downwind sail up the bay at night. 

Sept. 29- The students were able to obtain much practice in gybing as we made our way north up the bay as the winds continued at S 20-25 with gusts to 30. All became quite proficient at this maneuver. There were also many opportunies to make VHF calls to passing ships as we encountered much traffic during the night. We arrived at Annapolis at 0950 and picked up a mooring in harbor. A hearty celebratory breakfast ashore was enjoyed by all at Chick & Ruth's. At this time Dick Hoyle departed to fly home in order to address unexpected business problems. In the afternoon Ted Nanavati and John Coyle successfully completed their ASA106 tests. 

Sept. 30- Departed Annapolis at 0810, motoring north of the Bay Bridge in light winds. Underway we discussed anchoring techniques and compass calibration procedures utilizing range markers. Later, the cruising spinnaker was rigged, hoisted and unfurled and we sailed with this off-wind sail for a short time before the winds died completely. It was then doused and Halimeda motored in to Swan Creek in calm conditions, a fitting end to an eventful 480 nautical mile voyage, arriving back at Spring Cove at 1415. After boat clean-up, Bill Brewer then took his ASA106 test to complete his certification.

Captain Eric Petterson
Rock Hall, MD
September 30, 2005

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