2008 Chesapeake Bay Cruise
Schedule of Courses
Ocean Training Cruises
Tuesday, July 8
This crew came together the
evening before her last class was to begin so, after introductions, gear was
stowed and appetites satisfied at the marina’s excellent seafood restaurant, Surf
and Rina are both electrical engineers and Tom is sailing on a grant in his
capacity as a Secondary Ed teacher of history and geography. At dinner, we
discussed personal goals for the trip and shared past sailing experiences.
Healthy appetites from a long travel day gave us a head start in menu planning
for provisioning the following morning.
Wednesday, July 9
The crew would fully share
all other shipboard duties, including meal preparation and vessel maintenance as
in an independent charter. We then
began a thorough review of the ships operating systems, including fresh water,
head operation, galley procedures, engine operation, 12 and 120 volt electrical
systems and safety equipment. Tom and Todd led us through the location and
purpose of each thru-hull.
Topsides, the sails and
rigging were thoroughly examined and our crew became familiar with location and
use of crew-overboard and other safety gear.
This first day of orientation passed quickly and our crew became
comfortable with HALIMEDA in anticipation of the week’s sailing
ahead. Over dinner, we began to plan our weeks travel itinerary up the
By coincidence, we would
follow Captain John Smith’s northward exploration of the Chesapeake on its 400th
Thursday, July 10
As we left the protection of
Little Creek and entered Chesapeake Bay, the mainsail and genoa were raised as
we motorsailed in light air to the Piankatank.
There, we conducted our first anchoring practice before a dazzling sunset
over the peaceful waters of Fishing Bay. Rina, doubling as today’s chef,
prepared a delicious burrito dinner enjoyed by all.
Saturday, July 12
Rina, our skipper today deftly piloted us out of the narrow entrance of Smith Creek where the distant south bank of the Potomac could barely been seen in the morning’s haze. Tom and Todd set the main, then genoa upon entering the Potomac River. We continued motorsailing to maintain at least 5 knots of boat speed. The coastline offered numerous opportunities to practice coastal navigation skills, so our navigator and bos’n busied themselves obtaining bearings and plotting fixes from charted land objects. Plotting a DR, they updated our position and relayed new course-to-steer instructions to Rina. We were really coming together as a team!
We navigated and motorsailed
our way up the Chesapeake to the Choptank and Tred Avon Rivers arriving at The
Strand off Oxford before dark. There
we found the holding poor, unable to get a good anchor set after several
attempts. The captain suggested Plaindealing Creek, to our immediate north off
the Tred Avon River. The anchor now set easily in 10 feet of water at the mouth
of the creek affording a cooling breeze, shifting to the Southeast. It would be
difficult to describe a more quintessential scene from the Chesapeake: rustic
boathouses amid unspoiled shorelines interrupted only by the occasional osprey
or waterman gliding past. Yet, any thoughts of swimming were quickly dispelled
by the numerous jellyfish surrounding HALIMEDA.
Sunday, July 13
Todd carefully navigated us
into the St. Michaels harbor. With the usual tourists and dockside diners
providing an audience, Tom expertly executed a standing turn with minimal
coaching from the captain to come alongside the St. Michaels Marina fuel dock.
After pumping the holding tank, it was all hands on deck as we sprang off the
dock and gathered forward speed toward our assigned slip for the night. Advance
planning and communication are essential elements of successful docking and this
crew proved itself as Tom skillfully backed HALIMEDA into her slip
without touching a piling, to the amazement of onlookers. Shore showers and a
seafood feast at the Crab Claw restaurant were top priority for our crew, after
which we explored the charming streets of St Michael’s in the moonlight.
Monday, July 14
Our early afternoon arrival allowed plenty of time for crew-overboard exercises under sail. Unfortunately, our crew’s skill in sea rescue under sail was offset by the light wind of only 5 knots! With determination, the captain applied some well-timed throttle to assist mother nature in creating enough boat speed to challenge the crew. Our crew next turned attention to setting two anchors off the bow.
As the captain prepared or
final dinner afloat, students completed the ASA 104 exam and all passed!
Todd and Rina opted for a celebratory - and cooling - swim after noting
the complete absence of jellyfish in the area.
Tuesday, July 15
As we approached Lankford
Bay Marina at 1200, Rina gently brought HALIMEDA alongside the
dock and we pumped the holding tank dry one last time. We rotated skippers so
Todd could guide HALIMEDA into her slip. After a discussion of
stern-to docking techniques, we warped HALIMEDA sternwise into her
slip and secured docklines fore and aft and added spring lines.
After one week and over 250
miles sailed together, we experienced the benefit of shared duties and teamwork.
Our crew had come together as a unit and agreed both sailing skills and
confidence had improved greatly. Naturally, we became friends in the process,
promising to share pictures once back home – and begin the planning for our
next sailing adventures!
Captain Lee Tucker