2009 Chesapeake Bay Cruise
Schedule of Courses
Ocean Training Cruises
Monday, 19 October, 2009
I arrived early to
survey CELESTIAL after the terrific haul-out job performed by our
yard crew. The boat shows off new varnish, paint, and many maintenance
improvements. By mid-afternoon all students are on hand for a thorough
introduction to systems below deck. Over dinner on shore, we become acquainted
and share our various boating experiences.
Tuesday, 20 October,
2009. Day 1, Rock Hall to Annapolis
Our morning activities
began with introductions to lines, sails, winches, and safe movement on a
potentially rolling deck while tethered to jack (safety) lines. A recalcitrant
main sail – furled poorly previously - provided a lesson on unfurling canvass
stuck inside the mast. Meal planning and provisioning came next, followed by sea
stowing all gear. By 1430 we cast off to fetch our dinghy from a nearby marina.
Christie is at the helm doing an excellent job getting us first to the pump-out
dock and then into a slip where our dinghy is waiting. Thereafter, Fred takes us
out of the slip and (later) to a mooring for the night. Instruction includes
safely towing a dinghy, laying and sailing a course to our mooring in Annapolis,
and VHF communication. A well deserved dinner at Pussers Restaurant is a welcome
conclusion to our first leg on the Bay.
Day 2, Annapolis to
After a good breakfast,
Christie as skipper for the day, we study the engine plus electrical systems by
zeroing in on the many components that power the boat, electronics, lights, etc.
Next we go over procedures and methods that allow us to fix our position on a
chart while underway. Navigation practice follows as we make our way South under
sunny skies but no wind. A beautiful sunset, delicious dinner, and quiet night
at anchor round out the day.
Day 3, Solomons Island
to Tangier Island
Today, following morning
training of deciphering charts, nav planning, and learning about engine trouble
shooting, we have to say good bye to Christie. A funeral the next day had called
her away. With Jenny as skipper for the day, Justin maneuvers CELESTIAL gently
to Spring Cove Marina where we drop Christie off. At the mouth of the Patuxent
River, we raise the main sail in a 5-8 knot SW breeze and motor sail to the
fascinating Tangier Island. After docking in a strong current, Mr. Parks, of
Parks Marina, a retired waterman gives the crew a wonderful sunset tour in his
golf cart. That is followed by a tasty crab cake dinner ashore.
Day 4 Tangier Island to
Cape Charles Harbor
Jenny, having taken us
expertly off the dock and out into the Bay, sails CELESTIAL down a range as the
crew learns to calibrate our ship’s compass – first by range, then using our
hand-held magnetic compass. It’s Fred’s turn to be skipper. Conversion
procedures from Compass course to True North course - and vice versa – become
now part of our navigation, as we motor sail in moderate SE winds to make
landfall in Cape Charles Harbor. The forecast calls for S 15 to 20 knots during
the night which is perfect for practicing Bahamian mooring and spending the
night inside the jetty with two anchors off the bow.
Day 5 Cape Charles
Harbor to Little Creek, Norfolk
After breakfast, and
with Jenny at the helm, Justin as skipper, we retrieve both anchors and practice
Mediterranean mooring off a seawall next to a commercial fishing vessel. Well
done, Jenny! The forecast is for S 15 to 20 knots with gusts to 25 knots late.
Once clear of the harbor, CELESTIAL is powering through building waves, tacking
up wind under full sails. As the flood current is setting us North, the captain
phones the Marina to verify docking arrangements and closing hours. To ensure
on-time arrival, we take in the genoa, add the engine, and – coming off a
steep wave in open water – the engine sound and vibration change suddenly. Our
speed drops from five to two knots. After inconclusive trouble shooting and
maneuvers to take in the remaining sail, the speed is inexplicably returning to
normal. Safely at the dock, Justin spots a diver working nearby who reports that
a floating fishing line had wrapped around the shaft. Fortunately, he sees no
damage. Now we can enjoy our dinner and toast our adventures.
Day 6 Little Creek,
We rise early, and
following a review of the ASA test (all passed) and boat close down activities,
it is clear that this crew will be ready to charter and sail to unfamiliar
shores. Well done; and bon voyage from your captain.
Captain Jochen Hoffmann
Vinings Landing Marina,