2010 Chesapeake Bay Cruise

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Course: ASA 104 Intermediate Coastal Cruising
Date: October 9-16, 2010
Vessel: IP32, ACADAME
Students: Eric Lombardini, Marc-Antonie Lombardini, Jim Yarnal
Captain: Steve Runals

Oct 8, FriArrival and Preparation:

Beautiful fall day.  After spending the morning at the Annapolis Boat show, the Capt arrives, stows gear, checks out boat systems, rigs a new head sail and completes course preparation.  Students are scheduled to arrive early the next day.

Day 1 – Oct 9, Sat: Review of Ships Systems, Rules of Road and Boat Handling:

Students arrive by 0800 and after stowing their gear aboard ACADAME take and pass the ASA101 test.  We conduct a quick review of knots, Rules of the Road, and use of buoys followed by a detail review of boat systems and safety procedures on board ACADAME.  After lunch we review the basics of maneuvering under power. Marc takes us out of the slip for some docking practice and on to a short sail on the Chester River.  While exercising all points of sail, we see the top sail schooner SULTANA out enjoying the fine fall weather; quite a sight.  Eric brings us back into the slip and after securing the boat and cleaning up, we head out for a well deserved dinner at Waterman’s Crab House where we discuss the day’s events and get to know each other.     

Day 2 – Oct 10, Sun

Day dawns with a beautiful fall sky but with forecasted light winds.  Eric prepares a great omelet breakfast, setting the standard for future meals and after conducting pre operations checks and reviewing MOB under power procedures; we depart the slip and head out into the Chester River.  While able to sail for only a short time before the wind dies, it does provide the opportunity to apply right of way rules for both power and sail vessels.  We take the opportunity to practice MOB under power and discuss a wide range of potential emergencies and there proper response.  

Giving way to the warm, windless day, we head into Reed Creek, carefully following the chart and depth gauge, to a perfect anchorage where we eat lunch and introduce the finer points of coastal navigation.  Seeing the wind has returned, we carefully retrace our steps, returning to the Chester River where we practice tacking, jibing and all points of sail.  We are again treated with the sight of the SULTANA under sail.  Jim does a great job bringing us back into the slip and after securing the boat, we head out to dinner to review the day’s events and finalize our cruising and associated meal plans.  After dinner we purchase provisions and Eric plots our course for the next day. 

Day 3 – Oct 11, Mon: On to the Magothy River:

After breakfast at the Pasta Plus, we return to the school office and the crew takes and all successful pass the ASA 103 test while the Capt prepares the dingy for the coming cruise.  Eric and Jim then make a quick trip to purchase some foul weather boots while Marc and the Capt secure the dingy on deck, top off ship board water and finalize ACADAME for departure.  Depart the slip and practice picking up a mooring and complete a holding tank pump out – both great opportunities to practice maneuvering under power, before heading out into the Chester River’s light winds.  

While motor sailing toward Love Point, Eric and Jim keep track of our progress by updating our plot by taking two bearing fixes and checking off the passage of waypoints along our route.  Upon reaching Love Point, the wind picks up and with Jim at the helm, we have a beautiful reach across the Bay to the entrance of the Magothy River and Sillery Bay.   Upon entering the river, we spot the PRIDE OF BALTIMORE at anchor and sail over to see this beautiful ship a beehive of activity with crew in the rigging and alongside preparing her for parade later in the week.  We then follow several boats into a well protected scenic anchorage behind Gibson Island.  After securing the boat, Marc and Eric go for a short swim followed by an excellent dinner prepared by Eric of pasta with wine sauce, ratatouitte, toasted bread and an accompanying wine that makes the meal.  Under a bright starry sky, Jim lays out our course for the next day and Marc and Eric prepare the boat for the passage of a cold forecasted for later in the evening.

Day 4 – Oct 12, Tues: To Annapolis and a Walkabout:

The passage of a strong cold front during the night with a short but intense period of very high winds and rain underscores the need to keep updated on weather especially during fall cruising.  After another great breakfast, we conduct our pre ops checks and find that the raw water pump belt needs tightening.  It’s important for all cruisers to know how to look for and fix “routine” maintenance problems.  After making the necessary adjustments, Jim guides us out of the narrow entrance and onto the Magothy, into the Bay, under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and to a mooring in Annapolis.   

Light winds make the trip south a motor sail but provide the opportunity to practice our navigation skills by taking two bearing fixes and checking them against GPS positions.  The Capt also introduces the crew to running fixes.  After securing our mooring, we launch the dingy and head ashore for showers and a look around the town.  The light winds make “cruising ashore” a good option for the day.  Annapolis is between the end of the sail boat show and the beginning of the power boat show – exhibits are up but the area is blocked off to entry – too bad, they all look interesting.  Marc and Eric head off to visit the Naval Academy and Jim sets of off to find a charger for his cell phone.  We get together later for an enjoyable dinner at Pussers.  Return to the boat by dingy where Marc and Jim finalize our route to the Wye River and crew studies for the 104 test.  Very quiet night. 

Day 5 – Oct 13, Wed: Change is in the Air

Up early for dingy ride into town for breakfast at Chick & Ruth’s Delly Inn, a great local landmark with a unique atmosphere and great food.  Forecast today is for wind 10-15 knots that allows us to sail on a broad reach/run down to the Bloody Point Bar Light and into the Eastern Bay.  We secure the boom with preventer and enjoy the opportunity to do some fine sailing.  After rounding into the Eastern Bay, the wind drops and we motor sail up to Tilghman Point.  Along the way we plot our position and monitor a large catamaran that seems to be following our course.  

As we approached the Point, our traveling companion seems to be closing at an increasing rate and we alter course to avoid being run over, underscoring the need to maintain an active lookout while underway.  Our fellow cruiser was not watching under his sails and had not seen us.  After rounding the Pt, the wind picks up, allowing the crew to practice MOB under sail.  Following the drill, Marc, our navigator, is asked where we are and what course we need to take to get to the Wye River.  Our position is found by working out a three bearing fix and course plotted.  In no time we are on course and into the Wye River where we continue up the river to a secure anchorage opposite Dividing Creek.  

The day’s work has rewarded us with a secure anchorage, surrounded by beautiful fall scenery and hundreds of geese settling in for the night. All this with only three other boats in sight.  Eric, who has taken over the galley and using it to refine his French cooking skills, prepares his grandmother’s receipt of Poulet, Poires and crips (chicken, pears in a wine sauce, toasted chips) served with a Garly Head wine.   After this excellent meal, we get an update on the weather for tomorrow – rain with light wind – and plan our course to St Michaels. Lights finally out after the crew studies for the ASA 104 test.     

Day 6 – Oct 14, Thurs: A Rainy Day in St Michaels

After a late start and breakfast, the forecasted rain and light wind come true as we motor sail over to the St Michaels Marina.  After a pumping out and topping off our water, we secure the boat in a slip and the crew settles in to take the 104 test.  All pass with fly colors.  After showers and changing into clean cloths, we head out to visit the Maritime Museum and tour the town. Eric and Jim find their decision to get foul weather boots well worth the effort – rain all day.  We end the day with a fine dinner at the Crab Claw followed by laying out course for the next day and an introduction to PIG, a game of skill that challenges ones nerve.    

Day 7 – Oct 15, Fri: Ok So You Want Wind, You Got It

Depart St Michaels under clearing skies and a forecast of winds 10-15 with gusts of 30 knots.  First reef is quickly followed by the second in the gust conditions that allow us to practice heavy weather sailing to include heaving to and “playing” the main sheet traveler.  While the gusts do not reach the forecasted 30 knots, they do touch 28 knots as we head up the Eastern Bay to the Kent Island Narrows.  Once thru the Narrows, we sail up the Chester River and toward Chestertown on a broad reach/run.  

Marc asks that we take the opportunity to work on some tacking in these gusty conditions so, short of Chestertown, we reverse course and short tack down the river – a truly enlightening experience in winds of 28 knots.  The value of reefed sails and ability to “play” the traveler are reinforced time and again.  We decide to spend the night in one of Langford Creek’s many beautiful anchorages – Lovely Cove.  After the day’s workout, we are rewarded with another of Eric’s great meals and a beautiful sunset.    The day’s work is not yet finished; we play several games of PIG – Jim, while displaying tireless attention to detail and preparation for each “move”, seems to never quite have the opportunity to become a PIG - before settling in for a quiet night at anchor.  

Day 8 – Oct 16, Sat: Return to Lankford Bay Marina and Secure

After breakfast and pre operations checks, we raise the anchor for the last time and motor down to the Chester River to find more windy conditions with gusts to 27 knots.  We practiced tacking, jibing, heaving –to and all points of sail in these conditions.  Finally time to return the marina and fulfill Marc’s wish to do some docking in these challenging conditions.  Eric brings us into the pump out dock, Jim to the fuel dock and Marc into our slip.  In each case, we use warps and rudder/prop wash to dock the boat with little “overt” excitement.  Each does a great job in the challenging conditions and ACADAME comes out none the worse from the experience.   

After securing and cleaning up the boat, we hold a final review of the day’s events and our entire trip.  All agree that the weather and course had far exceeded expectations.  It did have one potentially “negative” implication – it wetted the crew’s appetites for more.  Well done to a great crew!

Captain Steve Runals
aboard IP-32 ACADAME
Lankford Bay Marina
Oct 17, 2010



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