Schedule of Courses
Ocean Training Cruises
||Advanced Coastal Cruising; DELMARVA Circumnavigation
||July 24 to July 31, 2011
|| IP440 CELESTIAL
||Russ and Betsy Armstrong, Jacques Dessailly, Scott Hanson
Sat July 23 24,
2011- Pre-departure Preparation
Scott and I arrive the day before to begin final boat prep.
Among other things we recover the dingy from the storage rack and the
spinnaker and storm tri-sail from the dock box.
CELESTIAL is now ready for
her crew and new adventures. By 1700 my student crew has arrived.
After introductions and initial boat orientation, we head out for dinner
at the Bay Wolf restaurant – one of the few in town that have not closed
because of the heat- where we discuss cruise requirements, get to know each other
and begin the planning process. After
dinner we return to the boat and continue our initial planning which results in
a general cruise and associated menu plan.
We decide tomorrow’s work will begin with an early outside orientation
to avoid the record breaking heat.
Day 1: Sun
Following breakfast on board, we begin our boat and system orientation
outside. We check out all rigging,
rig the storm trisail, rig and hoist the spinnaker, cover sheet and line
handling and winch operation. As an
added bonus, Scott goes up the mast in a bosun’s chair to check all fittings.
By 1000 we are able to return to the A/C below where we finalize the
provisioning plan. Betsy and I head
off to provision while Scott, Russ and Jacques check out boat systems and locate
all required safety equipment. Following
lunch and stowing of provisions, we review the Offshore Training Prep Guide,
discuss safety issues, coastal navigation procedures and begin planning our trip
north. Dinner provides a welcome
break and opportunity to continue to get to know each other. Following dinner, it’s back to cruise planning and an early
bedtime after a long but satisfying day.
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Day 2: Mon
Tide and current calculations in the Bay and C&D Canal, a factor in our
navigation planning, call for departure at 0700. Gary, one of the school’s
experienced captains, arrives before departure filling out the crew.
After an early breakfast, we are nearly ready, except for a quick review
of undocking maneuvers. As we
disconnect the shore power cords, we find both have shorted out - blackened ends
- not good and making them unusable. Russ
takes us out of the slip and into the Bay where we find light wind. We rotate
crew positions and practice taking two bearing and running fixes to confirm our
position as we motor sail up the Bay. We
also execute MOB under power giving all hands an opportunity to get familiar
with maneuvering this large vessel. Along the way we make arrangements to get
required repair parts for the shore power system. The West Marine crew at Bear, DL does a great job of getting
and delivering the parts to our overnight stop at North Summit Marina in the
C&D Canal. We get some relief
from the extreme heat with a light rain as we enter the canal, moving along with
the current at 7.5 to 8 knots. After
arriving at the marina, we repair the shore power connections, retreat into the
A/C and enjoy a great meal prepared by Betsy and Jacques, complete with
strawberry shortcake, before working on our navigation plan for the Delaware
Day 3: Tues
Another early day. Per tide calculations, we cast off at 0600 with a 2 knot
current pushing us toward the canal exit at Reedy Point. While this timing means
fighting an opposing flood current for nearly three hours once in the Delaware
River, it also means that we will be riding a favorable ebb current for about
six hours down the Bay, expecting to arrive at the mouth of the Delaware Bay at
near slack tide. In route to Reedy Point, Russ makes a truly great omelet
while Scott, our navigator for today, tracks our progress. Once in the Delaware River we again find light winds and a
flood tide that initially slows our progress, but once it begins to ebb, we
“fly” down the Bay at 8 knots. Underway,
we discuss a range of ASA106 topics, review watch standing and navigation rules
including lights on vessels at night and the captain’s standing orders as we
keep track of our progress and monitor the ship traffic moving around us.
By early evening we have entered the Atlantic Ocean and have enough wind
to sail for about two hours. Having
the motor off and under sail is a very welcome change but does make preparing
dinner just a little more complicated. The
cooler water also lowers the outside temperature as we prepare the boat and
ourselves for our overnight passage. With nightfall, the stars fill the sky and
we begin our two man watches.
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Day 4: Wed
To give everyone the experience of standing watch in complete darkness,
Betsy and I take the first watch from 2030 to 2330, Russ and Scott from 2030 to
0230 and Gary and Jacques from 0230 to 0530. Our offshore motorsail south is
uneventful, a few boats and a passing rain shower break up the hot, windless
passage. Betsy and I take over to
see a nice sunrise and clear skies. Later in the morning the wind picks up to the point we can
fly the spinnaker for a short time before it dies away. We conduct another MOB drill, quickly recovering our unsteady
dummy. We have some excitement when
we see several large sea turtles. By
late afternoon the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay emerges from the haze and we
consult our tidal current tables to find we will be able to take advantage of a
strong flood tide. Jacques, our
navigator, adjusts our course to take advantage of this extra lift.
He has to work to keep up with our progress as we approach and pass
underneath the twin bridges at the North Channel doing 8.4 knots.
We enter the Bay and are immediately greeted by several pods of playful
dolphins and navy helicopters but …. no wind.
After a quick tour of the concert ships at Kiptopeke State Park and a
great spaghetti dinner, we head into Cape Charles with its new town harbor docks
and the promise of A/C. Scott brings us into the T-head at one of the new
floating docks where we are securely tied up before dark.
After showers and a celebratory drink, we all fall into a well earned
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Day 5-6: Thurs/Fri
Today, we sleep in, have breakfast at the Coffee House restaurant, stretch
our legs doing a little sight seeing, clean the boat and prepare for the next
leg toward home. The forecast is
for more light wind and hot temperatures so we decide to make another night
passage up the Bay to St Michaels where we can again take advantage of shore
power and A/C. Shortly after 1300
we depart the dock and find enough wind to actually sail.
Once clear of the harbor entrance, we practice tacking and gybing through
all points of sail. It is the first
real chance we have had to see the real power of CELESTIAL
under canvas. Later, in winds too
high to fly the spinnaker, we sail wing-and-wing with the genoa poled out up the
Bay. We have the opportunity to
track and contact several large ships as we sail parallel to the main shipping
channel. As night approaches, the
wind is now dead astern so we furl the main and sail north doing 5+ knots under
headsail alone. It is a rolly night
with the winds rising and finally dropping away.
Each watch gets the opportunity to track passing ships by monitoring
their lights, AIS images and radar return.
After midnight we begin motor sailing to keep up a four knot boat speed,
continuing to keep a close watch on passing ships. Betsy and I come on deck to see a beautiful sun rising out of
the Choptank River but also another windless, very hot day.
We round a restored Poplar Island, head up Eastern Bay, around Tilghman
Point and down to St Michaels. Before
heading into our slip, we practice anchoring to reinforce the process and
confirm that a muddy bottom is still the Chesapeake Bay norm.
Russ brings us into our slip and by early afternoon we have lines
secured, A/C operating and the boat cleaned up inside and washed down outside. The very hot afternoon is spent in taking showers, exploring
the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, catching up on sleep and studying.
Dinner ashore at the Crab Claw and an early bedtime close out this very
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Day 7: Sat
Another early departure. Our
original plan was to spend the night on a mooring in Annapolis but the forecast
lack of wind and high temperatures dictate a change of plans.
Betsy gets us out of our slip and underway to Annapolis where we will
practice picking up a mooring, dock at the Yacht Basin to refuel and pump out
then head on to Rock Hall and Osprey Pt Marina. Once in the Mills River, the
Capt prepares a pancake breakfast as we head north in a building wind.
We secure the engine and beat toward Tilghman Point, reef and unreef our
main sail and practice MOB under sail as we round the point and head toward the
Bay. Once past Bloody Point, the
wind again drops away and we motor sail past the Thomas Point Light and into a
sail-filled Annapolis Harbor. Betsy
gets us onto an open mooring (surprised at the number of open moorings but the
heat has kept many away) and then smoothly to the fuel dock.
Topped off and pumped out, we head back out into the promise of a
building wind as we work our way thru the anchored boats and always impressive
array of power and sail boats enjoying a very warm Saturday afternoon. We are
able to sail for a short time until the light wind veers to the north and on our
nose as we pass under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Once clear of the bridge, Jacques pleads for another
opportunity to sail even if only in a few knots of winds. We enjoy the quiet of
a short, engineless sail for an hour and then motor sail back to Swan Creek and
our slip. Jacques maneuvers us back
into our slip where we quickly secure the boat, connect to shore power, clean
up, take showers and head off for a celebratory dinner at Bay Wolf.
Unfortunately Gary has to leave us to head to another sailing adventure,
but we enjoy our dinner and drink a toast to him and his help.
Sleep comes easily after a great dinner and knowledge that we have almost
finished the trip – two more tasks await – complete cleaning the boat and
for Russ and Scott, the ASA106 test.
Day 8: Sun
Our final day starts with a focused effort to complete boat cleanup.
Once complete, Russ and Scott take the ASA106 test.
By noon all is complete and we say our farewells.
It’s been a great trip despite the heat and light wind. All agree they learned more than expected and set their
appetite for more – maybe even a trip to the Caribbean with CELESTIAL in the winter.
Hearty farewells bring this cruise to a close for a great crew of
accomplished mariners. Great job by
Captain Steve Runals
On board CELESTIAL,
Aug 1, 2011
Osprey Point Marina, Rock Hall, MD
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