2013 Chesapeake Bay Cruise

Course Descriptions
School Yachts
Schedule of Courses
Ocean Training Cruises
ASA Certification
Registration Info
Our Location
Our People
Contact Us


 ASA104 Intermediate Coastal Cruise


Sept 28-Oct 2, 2013




Ward Duke, Laura Hatch, Gene McCluney


Jochen Hoffmann

Day 1: Rock Hall to Queens Town
Since an ASA Intermediate Coastal Cruise prepares students to become certified “Bareboat Charter Skippers”, we use our first day to emphasize related basics. We begin with proper line handling, launching of a dinghy, operating it in close quarters, and stowing the dinghy plus its outboard motor safely. Next, all of us prepare a meal plan for the cruise. As two crew members go shopping for provisions, the other two develop a precise nav plan down the Chester River to Love Point on the Bay. 

Once clear of the marina, we practice the first of many Man Overboard (MOB) maneuvers. Winds being light under a bright sun, we look for telltale landmarks around us and on our chart to confirm our progress to the challenging, narrow channel into Queens Town Harbor. Ward pilots us safely and the beautiful, sheltered North Arm of the harbor makes for a great anchorage. Laura, assisted be Gene, prepares a delicious pasta dish, which we enjoy together with a glass of wine, under twinkling stars. 

Day 2: Queens Town to Mill Creek, Severn River
After checking engine, transmission, and tide tables, we begin to unlock a navigation chart’s many mysteries before raising anchor. Outside the channel, we practice MOB maneuvers – first under engine and then, in the building breeze, under sail. On our way round Love Point, students experience the unsettling effect of current on our boat and their navigation plan – buoys and  lights are not where they expect them to be. Fortunately, ACADAME carries NOAA-Current Tables, and by learning how to use them, we can now predict the current’s effect on our boat. 

As we round Love Point, Laura together with Gene who is adept at advanced coastal navigation procedures, set a danger bearing of 251º magnetic off Love Point Light and designed to keep us clear of a wreck and shoal west of Love Point. We detour to get a good lock at the fair water mark RW “LP” Mo (A) – the kind of massive approach buoy that signals the entry point of a deep-draft channel. From here we steer 224º M to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge where increasing commercial traffic keeps lookouts busy. 

Once the sails are down, we navigate by depth contour toward the narrow, winding Mill Creek Channel. Here, we get stopped by a shoal at its East edge and accept the offer of a passing boater to pull us by the stern back into the center of the Channel. Voila! At famous Cantler’s Riverside Restaurant, we enjoy great seafood and their standing offer to boaters to remain docked there for the night. 

Day 3: Mill Creek to Annapolis then to St. Michaels
Today, after an early breakfast, we review the steps needed to maintain an hourly log as used by distance cruisers. Next, we concentrate on course plotting procedures for DR (Deduced Reckoning) navigation. They include plotting in degrees True North and converting courses so measured on a chart to ship’s compass directions. From now on, all our chart plotting will be done in True North, and courses given to the helm will be per ship’s compass (psc). 

Underway to Annapolis, we take advantage of the many charted objects and features in this busy harbor and learn to fix ACADAME’s position in various ways. Pre Boat Show construction prevents us from docking at the City Dock. So we drop off Gene and Ward, who have never been here, at a fuel dock for a quick tour while Laura (at the helm) and the captain transfer to another dock where we pump out the holding tank. 

Together again as a full crew, we take departure at buoy R “2” Bell, Fl R 2 sec. and motor sail at 164º True to Bloody Point Lighthouse where we enter Eastern Bay. Navigational fixes and time/speed/distance calculations help us verify that we are exactly on our planned route. In St. Michaels we dock at the Crab Claw Restaurant, have a quick look at the town, and enjoy a delicious seafood dinner before anchoring west of the quaint Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. 

Day 4: St. Michaels to Prospect Bay
In earshot of the familiar Westminster Chimes from a nearby church, we enjoy a leisurely breakfast in the cockpit before examining all critical parts of a boat’s mechanical and electrical power systems. Before leaving the harbor, we practice the Mediterranean Mooring procedure, which is used to this day in many seaside towns in Europe and in Bermuda. 

As we leave with a light easterly zephyr on our starboard side, we experience the predicted wind shift to the west, practice MOB maneuvers in a 10 knot breeze and heave to in order to have all hands available for the intricate procedure of setting a whisker pole. ACADAME’s now experienced crew proves adept at handling the many lines that need to be tended for our last MOB maneuver with rigged-out whisker pole. Shipmates navigate into Providence Bay where we lower sails, anchor in 11 feet of water and record three bearings which we will use for our anchor watch. 

Day 5: Prospect Bay to Lankford Bay Marina via Kent Narrows
The most eventful parts of our last day include crossing through the raised Kent Narrows double leaf bascule bridge – with Ward at the wheel and Gene taking us through the meandering N Channel – and a spirited sail at 006º M up the Chester River in a 12 knot WNW breeze. 

Three excellent docking maneuvers follow: Gene’s at the pump out dock, Word’s at the fuel dock, and Laura’s at our home slip. The many bare boat chartering activities needed at the end of a cruise close out our time on the water followed by testing of the many topics covered during the course. Big smiles show that all have passed and that three more sailors have joined the ranks of ASA104 certified mariners. Well done, shipmates. I’ll see you on the water. 

Captain H. Jochen Hoffmann
On board ACADAME
Lankford Bay Marina, MD, October 2, 2013


© Copyright The Maryland School of Sailing & Seamanship, Inc., All rights reserved.
Web site design by F. Hayden Designs, Inc.