2015 Chesapeake Bay Cruise

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ASA104 Intermediate Coastal Cruising Course


October 12-16, 2015




Nick Gatti, Kevin Kurdys, Andy Schlessinger


Frank Mummert

October 12, 2015; Day 1
After doing a review of the safety issues, voyage plan and menu for the week, we moved to the boat and the students found the four "problems" that I had put into the boat in order to ensure they did a good pre-voyage boat checkout.  After correcting the problems and inventorying the on-board supplies, they went into Rock Hall to fill in their meal plan and have lunch.  By two o'clock, everything was back aboard and stowed and we were underway.  After motoring south under blues skies and a stiff breeze on the nose, we anchored for the evening near the mouth of Jackson Creek close to Kent Narrows.  We used a forked two-anchor arrangement, taking into account the forecast of rising winds and possible rain during the night.

Day 2
By 0730, we were up and pulling anchors, getting underway and heading for the channel that would lead us into the Kent Narrows drawbridge area.  We caught the 0900 opening and were soon south of the bridge, raising sails and heading to St Michaels.  With the wind rising and the sky completely covered with clouds, we kept the first reef in the main and held the mainsail to a jib.  As the day progressed, the wind dropped, particularly once we got behind the lee of Tilghman Point and we were able to shake out the reefs.  The day was mostly close reaching on the starboard tack, with the occasional port tack out to clear the lee shore.  We made it into the channel to St Michaels when an electric fuel pump failure caused the engine to stop in the busy channel - a perfect opportunity for testing our ASA104 skills.  We moved to the port side of the channel, dropped an anchor and put out a call for TowBoatUS.  Safely tucked into St. Michaels Marina an hour later, we put out a call for a diesel mechanic and settled in for a quiet dinner aboard.

Day 3
The diesel mechanic could not replace out electric fuel pump, but was able to give us a manual replacement to get back home.  We left St Michaels before noon and headed north to Kent Narrows again.  After close reaching back up the same path we had come down the night before - a frontal passage during the night had shifted the wind from Southwest to Northwest - we anchored just south of the Kent Narrows northbound channel under sail and assessed our situation.  A discussion with Tom Tursi gave us the option of getting Acadame back in to Lankford Bay Marina to replace the dodgy fuel pump, while the class proceeded on the school's newest Island Packet, Navigator, an IP40.  The crew heartily agreed to the change, happy at the chance to sail the bigger boat and we were soon underway for Lankford Bay, arriving just before dark.  While under tow, the cook for the day prepared scallops and kale with bacon, in a rolling seaway, a feat which impressed all aboard. 

Day 4
Morning found us shifting gear to Navigator and planning our trip back out to the Chester River.  After a day of romping around, rescuing numerous "crew overboard," using both sail with power and sail alone, we headed back up the Chester River toward Chestertown.  The Northwest wind held, making for a quick beam reach up the river through the first few turns, until the river got narrow and the engine was required.  We dropped the sails, fired up the "iron genoa" and were in Chestertown with just enough daylight to drop the anchors in a Bahamian moor arrangement, to protect us against shifts in the river's currents as the tide changed.  We changed into our "going ashore" clothes, piled into the dinghy and headed to a great dinner ashore at Fishwhistle, the water front restaurant just off the dinghy docks.  Coming back in the dark, we took two trips to get everyone back aboard and everyone fell into bed after a long day and good food. 

Day 5
Up before dawn again, we pulled the anchors with the sunrise and headed back down river.  Our trip upriver had been using charts alone, but the captain decided to fire up the GPS chart plotter for the return trip to give the crew a different experience.  Noon found us rounding the bend to Lankford Bay again and, after cleaning the boat, re-stowing gear and lunch, the crew finished up their ASA104 class by all successfully passing the written exam.

Respectfully submitted,
Captain Frank Mummert

Rock Hall, Maryland




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