2016 Chesapeake Bay Cruise
Schedule of Courses
Ocean Training Cruises
Oct 22, Saturday:
The Captain arrived the day before to begin prep and complete some tasks for another class. Howard and William complete their ASA 103 class and we begin our planning for our class. We get an update on the weather for the next several days, discuss options for cruising destinations over a chart of the area and decide on a cruising plan that includes anchoring, docking and picking up a mooring. With cruising plan finalized, we develop a supporting meal plan and head to the store to get provisions. Once provisions are stored, we discuss our plan for the next day and prepare for the tomorrow’s challenges. The weather has turned cooler but the forecast calls for only a slight chance of rain over the next several days making for beautiful fall cruise on the Bay.
1 – Sun: Review
of Ships Systems, Rules of Road and Boat Handling:
forecast calls for gusty NW/W winds 15 – 20 knots giving the opportunity to
practice sailing in stronger wind and wave conditions than those they had
during their previous courses. By
late morning we are ready to depart. After
a review of boat handling procedures, Howard takes the helm and gets us out of
our slip and to the pumpout station. We complete this important task and are underway before noon.
Before raising sail, we execute several MOB drills under power so this
essential skill is fresh on the minds of all.
Once under sail, we find the weather forecast accurate thus requiring a
double reef in the mainsail, reef in the genoa and playing the mainsail
traveler in the gusty winds. William,
our navigator, tracks our progress along the way taking two-bearing fixes and
plotting our position as we pass known points.
Once out of the Chester
River and past Love
Point, we find the higher waves that we anticipated on the open waters
exposed to the still strong west winds. By
late afternoon we are into the shelter of the Swan Creek Channel and to an empty anchorage just north of Rock
Hall. The protection of
this snug anchorage, clear skies and cool weather make for a perfect Fall
evening. We review the day’s
events over dinner and begin planning for tomorrow’s trip south thru the Kent
Narrows to St Michaels.
2 – Mon: Down the River, Thru the
goal was to transit the shoaling entrance between 1130 and 1230. Howard
contacts the bridge tender on VHF 13 and are cleared for the 1230 opening of
the highway bridge. We watch the
depth sounder carefully as we make our way thru the entrance channel and make
it thru without incident. The effects of the strong north setting flood
current are clear to all as we await the opening.
Once thru the bridge and into the Eastern Bay we find that the wind has completely died away.
Howard keeps track of our position as we motor sail toward the entrance
to St Michael’s.
We contact the marina and arrange to refuel before tying up for the
night. With boat secure, we take
the opportunity to visit one of the jewels of the Bay – the Maritime Museum.
By late afternoon it’s time for showers, dinner and planning the next
3 – Tues: Retrace
our Steps, Across the Bay and into the Rhode River:
Wind and wave conditions give us lots of practice in using the mainsail traveler to ease the pressure on the helm. Howard and William get firsthand experience is seeing how quickly north bound sea going ships and tugs with barges can move as we work to stay out of their way. Finding our entrance channel marker is a challenge against the just beginning to change foliage in the late afternoon light. We enter the Rhode River and after careful consideration of the forecast for the night, select an anchorage on the west bank of the river. This provides excellent protection from strong NW winds during the night. Once anchored, we enjoy an excellent pasta dinner, and quiet but very cold night under clear skies.
4 – Wed: To Annapolis and a
early afternoon arrival allows Howard and William to take the ASA104 exam and
still give us time for a little exploring.
This is the first time William has been to the capital of Maryland, so
after they pass the test, we head into town on the dingy for showers and a
walkabout. We meet at Pusser’s
for an early dinner – the cooling temps discourage us from sitting outside
on the porch, but a window table allows us to watch the limited activity in
the harbor as we enjoy dinner and discuss the last several days' events. Once
back aboard the boat we secure the outboard motor but decide to leave the
dingy in the water – a wise decision as it turns out.
Howard and William complete the planning for our return to Lankford
Bay Marina which includes identifying the state of the current at the Love Point Light.
Winds of 10 – 15 knots E/SE are forecast so it should be a good sail
home. Tomorrow’s trip calls for
an early departure, so it’s early to bed.
5 – Thurs: A
little excitement, Return to
Lankford Bay Marina and Secure
forecast wind, 10-15 knots with gusts to 20 from
west, make for an exciting sail in the early morning light. As we sail toward the Bay Bridge we find the excitement for
the day is not over. William
spots on the port side a rapidly approaching powered fishing boat on a
collision course. Howard quickly
tacks the boat to starboard just in time to avoid a collision.
The boat thunders past without pause.
We count our blessings and wonder what will happen next. The sail up to and into the Chester
River is without further incident.
It’s great sailing. The
now southerly wind has us making long tacks to avoid shallow water in still
gusty conditions until we see that a rip has developed in the clew of the
genoa. We make the remainder of
the trip home motor sailing, arriving back at the marina by early afternoon.
Howard brings us to the pump out dock and William brings us into our
slip. After securing and cleaning
up the boat, we have a final review of the day’s events and our entire trip.
All agree that weather, course and excitement of the last day far
exceeded expectations. It did
have one potentially “negative” implication – it wetted the crew’s
appetites for more. Well done to
a great crew!