2017 DELMARVA Reports



Schedule of Courses

Course Descriptions

Course Prerequisites

School Yachts

ASA Certification

Registration Info

Our Location

Our People

Contact Us

School Store

Cruise Reports

Photo Album

Send Email to office@mdschool.com

ASA Award School.jpg (302694 bytes)

ASA Award Tursi.jpg (522201 bytes)

ASA_Award_Tucker.JPG (465335 bytes)

ASA_Award_Boccuti.jpg (440516 bytes)


~ A Cut Above ~

Course Advanced Coastal Cruising; DELMARVA Circumnavigation
Date October 14-22, 2017
Students: Edin Beho, Alan Kronisch, Arnold Meshkov, Ralph Rayner
First Mate Tom Tursi
Captain Frank Mummert

The October 106 cruise began in Lankford Bay Marina, with a briefing for all crew on sail-handling and basic navigation review.  After a hearty lunch, we prepped the boat for underway travels and headed out to Swan Creek to anchor for the night.  The sun was just beginning to disappear as we snugged in for the night among the other boats and settled in for dinner in the cockpit.  The evening ended with an all-crew effort to plot our course from Swan Creek to the Summit North Marina on the C&D canal.

The next day, we were up before dawn and the anchor came aboard with the sun.  Underway, we headed out of Swan Creek, across the bar and turned north for the Canal.  Since the wind was behind us and lively, we set a poled out Genoa and motor-sailed up the bay.  As our course became more northerly and the wind turned to the east, we eventually had to furl the genny, but still made good time.  We tucked into Summit North about 1500, early enough to take on fuel and pump out.  Dinner was delivery that evening and hot showers were enjoyed by all.  Once again, the evening ended with a navigation plotting session; this time, we were going out into the ocean, with big winds predicted.

On Monday, as we left Summit North, the big ones arrived on schedule.  As we exited the Canal on the Delaware River side, the winds went from 5 knots to 20 in a few miles.  Setting a double reefed main and the staysail, we headed down the channel to the ocean, arriving at Cape Henlopen just before sundown.  As we proceeded out past the sea buoys and avoided the Vessel Traffic Scheme off our port side, we could see the lights of Delaware receding in the distance.  Soon we were all alone on a black sea, with a blanket of stars above for company.  After we had gotten enough sea room and tuned the corner of the DelMarVa peninsula, we gybed onto the port tack and followed the unseen coastline south west.  Through the night and into the next day, we saw almost no other traffic out here with us and the following wind and sea made sailing the boat interesting, and several of the crew got their first taste of big ocean swells.

As the sun came over the horizon on Tuesday, chasing a brilliant Venus from the sky, we were finally able to see the wves that had chased us all night.  They weren't towering, but we did often have a wave off our stern that was taller than the cockpit.  Sometimes, it appeared that Navigator would be swamped but she rode over the waves like the ocean queen that she is.  Late in the afternoon, we finally found land again, as we came into view of Cape Charles, the southernmost tip of the peninsula.  Our navigation plan confused by the fact that one of the major buoys was missing, we still were able to turn around the point and pass under the northern span of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.  We came out into the Bay itself, furled our sails and headed up into Cape Charles Town Marina, arriving after dark and piloting into the harbor with the aid of buoys, ranges and shore lights.  Finally, after executing a 270 degree standing turn, we slid Navigator into her slip and buckled down for the night, exhausted but pleased with our success.

We left Cape Charles the following evening, motoring out of the harbor into the rapidly falling twilight.  As we came into the Bay, full dark descended and we began our navigation using the many lighted aids to navigation.  At the same time, we commenced dealing with the monsters of the Chesapeake, huge cargo ships and passenger liners headed up and down the bay to places unknown at speeds we could never hope to match.  Often we were dancing around the ships, all the while conducting crew overboard drills in the dark.  Finally, at about 0330, we arrived at our next destination, Dozier's Regatta Point Marina in Deltaville, VA.  Once again finding our spot in the dark, we tied up on the face dock, turned on the power and fell into our bunks.  

Morning at Dozier's found the crew reviewing their materials, preparing to take the written test that balances the practical knowledge gained during the course.  After all hands took the test that afternoon and we filled our fuel and water tanks and drained our holding tank, we headed out for dinner at a local restaurant, using the courtesy vehicle loaned to us by Dozier's Marina.  We finished up the day by polishing our navigation plot for the last leg of our journey, from Deltaville back to Lankford Bay Marina.

Once again, our plan was to leave the marina at sun-up, but we ended up waiting for a half hour as we watched the parade of commercial fishermen leaving this busy working port.  More than two dozen boats, with one and two man crews, passed us as we watched.  After all were clear, we headed out and passed around the fishing fleet, now grown to many dozens, both seeding and harvesting the oysters for which the Bay is justly famous.  As the wind was fair for a northerly trek and about twice as strong as predicted, we set out the main on a preventer and rolled out the genoa again.  We sailed for many hours until contrary winds and seas at the mouth of the Potomac forced us to douse sails and run on the engine once more. 

North of the Potomac, the sun dropped into the western shoreline and we watched the lights come up around the Patuxent River.  At least once an hour, some ship or boat would appear that would allow the crew experience in night time collision avoidance.  Sometimes, course changes were necessary, but often, it was simply a matter of figuring out relative courses and speeds to satisfy the on-watch instructor of the crew's intentions.  It did get a little hairy while near the Annapolis Bay Bridge, when five different contacts were all affecting our track at the same time.  However, suffice it to say that we successfully navigated the "rocks and shoals" of Annapolis and soon turned back into the Chester River around Love Point.  

Navigator returned to the Lankford Bay Marina, just after sun up, having watched a glorious sunrise over the middle of the DelMarVa peninsula that we had successfully circumnavigated.  The crew, while tired, hungry and looking forward to hot showers, had proved their mettle and earned their kudos.  

Captain Frank Mummert
Rock Hall, MD
October 22, 2017

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