2018 Chesapeake Bay Cruise
Schedule of Courses
Ocean Training Cruises
For the first 104 class of the season, Mother Nature threw some interesting curves at Scholarship's crew. However, Shawn and Sally proved repeatedly that they were up to the challenge. Five days of everything from hot and humid to torrential downpours did nothing to dampen their spirits.
Since both students had qualified on 103 at the Maryland School, Scholarship was an old home to them. After reviewing safety procedures and a provisioning run, we were away from the dock and off on a sail on Friday afternoon. A downwind run out of Lankford Bay found us off Jackson Creek, near Grasonville, as the evening drew to an end. Settled on one anchor, with a gentle wind out of the North East, we had a hearty dinner of spaghetti and meatballs, with quiet conversations and a navigation planning session for the next day's run.
Up early, we were underway by 0700, but unfortunately, the wind refused to cooperate. We ended up motorsailing around Love Point and down under the Annapolis Bay Bridge, before pulling into the Naval Anchorage to prepare for our motor up to the Annapolis Harbor. Being Saturday, we encountered hundreds of fishing boats, power cruisers, sailboats and even three fleets of racing sailors. We finally were able to duck all of the traffic and grab a mooring ball in Annapolis, where we discussed more safety situations. After an hour or so or "schoolwork," we threw the chalkboard over the side and went in for showers and dinner. After wandering around the packed downtown, we returned to Scholarship, just in time for a massive squall line to blow through. As we watched, boats danced all over the mooring field, but we were safe and secure with two dock lines holding us to the ball.
In the morning, we motored out of Annapolis into a cool and gray morning. Past Red 4, we dropped again into the Naval Anchorage and raised sail, using a preventer and broad reaching into the Chesapeake Bay. With the current behind us, we were able to determine, using some two and three bearing fixes, that our initial speeds were only in the 2 to 3 knot range. However, by the time we made the Bloody Point Bar and turned into Eastern Bay, the wind had both piped up and veered into the east. With the increased winds, we found ourselves over-canvassed and reefed both the headsail and the mainsail. Now sailing on a single-reefed main and jib, we tacked up against the current that had been helping us earlier. Rain came splashing down on us, restricting our visibility and chilling us. Finally, the line passed, the weather moderated and we were able to run down to St. Michael's Marina, where we enjoyed a pump-out, shore power and a delicious seafood dinner.
On Monday, the winds had deserted us again and we motored out of St. Mike's, heading for the Kent Narrows Bridge. Along the way, our captain pulled a sneaky "loss of engine cooling" drill and we found ourselves drifting in Prospect Bay, trying to silence that darn alarm! Troubleshooting soon determined the problem and we corrected it, allowing us to continue our northward trek. We had to time our trip closely, since we wanted to travel through the lift bridge while the current was slack, but the tide was rising. We just made it, passing through with the current turning against us. We slid out the North channel, where the shoaling is beginning to make even our passage a little tricky.
We ended the evening up in the Corsica River, after experiencing another loss of engine, due to a fire in the engine compartment (luckily, it was just another drill). We doused our sails in the anchorage area, then dropped two anchors, one upstream, the other downstream, for a Bahamian moor. As we enjoyed another meal on the hook and reviewed for the test we knew was coming on Tuesday. We settled in for the night, then watched as huge thunderheads rolled past us to the south, lighting up the sky. Another nasty squall line was passing us, according to the weather radar, but thanks to our secure anchorage, we never felt more than an isolated gust of wind. However, we did not escape a total drenching from the off and on rain that came through all night and into the dawn.
Anchors up, we headed out at 0700 and set our sails. The wind was now fresh out of the south and we sailed close-hauled down the Chester River until we could perform several sets of Crew Overboard drills. Once the captain was convinced that, should he fall overboard, the crew could rescue him (if they still wanted to!), we furled the headsail, rigged a preventer on the main and sailed back up to Lankford Bay Marina, where we finished up the course, cleaned and restocked the boat and wrapped up our truly enjoyable cruise.