2018 Chesapeake Bay Cruise

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ASA104 Intermediate Coastal Cruising Course


 May 11-15, 2018




Kenneth Homick, Dan Kohler, Tom Riley


H. Jochen Hoffmann

Friday, May 11, 2018. Day 1
After introductions and cruise overview, we begin the day with line handling practice and, then, dinghy operation in the harbor. Boat check below and above deck conclude with deck and winch safety practice. While the student crew develops nav plans for days 1 and 2, the captain shops according to the meal plan all had agreed on. We cast off and begin with the most challenging of all anchoring evolutions—the med mooring. This requires lots of unobstructed practice room plus a marina’s permission. By 1600, we are underway per the nav plan, execute a safe entry into narrow Queenstown Creek where we anchor for the night and enjoy a simple dinner in the cockpit.

Day 2
Each student crew will now act as skipper for one full day. Off Queenstown Creek the next morning and after placing a security call on VHF radio that AcaDame will be conducting MOB drills, practicing MOB maneuvers of ever increasing complexity.  That done, the crew finds buoy G “9” Fl G 4s by simply following the depth contour of 30 feet, as intended. They then turn toward the Chester River entrance buoy R N “2” once their chosen water tank ashore bears 217º on their hand-bearing compass, as pre-calculated. Now, the wind picks up and we can sail close reaching toward the Bay Bridge, inspecting range lights and the mid-channel sea buoy RW “LP” Mo (A) along the way. Finally arriving in Annapolis, we practice picking up a mooring. Having used two doubled-over lines from each bow cleat to the mooring ball pennant to form a bridle, gives us great peace of mind when a strong squall moves through. 

Day 3
Still secure at our mooring, the morning is filled with engineering tasks plus advanced navigation topics cruisers should be familiar with. That includes a close look at the U.S. Coast Guard Light List (LL) and how to make effective use of the wealth of information it provides to all mariners. We consider key waypoint (Wpt) marks on our route. Later, the LL reveals its enormous value. How? We learn that the once 54’ high Bloody Point Light now has a brand new, multi-pile structure with a white warning beacon right next to it. The Light List shows that the venerable, tall, brick Light House (old LL # 7750) had been replaced by a mere 22’ high warning light (LL # 7751) to mark the remains of the Light House. Wow!! Later in the day, multiple MOB maneuvers under sail off South River in haze and a stiffening breeze conclude the day’s activities that end with dinner at Pirate’s Cove in the West River.

Day 4
Today, we start navigating at that advanced level that distance cruisers will want to master. Dead Reckoning (DR) plus compass conversion and plotting in True North--all discussed earlier—are part of it. All route planning was done in the ship’s log. Transcribed here, this is what our navigators determined and recorded:

Rhumb Line West River to Tilghman Point. Chart 12270—Eastern Bay and South River

Leg 1               G “1” Fl G 4s (LL # 19460)

Wpt # 1           38º51.51' N    
76º26.59' W 

                                 T                         M            D             C
124         11
w        135          1E            134

                        Course plotted is 124ºT = 134ºpsc to steer to reach the next waypoint. Distance = 4.5 NM


Leg 2               G “1E” Fl G 4s (LL # 26000)

Wpt # 2           38º49.07'N   

                                  T                         M            D             C
 062        11W         073          2E           071

                        Course plotted is 062ºT = 071ºpsc to steer to reach the next waypoint. Distance = 6.4 NM.


Leg 2 of 6.4 NM brings us to our turning mark R “4” Fl R 4s (LL # 26050) from where we navigate into beautiful Tilghman Creek. On our way, students take bearings to fix our position, including one using a depth contour and a Line of Position (LOP) on Bloody Point Light. Once in the Creek, we practice setting two anchors forked off the bow before settling down and enjoying dinner in the cockpit. 

Day 5
Boy, were we pleased that we had deployed two anchors. A severe squall line with thunderstorms crossed overhead last evening prompting a query from Rita Hanson, first mate for the Bay trip aboard the School’s ocean boat NAVIGATOR, how we were doing. NAVIGATOR, on her way to Norfolk and thence Bermuda, had encountered the same system, but was safely anchored as well. The remainder of our cruise brings one more challenge: navigating Kent Narrow’s Channel and crossing through the Kent Narrows Bascule Bridge opening to the Chester River. Fueling up, pumping out, final docking, and cleaning up becomes “uneventful” because we have meshed well as a cruising crew. 

Well done, shipmates. You captain thanks you with best wishes for your cruising life ahead.

Captain H. Jochen Hoffmann
On board S/V AcaDame
Rock Hall, Maryland,
May 15, 2018 


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