2018 Chesapeake Bay Cruise

Course Descriptions
School Yachts
Schedule of Courses
Ocean Training Cruises
ASA Certification
Registration Info
Our Location
Our People
Contact Us


ASA104 Intermediate Coastal Cruising Course


 June 20-24, 2018




 Richard Hamel, Keith Robinson


 H. Jochen Hoffmann

Wednesday, June 20, 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. With Rich carefully tending the anchor rhode, Keith steers and moors the boat on first try. By 1630, 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 develop a nav plan and act as skipper for each alternating day. Off Queenstown Creek the next morning, and after Rich places a security call on VHF radio that AcaDame will be conducting MOB drills, we practice MOB maneuvers of ever increasing complexity, including use of the all-important MOB-button on the captain’s plotter.  That done, the crew finds buoy G “9” Fl G 4s (previously checked in the Light List [LL]) by simply following the depth contour of 30 feet, as intended. Now, the wind picks up and we can raise sail, practicing firm halyard control. As we proceed toward the Chester River entrance buoy R N “2”, we learn a critical lesson: Be alert-- always! A “Head Boat”, i.e., a commercial boat with recreational anglers on board and returning to port, is coming straight at us. We need to give the emergency signal twice and rapidly alter course as collision avoidance measure before the captain sees us and bears away. Once we are around Love Point (entering LL # 8340 for students to recognize the navigational importance of this mark), we are 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, means great peace of mind if 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 once more a close look at the U.S. Coast Guard Light List 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 and what limited chart detail vs. Light List may say about them. For example, the once 54’ high Bloody Point Light as marked on older charts 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. In driving rain, two reefs properly set per our IP-32 main sail rig plus a reefed jib set, we sail to the West River intent on docking at Pirate’s Cove. “Sorry, all slips reserved” is the contact’s response. We are to check again after 1700 in case of a possible no-show. We anchor, review text topics, and finally get slip # 25 where we try to dry out and have dinner.                 

Day 4
Today, Rich as skipper, we start navigating at that advanced level that distance cruisers will want to master. Dead Reckoning (DR) plus compass conversion to, and plotting in relation to, True North--all discussed earlier—are part of it. All route planning was done in the ship’s log. Our Rhumb line is: West River to Tilghman Point, using Chart 12270—Eastern Bay and South River. Students have captured all essential information needed to ensure a safe passage along each leg—from the description of navigational aids to the latitude/longitude position. (See their entries below.)      

Leg1.jpg (236883 bytes)

Click image to enlarge

For Leg 2:        Course plotted is 126ºT  =  136ºpsc to steer to reach the next waypoint. Distance 4.6 NM.

For Leg 3       Course plotted is 057ºT  =  068ºpsc to steer to reach the next waypoint. Distance 6.5 NM.

On our way, students take bearings to fix our position. They also successfully hail the Maryland School’s ocean yacht NAVIGATOR--used for ASA-108 and 106 classes--which is on her way back from Bermuda, currently doing an ASA104 class up the Bay to her home port from Norfolk.

Near Bloody Point, we alter course to afford safe passage to a North-bound container ship. From buoy Red “4” Fl R 4s, students discuss and settle on one of many navigational options that are now part of their skill set to reach Tilghman Creek. Once in the Creek, our newly minted cruising sailors practice setting two anchors forked off the bow before settling down and enjoying dinner in the cockpit.

Day 5
We rose before sunup, recovered both anchors, and navigated out of the channel as the sun was rising ahead of us. Today, the crew is running the boat, Keith as skipper and the captain coaching only to achieve a smooth transit through tricky Kent Narrows with its Bascule bridge and strong current. A delightful downwind run, preventer in place, came with one concerning last challenge: As we furled our sails during one last anchoring exercise outside the channel, a—possibly in-experienced—trawler captain steered head-on on a collision course and had to be warned off by our emergency signal. That makes it two dangerous encounters in but four days!!! Final pump-out, fueling, docking, and boat cleaning provided additional training opportunities for my crew now eager to cast off on their own

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, 
June 20, 2018


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