2019 DELMARVA Reports
1- Friday July 5, 2019
completed our overall cruise plan by noon on Friday, we were ready to receive
our student crewmembers onboard as they arrived at various times during the
afternoon, stowed their gear, and started general familiarization with each
other and with S/V NAVIGATOR. Michael Magee and Charles Zapf are
MDSchool graduates with ASA Certifications up through the ASA104. Corey
Provencher and Kazuya Tokunaga have ASA certifications up through ASA104 from a
sailing school in California. All want to earn the ASA106 certification
resulting from this DMVA cruise, however some first need to complete the prerequisite
ASA105 Coastal Navigation certification.
Food provisioning for the cruise was completed prior to the crewmembers arrival.
afternoon, after student crew arrival, we inspected NAVIGATOR below deck from bow to stern
including all locker contents, electronics including chart plotter, radar, AIS
and radios, engine, heads, batteries and selector panel and procedures,
electrical breaker panels, sea cocks, bilges and bilge inspection procedures,
safety equipment, fire extinguishers, USCG required equipment, charts, and
reference publications following the guidance of the MDSchool's DMVA Advanced
Coastal Training Plan, a 150 page publication that we will use for guidance
throughout this entire cruise.
evening, we went to dinner ashore to continue our familiarization with each
others' backgrounds, sailing experience, professions, families and sea stories.
Then we turned in early as tomorrow will be a very busy day of pre-departure
afternoon we prepared our navigation plan for tomorrow's cruise to Swan Creek
first by planning our route, courses and waypoints using the NOAA paper charts,
USCG Light List, NOAA Coast Pilot, USCG Notices to Mariners, and Chesapeake Bay
Cruising Guide. This paper-based preparation provided our education of the route
to be sailed including a large-scale view of the overall route, risks, hazards
and opportunities, plus a close-in view of the details. The four-person student
crew worked on this as a collaborative team effort with each member handling a different
aspect such as plotting routes and waypoints, looking up NavAids in the Light
List, checking the Notices to Mariners for latest updates, researching related
guidance in the Coat Pilot and Cruising Guide, and writing key route information
in the Deck Logbook for later reference during the cruise. There was a great
deal of discussion and collaboration between crewmembers during this process
leading all to a better understanding of the route to be sailed and
building of a smoothly functioning team, which is an essential component of this
advanced coastal cruise training.
this paper-based navigation plan was completed, the crew then entered waypoints
into the electronic Chart Plotter based on the decisions made during the
paper-based preparations. During
the cruise, we will use both the paper charts and reference pubs as well as the
electronic chart plotter for route and navigation monitoring to maintain an
overall big-picture of our route and a close-in detailed view. This is to avoid
the problems so often encountered by sailors who rely solely on the electronics
and loose the overall perspective. What the USCG calls EACs... Electronically
Dinner ashore and early to bed in preparation for the start of our cruise
Speed Over Ground Outbound, SOGO
Speed Over Ground Return, SOGR
Speed Correction Factor, SF
During later operations, a Log Speed reading can be corrected for this instrument error as follows:
Corrected Speed Through Water, SC = SF x LS
For example, if the Log Speed instrument read 7.0 knots through the water. then the corrected speed through the water would be
0.778 x 7.0 = 5.45 knots.
After completing this instrument calibration, we continued
down Langford Creek to the Chester River where we conducted underway sail
training using the DMVA Training Plan for guidance to ensure that all
crewmembers were synchronized with the details and with each other in these
important procedures. For this, students were assigned to different parts of
each procedure with one student in charge of directing the other crewmembers to
ensure proper sequencing of the steps as outlined in the DMVA Training Plan, and
with the Captain and Mate monitoring details.
Upon completing sail training exercises, we continued on
down the Chester River following our navigation plan, round the horseshoe bend
at the Wildlife Refuge, and north toward Love Point at the northern tip of Kent
Island. To this point, we were outbound on Chester River so that the green
NavAids (buoys) were to our starboard side (green right going out.) But on
passing Love Point we entered Swan Creek and thus the NavAids shifted to red to
our starboard side as we were now entering an estuary (red right returning.)
From here we motored past Rock Hall Harbor and entered Swan Creek tot the
mooring buoys of Swan Creek Marina, but before anchoring, we motored some
circles to calibrate the ship's compass using the Sun as a directional
reference. Following this, we anchored in six feet of water (N39º08.99/W076º15.21)
about a half mile north of Haven Harbour Marina where we spent a pleasant
evening of dinner onboard and navigation preparations for tomorrow's route up
In spite of the uncomfortable conditions, our crew undertook
their necessary operational duties and navigation tasks including one and
two-bearing fixes and comparison with the paper charts and chart plotter, as
well as interpretation of what we see visually in comparison with the charts. By
1400 the winds dropped below 10 knots NNE, rain stopped and our progress
At 1500 we entered the C&D Canal, and at 1700 we entered
the Summit North Marina where we topped up fuel, pumped out the holding tank,
and took a T-head slip port side to on Dock H. Dinner ashore at the Grain
Restaurant, which was a disappointment. Then back to the boat for the extensive
navigation preparations needed to get us from here to Cape Charles via the
C&D Canal, Delaware Bay, Coastal Atlantic, and the Chesapeake Bay entrance,
a trip of over 200 miles... So, the navigation preps that we completed the
previous two nights were a necessary training exercise for this major navigation
prep task that
we undertook tonight and completed by midnight.
Exited the C&D Canal into the Delaware River southbound
at 0930. The challenges of transiting the Delaware
River and Bay include the strong currents, extensive shoaling on either side of the
main ship channel necessitating staying close to but outside of the channel;
steep waves when wind is against the current; heavy commercial ship traffic moving fast; limited visibility in foul weather or nighttime. These factors made
careful and continuous navigation monitoring with eyes as well as paper charts,
electronic chart plotter, AIS and radar essential to safe passage. It also
required that we continuously scan the scene with binoculars and compare
observations with the charts and compass bearings. Also, it is not always
apparent if a beacon or lighthouse adjacent to the channel is actually on your
side or the opposite side of the channel, so careful examination of charts is
essential especially if a ship is bearing down in the channel as you do not want
to be inadvertently crossing at close range.
1200... Winds WNW at 5 knots; skies clear; motoring
Our watches are setup so that one student crewmember is on
the helm manually steering and keeping a careful lookout while the other student
crew is the on-watch Navigator and Rover constantly on the move and checking out
boat systems and equipment both above and below deck as well as monitoring the
navigation status. After each hour, these two crewmembers switch
positions for a relief and so that both are familiar and adept at both roles and the duties of
each. This will become very important as we enter our coastal Atlantic route at
nighttime. Captain Tom or Mate Tim
continuously monitor this process to keep it safe and honest.
1600... Winds backing to south at 10 to 12 knots; on the
nose now; skies clear.
1700... Passed Brandywine Shoal Light, and here began
keeping a DR plot on a DMA 926 ocean plotting chart for practice and as an introduction to this method of offshore navigational plotting; distance log at
start of DR plot = 9489 NM
1730... Dinner served; wind veering to SW at 10 to 12 knots.
1900... Rounded Cape Henlopen and headed SSE between Traffic
Separation Lanes and coastline.
2030... Sails up; 1st reef in mainsail; full genoa and
staysail. However, there were several commercial ships anchored shoreward on the
Traffic Lanes which was a little disconcerting when viewed from a distance at
night, but the situation resolved itself as we drew nearer and we passed between
the anchored ships and the Traffic Lanes. Crossed Traffic Separation Lanes under
sail at a safe angle with no ship traffic threatening.
0200... Motor sailing; some traffic; lots of stars.
0330... Motor sailing; winds less than 5 knots SW; struck
Genoa and Staysail; returned to waypoint track.
0600... Sunrise; motor sailing; dropped mainsail
This was an easy, peaceful day at sea with little wind as we
motor sailed to our destination at the entrance to Chesapeake Bay. At 2000 we
approached our entrance waypoint at the Red "2N" Flashing Red buoy south of
Nautilus Shoal. From there we turned north toward Fishermans Island just south
of Cape Charles and the parallel pair of bridges crossing the Chesapeake North Channel
on the north end of the dual Chesapeake
Bay Bridge Tunnel complex. By now it was full dark, but clear with good visibility.
We could see the green lights marking the 75-foot high
center span of these bridges, which lights need to be lined up for safe passage
under both bridges that are separated by about 100 feet. Also visible
were the red warning lights marking the bridge abutments on either side of the
channel span. The view from red "2N" buoy showed the green lights
considerably misaligned, but as we proceeded up the Chesapeake North Channel
toward the first bridge span, the green lights began drawing gradually closer.
On reaching the last pair of buoys, about one mile before the first bridge, the
green lights were still considerably separated, and we needed to aim our course
at a location to the right of the first bridge so that the green lights would
align before we reached it.
We verified by radar, AIS and visually that there were no
other vessels approaching the bridge southbound from the north, and we sent out
a Securite call over VHF 16 that we would be passing under the bridge. No other
vessels were noted and we proceeded, without incident, under the two bridges.
On the north side of the bridge is a red over green channel
junction buoy, RG N "LS" that we left to our starboard side as we
wanted to follow the preferred channel north to Cape Charles town. Just after
that is a green can buoy, G N "13" that we left to portside; from here
its a straight shot to Old Plantation Flats white light, and just beyond that is
the green lighted buoy, G "1CC" Fl G 2.5 sec marking the entrance to
the Cherrystone Channel to Cape Charles town.
Cherrystone Channel is marked by two sets of range
markers and half dozen other NavAids including two unlighted buoys which we will
need to identify during our port entry in the dark of night. To make this entry
safely and efficiently, our student crew was assigned as follows: Mike to the helm for
steering and lookout, Charles to the Nav Station, radar and chart plotter, Corey
deckhand and forward lookout and Kazi with an electric spot light as
forward lookout and buoy spotter. Mate Tim was in the cockpit to monitor
events there. Captain Tom was in the companionway as relay between cockpit
and nav station to ensure that communications were clear and that the process
moving along smoothly and safely. Charles, as navigator provided course directions and distances
to the next waypoint or NavAid, and Mike, as helmsman followed the navigator's steering
directions. The lookouts reported citing and identifying each NavAid. In
this way we groped our way into Cape Charles in the dark of night and found the
marina and secured to a T-head floating dock for the night.
The day was clear and summery warm with a moderate
breeze from the southwest as we proceeded north and conducted MOB drills.
Weather forecast predicted lightning squalls in the late afternoon as part of a
squall line extending from Florida to New England, so we are not likely to
avoid it. Sure enough, about 1900, the building clouds to our west began to take
on a black and very ominous appearance as they seemed to be advancing toward
us and over the bay.
We prepared the boat and crew for the expected foul weather:
Turned on navigation lights, closed all hatches, double reefed the mainsail,
furled in both head sails, donned foulies, headed boat closer to the middle of the bay
to gain sea room on both sides, checked location speed and course of
all nearby traffic, and instructed the helmsman how to handle the helm during
the squall: We will ride the squall with just the double reefed mainsail and no
engine unless it is needed. Expect the wind direction to rotate
counterclockwise as the squall passes, and the helmsman, Charles, was instructed
to steer the boat to keep the wind at 50 degrees apparent (to port in this case)
and to not let the wind get in back of us.
The squall hit with a vengeance with wind going from less
than 10 knots to 45 knots in a few minutes when the cold blast hit followed by
driving rain, lightening and thunder. The crew was hunkered down in the cockpit
glad for their foulies and protection from the dodger canvas. Charles manned the
helm like an expert and kept the boat correctly headed while being drenched by driving rain. Actually, he was grinning from ear to ear and enjoying himself
to the challenge. Other crewmembers kept a lookout as far as visibility allowed,
and I went below to monitor the radar, AIS and chart plotter during the squall,
which lasted about 30 minutes. The storm blew through, winds calmed, skies
cleared and by midnight we had starlight for a pleasant sail up the bay to
Annapolis with winds of about 10 to 12 from SW to West.
Thanks and fair winds to all...
Captain Tom Tursi