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  • July 9-16, 1999
    1999 Reports


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    July 9-16
    DELMARVA Near Coastal Training Cruise

    July 9-16, 1999

    Crew for this Near Coastal Training Cruise around the DELMARVA Peninsula aboard GRAINNE, an Island Packet 350 sailing yacht, were Captain Don Gordon, yacht owners Bob & Lesley Ward, Bill Jones and Reuben Mezrich.

    Friday, 9 July was used by the Captain and crew to inspect GRAINNE, review safety and emergency procedures per the guidelines of The Maryland Schoolís Offshore Training Cruises Manual, and to provision for the trip. A track was laid out through the C&D Canal and the Delaware River and Bay. It was decided to leave early on Saturday, 10 July to take advantage of the afternoon flood current to get through the Canal early and catch the ebb at about Reedy Point on the Delaware.

    Saturday 10 July, 0730 departure; arrived at the Canal at about 1500 and was through it in less than three hours. Wind was from the southwest at about 12 knots; the weather prediction was for moderate weather through the next few days. Upon arrival at Reedy Point we proceeded south under full sail on a beam reach. The wind had shifted to the northeast at about 14 knots, and the seas had increased to 3 ft. After sunset the wind increased and the seas built to about four to five feet from astern. The mainsail was taken in using the mast roller and we sailed with a full genoa. The wind was about twenty knots on the port quarter. Our speed was 4 knots, but with the ebb, the seas and the increased wind, we were showing nine knots over the ground for a good deal of the time. 

    Sunday, 11 July, we left Delaware Bay early and started south, still under full jib and making almost nine knots. At sunrise, with the seas about five feet and wind about fifteen knots, we were off Ocean City, MD. We set the main full, and deployed the staysail. We started tacking to test our ability to handle the conditions. The boat responded very well, but it was decided to proceed into Ocean City, and hold off on drills and to proceed south the next morning.

    On Monday morning we assessed the weather to be adequate for continuing the trip to Norfolk. The prediction was for seas three to five feet, building late in the day or over night, and wind from the northeast veering to the east by Tuesday morning at about fifteen to twenty knots. All well within the capability of GRAINNE to handle.

    Upon departure at 0900 we proceeded a few miles offshore and started man overboard drills; by 1100 the seas had built to five feet so we broke off drills and started south. Speed was five knots which should put us at Norfolk by Tuesday morning.

    As the day progressed the seas built to eight feet from the northeast and the wind built to twenty knots. We reduced sail and proceeded southwest by south, making more than seven knots over the ground.

    At 0330 we were off the Chesapeake Bay entrance and turned west to approach the main channel over the bridge tunnel. The seas had built to ten feet and the wind well over twenty with rain from the east, reduced air temperature and occasional fog. At that time the watch system was revised and all hands were called to station for the approach in the dark. The crew was gaining significant experience in handling the helm with strong quartering seas and wind. The helm was relieved every 20 minutes. Crew not actively engaged as lookouts, helm or navigation were encouraged to rest. We reduced sail further to the equivalent of a number four jib and a triple reefed main. At 0430 we started the engine and furled all sails. At about 0545 we entered the bay, and based on the condition of the crew (soggy, tired, cold, and some a bit sick), it was decided to proceed to Taylorís Landing Marina at Little Creek for some rest.

    At 1500 we departed Little Creek and headed for Mill Pond. The seas had settled to about four feet and the wind to about fifteen knots, all from the east. Upon deploying the jib we found that the jib halyard had parted at the shackle. We retrieved the sail and proceeded on main and engine only. We altered course to Saint Charles, arriving just before dark, and in time to find the only available restaurant still open and willing to pick us up at the city pier.

    The next morning, in the rain and wind, Bob Ward went up the mast and retrieved the jib halyard. We were underway by 0800 and proceeded under main and engine to Solomon's Island on the Patuxent River. The rain continued through most of the day, seas about three feet and wind about fifteen knots, all from the southeast. We arrived at the Lighthouse Restaurant pier, again just in time for dinner before the restaurant closed.

    The next morning Bob went back up the mast and was able to repair the jib halyard. We were underway by 0900 and proceeded to Annapolis under full sail, in pleasant weather, with light wind from the south. The ASA written exams were administered and all applicants passed. We also conducted many ASA verbal requirements and practical drills, including coastal piloting and 
    navigation enroute. Arrived at Annapolis City Dock by 1530.

    On Friday morning we departed Annapolis at 0530 and proceeded north under sail toward Rock Hall. At 0900 we conducted man overboard drills including deployment of the lifesling. We then proceeded into Rock Hall, arriving just after noon. We then unloaded our gear, cleaned the boat and said good bye to our new-found friends at the end of an exhilarating cruise.

    Don Gordon
    Captain, S/V GRAINNE
    Rock Hall, MD
    July 16, 1999

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