Just back after the week long trip from Deltaville, up the Patuxent and back. The weather was awesome, and I did lots of sailing. Winds were pretty steady 10-15 everyday, and at no point was I hot, becalmed, drenched by a thunderstorm, or overwhelmed by insects.
On the leg up, I overnighted in Reedville and the Honga River. Reedville stinks if you are downwind of the fish plant. It smells like cat food. The Honga river doesn't seem like a popular spot to visit, but I've now been there three times this year. It just seems like the wind is always blowing me there, and I prefer to sail rather than motor hugging the Western Shore to my ultimate destination (as it seems many others do).
I saw dolphins in the Rappahanock, Reedville and Fleets bay. On the way up there were stingrays everywhere. At first I didn't know what they were. They just looked like brown blobs in the water. But then a few passed close by the boat. It was pretty cool watching them swimming, their wing tips breaching the surface.
I was able to motor sail most of the way up and down the Patuxent. The river was nice enough, with plenty of power boaters, but only a handful of sailboats. The river is shallow, but I think it would be a great place for a small daysailer. There are few markers upriver of Solomons. I ignored them and never touched bottom.
I arrived up river at the Benedict bridge around 5pm Sunday afternoon. Despite having phoned the bridge earlier in the week, and being assured that the bridge opens 6am-6pm everyday, without holiday restrictions, the bridge did not open. There was no response by vhf, and the phone just rang and rang. Guess they quit early on Sunday evenings. I probably should have phoned earlier to let them know my arrival time, but I wasn't sure I'd make it by 6pm.
But anyway, the bridge opened the next morning. I waited until after rush hour to pass through, but on the way back down the river, I had to pass during rush hour in order to catch the tide. My apologies to all the people I made 15 minutes late to work. I can be a selfish ahole sometimes.
There are powerlines at the power plant north of the bridge. The posted height is 60 feet, but I had some pucker factor passing under them. One set of lines didn't look very high, and I think it's a very rare sailboat that travels north of Benedict.
Because of time constraints, I only had one day to stay at my buddy's place, but we had a great time, and his family's place is beautiful. I had only been there once before about ten years ago. The river below the power plant is nice enough, but we took his brand new center console stinkpot out and motored further up the river to Jug bay. The river narrows and is much more picturesque than the wide and developed lower river. He let me take the helm, and I had a blast bombing along at 25 mph.
The trip back took me two long ass days of sailing. Skipped Reedville this time. The stingrays had all disappeared. I don't know where they went that fast. I tried raising the spinnaker at one point. It would have been the perfect point of sail all day, but there was too much wind for me to raise it single handed for the first time, and I gave up. I need to try it in lighter winds, and perhaps with the admiral aboard to woman the helm.
I don't know that I would recommend the Patuxent to a fellow cruiser. It might be fun to head past Solomons if the winds and current are favorable. But it is a haul all the way up the river. I wouldn't do it, if I didn't have a reason. That said, I might try to make this trip an annual event.
Gemini Catamaran Split Decision
Last edited by NautiG; 07-09-2009 at 02:26 PM.