We all take some calculated risks now and then. This was just a nice night sail I did with some friends out of the Rhode River and crossing 'the Bay'.
I was to join 3 old high school sailing buddies on a friends Endeavor 32' for a sail on the Chessy last Friday (7/10/09). The only problem was that the diesel engine was not working but with a crew of 4 experienced sailors we were determined to do it the old fashioned way - with canvas and wind only.
After provisioning the boat we finally began wrestling the boat out of it's slip around 9 PM in a southerly breeze which was not a helpful direction for getting out. A line
was used to help pull the bow into the wind and we set sail in the narrow creek of the Rhode River trying to tack out towards the bay. We found the bottom fairly quickly and quickly got off again.
The full moon this July was on the 7th so since this was the 10th the moon rose around 9:30 PM as we reached the open waters of the Bay. We were ostensibly headed for St. Michael's so we sailed east across some bouncy waves under a rising waning moon. The temperature was perfect and the wind was quite willing to push us along but it began to get late and my other 3 companions began to sneak away from the cockpit, one at a time, to grab some shut eye.
I was using my GPS
to get our coordinates and plot them on the charts
we had. This was the not the only way we could find our position on the chart but it was the easiest way as it was fairly dark in spite of the nearly full moon.
By the time it started getting light towards the east we were dropping the hook near the mouth of the Wye River. I snoozed in the cockpit until nearly noon before we got back under way again.
The wx forecast was sounding a bit ominous and they did get some hail and bad storms around Philly but all we got was some 20 - 25 knot southerly winds as we pounded back over the Bay. We thought we would anchor
in the Rhode River for the night just in case things got nasty, we would be close to our slip.
I have to admit that I was a bit exhausted from staying up for nearly 21 hours so I let the other guys wrestle with the wheel as we pounded over the waves. The hail, rain and thunderstorms predicted by the wx failed to materialize and we spent a pleasant night on the hook.
The next afternoon we were able to sail perfectly back into our slip in light airs.
True to form, we debugged the engine after
getting back from our excursion and the fresh water cooling pump
was shot at the bearings. That will have to be replaced before the I-ron genny will work on this boat again.
Sailing at night with the moon up is a sheer joy. Sailing at night without a working engine on a 32' boat was a challenge that we met and happily enjoyed. Lot's to enjoy on the Chessy.