Good morning everyone,
I've been lurking for a while and have enjoyed reading about all your adventures and have learned so much that I felt it was time to join the conversation. First off, I don't own a boat...yet.
I live in Charlottesville, VA, which doesn't exactly enable easy sailing access. I have two young children (5.5 and 3) and am a single Dad. Needless to say, I don't have too much free time but when I can I crew on my Dad's boat whenever I get the chance. Kinja is docking at HHS. We used to be at Shipwright eight, nine years ago when he had a Beneteau 361. He had to sell it about five years ago and just purchased a Beneteau 46 this summer. I like the new boat. He's still getting used to the boat and how it handles and I every time I am aboard I go into sponge mode and try and learn as much as I can. I'm having a blast!
So, onto the story...we'd been trying to get to Oxford for a couple of weekends but time and the wind have not been on our side. We were hoping to go out on Saturday but from all accounts I heard is was a rough day. I awoke on-board yesterday morning to a nice breeze rustling the tree tops. After a walk down to the beach to get a view of the Bay and after we were fully caffeinated we cast off and set out for Galesville. We knew we couldn't make Oxford and my Dad really wanted to see the West River.
We hoisted the sails in Herring Bay and navigated the crab pot minefield successfully. It wasn't too bad but they were out in force. We managed to find the lines running N-S and ran parallel to them. The wind was at our backs and we made good time. It was so nice in fact that we decided to head for the Bay Bridge as we'd never been under it before.
There were a bunch of boats that appeared to be racing up near the bridge so we just headed to that HUGE container ship that was anchored just south of the bridge and turned around. Wow, those things are just amazingly large.
Once we were heading south we started hauling ass! What fun. My Mom doesn't exactly like it when the boat is healed over but the sailing was so good I just couldn't turn Kinja into the wind. Alas, to calm her down a bit and restore order I backed off a bit and headed for the West River. My Dad wanted to motor in since he had never been before. He's the Capitan so I went to work furling sails.
We took out time heading up the West River and came across another race, Hobie Cats I think. They were flying over the water. All was going well, we were proceeding up the channel from marker to marker but then something went wrong. My Dad was piloting, I was looking for crab pots or just being a tourist when my Mom glanced at the depth finder. "You're in FOUR FEET of wate.......oh sugar honey ice tea!!!" We'd hit the bottom but were able to cut hard to starboard and get back into the channel.
A way too close call for what was already proving to be a stressful journey up river as we didn't exactly know where we were going. We learned a valuable lesson. Go even slower then you think you should when somewhere new and if you have crew, make someone the navigator. We just weren't paying attention. Stupid rookie mistake that shouldn't have happened. We thought we were in the channel but we weren't. We were hugging the #3 Green buoy and should have been heading in a more westerly direction as opposed to a southerly one. Live and learn. No we know channel and we are not likely to make that mistake again.
Given the time we decided to grab a slip at Pirate's Cove for lunch. The wind was still blowing around 16 knots and right into the slip. It took a few tries to get in but we made it. It was a little exciting but we made it in unscathed. Had a wonderful and quick lunch and were back on-board and heading down the West in less then an hour.
My Dad wanted to motor home as the sun was starting to sink and he wanted to get home. It was too nice to motor even if the wind was only four knots in the West. However, the farther downriver we got the more the wind speed increased. I was able to convince him to raise the sails and once we rounded whatever point that is and were in the Bay proper we were ripping upwind at around 6.5 knots. The wind was steady around 12-15 and once I saw 18 for a few minutes. This is when my mother who is usually doesn't stop talking became very quite. Apparently I got so focused on harnessing all the wind I could I was near about putting the rail in the water and loving every second of it. The boat just kept asking for more. I obliged. We were heading out to sea and not getting any closer to home but my Dad and I were just enjoying the breeze while we had it.
My Mom finally spoke up and I realized that it would be best for everyone if I eased off a little. The boat settled down and she released her death grip from the ship's rail. I knew we couldn't keep running with the wind even if it was just one of those perfect moments. We had to go home. We tacked once but just weren't going to make it home before dark with the sails up. I hauled them in once more and we nosed Kinja directly into the wind and headed home.
It was a beautiful cruise back to HHS. The sun was very low on the horizon and just about lit the black water on fire. There was hardly a crap pot in all of Herring Bay. We cruised home without incident and watched the sun sink into the trees. We made it back to the slip just after dusk. Once everything was tidied up we melted into the cockpit and each one of us throughly enjoyed our whiskey and beers as the moon rose above our heads in the calm air of the evening.
We didn't make Oxford but we did have an amazing day on the water. We learned a lot and went somewhere new. It was a wonderful adventure and I can't wait to share the next one with y'all soon.
Cheers and thanks for reading. My name is Sean and my folks are Don and Anne Marie. If you're ever over at HHS please stop by and say hello!
Right, back to work...