On Friday, I decided to sail my Catalina 27 single-handed from Deale to Quantico, VA. It only took me three days and I probably could have done it in two. I had a late start on Friday when my son got sick early in the morning. I didnít get out of Herring Bay until 1013. Dulcinea was dialed into the wind (11 knots gusting 14) and flew down the Bay at 6 knots. The wind died down to about 6-8 knots as I was passing Calvert Beach and I ghosted at around 3-4 knots. I ended up heading up the Patuxent River and tucking into Harbor Marina. Honestly, I really wanted to check out the Tiki Bar and eat a minced meat sandwich. Coming into the river, Iíve never seen than many crab pots located in one area. I felt like I was on an episode of the Dangerous Catch. The wind on Saturday was non-existent so I motored down the Bay and around Point Look Out around 1050. I made really good time going up the Potomac and reached Cobb Island around 1550. The original plan was to anchor at Cobb Island. However, I had plenty of daylight so I pushed further up to Colonial Beach to hit the CBYC marina. The wind picked up to 11-15 knots in the middle of the river and I made great time to Colonial Beach. Oddly, some of the best sailing on this trip was in the Potomac around Nanjemoy Creek and when approaching Quantico. Anyway, it was a great tripÖ Here are a few takeaways for me:
- The Bay is very easy to navigate with just a chart, depth sounder, and a handheld compass. I used the Garmin handheld chart plotter to determine ETAís. I didnít feel like doing the math
- The SPOT messenger (not affiliated) gave my Chica and friends some piece of mind since they could track my progress in 15 minute increments from a shared website. They also have an iphone app that allows people to track your position on the phone. The SPOT also allows you to program the help button to contact BoatUS towing with your vessel information in case you need it.
- People donít understand channel 16 is for hailing and emergencies. Itís not for radio checks which occurred every 20 minutes or so. People can switch to channel 28 (I think) to get a radio check from the seatow automated radio check (not affiliated either). It was worse on this trip then any other time on the Bay. Well, maybe I wasnít paying attention.
- When coming into an unfamiliar marina, try to get as much info from the marina attendant prior to entering. As a single-hander, it was important to do a drive-by first and plan my approach. Of course, prepare all the lines and fenders so you can be ready to secure the boat once you get it into a slip. The Catalina 27 is light enough to be man handled into a slip.
- Jack lines and tether provided added insurance when securing the main sail in a chop with 3-4 foot waves. This was the case when coming close the channel to enter Colonial Beach.
- Large Gatorade bottles are very handy when nature calls in a busy area
- When I was rounding Point Look Out and heading toward the mouth of the Potomac, I really wanted to head south and keep goingÖ