I just made a 24 hour passage from Norfolk to Annapolis (up the Chesapeake Bay) and thought I'd share a few notes with the group. The purpose of the trip was to get Cam up to a brokers there for sale so effectively, this was to be our last trip on the boat we've loved so well. We needed to make time and so decided on a straight non-stop shot up the Bay but I was feeling a bit nervous about the trip since we hadn't run Cam since putting her on the hard last fall AND because an overnight trip up the bay presents it's own danger in terms of shipping traffic and other hazards despite protected waters.
In preparation, I sat down with my paper charts (maptech guide) and plugged in the 15 or so waypoints I would need for the trip into my Garmin handheld and double checked their accuracy from the Laz-Y-Boy... a lot better than finding out you're wrong underway! I next made the waypoints into a route and found that the trip was 150 miles and then figured that at 6 knots it would take me 25 hours and at 7 it would be 21 hours. Leaving in mid-morning from Norfolk would insure a daylight arrival in Annapolis. The weather gods looked favorable...predicting light Northerly winds swinging around to the East and then South.
We woke on Monday morning to very light northerly winds as predicted and proceeded to get ready to get underway. Of course by the time were ready to cast off, the winds had strengthened to 15 knots and pinning us to the T-head dock, but we managed to back out and get off without too much trouble. The forecast was now for winds 10-15 out of the North (where we were heading) diminishing and clocking later on in the day. OK...so we would have to head into the wind for a while...no big deal.
Getting out of downtown norfolk to the Chesapeak is a 12 mile run up the Elizabeth River and past much of our nations Naval might. Pretty spectacular to sail in the shadow of some of our big carriers and we met a Nuclear sub under escort coming back into the harbor. As we proceeded to exit Hampton Roads, I noticed a heavy chop and whitecaps everywhere and the wind was up to over 20k out of the north. Not a problem for the boat but there was incoming tide opposing the wind PLUS the James River outflow from the West so it set up real washin machine conditions as we entered the Chesapeake. Wind speed was steady at 24-26k and waves jumped up to 4-5 footers with a really short period so we were hobby horsing pretty good under power for a while and I was worried about sediment/water in the fuel after the long lay up...but all turned out just fine as the wind quieted to 15-20 (North) after a few hours and the waves settled into the predicted 2 footers. No chance to raise sails though.
As 6PM approached we were north of Deltaville and the wind came East briefly giving us hope of some sailing but then quickly shifted south at 5K or less which killed that hope. As we approached the Potomac River mouth at dusk I noticed crab traps in deep water which we doged for an hour or so. I thought that deep water traps were illegal but now I had an additional worry as night fell. Fortunately...we stopped seeing traps just before darkness and didn't have any further close encounters. I would never have planned a night passage if I thought I would have to be dodging traps!
I also noted my GPS was reading statute miles instead of nautical ones since my last trip was on the ICW. OOOOPS! I was doing a 130 NAUTICAL MILE trip and calculated arrival time based on statute miles! We would arrive in Annapolis in the dark at our present rate of progress!!
Another stupid mistake was not getting a chart update. Apparently there are a few more nav aids in the Bay than in 2002!! Thankfully, the ones we would have been on a collision path with were lit and not cans.
Anyway...we dodged a few ships and tugs with barges but otherwise had an uneventful night. I do not have a charplotter card for the Chesapeake so was using the radar to navigate along with my GPS and paper chart. All in all I'd rather have radar than a chart plotter for situations like this as is is so good for spotting unmarked obstaacles like new buoys or SHIPS! My raymarine RL70 works like a charm.
I could just see the beginnings of a little light over the eastern horizon as we passed "Sailor Mitches" light and headed into to Severn River. I dropped the hook in fairly open water rather than risk going further up river in the dark and went to sleep for a few well deserved hours of rest after 19 at the wheel!
And that is the story of what I expect will be my last " sail" on Camaraderie. As usual, she took good care of me.
Hope you enjoyed the post and maybe will avoid making a few stupid mistakes by reading about mine!