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Old 12-02-2008
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Late Autumn Cruise on the Chesapeake

We have a tradition in my family where the guys head off for a long weekend of sailing in mid-November, without wives and kids. Sometimes friends come along with their own boats. We've been doing this for seven or eight years running now. It's typically cold and wet with some sun sprinkled in now and again. Our wives and kids usually don't complain about being left behind!

This year we had four boats total. We "raced" from the Chesapeake western shore over to Wye Island, where we rafted for a night before making a short hop/race down to St. Michaels. From St. Michaels, we sailed back across to Annapolis, and then back to our homeport on the West River.

Here's a bunch of photos from our most recent trip:

The pair of Beneteau 285s got out ahead of us as we began the Bay crossing:



We got even further behind when we had to head up and go astern this tug, while the Beneteaus scootched ahead of it:


As it turned out, the tug actually helped us. There was a strong tide set up the bay that forced the Beneteaus down onto Bloody Point light and the adjacent shoal. They had to beat their way out of there while we, with the WEATHER GUAGE, managed to sneak ahead:


As soon as we were able to crack off a bit, we popped the chute and did a horizon job on them with my brother Mike trimming most of the way up the Eastern Bay:


Time for some lunch. Au Revoir, Beneteaus!


We rafted that night in a creek along Wye Island - beautiful country! Here you see my octogenarian Dad out for a dinghy cruise:


The next day we raced to St. Michael's -- only about 7 or 8 miles away. It was a drifter and we got clobbered by my brother-in-law's 285. It didn't help that my Naval Academy Varsity Sailing Team alumni brother jumped ship and raced with my B-I-L.

St. Michael's was it's usual pleasantness. We were berthed at the Maritime Museum, right next to a lovely restored boat called Elf, which claims to be the oldest racing yacht still sailing. I think it's from the 1880s:





Elf details:












And here is another friend's little Folkboat 26, anchored out in the lagoon at St. Michael's:




The next day, we had a cold hard beat to Annapolis, about 28 miles or so. As we approached Thomas Point, the Beneteaus and the Folkboat peeled off and headed back to West River, but we had sailed together for much of the passage.

The little Folkboat, reefed down and moving along smartly:


B-I-L's 285 pressing hard to weather:


Us slogging along:


Yours truly takes the helm during the thrash to windward:



Annapolis is always a fun place to visit. But it is strange to be there with so few boats on the public moorings. Still, as we approached, we saw a few nice boats in the harbor. Here's one Hinckley ketch that I particularly liked:






As we approached closer to Annapolis, we discovered we weren't the only ones visiting that night:




We found the last slip at Ego Alley, tied up and then went over to have a closer look at the Pride of Baltimore II and the smaller schooner, When and If:




Some details of the Pride II:





We poked around the Naval Academy a bit, then hunkered down in a pub to warm up. Next morning we went to an early breakfast at Chick and Ruth's. In honor of Veterans Day, my brother Mike and I -- being mere slimey 'wogs -- treated brother Steve and my Dad -- both shellback veterans.

Still early, we got underway, to discover Pelican floating at a mooring. Pelican is SailNet member Labatt's Passport 40 -- he had just arrived from Connecticut, quite a sail!:



I was sorry not to have bumped into Labatt/Chris on shore -- I wouldn't be surprised if we had crossed paths at some point -- but neither of us knew what the other looked like.

It was a crisp morning with a fair breeze, so we skipped the mainsail and popped the chute, right there in the harbor next to Pelican. We held it almost the entire way back to West River, pushing into the high 6's along the way. It was a fun sail and another great sailing weekend on the Bay!

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Last edited by JohnRPollard; 12-03-2008 at 08:57 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 12-02-2008
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Thanks John, looks like you had a great time!!!! The Pic's were great, thanks again!!!
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Old 12-02-2008
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Great tale and wondrous pictures, John, thanks - I had a bit of a winter's bash taking Taronga for a weekend jaunt from Jersey City to
Eastern Connecticut where she will be hauled for her annual 3 month spa treatment. Left on Saturday the 22nd at 0600 in 20 F (that¹s 1/4 inch farenheit) with 20 kts gusting to 30. The salt spray breaking over the bow froze into slush on deck and the windward forward lifelines began growing salt icicles. Saturday night the temperature went to 19F. Hard to climb out of the sleeping bag.

My crew (Joan had begged out due to an antipathy to freezing her ass off) and I were sporting our best gore tex and polar tech and wicking layers and we were still bloody cold. Once the sails are up and drawing, there isn¹t much to do in the way of moving around to keep the circulation going. How did the square rigger sailors round the horn and sail the westerlies in the Southern Ocean with their woolen underwear and canvas jackets?

On this weekend jaunt, we only moved around to experiment. Specifically, we¹d experiment with various ways to make hot water out of the kettle interesting. We found a touch of bourbon with brown sugar and lemon worked nicely and even a touch of rum with lime worked nicely. They were both interesting. After a while we forgot to go to the kettle for the hot water. Thus ended the experiments.

We got to our haul out maritime spa centre in Branford and Joan met us with the car to drive back to NY on Sunday afternoon. Had a beer and pizza on the way back at Pepe's Pizza in Fairfield (highly recommended and right off the Turnpike) * the central heating at the pizza joint was nice. The beers were nice, too.

Now I'm editing my lists of things to do on the boat while she's hauled and wishing it was March...
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Last edited by jimmalkin; 12-02-2008 at 06:41 PM. Reason: line breaks
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Old 12-02-2008
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I am in freakin' tears. JohnPollard - you are THE MAN! Very, very nice stuff.

Now, tomorrow morning when you wake up - take a moment to realize that life is very good, dude. And yer livin' it.
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Old 12-02-2008
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Good stuff, John.

Elf , seriously pretty and very nice pics, worth saving, thanks.

Don't you just love Folkboats ? When the day finally arrives that I can no longer consider serious cruising I am gonna have me one for day sailing and the occasional overnighter. (Can't say the dodger does much for her looks though)

Hinkley...oh yes.....not many of them down this way and the only time I have ever seen one on Sydney Harbour I spent most of the day chasing the bugger to try and get a better look....

and I'm not at all averse to the P40....

Agian Good Stuff.

Salute
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Old 12-02-2008
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Great one JRP! Thanks for sharing.

Now I'm homesick.

*sigh*

Lucky Man!
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Old 12-02-2008
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Nicely done JRP.
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Old 12-02-2008
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Great cruise and photos, JRPollard! Hardly recognized Annapolis without all the boats. Will you guys be hauling out soon or will you “frostbite” all winter long? Things are winding down for us and Freya on the left coast. All we got lined up is the EYC lighted yacht parade this weekend and then bringing the boat over for the New Years Eve party. You guys definitely take the cup for best late season cruise!
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Old 12-02-2008
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Thanks JohnRPollard, I really enjoyed the read--well-written and great pics. We're still on our boat-buying quest, but we hope to see you out there in the Spring.
Regards,
J

Last edited by josrulz; 12-02-2008 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 12-02-2008
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Obviously a great trip and fabulous pics. As a newcomer to the Chesapeake, thanks for the inspiration and I am looking forward to similar adventures next season.

Stuart
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I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky - I left my shoes and socks there, I wonder if they're dry?
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