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post #1461 of 1896 Old 09-26-2016
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Re: 2016 Sailing Season on the Chesapeake

We felt like water taxi, painkillers, crowds, noise, and mediocre food, so we headed to Annapolis yesterday. Seems like the entire Chesapeake Bay went there too, including several boats from our own marina whose owners we ran into while walking around town. All the locals, including the water taxi captains (who know everything) said it was the busiest they've seen all summer, and were puzzled why. Their best guess is that it was the first cool night in months, so everyone headed there in hopes of finding a mooring ball.

The people we met who had gotten mooring balls anywhere in Spa Creek said they were filled by Friday afternoon (even the ones past the bridge), and virtually nobody left on Saturday, so if you didn't get there on Friday you were SOL. There was a fast growing group of a couple dozen boats of a variety of sizes (up to about 80' long) anchoring just outside the front forty. I had always thought that this was a prohibited zone, so I asked a nearby water taxi and he said everyone anchors there and doesn't get in trouble, so we found a nice open spot in the middle of all the rest and dropped anchor. For safety I noted all of our neighbors: a Catalina 387 that I recognized from Rock Hall ~200 yards ahead of us to port; a beautiful navy blue Beneteau(?) ~42', ~200 yards ahead to starboard; a C&C 39 a few hundred yards almost directly ahead of us; and ~70' two-story motor yacht with garish yellow hull directly to port. I was concerned about us having a poor set due to the "bowl" shape and questionable bottom composition, but we held at full throttle reverse.

On the water taxi into the City Dock we met the C&C 39 owners and had a nice talk. Somehow we got on the subject of anchors (they said they have a Rocna, and I said I had something similar but by a different manufacturer). We talked about difficult holding conditions where they were. I told them I put out 5:1 scope, and he said "that's more than we put out." I joked with them that my boat's name is "Breakin' Away," a great name for racing, but not so great for anchoring. But I told them I had set an anchor alarm, so once I got back to the boat I'd know if we had problems holding.

We visited a few of my wife's favorite galleries and boutiques, went to Pussers for Painkillers and appetizers, Federal House for dinner (salads for both of us), and Annapolis Ice Cream for dessert (cinnamon with Heath Bar topping, our favorite), and returned to the boat around 9:30. On the water taxi we met the couple with the Catalina 387 from Rock Hall. They told me a story about how they had once dragged anchor 500 yards while they were having dinner because they had anchored on the edge of "the bowl." This got us mighty nervous.

We returned to the boat and found that the wind had clocked almost 180 degress, now blowing toward the USNA seawall instead of away from it. My anchor alarm showed that we had moved by about the length of our scope. I looked around at all the neighboring boats. Things were a little different because we had all clocked around, but most appeared to be in the same place (within the margin of scope), except for one of them. The C&C 39 was now directly next to us, and only about 50' away (barely more than a boat length). The boat was totally dark inside. We had taken a walk on the USNA grounds before sunset and saw the couple on their boat, so I assumed they had gone to bed early. I did not have the heart to wake them, so I put a bunch of fenders on my boat and went down below to watch a DVD with my wife ("The Finest Hours", a fitting title for on a boat), planning to wake them after the movie only if I had to. About halfway through the movie I noticed a green nav light just outside my window, so went above to check things out. "I think we dragged a bit while we were sleeping, so we're going to move." I pointed out which boats were their former neighbors, and politely estimated that they had dragged about 300 yards. He was very apologetic, and said he noticed that I had put out a bunch of fenders. I said, "Well, I didn't want to wake you." I wished them well, and told them I hoped they would sleep OK. It was all very friendly and cordial. But I slept a lot better knowing that they weren't there any more.

The next morning the wind had clocked back around again, blowing away from USNA. The C&C 39 was in their new spot a few hundred yards away, so apparently they held better this time. I noticed some other new neighbors who either came in after dark or dragged there from elsewhere. The morning had been very rolly, as boat traffic was heavy and started early. We made French Toast for breakfast and joined the mass exodus before noon.

Bottom composition was interesting. Our chain came up fully clean. There was very little muck on our anchor. What was there seemed like sandy mud, with a few gravel pellets and a couple clam shells. I think the sand made for a clean chain, and may also create holding problems for some anchor types.

We had planned to take Monday off work and find a quiet anchorage for tonight, but my wife got some disturbing medical news about her father this morning and we just didn't feel right enjoying our boat with our Chicago relatives in such distress. So we're home now, but thankful for a nice weekend.

Rick S., Swarthmore, PA
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post #1462 of 1896 Old 09-26-2016
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Stopped for lunch on Tangier Friday and learned that Milton Parks was recovering from hip surgery. Seems he fell while helping tie up a boat. Anyone who has been to Parks Marina knows what a great character he is. He was always flirting with my wife and I'm sure all the ladies. Let's all hope for a full recovery for him.

Meanwhile, the marina is operating under a friendly, capable stand in - another pretty salty character.
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post #1463 of 1896 Old 09-26-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: 2016 Sailing Season on the Chesapeake

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Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
There was a fast growing group of a couple dozen boats of a variety of sizes (up to about 80' long) anchoring just outside the front forty. I had always thought that this was a prohibited zone, so I asked a nearby water taxi and he said everyone anchors there and doesn't get in trouble, so we found a nice open spot in the middle of all the rest and dropped anchor.
The anchorage along the seawall is called the Naval Academy anchorage (not to be confused with the Naval anchorage outside the yellow A). The rules are that anchoring there is prohibited without the permission of the Naval Academy Superintendent. If you call the Office of the Superintendent they don't know how to grant permission. *sigh* I have never heard of any enforcement.

The bottom there has poor holding. For many years there was a boat sitting on the rocks while the Academy, state, and City discussed who was responsible for disposal.

You can also anchor in the South anchorage off Horn Point. Much better holding. The water taxi does not have to stop for you there. It is left to the discretion of the individual water taxi captain.

There is room for a few boats to anchor at the head of Spa Creek near Truxton Park with good holding.

Many people anchor in Back Creek. The holding is good in some spots (mud) and poor in others (fluffy).

sail fast and eat well, dave S/V Auspicious

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post #1464 of 1896 Old 09-26-2016
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Re: 2016 Sailing Season on the Chesapeake

A friend of mine down in the Pax River hosts a rendezvous each year around this time.

Since Friday had no wind to speak of, I worked instead of wasting a vacation day. On Saturday, we set off for a 6 hour sleigh ride down the bay. Our top speed was 9.8 kts under a single reef and partial jib. We surged into the 9's several times. I know we had nearly 2 kts of favorable current.

We arrived a little before 3pm and feasted on oysters and fat, fall crabs harvested from the end of the dock, and chicken, corn on the cob and salad and a huge spread of hors d'oeuvres. We talked and drank a very good single malt scotch late into the evening. With the cool temperatures and utterly peaceful and silent environment of the creek, I slept the sleep of the dead.

Next morning, our host offered hot showers and a traditional fry-up breakfast that would feed the 1st Infantry Division and Bloody Marys. I then suckered one of my skinny buddies into shimmying up the mast to install a new Windex and replace the bulb in my anchor light and perform a general rigging inspection.

After an afternoon drink and many hugs, we set off for home around noon into a foul current and a dying breeze. It took 8.5 friggin' hours to motor home. I could have and probably should have spend another night and rode today's southerly home but we just didn't want to burn the vacation day. I'm hoarding because I expect to have to make a trip to visit family later this year.

Anyway, it was a great weekend. I have a lot of sailing planned for October...

Alacrity, 1981 Tartan 33 #168
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post #1465 of 1896 Old 09-26-2016
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Re: 2016 Sailing Season on the Chesapeake

You found out yesterday what anchoring in Annpolis Harbor can be like

Repeating what Dave said. I would never ever anchor off the sea wall area outside the mooring field. Ever. Most know at best it's silt and many people drag there. I had a friend who dragged into the rocks with a Bavaria 36. Plus you are at the mercy of the power cruisers who do slow to 6 kph. It has been discribed in many guides a mucky soup. In addition it is not very protected from fetch and wakes. I'd never be able to comfortably sleep there. I prefer to anchor in protected places unless it's dead summer and no wind.

We don't particularly like the hubbub downtown. The restaurants are touristy and mediocre at best. We like to visit once in a great while, and when we do we always head to Back Creek for a mooring or to anchor. Lots of neat boats to look at Certainly quiet after dark. If we need to be reminded of crowded humanity and If we want to head into town the water taxi still goes to Back Creek once an hour.

Course we have always had a reliable dingy and engine so anchoring a distance a way is not an issue. We have found a good dinghy with reliable engine is a big plus as you can anchor away from other boats, you don't have to worry as much about them dragging down on you. We can go ashore in any town and don't have to incur the Expense of docking in a strange place. Maybe an expense to consider in the future as you start spreading out in the Chesapeake. Kids love dinghy ride too. I used to let my daughter have the helm when she got older. It actually helped teach her some water lessons. Course it meant when she brought friends or a boyfriend she would feel empowered to ask to take a dinghy ride with them without me on board.

There is very rarely any moorings available especially a few weeks before the boat show. Weekends are always crowded in Annapolis. Besides why go someplace crowded when you can have piece and quiet. Beware of Navy football weekends also.

We like all the Creeks north of the 450 Severn Bridge. Weems and Clements have Navy moorings for their boats in storms and you are allowed to use them if available...just bring your own pennants. You can dinghy to Annapolis from there as well as Back Creek.

Salt worksCreek is nice but Maynadier Creek off Round Bay is a particular favorite with great protection from the cliff, but more of a rural setting with only a few house tucked into the trees or atop the bluffs. All are a short ride up the Severn and protected in some way where you can find refuge from wind depending on direction. All have great holding also. You never have to worry about dragging on a mooring or about others dragging into you.

All comes in the new experience of keeping you boat on the Cheaspeake. You'll. Find good go to spots in bad weather. Protected spots from certain wind direction. Places to go that no one goes to close and far away. Being in Rock Hall is a great location for the Upper Bay. It was directly across the Bay from our old haunt in Rock Creek.

This year moving South of there has opened up many new places for us to get to in a 1-2 hour or 4-6 hour cruising range which we now can visit regularly. The Severn is 15 minutes away. It has revitalized our sailing as after 10 years on the Patapsco we found ourselves going back to places we had been to a lot.

Eventually when we retire we will move the boat to Solomon's opening up the bottom of the Bay


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post #1466 of 1896 Old 09-26-2016
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Re: 2016 Sailing Season on the Chesapeake

FYI, our intended destination was Back Creek, but chatter over the radio indicated that it was very crowded there and above the bridge on Spa Creek. We were going to duvert to Whitehall Bay or Severn or South River, but after talking to the water taxi guy we made a last-minute decision to try anchoring there. I was surprised when he said it was OK, because I had seen that it was a prohibited area.

I had checked the football schedule and knew it was a day off, so was hoping it would be a little less crowded.

Boat Show Saturday is going to be a zoo with a Navy home game. Lori and I will probably go together on Sunday. I might also go by myself on Friday since I have a lot of things to check out this time.

For the future, I'd appreciate some recommendations on preferred areas to anchor in Back Creek. The cruising guides all mention by the water tower, but I also see mentions that there are only five mooring balls and room for only a few additional anchored boats there. What other sections of the creek are good for anchoring?

Rick S., Swarthmore, PA
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post #1467 of 1896 Old 09-26-2016
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Re: 2016 Sailing Season on the Chesapeake

Annapolis is like the "deep fried Twinkie" on the Chesapeake- You know it's really bad for you, but you eat it once or twice a year anyway.

Yes it's touristy, but the town is very walkable. Not all of us are gourmands and find the food to be decent if not outstanding. I really enjoy Osteria on Main st.
Ever since upgrading to a new generation anchor, I haven't had a single problem anchoring anywhere in Annapolis. I think that with advent of better anchors, the ranting and raving about poor holding may eventually fade into myth and legend. In the meantime, those of us with good hooks will be white-knuckled and breathless watching to see if other boats who are still using Danforths are dragging down on us.

When you really want to go sailing somewhere but you're on a short leash, Annapolis sometimes fits the bill.
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Re: 2016 Sailing Season on the Chesapeake

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For the future, I'd appreciate some recommendations on preferred areas to anchor in Back Creek. The cruising guides all mention by the water tower, but I also see mentions that there are only five mooring balls and room for only a few additional anchored boats there. What other sections of the creek are good for anchoring?
You can anchor anywhere above R8 at the upstream end of Eastport Yacht Center. Note there is an Annapolis City ordinance requiring a stand-off of 75' from marine infrastructure (docks, piers, etc) and 200' (I think) from moorings.

Back Creek gets a lot of anchoring traffic year round and the bottom is fluffy silt. Holding is mostly poor. I've anchored from the water tower, around the corner past Jabins as far up as the power station. I have held well sometimes, even in weather, and less well others.

sail fast and eat well, dave S/V Auspicious

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post #1469 of 1896 Old 09-26-2016
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Re: 2016 Sailing Season on the Chesapeake

Yesterday was a good day for me. No sailing but made progress on my refit.

I installed a new seacock for the galley, setting the fiberglass backer board in epoxy. I also finished the major sanding of my boom. Still need to remove some paint in grooves, welds, and corners, not to mention trying to get paint out of the tracks of the mast and boom.

Also met a yard neighbor who brought their boat, a Tartan 27, a few weeks ago. They were at a marina near Galesville that was a DIY yard but a new yard manager decided anything from the toe rail down had to be done by the yard and no more DIY. The guy and his wife said it was pretty much an eviction notice for them since they can't afford someone else to do even a bottom job. So, they'll be on the hard until Spring.

I was involved enough in taking the paint off my boom that I lost track of time and it was getting late, so I packed up and left the marina around 4:30pm. Later than I usually stay. While I work on the mast setup, I'm also working on other plans between running rigging and hardware.

Still, I'm hopeful to launch in the Spring. Hope there's plenty of other good days ahead. Refit will still continue through winter like last year.

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Re: 2016 Sailing Season on the Chesapeake

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
FYI, our intended destination was Back Creek, but chatter over the radio indicated that it was very crowded there and above the bridge on Spa Creek. We were going to duvert to Whitehall Bay or Severn or South River, but after talking to the water taxi guy we made a last-minute decision to try anchoring there. I was surprised when he said it was OK, because I had seen that it was a prohibited area.

I had checked the football schedule and knew it was a day off, so was hoping it would be a little less crowded.

Boat Show Saturday is going to be a zoo with a Navy home game. Lori and I will probably go together on Sunday. I might also go by myself on Friday since I have a lot of things to check out this time.

For the future, I'd appreciate some recommendations on preferred areas to anchor in Back Creek. The cruising guides all mention by the water tower, but I also see mentions that there are only five mooring balls and room for only a few additional anchored boats there. What other sections of the creek are good for anchoring?
Mid channel from Port Annapolis back to the mooring balls and to the starboArd of them facing Jabins


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