Re: 2019 Sailing Season on the Chesapeake
We got out for our first sail of the season this weekend. The plan was to sail to Magothy River Saturday, spend the night on the hook, then head to Annapolis today and back to Rock Hall Monday.
Provisioning for our first time this season took longer than expected, with multiple stops needed before making the 2 hour drive to Rock Hall. We did not leave the slip until 1700. This was my first time backing out of our slip with my new folding prop (which performs very will in forward, but has less thrust in reverse than my old fixed prop). It also has virtually no prop walk, which is overall a good thing, but my slip positioning and exit strategy has always taken advantage of prop walk. Despite my nervousness over this and over the firm 15 kt SSW breeze right through the marina, exiting the slip was uneventful.
Once underway, we had a close reach to Magothy in brisk conditions of about 15 kt. We made good time with reefed main and genoa furled a couple of wraps. Sea state was very lumpy. Helm balance was a little off with a little more weather helm than I wanted, but I didn't want to let the genoa out further to keep heeling down. We arrived at the mouth of Magothy River 1900 hours, anchored, had dinner (grilled chicken in our secret marinade, bean salad, pasta salad, watermelon, and my birthday cake), watched a couple of our favorite episodes of The Office, then retired for the night. Our anchor held well at 5:1 scope in 15 ft of water, with our anchor alarm showing us not moving more than one meter at any time.
My sleep was disturbed a few times during the night by a slight bumping noise that sounded like a fender or mooring buoy tapping against the hull, but since the anchor alarm was fine I didn't bother to check. At dawn I got curious, so went forward to discover the issue. My nylon anchor rode goes through my bow roller to a cleat inside the aft end of my anchor locker. It's about 4' from the roller to the locker, and with the solid breeze that we had overnight, there was enough stretch in that 4' to cause the roller to rotate ever so slightly back and forth. The slight motion caused a "ticking" noise which was easily eliminated with a couple shots of WD40 onto the roller's axle bolt. Although I know that nylon tri-strand is known for its stretch, I was surprised that a 4' length would stretch enough to move the roller.
We departed for Annapolis 0830 and motor-sailed to the Magothy inlet. We left the reef in, but unfurled the genoa completely. We shut off the motor and sailed through the Magothy channel, dodging multiple fishing boats that were anchored right in the channel. Sailing was great once past Persimmon Point, and we were close-hauled in hopes of making it to the Bay Bridge on one tack, and maybe getting to the mouth of the Severn River on a second tack. But once we got to the middle of the Bay, out of the lee of Sandy Point, the sea state got rather crazy, apparently due to the long fetch of the southerly wind. Wind speed wasn't terrible, but we were just relentlessly pounding into 3' chop, with occasional 4 footers. We took water over the bow at one point, and drenched the cockpit through the open dodger. I wanted to close the dodger, but wasn't going to go forward in those conditions. About a minute later we got another drenching in the cockpit, and decided to head for home on a broad reach. It was amazing how the same sea state was so much more comfortable going in the other direction! I was surprised by the sea state, since it was worse than I would have expected from the relatively modest winds.
We could have found another place to go to, but with strong thunderstorms forecast starting around 1500 and dead air and more thunderstorms forecast for Monday we decided to leave alternate destinations for another time. We puttered around the boat and took naps in the afternoon. The forecast storms came through at 8, with strong enough lightning that it chased us off the boat and into our car to enjoy the show on the way home.
Rick S., Swarthmore, PA
USCG Certified Captain, OUPV and 50 Ton Master
ASA Certified 101/103/104/105/106
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2001 Catalina 34MkII Tall Rig Wing Keel Breakin' Away, Universal Diesel M35B, Mantus 35 lb. anchor, sailing out of Rock Hall, MD
Last edited by TakeFive; 06-16-2019 at 11:48 PM.