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We are also about to start our vacation, but going the opposite direction and heading from the Rappahannock to Baltimore. Potentially Little bay Friday night, then an overnight Saturday/Sunday night to get up there, then fight the crowds at Hart Miller. If anyone has some better anchor/beach recommendations I am all ears! We are moving the boat up to Deale to get a full enclosure so are making a vacation out of it. Hope to see you out there!
Hart Miller gets crowded especially in the main 'zone' where the beach and buildings are. However as a sailboat, we cannot get very far in, which leaves us in every stinking wake as people blow in there to anchor. So we started going to the western side, between it and Treasure Island instead. Depending on the wind, it might be more or less protected from natural waves, nothing to be done about that. However if you look at the pic I am uploading (or tried to) it show where we usually drop anchor and take the dinghy to the beach in lieu of the more crowded zone (where the blue dot is). One important note, and this is simply because I don't know how familiar you are with Hart Miller area, make sure to believe the channel markers.

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I'd appreciate if someone could post their first-hand observations on debris in the Bay over the next couple of days, particularly north of the Bay Bridge. I'm concerned that the opening of the floodgates in Conowingo Dam may make for a(nother) busted prop this weekend.

Also, does Chester River typically avoid the flow of flotsam, or do the tidal flows push debris up there also?
 

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Tartan 37
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Discussion Starter · #383 ·
We'll see how it goes this weekend with debris. CBF had a good article online about the effects of the Conowingo Dam.
 

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USCG issued a debris/current warning based on the Conowingo flood gates being opened today (Friday) at noon.
 

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Transited from Middle River to the Magothy Friday afternoon arriving at 7 pm and saw nothing yet. Our return on Monday should be interesting.(n)
 

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We saw debris at the mouths of the Elk and Susquehanna Friday afternoon. Mostly gone coming back from Still Pond on Saturday.


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Ended up giving it a shot last night. Spent Friday evening and Saturday daytime at the beach at Little Bay just outside the Rappahannock. Left right on time at 6pm and headed up the bay. Pretty quiet evening until reaching just outside of Annapolis where the swell was just enough to make it exciting heading through the bridge. Then had some autopilot issues north of the bridge, but we were close enough and had enough people that it wasn’t a big deal. Now anchored at Hart Miller Island and munching on some breakfast!

Heard a Coast Guard report at one point for a 30 foot log, but plotting the location indicated it was pretty far north. Didn’t see anything floating but crab pots but most of the journey was at night.
 

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Moody 376
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was out on sunday. nice winds early. but after lunch went really light died, and the bay was like a washing machine very confused seas... Still better than being home

anyone doing the nap-solomons race at the end of the month?

no debris near herring bay noted
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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Labor Day weekend was lovely.

Saturday the winds were very light coming up the Bay so we motored most of the way from Whitehall Creek to Love Point, but the wind filled in nicely as we turned the corner at Love Point so we had a fast reach down the mouth of the Chester River. Before I shut off the engine, I checked the fuel. I typically burn about 10 gallons of fuel in an entire season. I had misremembered filling up in August and so was shocked when I found the fuel gauge needle in the red zone. (The log book showed adding 5 gallons in in early May for an almost full tank)

I called Lankford Bay Marina and the fuel dock was closing in an hour, and I was two hours away. But the owner kindly agreed to open the fuel dock when I got there. Synergy was sailing faster than she had been motoring so we kept sailing until the wind died at the dogleg, At which point I fired up the noisemaker and shortly after doused the sails.

While still 4 miles out, we passed a powerboat with the engine lid open and a couple guys head down in the compartment. I asked if they were in trouble. It turned out that they were out of fuel, so I ended up towing them into Lankford Bay Marina. .It was a little surprising how much slower we were going with the powerboat in tow. We had been doing over 6 knots at a cruising RPM. But with the power boat in tow, we could barely maintain 4 knots at the same RPM.

The transfer of the power boat from my tow to the fuel dock went about as smoothly as these things ever do. As a bonus, the powerboat ended up paying for my fuel.

We decided to spend the night on the hook and anchored far up in the west branch of Lankford Creek. I had never been that far up that branch of Lankford, but there are several protected bights that have good holding and nice views.

Sunday was a lazy morning on the hook followed a fun kayaking trip up Davis creek, followed by a lunchtime picnic with old friends in the pavilion at Lankford Bay Marina, followed by a raft-up with the Chesapeake Short-Handed Society to the east of Cacaway Island. Followed by another cool and quiet night on the hook.

The weekend ended up with a boisterously fast trip back to Annapolis, 4 hours and change from anchor up at Cacaway to dock lines tied in Mill Creek.

I expected to see a lot of debris from the Dam, but we saw none. I am doing the Oxford race double-handed next weekend so it would be nice if there was not a lot of debris to avoid.

One of the surprising things about the weekend, was that we simply did not see all that many boats out there. Normally, Labor Day weekend is the parade of boats, and packed anchorages. I expected the worst given that the forecast was for cooler than usual weather and good breezes, But i was surprised at the lack of traffic and uncrowded anchorages.

Jeff
 
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We sailed from Middle River to Worton Creek on Monday and had a nice sail across the bay. The bay water was extremely orange/brown/muddy but we didn't see much debris until we got into the outer part of Worton. There were several huge clumps of seaweed we had to doge entering the creek. All the crab pot floats were totally fouled with it as well. We saw a log of about 30 feet floating near the creek entrance but that was the only significant debris. Heading back Tuesday, there was much less weed and the mudiness of the bay water had settled down a lot. I suspect not having surge or flooding of the bay proper helped keep this from becoming the type of debris event we've seen in the past.
 

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Discussion Starter · #393 ·
Labor Day weekend did turn out to be pretty wonderful. When we left Kent Island heading north up the Chester, unlike you JeffH we saw many boats, at one point I counted 40 plus sailboats heading the same direction coming from Rockhall and Love Point. We spent Saturday on the East side of Cacaway Island then spent Sunday night at Chestertown Marina. We too made some good speed on Sunday from Chestertown to Castle Harbor, just a little over four hours. The first hour motoring then an awesome sail down the Chester a little before the Corsica. Had some pretty close encounters with a few boats on Monday. Whomever was sailing an S2 struggling to hoist their main sail, you totally cut me off. Not a big deal but was a bit unnecessary. Same for the Catalina 36 (I think) whom also was under engine whom could have easily gone to our stern but didn't. Again... Unnecessary in my view.

Chestertown was a great choice. We had not been by boat in a few years. It's worth the trip up the river at least once. Not a lot of choices to anchor so we took a slip at Chestertown Marina, new office and bathrooms/showers and a decent restaurant on site. $2.50/ft
 

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We got out for only one night over the weekend. I flew in from my out-of-town job late Friday, and it took so long to run errands and provision on Saturday that we were unable to leave the dock until 5:30 pm. We had hoped to go up the Chester River somewhere, but the I did not want to sail in the dark (especially with uncertain debris status), so we headed to Magothy River, which is actually a quicker sail from Rock Hall than any of the Chester River anchorages. (Even quicker than getting to Queenstown.) The winds had already turned toward the south and picked up a bit, so we were greeted with a really nice close reach. We finished the last bit in twilight.

It was a bit of a costly trip. With the dinghy in davits, my stern light is blocked, so I have a Navisafe mount on my bimini where I place their battery powered stern light above the dinghy. Unfortunately, the mount had lost a screw, which led to the light not being secured properly. I didn't realize this until the light fell, bouncing at least 5 times on various parts of the dinghy tubes before ultimately falling overboard. We were not able to retrieve it. And those Navisafe lights are very expensive. But nobody was hurt, and that's the most important part.

We hung around a little bit on Sunday, but decided to sail home Sunday afternoon to get caught up on things around the house. Looks like Monday was a glorious day on the water, but we were happy to get one night at anchor.

We saw no debris going either way, and water clarity looked to be a little better than normal.
 

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What a glorious day sailing on the water on sunday.
Wish I was able to sail on Saturday, but just an all and all beautiful day on Sunday...
 

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We had a fabulous Labor Day weekend, Sunday in particular was really a great romp down the Rappahannock. I was in the mountains yesterday (GWNF) overnight on top of a mountain, and you could really hear the southerlies blowing in the high all night long. I just kept thinking how great it would have been out on the boat!
 

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Saturday was also an amazing sailing day on the middle-upper Chesapeake. We had a guest aboard for the day so did a circumnavigation of Pooles Island. We were able to sail up on a broad reach on the west side of the island, go close hauled past the northern tip of the island to about halfway across the bay, then tack south and slowly ease back off once we got south of the island. Winds were 15-20 and we were running with the current on the southbound leg, so were hitting 7.5-8 knots at times. A really fun sail!
 

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The race to Oxford:

This weekend I did the Oxford Race double-handed on Synergy. Julian, the rigger at the Annapolis West Marine was kind enough to sail with me in the race which was a real joy and a lifesaver. In many ways was a tough race due to really light and changeable conditions leading to pretty high wind speed spinnaker reach down the Choptank. .

My pre-race game plan was to head out into the Bay towards the Eastern Shore but it became apparent that the current was heading up the Bay much later than had been predicted. I wanted to be in the Shipping channel once the current changed to catch the favorable current. I also thought that the wind would fill in from the eastern shore before the western shore.

The race committee did a nice job of holding the starts for a moment of silence at the same time that the first plane hit the first tower. It was truly a moving moment, looking around at the surrounding boats, all of us with heads lowered or looking skyward rather than the tense focus more normal in the minutes before the start of the race.

By start time the winds were extremely light and several starts were delayed in order to ‘clear the line’ of later starters.

We started the race quickly getting under spinnaker heading just east of the rhumb line in the NNE winds. It seemed like a good compromise between staying out of the current and still making easting. But quickly we could see boats up ahead grinding to a stop and then flattening sails and hardening up in a new still very light wind. As we suddenly auto tacked onto a beat, down came the chute and out came the jib. Now we were beating in almost no wind. We were still close to the western shore, fighting a weakening current, at times barely stemming the tide, as we ducked deeper in behind Thomas Point Shoal.


Eventually, as the current lightened we gave up on the western shore and tacked over to the east in wildly shifting conditions that meant lots of tacks just to keep the bow pointed roughly towards a favored tack. As we got to the eastern shore it was shocking to be surrounded by much slower boats, which had ‘gone ugly early’. We were really in the cheapest of cheap seats.
Water Cloud Sky Boat Watercraft


But once over towards Poplar Island things steadied out enough that we could stop tacking and just sail down the course. Oddly, the boat felt really slow. We could not seem to get her settled in. Boats that we should easily have passed were sticking with us. It felt like we were towing a bucket. (Maybe a small bucket- and, yes, I had the bottom cleaned.)


But finally we seemed to get the boat moving well again, and began slowly passing boats that we knew we should have passed way more easily. Things livened up even further once we set the chute and the breeze continued to fill but the speed still seemed a little off. At some point, as the breeze filled in we started moving more normally, seeing speeds in the low 8 knot range and the boat felt a lot more like itself. The whole slow speed thing remains baffling. But we pulled a third in a very small fleet coming in roughly 16 minutes behind first and 8 minutes out of second on corrected time over a 25 mile course. It could have been a lot worse but we saved a lot of our time in the first 40% of the race,

The trip home was a really nice sail. We seemed to have good speed on the beat out of the Choptank, holding and passing boats that owed us time. We did really well on the spinnaker leg at the Sharps island Channel.
Water Sky Boat Cloud Naval architecture

The trip home was a really nice sail. We seemed to have good speed on the beat out of the Choptank, holding and passing boats that owed us time. We did really well on the spinnaker leg at the Sharps island Channel.

I had chosen to fly an ancient spinnaker that I fondly call “Patches”. Alas, Patches is no more, having lost a big chunk of her foot and the fabric is past being worth another ‘patch’. So, it was a quick douse and a quick clean-up and a quick hoist of the racing chute, with plenty of time before a quick jibe at R-84 and a lovely, albeit rolly spinnaker deep reach home. By Thomas Point and our last jibe, we were able to make our best VMG almost heading dead downwind, surfing occasionally in the gusts. But that same breeze made for a trickier take down at Whitehall Bay.

Race results aside, it was mostly a lovely weekend of sailing, but one which required a whole lot of sail trimming, and sail changes (5 spinnaker hoists). This morning, it was tough to peel my old bones and aching muscles off the mattress when the 6 am alarm reminded me of the start of another work week.

Jeff
 

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I crewed on a 39’ Dehler named Himmel for the Oxford race. It was a great race even though the start was as slow as I’ve ever gone under sail. When the breeze started filling in we had a great upwind run and had most of the fleet behind us. When we got on the Choptank though a couple Navy 44s caught up with us and it was quite a site as one tried to pass on port and the other on starboard. We managed to fend the port side boat off for about an hour but they finally managed to get ahead of of just a few hundred feet from the finish.

The sail back on Sunday was excellent and we did 8+ kts most of the day and didn’t need the motor until we got up the Severn at the end of Round Bay.

Water Sky Cloud Boat Watercraft
 
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