2004 DELMARVA Reports

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Course Advanced Coastal Cruising; DELMARVA Circumnavigation
Date July 16-23, 2004
Students: David Frese, Stuart Whiddon, Jim King and Pete Ickes
Captain: Andy Prescott

Pre Departure: A couple of weeks before departure all the students were contacted by Captain Andy Prescott to discuss expectations; needed equipment and clothing; and any special menu or other requirements. David Frese, Stuart Whiddon, Jim King and Pete Ickes had completed ASA 101 through 105 and were looking for a taste of offshore while pursuing ASA106 Certification. Sandy Curlett had completed the equivalent US Sailing Courses but had heard good things about The Maryland School and wanted to try us out. Sandy had recently purchased a Bristol 38; Jim had chartered numerous 30-40’ boats from Haven Harbor; David had traveled all the way from Denmark for the course; Stuart enjoyed chartering in the BVI’s; and this was Pete’s third time aboard HALIMEDA.

Day One: Thoroughness, clear communication, and detailed preparation and planning are essential elements of an offshore endeavor. Prior to arrival each crew member had been sent 17 references, texts, and eight handouts in preparation for the trip.

We carefully reviewed and utilized much of this material to examine the Island Packet 45 HALIMEDA and her systems. The team discussed possible itineraries and the sailing opportunities that would challenge us. Pre-departure assignments were made for navigator, boatswain, engineer, and emergency coordinator. We rigged the storm sail and checked out safety equipment. Watch section assignments were posted and discussed. Daily responsibilities for the week were also assigned with each person being given the opportunity to serve for at least a 24 hour period as Student Skipper, Navigator / Radar person, Engineer, Cook, and Deckhand. Each role and the related responsibilities were carefully discussed.

After a very informative day David and Sandy shopped for provisions at Bayside Market before we gathered for an excellent dinner at Pruitt’s.

Day Two: After a hearty breakfast at “The Snack Bar” we returned to Spring Cove to find that Pete had finally arrived and was asleep on the dock alongside HALIMEDA. A nightmarish tale of cancelled flights and being stuck in Chicago overnight ensued before he napped for a few hours.  Sandy “let me manage your money” had reviewed his findings on HALIMEDA’s conformance to Coast Guard, ASA and ORC requirements and recommendations. “Mr. Navigation Trivia” Jim was carefully hoisted up the mast to inspect the rigging.” Boy Scout” Stuart gave the engineer’s report.

 Jim reviewed tide and current information for our course north to Chesapeake City. Skipper David who had just returned from an ASA 104 aboard HALIMEDA smartly directed the crew and we departed the dock at just past noon.  Before heading up the Bay on a broad reach we did some maneuvers to determine deviation. Just before nightfall we entered the C&D Canal with three knots of flood current. This presented the crew with a docking challenge which was skillfully met as we pulled alongside behind the six piece outdoor band at Schaeffer’s in Chesapeake City. Spring lines were properly set while the welcoming committee of locals danced up a storm. Over drinks we discussed the day’s accomplishments before dining inside.

Day Three: We awoke to rain and fog. Soon afterward we departed the dock and headed east in the canal. By noon still in heavy rain and fog with a bow lookout posted we reached the Delaware River and headed downstream. The radar was watched carefully as there was considerable ship traffic. In fact talking to a barge and tow captain on VHF13 we agreed to circle around behind him despite the fact that we were well out of the channel. We practiced reefing and also reviewed abandon ship responsibilities. 

Throughout the trip we would pass through 18 NOAA weather zones and utilized the on board weather fax for review and study of weather patterns. Each navigator used this information as he plotted our course for the next 24 hours. 

A hearty spaghetti dinner by David was enjoyed on deck. As darkness fell the excitement was high crossing the COLREGS Demarcation Line out into the Atlantic. We began recording our DR data and by midnight we were four miles off the coast NNE of Ocean City. Each two person team enjoyed their nighttime three hour watch while others “hot bunked” below.

Day Four: The sails were raised early in the morning as the wind started to build.  Sunrise eventually brought clear skies and moderate northwesterly winds. We tried a variety of sail combinations noting the differences between each and making good use of the preventer. Pete kept the crew well fed.  As the wind died we calculated how far we might go given the fuel on board.

During the afternoon we enjoyed the company of several groups of dolphins and skates who frolicked in our wake while a variety of birds flew overhead. David planned our landfall arrival as we talked to a submarine and warship which past us as we entered Thimble Shoal Channel. Soon Sandy had brought us gingerly across the tunnel past hovercraft and Navy Seals working with experimental underwater craft.

At 2100 we were tied up at the fuel dock of Taylor’s Landing. After “hitchhiking” a boat ride across the cove we enjoyed an excellent dinner on shore at The Blue Crab. Showers on land were enjoyed by all before an exhausted crew slept soundly to the harmonic music of four part snoring!

Day Five: We headed up the Bay. While underway a text book review was conducted in preparation for the 106 written exams. Abandon ship drills were practiced. Attention was paid to weather and reading the clouds. Pete directed the crew through properly negotiating the entrance into Tangiers Island. Jim was adept as skipper having to make some last minute decisions when it was discovered that the slip we had reserved had been taken by another sailboat. Of course he, Captain Andy, and the rest of the crew had the expert direction of Park Marina’s Dockmaster Milton – an old salt who engaged us in vivid descriptions of the islands pleasures. They included how to avoid being run over by golf carts and bicycles – the islands primary means of transportation. Stuart cooked up a storm in the galley allowing us to feast on a fine chicken dinner with Sandy’s investment tip of outstanding éclairs for dessert!

Day Six: After enjoying Jim’s terrific breakfast we motored out via the west channel. Jim, Pete, David, and Stuart took the written test as Sandy piloted us up the Bay. Sandy skillfully navigated skipper Stuart into Solomons and up Back Creek to Town Center Marina. All candidates successfully passed the 106 written resulting in an evening of celebration as the “Old School” crew requested Peter Paul and Mary music from the guitar player at a local Italian Restaurant.

 Day Seven: As we continued up the Bay the winds built to 15-20.  We took advantage of the situation and reached along at a good clip. Everyone practiced crew overboard drills before we headed into Tilghman and docked at Knapp’s Narrows Marina Inn. Just in time as s strong summer squall with strong winds and rain hit as we went to dinner. Much to everyone’s amusement a special quiz was prepared and given by Stuart over dessert.

Day Eight: We turned into Eastern Bay and then north to Kent Narrows. Passing under the bridge is always a challenging thrill. The crew did a fine job negotiating the passage. We fueled and pumped out at Haven Harbor following the Maryland School’s strict guidelines. Finally the high performing team arrived at Spring Cove. All agreed it was a terrific week and headed home having successfully completed the DELMARVA .

Captain Andy Prescott
S/V Halimeda, IP45
Rock Hall, MD
July 24, 2004

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