2006 Chesapeake Bay Cruise

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Course: ASA 104 Intermediate Coastal Cruising 
Date: 9/13-17/2006
Students: Jonathan Duffy, Glenn Gravelle, Chip Lohman
Captain: Jochen Hoffmann

Wednesday, Sept 13:
We began this class at Lankford Bay Marina with boat inspections, food provisioning, route planning and navigation preparations for our five day voyage. At 3:15 p.m., with head winds from the south and under cloudy skies, we motored down the Chester River before turning west, then north again to reach our anchorage at Swan Creek. A darkening sky - with a shower traveling up-river where we had just come from - allowed for cloud analysis and weather forecasting discussions. We reached our scenic anchorage where we anchored, and the appropriate watch was set and our position fixed for the watch.  A delicious, full-course dinner on deck prepared by Jonathan and the captain rewarded this hearty crew. 

Thursday, Sept 14:
The day’s weather report gave us the most varied sail training conditions one could hope for with good visibility and wind in the morning, restricted visibility in haze and drizzle at midday, and rain with no wind in the afternoon. We started the day by practicing the Bahamian mooring maneuver with two anchors down; Chip was at the anchor, Glenn at the helm, and Jonathan at the stern mooring station. “Great job, guys.” Next, the crew started to navigate southwest using charted objects until the haze obscured everything. Students were surprised to learn that progress could be tracked - even a position fixed - by sounding depth contours on the sea bottom. Goastlike shapes appeared at some distance as we approached Annapolis harbor: five training ships underway from the Naval Academy. Once clear of traffic, we performed close-quarter boat handling until we picked up a mooring in Annapolis Harbor and went ashore for dinner. 

Friday, Sept 15:
Good sailing conditions: Wind north 12 to 15 knots with intermittent light showers under overcast skies. After discussions on engine and electrical systems, we slipped mooring lines at 0730. The crew practiced advanced navigation and sail trim skills until we reached the St. Michaels Maritime Museum at 1400. Despite the crowds the Museum let us dock (“Well done, Chip”) for two hours before we dropped anchor at 1600 outside a growing fleet of neighbors. A nearby skipper of an Island Packet yacht recognized our captain from an earlier Maryland School DELMARVA circumnavigation to tell us that he and his wife and 8 year old son were just starting a year-long sailing adventure. That encounter gave rise to sea stories over a fine dinner by all on shore. 

Saturday, Sept 16:
A very Special day! The weather report promised brisk northeast winds in the morning for our cruise north to the Magothy River and clearing skies in the afternoon. To be ready, we docked at St. Michaels Marina (“Smooth job, Glenn”) to pump out and take on ice. By 0830 we were underway for some glorious sailing. And once we had the 15-17 knot wind on our starboard beam, Glenn took pleasure in besting Jonathan’s speed record of the day before. As the skies cleared and wind dropped, crew overboard maneuvers showed the crew that every new boat requires practice, especially a large one. By 1700, after excellent navigation to a pastoral anchorage in Broad Creek off the Magothy River, we again practiced our Bahamian mooring. Students finished their ASA104 tests, which all passed, in time to watch the setting sun illuminate towering cumulus clouds of the receding front. Another delicious dinner on deck, this one prepared by Glenn, put us in the mood for star gazing. We glimpsed Polaris and got a full view of the constellation Cassiopeia before settling down to a quiet, last night on board. 

Sunday, Sept 17:
Morning brought us a brilliant sky but little wind, and we motored home through now familiar waters where students showed that they had become competent shipmates. A fine docking maneuver by Jonathan proved again that they had also become good helmsmen. Final fueling and docking maneuvers in head winds and as a team, followed by boat clean up, wrapped up our exciting adventure by 1530 on Sunday.

9/13/06, Wednesday, 1510, depart Lankford Bay Marina
9/13/06, Wednesday, Swan Creek, anchoring
9/14/06, Thursday, Annapolis, MD, Town Dock mooring
9/15/06, Friday, St. Michaels, MD, docking and anchoring
9/16/06, Saturday, Broad Creek (N shore, Magothy River), anchoring
9/17/06, Sunday, 1420, return to Lankford Bay Marina
Total Nautical Miles: 94 

Captain H. Jochen Hoffmann


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