2006 DELMARVA Reports

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Course Advanced Coastal Cruising; DELMARVA Circumnavigation
Date September 1-8, 2006
Students: Mac & Vicky Hall, Scott Turpin, Clyde Kunst
Captain: Eric Petterson

8/31/06 Thursday: Captain Eric Petterson boarded HALIMEDA at Lankford Bay Marina at 1130, followed by Mac & Vicky Hall at 1700 and Scott Turpin about an hour and a half later.  Dinner that evening was at the Harbor Shack, as the winds increased in anticipation of the forecasted arrival of Tropical Storm Ernesto, scheduled for the late the next day. 

9/1/06 Friday: The morning started with blustery winds but no rain.  Breakfast was at the famous Rock Hall Snack Bar and when we returned to HALIMEDA we found our fourth student/crew, Clyde Kunst, had arrived.  We began by reviewing general operational procedures that would be followed, watch schedules, individual responsibilities, our tentative itinerary and navigational planning.  Next the students began a systematic review of the boat systems and stowage from stem to stern, uncovering lockers and inspecting all the equipment including the engine.  This was followed by a similar review on deck, which was completed just before the rain began.  Next it was time to plan menus, inventory the food on board, prepare a shopping list, head off to the grocery to shop and finally to stow the new purchases on board.  After this very full day we enjoyed dinner at Waterman's Restaurant.  Lastly we returned to HALIMEDA at the slip where the winds were approaching 40 knots and rain was heavy.  We were very glad that we had doubled-up the critical lines earlier in the day so all had a good (but bouncy) night's sleep, content that when we waked in the morning Ernesto would have passed to our north and would be moving well out of the area. 

9/2/06 Saturday: We awoke to much calmer conditions in the morning, but with winds out of the SE that weren't appropriate for being south of the storm.  A quick review of the weather reports confirmed that indeed Ernesto was still near the southern end of the Chesapeake and had stalled.  After careful consideration of the new forecasts, which suggested that Ernesto was seriously weakening, we made the decision to depart and head for the C&D canal. At 0830 we pulled out of the slip, sailing south down the Chester River to where we could turn north to the put the wind on our starboard quarter/beam for a nice sail up the bay.  However at about the time we reached our turning point the wind had dropped significantly and after a short time it was down to 5 knots with occasional puffs to 10 knots, so we motor-sailed up the bay to the C&D in light rain.  We arrived at Summit North Marina in the canal at 1710 eager for a warm shower and dinner ashore, with hopes of better winds as forecasted for the next day. 

9/3/06 Sunday: We left the marina at 1050, allowing time for our trip in the ocean for light winds and a two day passage down the coast.  As we exited the C&D canal and raised sail we found again light air, but favorable current and set sail.  However the wind was short lived, dropping again to the 5 knot range so we spent the day motorsailing and motoring.  At about 2200 we reached the Atlantic Ocean, still with very little wind but all the remaining swells stirred up by the previous high winds.  Welcome to the "bumpy" North Atlantic!  

9/4/06 Monday: Morning broke with mostly clear skies, but wind now below 5 knots with occasional puffs to 8!  As we continued south the waves and swells became more gentle and the boat's motion improved.  By afternoon, the crew, even the one who had gotten slightly seasick, were becoming old salts at moving about the boat in the swells, and properly steering to anticipate the wave action.  Everyone also got a taste of what it feels like to be out of sight of land.  We began to close on the coast as night fell, navigating by dead reckoning to a buoy located off the coast of Virginia north of the Chesapeake entrance. It was to be a flashing red every four seconds but it was not to be found.  Our dead reckoning navigation was checked again, but no errors were found.  Finally we saw on the radar what might be a buoy about a 1.5 miles off, so we headed there and found our buoy but with no light!  So we made a radio call to the Coast Guard to report the problem and continued our journey to the mouth of the bay. 

9/5/06 Tuesday: We continued our nighttime entrance to the Chesapeake, watching for other vessels in the heavy traffic and monitoring our navigation via dead reckoning to the critical buoys in our approach.  Finally we arrived at the entrance to Little Creek following the entrance range lights through the jetties and made our way to Taylor's Landing Marina.  We tied up at the fuel dock at 0450!  After short naps, the marina opened so we fueled up and moved the boat to a slip.  Everyone showered and slept.  After lunch we spent the afternoon talking about our journey offshore and lessons learned, then reviewed other key ASA106 instructional material in preparation for the written test.  Dinner ashore was at the Surf Rider Restaurant at the marina.   

9/6/06 Wednesday: At 0900 we departed Taylor's Landing in sunshine, heading north and actually set sail in a nice 10 knot wind from the NE.  We managed to sail until 1130 as the wind finally died to the point of glossy water.  Later in the day winds picked up to about 5 and we were able to motor sail.  At midnight we passed Point Lookout in Maryland. 

9/7/06 Thursday: Our progress up the bay was good in spite of the lack of wind.  Navigation was checked using LOPs off of lights and traffic was monitored using compass bearings and radar.  As the sun began to rise we found ourselves just west of Poplar Island in a light fog, which quickly burned away with the sun's rays.  At 1030 we arrived at Annapolis and picked up a mooring.  After showers, naps and more study time, the students seeking certification took their ASA106 written tests and all passed.  Our celebratory dinner was ashore at Riordan's.   

9/8/06 Friday: The last day began with casting off the mooring at 0750. We hoped, in spite of the forecast, for some wind on the way back to Rock Hall, but it was not to be.  We arrived at the marina and were tied up in the slip at 1400.  Our arrival provided final opportunities for docking, first at the pump-out dock, then at the fuel dock and finally at the slip.  We covered 435 nautical miles for the week, had no really inclement weather, and experienced a myriad of navigational and traffic exercises.  The students received their diplomas and left for their homes.   

Captain Eric Petterson
September 8, 2006
Lankford Bay Marina
Rock Hall, MD

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