2008 DELMARVA Reports

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Course Advanced Coastal Cruising; DELMARVA Circumnavigation
Date July 11-18, 2008
Students: Tim Hall, Bill Marshall, Peter Odell, Lee Wenk
Captain: Eric Petterson

July 10, 2008 – Thursday:  Captain Eric Petterson and student Tim Hall had both arrived on board CELESTIAL the prior day due to scheduling needs.  Together they had used the time to organize equipment and learn the boat, since Captain Eric had not sailed this boat before. At 1700 student Lee Wenk arrived and we all left shortly thereafter for dinner in Rock Hall at Ford’s Restaurant. 

July 11, 2008 – Friday:  Students Bill Marshall and Peter Odell arrived around 0800 and we all went for breakfast at Pasta Plus in Rock Hall.  Students then helped raise the genoa and staysail, which had been removed to adjust the headstay tension.  Students also inspected the boat from stem to stern to understand the systems and the rigging, including a test installation of the storm trysail.  Underway watch schedules and routines were discussed, and both daily and emergency responsibilities were assigned.  Procedures for navigation planning, log entries, underway dead reckoning, and navigational fixes were agreed to.  Finally menus for the week were set and a shopping list made.  A trip to purchase provisions was made and the purchases stowed aboard.  Dinner ashore was at Bay Wolf Restaurant.  After dinner the navigation for the next day was completed.  

July 12, 2008 – Saturday:  At 0815 the students took CELESTIAL out of her slip and set sail for the C&D Canal in winds from the south at 8-12 knots.  However the wind decreased as the day progressed and we eventually began motoring.  At 1640 we arrived at Summit North Marina in the canal.  Dinner was ashore at the marina’s restaurant, where we all celebrated our shake-down cruise up the bay.  

July 13, 14, and 15, 2008 – Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday:  In the morning the students together planned the navigation to Little Creek in Norfolk, then split the responsibilities in roughly thirds for the different daily navigator assignments.  We checked weather and were pleased to find that hurricane Bertha was turning well offshore and not developing into a threat, but we were disappointed to find the forecast for light winds for the next several days. After checking in with the school to verify our departure, we left the slip at 1145 just as the current turned favorable in the canal.  As we entered the Delaware Bay we found the winds to be well above the forecasted speed, but absolutely on the nose, making sailing very difficult in the confined areas of the Delaware Bay.  As we approached the mouth of the bay the winds decreased and finally backed around to the northeast at 5-8 knots and we began sailing.  We sailed throughout most of the night until the morning when the winds became so light that we resumed motoring.  Rain showers in the afternoon. As night fell, we were approaching the southern end of the Delmarva peninsula and reached the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay where we began searching for the various lights and buoys, tracking our progress through fixes, and monitoring for shipping traffic.  Finally we pulled into Little Creek and tied up at the Taylor’s Landing Marina fuel dock at 0500.  Everyone slept until 0800 when we filled with diesel and pulled around to our slip.  After this maneuver was complete, showers and more naps were taken.  In the afternoon, a class session was held on ASA106 knowledge skills and students studied their texts.  After dinner at the Surfrider Restaurant, students planned the navigation to Annapolis, which included a nighttime entry and anchoring at Solomons Island, Maryland. 

July 16, and 17, 2008 – Wednesday and Thursday:  Pulled away from our slip at 0600 and motored out of Little Creek past the USN amphibious base.  Sails were set in northeast winds of 10-12 and we sailed close-hauled, tacking our way northward.  We continued to sail until 1430 when winds dropped to 3-5 knots.  It was at this time that the navigator computed that our arrival time in Solomons would be no earlier than 0300, which made stopping there illogical, what with a planned 0600 departure for the trip to Annapolis.  The decision was made to continue all night.  At 1930 the winds returned, this time from the southeast at 10-12 and began sailing again, which we were able to do until 2100 when it died again.  Once again the wind returned at 0200, this time from the east at 10.  This became one of the best sailing legs of the trip, moving effortlessly on a beam reach under a full moon.  We held this sail until just after 0600 when the winds died yet again.  Finally we motored on to Annapolis, picking up a mooring at 0915.  Students showered and went ashore for sightseeing.  Later we had dinner ashore at Galway Bay to celebrate our almost complete Delmarva circumnavigation.  Everyone agreed that it had been a good trip in spite of the frustrating wind conditions, learning the skills of navigation, standing watches at night, working through a lack of sleep, and developing a strong sense of camaraderie with shipmates. 

July 18, 2008 – Friday:  The forecast for the last day’s sail was again for light winds, this time from the south.  Therefore we pulled the cruising spinnaker out of storage and laid it out on deck to learn how to rig it.  Having completed this task, we dropped off the mooring at 0845 and motored out of Annapolis harbor, sailing and motorsailing in south winds of 5-7.  After passing under the bridge, we hoisted the spinnaker and raised the sock to deploy the sail, experiencing a delightful (and colorful) sail northward to Rock Hall.  At 1400 we pulled CELESTIAL into her home slip, fully completing our 400 mile circumnavigation  or the Delmarva. 

Captain Eric Petterson
Aboard S/V
Rock Hall, MD

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