2011 DELMARVA Reports

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Course Advanced Coastal Cruising; DELMARVA Circumnavigation
Date August 7 to 14, 2011
Students: Axel Dudezki, Ken Foley, Jim Maher, Erin McAllister and Marc Rotenberg
Captain: Eric Petterson

August 6, 2011
Captain Eric Petterson arrived on board CELESTIAL at 0930 at the Osprey Point Marina in Rock Hall to check out the boat and prepare for the arrival of the students.  At 1045 the first student arrived – Jim Maher.  Over the next few hours students Ken Foley, Erin McAllister and Axel Dudezki also found their way to CELESTIAL.  The last student, Marc Rotenberg, was delayed due to airline problems.  Dinner was enjoyed by all present at Waterman’s Restaurant in Rock Hall.  We returned to the boat and were joined by Marc.   After a brief orientation to CELESTIAL we began preparing for the week’s adventure.  We reviewed the class objectives, crew organization, and itinerary before beginning a discussion on meal planning.  After determining the number of meals ashore versus those to be prepared underway, the students began planning menus… with advice from Captain Eric.  From this list and an inventory of foods currently aboard, a shopping list was created.  Afterwards everyone turned in for a good night’s sleep.

August 7, 2011 
After breakfast at the local “Pasta Plus” restaurant we all went shopping at the Bayside grocery store in Rock Hall.  Once back on board, and after all the food items were stowed away, the students began an intensive review of all boat systems, both below decks and above, as well as the class’s standing orders, watch schedules, daily roles and assigned responsibilities.  Captain Eric also passed out various checklists, one of which listed all the work items that must be accomplished prior to getting underway.  In addition to the mainsail, staysail and genoa of CELESTIAL, this review included a test setting of the storm trysail and the cruising chute.  Captain Eric made daily student assignments of captain, navigator, engineer, bosun, and emergency coordinator, giving each student experience in the various roles of staffing a sailboat for offshore sailing.  Eric also assigned individuals to the watch schedules.  Other instructional items included reviews of rules-of-the-road, weather radio station planning, man-overboard techniques, and sail trim.

Finally we took a break for dinner, which was decided to be another night out at Waterman’s.  After dinner Captain Eric led a planning session on the navigation techniques to be used for the week, which included pre-planning of courses and distances to various aids-to-navigation, supplemented by lines of position (LOPs) for fixes and dead reckoning.  With Eric’s direction, the navigator for the first day’s journey completed the navigation plan, and our very busy day of preparation was complete.

August 8, 2011
We left the slip at 0805 and motored north up the Chesapeake towards the C&D canal, setting sail in winds from the NW at 5-10 knots.  As our course became more easterly we decided to hoist the cruising chute.  As always, the sight of this colorful sail was enjoyed by everyone.  However the joy was short-lived as the wind clocked around to the beam and we had to douse the sail after only about 15 minutes of sailing.  Nevertheless it was good experience.  We sailed and motorsailed, then motored through the C&D canal to our destination Summit North Marina in the canal.  We arrived and tied up at our assigned space at 1545.  After showers, and a review of ASA106 knowledge skills from the ASA log book, the students prepared dinner on board.  After dinner the navigation was planned for the entire trip from the C&D canal to Hampton VA.  We also spent some time discussion man overboard (MOB) procedures, referencing Tom Tursi’s new proposal for ASA. 

August 9, 10 & 11, 2011
After reviewing the navigation plan with the crew, and completing our offshore pre-departure checklist, we pulled away from the dock at 1335 and motored to the fuel dock to fill with diesel.  With all the preparations made, we were confident that all was in order for our coming offshore and overnight sail.  The winds were again light so we motorsailed and sailed down the Delaware Bay.  After passing Cape Henlopen around midnight, the winds remained light and we continued to motor until early afternoon when the winds increased to around 15.  With this wind we were able to sail close hauled for 40 to 50 miles, reaching a point about 30 nautical miles offshore.  The students enjoyed the sail, all except for one student who became extremely seasick.  As our second evening underway approached, the winds again dropped and we again became a motorboat, to the chagrin of everyone.  We continued motoring through the night, arriving in our slip at 1020 at Downtown Hampton Public Piers in Hampton VA.   

After CELESTIAL was safely tied in place, the first orders of business were showers followed by naps.  The remainder of the afternoon was then filled with planning the navigation back to Rock Hall.  Dinner was ashore at “Marker 20”, one of many restaurants just a short walk from the marina.  After dinner Marc Rotenberg took his ASA106 test and passed. 

August 12 & 13, 2011
departed her slip at 0850 on our journey north to Annapolis, again in light winds.  After clearing the harbor we set sail in southeast winds of 5-10 knots.  We sailed, then motor-sailed, then motored as winds dropped to 2-3 knots or less.  During the night we passed 6-8 large ships, giving new meaning to the need to stay out of the shipping channels.  The nighttime navigation and its abundance of often confusing lights was a navigational challenge, but every one of the students was up to it.  With several mid-course adjustments during the night, they had the opportunity to put their “dead reckoning” skills to use.  We arrived at Annapolis and tied up at a mooring at 0705.  After showers, we caught the water taxi to town for breakfast.  This was followed by naps, then lessons on diesel engine operation, and maneuvering under power.  A celebratory dinner ashore was enjoyed at the Boatyard Bar and Grill.   

August 14, 2011
After a night of VERY heavy rain, we let go of our mooring at 0750 and motored to the Annapolis City Marina fuel dock for diesel and a pump out.  This was a great opportunity to put into practice some of the maneuvering under power instructions.  After this chore was completed, we pulled away at 0840 and were able to have a very enjoyable sail back to Rock Hall in winds from the S-SW at 15-18.  It was some of the best sailing of the week.  We set the preventer as we ran on broad reach, conducted a jibe, and ran wing-on-wing.   Finally we arrived back at our starting point for this journey at Osprey Point Marina at 1250.  After packing and a quick boat clean-up we said goodbye and wished everyone the best on their future sailing adventures

Captain Eric Petterson
August 14, 2011

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