2012 Chesapeake Bay Cruise
Schedule of Courses
Ocean Training Cruises
Jun 16, Saturday: Arrivals:
Day 1 – Jun 17, Sunday: Review of Ships Systems,
Rules of Road, Boat Handling, Cape Charles:
After lunch, we
review procedures for maneuvering under power and use of the bow thruster.
Robin, our navigator for today, describes our course to Cape Charles and
potential hazards along the way. The
Captain takes us out of the slip to the fuel dock to top off fuel.
Chris then gets us off the dock, past the security at the entrance to the
Little Creek Amphibious Base and out into the Chesapeake Bay. We find NE winds
at 12-18 knots giving us taste of hoisting the main in windy and choppy
conditions and an opportunity for a fine sail close hauled across the Thimble
Shoals shipping lanes. Along the way Robin experiences one of the real joys of
sailing a boat in choppy conditions but recovers well.
Late afternoon finds us off the entrance to Cape Charles Harbor. As we follow the ranges to help keep us in the channel, we have a rare treat of seeing the tall ship KALMAR NYCKEL (a recreation of the 1638 Swedish ship that brought the first settlers to Delaware) under sail silhouetted against the setting sun – beautiful. Chris brings us easily into a slip on the new floating docks at the Town Harbor Marina where we secure the boat. The crew enjoys a well-earned dinner at the new dockside restaurant, Shanty, and watch as the KALMAR NYCKEL docks close by. After dinner we get a close look at this beautiful education ship, talk with some of the crew and take advantage of the new shower facility before JB lays out the course for tomorrow and we turn in. Cape Charles was once the hub of a busy ferry service to and from Norfolk with both passenger and rail traffic from 1933 thru the early 1950’s. Lots of potential for development here but things are moving slowly – the new docks, restaurant and showers are a great step forward.
Day 2 – Jun 18, Monday: Up and Away …. Across the
By late afternoon we are at the entrance to the Great Wicomico River and follow the channel to a quiet and secure anchorage in Mill Creek. Along the way all eyes are alert for crab pot floats, fish traps and shallow water. Anchor down and boat secure by 1700 hours, followed by refreshments and then dinner in the cockpit under clearing skies. We have the anchorage all to ourselves, a perfect night; a light, cool breeze provides a beautiful finish to the long day. Before turning in, Chris lays out our course for tomorrow – 45 miles north to Solomon’s Island off the Patuxent River.
Day 3 – Jun 19, Tuesday: North …. always North:
After securing the boat, we are invited to an informal dock party by the crews from boats already at the dock. This turns into a great time to hear cruising stories by folks who have been cruising for many years, including a crew from Belgium with a beautifully restored trawler and intriguing cruising plans. During the day we have discovered the automatic bilge pump is not working so JB and Captain get their heads into the bilge and hands dirty working to correct the problem. The phrase “cruising is working on your boat in exotic places” comes to mind. Not sure Solomon’s is an exotic place but... After several attempts at a solution, we get it running with help from Robin as Chris provides encouragement from the galley as he prepares dinner. The day has been hot, the dockside AC welcome, and dinner superb.
After dinner we take advantage of refreshing dockside showers before planning our trip north. The forecast calls for light winds and very hot temperatures so we decide to get underway tomorrow before sun up to take advantage of the cooler air. After dark it finally cools down, turning into a very pleasant night.
Day 4 – Jun 20, Wednesday: North, …always North:
As we near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge we notice an odd shaped vessel approach the bridge. We later learn it’s a Chinese ship bringing new, larger cranes to the port of Baltimore required as result of expanding capabilities in the Panama Canal. As we enter the Annapolis Harbor, a light breeze finally arrives, and we are greeted by a beehive of sailing activity – lots of sailing classes underway from youth to adult, a great sight to see even on this very hot afternoon. Chris weaves us thru this constantly moving mass of fiberglass and sail to easily pick a mooring in the inner harbor.
After securing the boat, we take some time to catch up on sleep before heading ashore for showers and dinner at Pussers where we review the trip and enjoy the sights and sounds of a still very active inner harbor. Back aboard, we arrive in time to be surrounded by the Wednesday night racing fleet sailing thru the moorings as they head to the finish line. A great opportunity to see some fine, and not so fine, boat handling. After the excitement ends, we settle in for a quiet evening and try to stay cool in the still very hot and humid weather. The forecast for tomorrow again calls for very hot and windless conditions... one can always hope.
Day 5 – Jun 21, Thursday: Home and Relief ….. from the Heat
Back underway, JB directs us out of the harbor, thru a maze of crab pots and into the main channel. Hot, haze and light wind characterize our final trip north. As we near the Bay Bridge, we monitor the path of an approaching tug and barge on AIS and call to clarify his intentions on VHF channel 13. As we near the approach channel to Rock Hall, a light breeze picks and we are able to finally turn off the motor and do a little sailing – a nice change that includes raising and using CELESTIAL’s huge spinnaker. The breeze is short lived; we secure sails and complete our cruise under power. Robin and JB guide us carefully up the Swan Creek channel to the Osprey Point Marina where Robin, with the help of ready crew, surprises herself by how easily she is able to put us into the slip.
After securing the boat, the crew requests that because of the extreme heat, boat wash down be delayed till tomorrow AM. The Captain relents and after securing boat and personal equipment, we spend the afternoon reviewing course material and trying to stay cool. Dinner in the cool of the Bay Wolf restaurant provides a great venue to review the events of the past week and talk of future plans.
Day 6 – Jun 22, Fri: Clean Up and Prepare for
Departure and New Adventures
And thanks to Chris Lerbs for the additional picture and video gallery from the cruise.
Captain Steve Runals