2012 DELMARVA Reports



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~ A Cut Above ~

Course Advanced Coastal Cruising; DELMARVA Circumnavigation
Date June 28-July 4, 2012
Students: Jim Gardner, Chris Hornig, Mike Jones, Donna Ried and Walter Ried.
Captain: Eric Petterson

June 27, 2012
Captain Eric Petterson arrived to begin the class.  He was joined by students Jim Gardner, Chris Hornig, Mike Jones, Donna Ried and Walter Ried.  After dinner at Waterman’s Restaurant, the evening was spent reviewing the class and itinerary plans for the week.  This included a description of duties for the week and how these duties (captain, navigator, engineer, bosun and emergency coordinator) would be rotated between the students.  The subject then turned to meal planning in order to create a shopping list for the morning before turning in for the night.

June 28, 2012
After breakfast at Pasta Plus, everyone assembled at Bayside Foods to shop for our week’s provisions.  Once this was completed and all goods stowed away, the focus was on CELESTIAL as everyone went methodically through the boat from stem to stern in order  to identify and understand the various boat systems below decks and the rigging above decks.  Then the focus became the navigation process that was to be followed for the week, and a complete and detailed navigation plan for the next day from Rock Hall to the C&D canal was completed.  Together the students prepared the first meal aboard our floating home for the week.

June 29, 2012
At 0830 Celestial departed the slip at Osprey Point Marina on our way to Summit North Marina in the C&D canal.  The winds were very light and soon became non-existent.  However this left the student navigator ample opportunities to practice using the hand-bearing compass to develop LOP fixes.  Sails were also unfurled and Captain Eric instructed everyone on how to rig a preventer.  Upon arrival at the marina, Celestial was driven to the fuel dock to fill up prior to our trip down the coast.  After completing this task she was tied up in her slip by 1645, and work began on the navigation plans for the trip down the Delmarva coast to Hampton VA.  Dinner was ashore at the Aqua Sol restaurant.

June 30, 2012
The first task in the morning was to complete the navigation plans to Hampton and make final checks on the weather and tides.  Also a final review of the boat was conducted to make sure that everything was in working order.  This included a practice deployment of the storm trysail.  As we were completing the work, it was discovered that the water pump was cycling frequently, which was traced to a cracked hose fitting.  After locating a spare from another boater in the marina, this part was replaced.   Finally at 1245 we left the marina.  The winds were again very light as we motored down Delaware Bay, arriving near the mouth of the bay at 2200. 

July 1, 2012
As we progressed offshore we finally picked up some light winds of less than 10 knots from the south and southeast, and we began sailing as we approached the area offshore of Ocean City.  From this point we managed to continue sailing until well south of Chincoteague, presenting excellent challenges to our navigator.  However the winds again died out and we were forced to begin motoring as darkness fell, and we continued this way over night. 

July 2, 2012
As we approached the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, the navigational tasks were made more interesting by a change in the buoyage system that was not shown on the latest light list data or charts.  Nevertheless the students managed to step up to the challenge using the information from other ATONS to accurately identify our position, as well as identify exactly what the buoyage change had been.  Shortly after this navigational problem was solved we were confronted with shipping traffic, which was also resolved by the students through radio contact to the ship’s pilot.  Finally at 1000 we arrived at the Downtown Hampton Public Piers after being underway for a bit more than 45 hours.  After showers and naps we began the process of planning the navigation back up the bay.  This work was completed along with an excellent dinner ashore at the Marker 20 restaurant in downtown Hampton.

July 3, 2012
At 0900 we pulled out of our slip and headed into Chesapeake Bay.  After clearing the traffic lanes of the busy Norfolk/Hampton/ Newport News area, we found ourselves with winds from the south at 5-7 knots.  To take advantage of this wind, the students dragged the spinnaker out of storage and onto the deck at the bow in order to rig it for deployment.   At 1030 this gorgeous red, white, and blue sail was hoisted, beginning a 5 to 6 hour run up the bay under spinnaker.  As the skies began to darken the wind again disappeared, so the sail was lowered and the motor restarted. 

July 4, 2012
We approached the junction of the Potomac and the Chesapeake in the darkness, just as a virtual fleet of other shipping arrived.  Both our student captain and navigator were kept extremely busy determining which ships represented an issue, contacting these ships, and re-plotting appropriate routes as needed.  Finally as the traffic eased we again had wind, and this time it was on the beam!!  We arrived at our planned anchorage, which was just north of Gibson Island off of Sillery Bay, and dropped anchor at 1235.  At this location we were treated to several excellent fireworks shows put on by the various neighborhoods of waterfront homes.  A fitting ending to a great class!

July 5, 2012
We awoke to yet another day of extremely light winds.  After raising anchor at 0915 we motored out of the Magothy River and into the bay, crossing the bay on our way back to Rock Hall.  We entered the fuel dock at Gratitude Marina where we filled with diesel and had the holding pumped out.  From here we motored around to Osprey Point where we ended out class at 1315, having logged almost 400 miles. 

Captain Eric Petterson
On board CELESTIAL IP440
Osprey Point Marina, Rock Hall, MD

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