2017 Chesapeake Bay Cruise

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ASA104 Intermediate Coastal Cruising Course


 October 22-26, 2017


 S/V Scholarship, IP32


Debbie & Billy Simmons, Frederick Tallman
Mate: Doug Riley


Frank Mummert

We left Lankford Bay Marina on a Sunday afternoon, one of those perfect fall cruising days.  We had provisioned, did a quick navigation plot and reviewed the safety gear aboard Scholarship.  We left the slip just after our sister ship, Acadame, and followed her down Langford Creek and the Chester River, as the students got used to the boat.  We ended the afternoon by rafting up alongside Acadame at the turn of the Chester River.  The light winds predicted over night afforded us the opportunity to perform a two-boat raft-up, unusual for our classes.

In the morning, we watched the fog lift with the sun and dropped off of Acadame's side as the sun crawled over the horizon.  We turned our bow toward the Kent Narrows northern channel and used the high water, slack tide to slide through the Kent Narrows lift bridge, earning a wave from the bridge tender as we passed.  Light winds dead out of the south, along with predicted Small Craft Advisories and a Gale Warning, caused us to hurry along under motor power to the Saint Michael's Marina, where the marina staff recognized the boat and captain and offered us a stern-in tie up automatically.  We were the only boat in the marina and enjoyed a visit to the Maritime Museum, before returning to the boat and plotting our next day sail to Annapolis.  After a delightful dinner ashore, with sailing yarns well into the evening from both the captain and the mate, we tucked into bed and listened as the winds rose and howled around us.

Come morning, we wandered into town in search of the perfect cup of coffee, which we found at the Blue Crab Coffee House.  After stoking our fires and reviewing the weather, we decided that the pattern had shifted enough to allow us to make the run to Annapolis.  As we left Saint Michael's, the main came up, held out on a preventer, and the genoa was rolled out to her full extent.  We had a quick run up to Tilghman Point, as the wind moved further onto our bow, going from a broad reach to a beam.  As we turned the point and headed for the mouth of the Eastern Bay, the wind came onto our bow and we could not hold our charted course.  We dropped a reef into the main and sailed on, tacking back and forth across our rhumbline.  After three hours of tacking and achieving a velocity made good toward our destination of under two knots, the captain made the sad decision to furl the head sail and set the D-sail (turning on the engine).  We motor-sailed to the point where we could pass the Bloody Point Bar and turn up into the Chesapeake Bay.  With the wind on the beam again, the genoa came back out and we enjoyed a quick trip across the bay to the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse.  At the light, we turned north again, bringing the wind and swells back onto our stern.  We rolled our way up the Bay, finally turning to the northwest around 1AH, the light that marks the beginning of the channel up into Annapolis Harbor.  We slid out of the channel and doused our sails, tying them down with speed, if not beauty, and motored up into Annapolis' fine harbor.  Finding the marina almost empty and the Harbor Master gone for the day, we took a spot on the face dock in Ego Alley and enjoyed ourselves in the heart of the Annapolis night life.

Unfortunately, our mate had to leave the vessel that evening so, in the morning, it was a diminished crew that left Annapolis, bound once again for the Chester River.  Predicted winds were light and out of the northwest and, as usually happens, they were strong when we needed to go into them and light when we turned around Love Point Light and headed back into the Chester.  We ran up the Chester River, past the entrance to Langford Creek and anchored up in Comegys Bight, a small bay past the Corsica River, well protected from both the predicted rising North West wind and the river traffic.  Even so, we put down a forked anchor arrangement, setting one anchor north and the other west, just in case the weather guessers were wrong on either intensity or direction.  Once again, we dropped into our bunks, waking occasionally during the night to check our position or just listen to the wind sing in the rigging.

We were up before the sun the next morning, ready to get underway and return to our snug berth in Lankford Bay.  One anchor came up before the sun and as the light peeped over the horizon, the other anchor made its way back aboard.  We motored out into the brisk fall wind, cold against the skin and biting with spray.  We dropped down into the area at the mouth of the Langford Creek for some crew overboard work, then motored home to the pump out station, arriving just in time to be the last boat this season to use the creek-side pump out.  From now on, we were informed, only the fuel dock pump out would be operational.  It truly was the end of the season for us.

Captain Frank Mummert
On board S/V Scholarship
Rock Hall, Maryland, October 26, 2017


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