2017 Chesapeake Bay Cruise

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ASA104 Intermediate Coastal Cruising Course


 June 4-8, 2017


 S/V Scholarship, IP32


Chris Farrow; Fred Demuynck; Ryan Graham


H. Jochen Hoffmann

Sunday, June 4, 2017. Day 1
My student crew has arrived and is eager to learn how to charter their own boat. We meet briefly in the classroom to get to know one another, learn about the MD School, and the School’s comprehensive program. We inspect the boat, and plan our itinerary plus meals. While the crew plots navigation course legs for today, the captain shops for provisions. Once ready for sea, we head out into Davis Creek to practice Mediterranean Mooring off a Marina dock followed by visual and compass steering practice down Lankford Creek. Near Green Can “3”, we raise sails, tack down the Chester River and make landfall in Queenstown Creek where, after anchoring on two anchors set 45 degrees off the bow, Fred prepares the first of our three on-board dinners.

Day 2
After a good breakfast, our superb new engine—already having shown starting issues yesterday afternoon and prompting us to use prudent battery management—won’t crank on either #2 or #1 battery. Only after combining both batteries, do we get a halting but successful engine start up. Ryan, supervisor of airline mechanics, suspects one or more faulty battery cells. We resolve to continue sail training all day, including Crew Overboard (COB) evolutions with and then without engine. Our Plan: finish training, sail into Swan Creek if we must, and get help there from captain Frank Mummert of the MD School with whom I have been in contact. After multiple bearing fixes under sail, reading range lights, and following the students' landfall plan into Swan Creek, our batteries, although not taking a proper charge, have enough juice to crank the engine. At 1600 we dock in Haven Harbour Marina, where captain Frank meets us with new batteries. He needs to replace only the one showing faulty cells. Lesson learned. Chris then treats us to a terrific curry chicken dinner on board and all is well.

Day 3
We review engineering topics, trouble shooting, and steps to avoid avoidable troubles. Next comes introduction to DR (Deduced Reckoning) navigation and chart plotting in True North, rather than Magnetic North. Before departing we buy more ice and pump out again while we have the chance. The crew lays out a DR track to Annapolis and—under a very brisk NE breeze—they’re excited to find that their bearing fix efforts show that we are where we should be. Deep into Annapolis Harbor, we douse sails, hail the Harbor Master on VHF Channel 17, and tie to mooring #2 from where we take a water taxi for showers ashore and Caribbean drinks and dinner at Pussers Restaurant.

Day 4
We begin by pumping out the waste holding tank at Annapolis City Dock. The day’s DR plotting up Eastern Bay (Chart 12270) includes depth contours as turning marks, plus time/speed/distance calculations to determine ETA at certain marks. At the tip of Tilghman Island, we steer SE on a range between NavAids R “4” Fl R 4s and Red Nun “6”. Chris, who has followed Fred as skipper, calculates a turning waypoint to Tilghman Creek when Tilghman Point bears 230 degrees on our hand bearing compass. It works. Neat. Short of the creek entrance, we lower sails. Fred steers us ably along a narrow channel, and Chris and Ryan prepare our anchors for a fore-and-aft anchoring practice inside the creek. Now Ryan, who also loves to cook, astounds us by preparing an outstanding Sushi dish for all. To be sure, this captain has never had such an elaborate treat onboard. All are most pleased.

Day 5
As on previous days, we are up and running by 0630. Ryan, then Fred are skippers for our trip N to Lankford Bay Marina. We find that retrieving—as well as setting—a fore-and-aft anchoring scheme is an exhausting task requiring forethought when planning a trip. Since the crew has gelled as a team by now, our approach to and through Kent Narrow’s two-leaf Bascule Bridge in a strong counter current goes flawlessly. With the wind building to NW 10-12 knots, there is time for two more COB maneuvers under sail, followed by tacking practice up Chester River. Final Bareboat Chartering procedures include fueling up, pumping out, hosing down the ship and topping off water.

The crew docks our good ship perfectly in her slip, and we clean the boat and shake hands in a fond farewell.

Well done, sailors. I’ll see you again on the water. 

Captain H. Jochen Hoffmann
On board S/V Scholarship
Rock Hall, Maryland, June 8, 2017


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