After introductions and a brief orientation, our primary goal was
provisioning. We put together a meal plan and budget, then Tom and Ken went
shopping. Jon and Captain Andy set up and tested the dinghy and outboard. The
crew returned with our provisions and we had a nice lunch of sandwiches and
fresh hoagies from the deli. After lunch, we reviewed the weather forecasts
and cruise planning. The forecast for the afternoon and evening was strong
thunderstorms with potentially damaging winds or hail associated with a
passing cold front. We opted to stay put for the evening and reviewed ship
systems, engine operation and maintenance, electrical budgets, and navigation.
This turned out to be a wise decision as we rode out heavy downpours and
strong winds safely secured in the marina.
Off to an early start today after a breakfast of bagels with cream cheese and
strong "chewy" coffee. Jon was skipper today, Ken was navigator, and
Tom was bosun. Forecast was for a slight chance of morning storms, clearing
around mid-day. Winds out of the west northwest provided a nice reach down the
Chester River to Kent Narrows. Navigating the Narrows can be tricky with
strong currents and shoaling to 4 feet. We timed our departure to pass
through the Narrows shortly after high tide with a nearly slack current, and
saw no less than 7ft. A dark cloud to our northwest caught our attention, so
we kept a close eye on its development.
Shortly after clearing the
Narrows, the VHF sprung to life with reports of a waterspout. Sure enough, we
spotted two funnel clouds a couple of miles away. The storm was tracking just
barely north of us, so we struck our sails, put on our harnesses, tethered in,
and motored quickly southward to maximize distance from the storm, noting
danger bearings and safety bearings in case we lost visibility. All turned out
well as the cell passed a mile or two north of us. Once the weather passed, we
also checked in with our sister ship, Scholarship,
who was traveling from Rock Hall to Annapolis to ensure they weathered the
storm, which they had. Sails up again and onward to St. Michaels! We arrived
in good time, so decided to explore the Miles River a bit further beyond St.
Michaels before heading in to dock for the night. Jon, Ken and Tom did a nice
job gybing up, then short tacking back out of the river in 10-15kn winds. All
enjoyed touring the maritime museum, waterfront dining at the tiki bar, and a
stroll through the town. Before turning in, the crew planned tomorrow's
navigation to Annapolis.
Today's forecast was for clear weather and light winds out of the northeast.
After some more "chewy" coffee, we departed. Tom was navigator and
guided us around the large shoal in the middle of the Miles River entrance
into the Eastern Bay. Full sail was set. In the light winds, our speed was
falling below two knots, and every time we hit a powerboat wake, we lost
momentum. Motorsailing it is then! A perfect day to practice our
navigation skills underway. Ken, Tom and Jon all contributed to obtaining
fixes, plotting our DR position, and determining course corrections. It's a
summer weekend, so boat traffic as we near Annapolis is buzzing, providing
numerous learning opportunities for rules of the road. We see a large regatta
and decide to pass south of the racing fleet on our way in. After a quick stop
at the fuel dock to pump out, we passed through the drawbridge and picked up a
mooring in St. Mary's Cove. After settling in, we hailed the water taxi and
enjoyed a fabulous dinner at a local sailor pub.
We are off to a relaxing start this morning. Captain Andy made pancakes while
Jon (today's navigator) planned our voyage to the anchorage behind Gibson
Island in coordination with Ken and Tom. Weather forecast was for SE 5-10
knots with a chance of afternoon storms. We caught the 0900 bridge opening and
set full sails once in open water. We had a nice beam reach to the Bay Bridge
which provided an excellent opportunity to review advanced sail trim. Another
larger sailboat left Annapolis headed for the bridge at the same time, so the
race was on! The crew stepped up to the challenge, getting the telltales
flying and tweaking sail twist to maximize efficiency --- and yes, we were
under the bridge first.
Once under the bridge, we had a
run to the mouth of the Magothy River and set up the whisker pole to keep the
genoa flying well in light air. After entering the Magothy, sails were struck
and we tucked into Eagle Cove to anchor. Different types of anchoring
techniques were reviewed. We let out some extra scope in case storms
developed, then Captain Andy reviewed test topics one more time. After a light
dinner, it was time for the written test. Ken, Jon and Tom had to relocate
from the cockpit to belowdecks mid-testing as a storm was brewing. The wind
picked up but we were spared any rain --- perfect as it cooled down the boat
nicely for sleeping on the hook!
Time to go back home now. Weather forecast is for South winds at 0-5kn and
chance of afternoon storms. The mainsail is prepped, but never raised as we
motored back across the bay and up the Chester River in glassy conditions. The
crew has really come together as an efficient team, each contributing to the
navigation along the way. Time to relax, share a few stories, and talk about
future sailing plans. Arriving at the marina, we pump out, take on fuel and
water, and make the boat tidy for the next trip!
Capt. Andy Barton
S/V ACADAME, IP32
Rock Hall, Maryland