Sunday, June 10, 2018

Middle Chesapeake

We just returned from a four day sailing trip around the middle section of the Chesapeake Bay. Ruth and I went with our good friends Bruce & Karen and this was our 5th time chartering together. Three Chesapeake trips, one Spanish Virgin Islands trip, and one Bahamas trip. We're starting to become a nice cohesive team. Not to mention we have a lot of fun together!

Day one we left Solomon's Island on a 39' Jeanneau monohull. The boat has a 4'-11" draft with two cabins. Bruce booked the bareboat charter with Sail Solomons. They couldn't have been nicer.

Freedom 38

This wasn't the boat we chartered, but it's a really nice Freedom 38. This is one of the boats on my short list, and we did get to speak to the owner about it a little bit. Really easy boat to handle but it is more cruising relating than performance related. The mast is pretty far forward which leave a lot of room down below. Nice boat!

The wind was not cooperating for us the first day. We've learned to plan our trips around the wind rather than force where we want to go whenever possible. So we sailed out into the bay and then returned to the Patuxent River for an overnight anchorage on Mill Creek. Decent wind on Wednesday with 25 nautical miles of sailing.

View leaving Solomons Island

Calvert Cliffs

Bridge Over the Patuxent River

Mill Creek Anchorage - Our Neighbor

Quiet Anchorage on Mill Creek

Working Waterman

Thursday morning we picked up anchor and headed down to the Potomac River. It was a really nice sail and we were on a nice beam reach for the 25 nautical mile jaunt down to the mouth of the river. The Potomac is 10 miles across at the mouth. We saw LOTS of crab pots, pelicans, osprey, and even some dolphins. 

Ketch Heading North


Point no Point Lighthouse

Interesting Helm Position for Ruth

Point Lookout Marina
We stayed the night at the marina and had a nice dinner ashore. Pretty quite marina at Point Lookout but they make a nice crab cake and we had an enjoyable stay. The channel in is well marked with a nice "S" turn to come in. Just follow the marks and you'll be fine. Friday found us traveling back up the bay as Saturday had thunderstorms forecasted. 

Fish Trip

Bruce & Ruth

Adjusting the Traveler for Sail Trim

Leonard Creek Anchorage

More Leonard Creek

Nice Sunset

Securing the Dinghy
Thanks to Bruce for a great Beef Bourguignon for Friday night dinner! We enjoyed a nice quiet anchorage with only one other boat with good holding just off the mouth of the Leonard Creek. We all enjoyed swimming and finishing up the rum drinks before our return on Saturday. Thunderstorms did hit on Friday night into Saturday but held off on Saturday until after 3 pm. The winds were pretty light Saturday so we didn't sail too much and had the boat back in by 13:00.

We're Back!
This was a great part of the Bay to check out and a lot more quiet than going out of Rock Hall. Amenities are in short supply and the eastern shore is pretty shallow without much to stop for cruisers. I think we'll venture back into this area and stop at either Smith or Tangier Island. I'd definitely recommend Sail Solomons if you are interested in chartering out of this area.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Long Cold Winter

It's definitely been a long, cold winter. I can't add "lonely" to match the song due to my great family and weekly visits to my mom. It looks like spring has finally sprung though and we're ready for it. Ruth and I have just finished our spring cleaning chores including the following:

  • Wash windows and bring out the screens
  • Get the small fish pond up and running
  • Full cleaning inside the house
  • Detailing the cars, winter takes a pretty hard toll on both the interior and exterior
And finally, my favorite chore, getting the boat ready for another year on the lake. There wasn't too much to do to the Turtle this year but I changed oil on the outboard, put the new docking lines in the boat, replaced a fair lead for the port jib sheet, and did a little touch up on the bottom paint. Since we cleaned the bottom pretty well after taking the boat out last fall there wasn't much to do and we're ready to launch the boat.

My wife is having her high school anniversary next Saturday so the boat launch is scheduled for 4/29. We are ready to go and just need the weather to cooperate. The plan will be to take the boat out in the morning, do a little sailing, and then put her in the slip. Since it's been so cold, I doubt there are many boats that have launched yet. Our slip-mate usually doesn't put his boat in until after Memorial Day.

We do have a few fun trips planned this year that we will include pictures in future blogs. We're chartering the middle Chesapeake with our friends Bruce & Karen in June and then have our rescheduled BVI trip in November. The rest of the year will be spent sailing on the Lake.

Fair Winds!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Northern Exumas - Bahamas

We just got back from a weeks sail in the Bahamas. Trip started on New Providence with the Nav Tours company. We sailed from New Providence over the Northern Exumas and stayed over at Highborne Cay, Shroud Cay, Warderick Wells, Norman's Island and Allen's Cay. The wind was pretty strong all week with 20 to 28 knots the first day for our 30 nm crossing across the yellow banks. The coral heads were pretty easy to spot and as long as you are vigilant, the crossing shouldn't present too many problems. Ruth and I went with our good friends Karen and Bruce.


Bruce relaxing


Beautiful water

It took us about 6 hours to cover the trip across the yellow banks. With 5' seas at 6 second intervals the trip was a little bouncy and we had to sail a close hauled course to get there. Nothing like a good salt bath to start the trip. After an overnight at Highborne Cay we headed down to Shroud Cay with nice 20 to 25 knots of wind on a beam reach. Part of our tour was the northern river on Shroud Cay where you can motor from the banks to the sound at a slow speed.

On the ball at Shroud Cay

Sitting on the ball, not many boats around

Motoring down the river

We did hit a little storm

Captain and Admiral

Sound side

From Shroud Cay we sailed down to Waderick Wells and the Exuma Park. We decided to stay in the southern mooring field and ended up right next to Emerald Rock. There was only one other boat that night and we pretty much had the place to ourselves. We explored the park and hiked up to the famous Boo Boo Hill. Legend has it that you hear the howls of ghosts on top of the hill. Ruth and I also had an interested experience with a 4' barracuda following us back to the boat on our snorkel trip. I've heard that barracuda think we're larger predators and follow snorkelers hoping to grab a morsel from our catch. Never really concerned but I did keep an eye on toothy the whole swim back.

Karen on the SUP

Ruth relaxing

Happy at the helm

Karen at the helm

Boo Boo Hill, short hike

Tree growing out of the rock

Small creek to cross up to Boo Boo Hill

Top of the hill

Our boat in the distance

Beautiful sunset

Next stop was Norman's Cay. We anchored off the western shore and had dinner at the Norman's Bay Beach Club (aka McDuff's). I thought it would be nice to have a manhattan but they had no idea how to make one. They seemed to think they had bourbon and sweet vermouth and offered to let me behind the bar to teach them how to make a good manhattan. Unfortunately, there was no sweet vermouth so it was back to run. Next time through I'm bringing sweet vermouth and bitters and we'll redo the manhattan making class. Dinner was great at McDuff's with a casual relaxed island atmosphere.
Being passed by a cat

McDuff's is behind these cottages

Harbor at Allen's Cay
After another overnight at Highborne Cay, it was 30 nm back from the Exumas back to New Providence. Someone we managed to have to go close hauled on the trip back also with winds piping up again to 20 to 25 knots. The sail back was pretty fast and in 5 hours we were back at the Palm Cay Marina and Nav Tours base. The trip included sailing from Sunday through Friday and we totaled over 135 nm for the week with two 30 plus nm crossings of the Yellow Banks.

Nav Tours was a great company to charter with and included a pick up at the airport, provisioning trip, and the first and last night docked at the marina. We'd highly recommend them as a company to charter with. The rest of the sailing season will be pretty quite for us until it's time to launch the Turtle again in the spring.

Happy to be back?

38' boat for the week

Sitting on a conch by the bay

The dark spots are sharks in the water