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DelMarVa Sailstice

Wow, what a week! We left the slip on Back Creek in Annapolis on Sunday, June 19th at about 7am and returned on Sunday, June 26th about 2:45pm having traveled about 450nm. The trip around the Delmarva Peninsula was organized by Spinsheet Magazine staff, and we were joined by 18 other boats ranging in size from 27 to 45 feet. Valinor was tagged by the organizers to be fleet captain of the ‘Red” fleet – boats less than 32ft in length of which there were 5. While a couple boats had some equipment difficulties – all made it around safely to home ports!

Two friends, Mike from CO and Pat from CA traveled out to crew for this adventure. What follows is a brief travel log…………. Clicking on ‘Where’s Valinor – Spot Tracker’ to the right on this Blog will show  tracks of our trip via the SPOT2 device we used so friends and family could follow us.
Sunday, 19 June – We had arrived at the boat on Friday to make final preparations and stow provisions, and Saturday included a gathering of all the Sailstice crews. It was a good chance to meet the other sailors and get the final updates from the organizers. 

Sunday dawned a bit grey with light winds for the start, but enough to be able to sail at least until we cleared the Bay Bridge when the N winds were right on the nose.  

  Facing adverse wind direction was a continuing issue for much of the trip. Our first leg took us to Bohemia Yacht Center (18:51) just south of the entrance to the C&D Canal, and an opportunity to re-fuel and get a night’s rest before taking on the long  leg to the Bay entrance at Norfolk.

Monday, 20 June – We made an early 0700 start in order to enter the C&D Canal on the correct tide cycle.

The Canal has a substantial current created by the differential in timing of tides between the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay. We got it right, and were making 6kts or better for much of the distance. Always a chance for interesting traffic. 
 All but one of the 5 bridge crossings are high enough to allow transit by most sailboats.
The Conrail lift bridge is not when it is down to permit rail traffic. 

One of our Red fleet arrived just ahead of us and came to a quick stop. We both waited while the bridge crew raised it.  The remainder of the transit was uneventful and we headed down the Delaware Bay past the nuclear plant.

The trip down the Bay with winds behind us was a great ride, and we made very good time arriving off Lewes, DE just after dark (20:59). From there, we headed out into offshore waters where we quickly found 5-6ft swells and cross wave action from southerly winds.  As the sun went down, the conditions worsened some and it was an ‘exciting ride over night that took us south of Ocean City and into Tuesday………..

Tuesday, 21 June – Without much improvement except daylight, we continued offshore heading for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel and a Hampton Roads Yacht Club Wednesday evening. Pictures do not  do justice to the often wild ride – especially so a t night when you cannot see what’s coming at you. But none the less, we and the boat did well arriving at the entrance to the Chesapeake in the early hours of Wednesday morning (01:33).
Wednesday, 22 June – Tired and not wanting to enter the Hampton Roads harbor in the dark, we slowed our pace to cross the bridge/tunnel – letting a rather large freighter that snuck up on us go first.  We cleared the commercial channel and headed across the Bay expecting it to be daylight when we reached the Harbor channel.  Fog descended just as we got to that side, and Prudence (you know the one) suggested we find a place to anchor to wait it out.  After a surprise – for him – encounter with a crabber’s boat, we headed in to Hampton. Seems he didn’t expect to see anyone parked where we were and made a quick turn to avoid us, but not until he caused us some minor panic. Arrived at the Hampton Public Pier about 09:00.
The Yacht Club provided great hospitality, good food and a chance to recoup from the long 2-day passage. We got a good night’s rest, refueled in the morning and headed for the next and final Rally stop at Solomons for the awards dinner. We made the trip in two legs with a mid-way stop at a beautiful anchorage in Mill Creek off Ingram Bay.

Thursday, 23 JuneWe had a good sail with following winds nearly all the way to Ingram Bay and the anchorage in Mill Creek, arriving at 06:35.

One of the most beautiful, and protected anchorages I’ve seen, We shared the space with only two other boats, both from the Rally.
Friday, 24 June – An early morning start got us to Solomons at 14:44 giving plenty of time for showers, a dip in the pool and prep for the evening awards and dinner. 
 Valinor took three prizes;  the best Battle flag 
 best communications, and a special prize for the crew that came the furthest (CO & CA) to participate.
Saturday to Sunday, 25/26 June – With a couple extra days before Mike and Pat had to fly home, we made a stop in San Domingo  Creek and visited St Michaels for dinner – another very nice anchorage. 
Sunday was a motor-sail home. Back in home slip at 14:48 – seven days and about  8 hours after leaving.

In summary, we had three really good days sailing with almost ideal conditions, got two nights and a full day motor/sailing offshore, met some great sailors, shared stories and accomplished one of the classic east coast adventures putting almost 450nm under the keel………..

For Pics, see 

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