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Weather roulette

Always a roll of the dice when predicting weather on the Chesapeake Bay.  Yesterday’s forecast called for 5kts out of the North in the morning falling off to 2-3 in the afternoon. Well, they got the direction mostly right. It turned out to be one of the best sailing days of the season. What we got was a pretty steady 8-12kts all day. The Bay was filled with sails by the afternoon making for a beautiful day on the water! (click on the Spot link to see the rather convoluted path sailed).

Hotter can be better

The complexity of natural systems, and the lag times between actions and results often makes our tendency toward short-term perspectives suspect. With so much focus in the media about the extreme heat and immediate consequences, it’s worth noting there is another side. The following report makes a useful point in connecting longer term conditions with current observations. So, enjoy the hot weather, knowing that it has been a good respite for the Bay!



Drought and heat good for the Chesapeake Bay

Rich Keller, Editor, Ag Professional  |  July 17, 2012

This summer the Chesapeake Bay has some of the cleanest water it has experienced in a long time, and the lower pollution is being attributed to a mild winter, dry and hot spring and some of the hottest summer days on record.  see for more ….

To Solomons and back again…

To Solomons and back…

For sailors, winds are always fickle. That is especially true here on the Chesapeake in July and August, as we found out this past weekend. With hopeful forecasts, we set out on Friday from Annapolis bound for Solomons anticipating a long sail in advance of the racing crews sailing down overnight. Well, we found light winds on the nose with no point of sail that would allow us to shut down the engine……… on the other hand, the overnight forecast also turn out to be wrong and the racers had 12-18kts of useful winds J

Saturday was a quiet day with only a dinner and evening party on the agenda. Valinor became the ‘party’ boat with 10-12 folks packed into our smallish cockpit for a fun evening after an excellent meal at the Marina restaurant.

On Sunday, others chose to make their way up river for crab cakes at Stoney’s, leaving the return trip to Monday. We chose to split the trip home and motor/sailed to Dun Cove off Harris Creek and anchored for the night. To add some excitement we were visited early evening by a nasty squall with heavy rains, gusty winds and lightening all around. Fortunately the lightening past us by, winds died down and the rain quit by the time we called it a night.

Interesting ‘greenish’ quality of light at Dun Cove

Monday morning, after a good breakfast, we headed for home with hope of finding friendly winds.  Instead we found the skinny water on the east side of Knapps Narrows. After a few tries, we broke free of the soft mud, got back in channel and made it to the main stem of the Bay. NW winds made it hard to make progress northward. We motor/sailed across the Bay toward Chesapeake City, then tacked toward home. Variable winds made sailing OK to pretty good. We shut doen the motor and enjoyed the quiet until we got north of Bloody Point at which time winds died to less than 2kts and we motored again the rest of the way home. After a stop at the fuel dock we made home slip, cleaned and secured the boat.

All in all, not as much sailing as we’d like, but good company and a fun cruise!

Link to SPOT track –

Good Bay News from MD and VA

Progress continues on improving Chesapeake Bay conditions. While slower than many would like, it is worth noting that population within the Bay watershed continues to grow bringing addition challenges. Those who depend on the Bay for a livelihood, and as a recreational resource appreciate the progress!

_____________________from the HarvedeGracePatch, July 9. 2012……..

Maryland has met its milestones to protect and restore the Chesapeake Bay, Gov. Martin O’Malley announced Monday.

The 2009-2011 milestones are part of the state’s Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP), which puts the state on track to achieve its next two-year goal, as well as the 2017 goal.

“There are some challenges so large that we can only tackle them together. Restoring the Bay is one of them. And all of us are here today because we understand that the choices we make together for our Bay matter for our health, our environment, our quality of life, our economy and for future generations,” O’Malley said, according to a statement. “We have worked closely with our local partners to create and carry out a Watershed Implementation Plan that works for each individual community, and do it in an open and transparent way. Thanks to our hard work together, we have achieved our 2009-2011 milestones, and we’re on track to meet our 2012-2013 milestones.”

O’Malley’s announcement came at the Chesapeake Executive Council meeting Monday in Virginia.

See Maryland’s 2012-2013 goals via BayStat.

The progress includes planting 429,818 acres of cover crops, which prevented about 2.58 million pounds of nitrogen and 86,000 pounds of phosphorous from impacting the Bay, according to the statement. That figure met 123 percent of the cover crop goal, the statement read.

Improvements to state and local wastewater treatment plants led to the prevention of more than 1.5 million pounds of nitrogen from reaching the Bay—meeting 165 percent of the state’s wastewater nitrogen reduction goals, the statement said.

More than 106,000 pounds of nitrogen—88 percent of the state’s two-year goals—were prevented from reaching the Bay through improved site-design and retroactively installing stormwater management systems in developments, according to the statement.

The Healthy Air Act prevented more than 331,000 pounds of nitrogen from reaching the Bay on an annual basis from 2009-2011, the state said, reaching 100 percent of its goals.

The state, according to the release, also planted 895 acres of forest buffers to help naturally remove nutrients, meeting 166 percent of its goals in the process.

“Thanks to the leadership of Governor O’Malley and the Maryland General Assembly, legislation passed this year will help us to protect, restore and support healthy waterways and drinking water while preserving farm and forest land, all of which will benefit Maryland families with clean water for years to come,” Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Robert M. Summers said in the release. “Clean water is the foundation of public health, economic health and Marylander’s quality of life for the future.”

Also in the release, the state said Maryland is on track for its 2012-2013 goals, and in partnerships with Virginia, the Bay’s blue crab population is at the highest level in recorded history.


More  news ……………….

Virginia making progress on bay cleanup goals, groups say

// By: Rex Springston | Richmond Times-Dispatch
Published: July 10, 2012 Updated: July 10, 2012 – 12:00 AM


Virginia met six of nine goals set in 2009 for restoring the Chesapeake Bay, environmentalists say.

“Virginia has made considerable progress in meeting its first bay milestones,” said Ann Jennings, Virginia director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, an environmental group.

“Even in those areas where the state fell short — certain farm conservation practices and reducing lawn fertilizer — new or anticipated programs coming on line and ongoing policy ‘tweaks’ can ensure greater progress,” Jennings said in a statement.

The bay foundation and Choose Clean Water, a coalition of groups supporting the bay cleanup, analyzed nine key interim goals, called milestones. The groups announced their findings Monday.

According to the analysis, Virginia met its goals for restoring wetlands, planting grass buffers by streams, managing storm water, dealing with septic tanks and reducing nitrogen and phosphorus — key bay pollutants — flowing from sewage-treatment plants.

The state fell short, however, on increasing the planting of cover crops, planting streamside trees and managing pollution that runs off urban areas.

“All states exceeded in some categories and fell short in others, which is not surprising in this first milestone effort,” the environmentalists said in a news release.

Doug Domenech, Virginia’s secretary of natural resources, said the state is more focused on reducing pounds of pollution than meeting the individual goals.

“Virginia has already met and exceeded its nitrogen reduction goal for 2013 by 680,000 pounds!!” Domenech said in an email.

The bay foundation “should take a more comprehensive view of the program instead of focusing on the few practices we may have missed,” Domenech said.

Gov. Bob McDonnell announced Friday that major sewage treatment plants exceeded their goals, an achievement that prevented 2.5 million pounds of nitrogen from entering waters leading to the bay.

Virginia’s efforts to reduce the plants’ nitrogen and phosphorus releases date back to the mid-2000s.

Leaders of the federal and state bay cleanup established the milestones to better gauge states’ progress. The first set of milestones covers actions from 2009 through 2011.

Meanwhile, the Chesapeake Executive Council, a group of federal and state leaders that sets policies for the cleanup, elected Washington, D.C., Mayor Vincent C. Gray its chairman Monday.

The group met near Lorton at Gunston Hall, which was the home of George Mason, author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights. Gray succeeded federal Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson.

Efforts to clean the bay have been under way since the mid-1980s. The latest plan aims to put enough pollution controls in place by 2025 to restore the bay — with most of the controls in place by 2017.

The effort could cost Virginians more than $15 billion, according to state estimates.

In addition to federal agencies, the cleanup involves Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Washington, D.C.



A Steamy Week

Well, July isn’t the coolest month and 100F temps are usually rare, but we found them.  I left the slip Sunday morning to meet up with the Chesapeake Catalina Yacht Club (CCYC) folks at Harris Creek off the north side of the Choptank River, just past Knapps Narrows. It was a beautiful sunny day with enough wind to sail most of the way. Fired the engine to clear the Narrows lift bridge, and motor up wind to Harris Creek. Bounced briefly off the bottom  – in channel – on the east side of Knapps. There have been complaints about inadequate dredging of this channel. Guess I found the spot!


As I turned north, I caught up with the CCYC fleet coming from St Michaels. With deeper drafts than mine, they had gone around to the south rather than risk the Narrows.  We built a small raft in Duns Cove and spent a pleasant night with good company.

Mike spent some time modifying his dingy lift.

Modifying the dingy hoist on Resolve



… and we passed on swimming given the company.


Also enjoyed a visit from a former colleague from the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay and the Chesapeake Bay Program. She lives just up Harris Creek and manages the CBP Communication Office. Nice visit and fun to hear about all the good work.

From Duns Cove we sailed to Trappe Creek further to the east. Now the temps were climbing and heat and humidity were uncomfortable when the air went calm.  Lucia flew an appropriate Asym on the way …                  

Lucia’s Asym

Shared a great dinner …

Always good food!

And woke up to a beautiful morning sky!                

That evening  a small thunder storm blew by to the north and brought a bit of cooling, however brief.

Tuesday and Wednesday we spent at the Chesapeake Yacht Club with excellent facilities. Also, I picked up SOS crew Myra and Rob for the balance of this cruise with Singles on Sailboats (SOS).  We had lunch at Snappys, then dinner at t CYC on Tuesday.

It was a relaxing day on Wednesday then a cab ride up river to board the River Queen paddle wheel for a ride back down for fireworks..

Cambridge Fireworks

The paddle wheel dropped us – special ‘celebrity’ stop – next to CYC for a short walk back to the boats.  HOT night, even sleeping in the cockpit!

Our sister ship heading down river..

Thursday morning we left Cambridge and headed to Trippe Creek for another pleasant evening swinging on an anchor.

Quiet anchorage on Trippe Creek

On Friday we headed to Oxford where we were to meet up with the SOS group who were coming from St Michaels. It was too early to get into our slip at the Mears Marina, so had a nice sail well up the Tred Avon River. Showers at Mears while waiting on our SOS friends, then happy hour on the marina veranda. (Have to say, pretty ragged facilities and not very friendly staff – won’t be going back).

We made breakfast on board Valinor Saturday morning for some of the SOS folks and shared thoughts about the extended plans. One crew had already left due to the extreme heat, and the concensus among the rest of us was ‘enough already’ – time to head home and find cooler quarters!

The favorable wind forecast turned out to be wrong, and we motored or motor-sailed all the way back to Annapolis on Saturday, secured the boat, had dinner at the Boat Yard Bar & Grill, and begged some AC from a friend at his place for the early part of the evening.

Sunday morning we cleaned up the boat and I took Rob back to his car in Cambridge and headed home. After a couple days at home, I’ll be sailing to Solomon … stay tuned.

Click here for link to SPOT track