Sandy as an object lesson

Storm clouds moving in

 

For as long as there has been weather on the planet, there have been storms – some small, some big, but always a fascination to us. As the current storm ‘Sandy’ approaches the east coast, I’m following the commentary, warnings and other hype with some interest. First, I’ve taken the practical steps of securing my boat against possible damage from winds and rising waters. I’ve also cleared the house roof and gutters of the Fall leaf crop – twice-  to allow the heavy rains to run off as intended.

Because we have inexorably intruded with our occupation of flood plains and low lying coastal areas, much of the focus has been on the potential damage. Wiser planning and developing would have minimized such negative impacts. Instead of describing imminent disaster, we might be talking about the positive and constructive effects of storms that clean and  refresh the atmosphere and rebuild beeches and marshes. They have in the past, and may still do move plants and animals, small and large, to new territories.   These natural events are essential to planet health and only become disasters where we have chosen to stand in their path on vulnerable ground.

Here’s hoping all are safe in the aftermath. Perhaps too much to hope (too late) that we learn a lesson or two about where to take up residency…..

 

Chasing geese

After an extended cruise in company with friend Roger’s ‘Strider’ (reported in the ‘Hobbit Land’ stories), I returned to home port to re-provision.  I also needed to prepare for an SOS cruise up the Bay to the Corsica River for the annual Goose Cruise.  The wind gods were kind and delivered 5-15kts from the right direction for both the sail up and return.   Twenty-two boats made up the circle raft, and with that many there was some waiting time…

Looking across the raft

 

Waiting their turn..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s always a good party, and fun watching other boats come into the raft. Valinor was second boat in so there was lots of entertainment.

 

 

 

Sunday, when the raft broke up and others sailed home, I dropped an anchor and stayed another night.  It was a beautiful location, and the geese cooperated both morning and evening as they moved to and from their feeding grounds..

 

 

We had other assorted visitors, including this little gull looking for handouts …

 

Lookin’ for handouts

….  and a special treat as this gentleman took his Chessies out for an evening boat ride

 

An evening cruise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A couple small trawlers motored in to spend the night, and these friendly folks from Chestertown, stopped by to say hello – they certainly enjoyed the evening sunset on the bow of their boat ..

Barbequed pork loin off the grill, with fresh sliced tomatoes and chilled pinot grigio made for a great dinner ..

A fine dinner off the grill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… and the evening sunset topped off another pleasant day on the water!

Sailed back to home port on Monday in favorable 8-14kt winds.  As one of the last sails of the season, it will be memorable.

 

Hobbit land II

Monday arrived with significant weather in the forecast, so we made reservations at the Cambridge Marina for slips and moved in first thing in the morning. It proved a good move as significant adverse winds and rain arrived during the day. And, it was nice to stand in a real, hot shower J Roger’s friend Becky came by for lunch at Snapper’s Waterfront Café. She provided some fascinating conversation, and we discovered professional connections with several friends in common from our respective careers.

After lunch we visited the Richardson Museum Boat Works where local watermen were building and restoring classic Bay boats.  Late day cleared and an amazing rainbow appeared. Horizon to horizon  – and then it doubled – what an beautiful treat!

A stunning double, full rainbow..

A good night’s sleep despite the high winds.

Tuesday came early with bright sun, but NW winds were still blowing directly down the Choptank and down the Bay, we chose to brave the head winds in the river, and sail down to Solomons. Warped our way out of the slips about 0800. Well, they say that boats will handle more than the sailor. A good test today. With winds on the nose blowing 15-24kts producing 2-4ft chop it was a challenge to make the first 8nm under power. Valinor struggled at times, and I worked to find quieter waters to no avail. After about three hours fighting upwind, we turn onto a broad reach and sailed at 5-6.5kts to reach the main stem of the Bay, then a downwind run till winds died about half way.  I dropped anchor in company with one other boat late afternoon – joined by a trawler and two other sailboats before evening. We wandered into town and enjoyed another great crab cake dinner.  Time now to tuck in for the night and plan the next leg of the journey in the morning………….

A parting of the ways….

After a careful review of weather and other plans, It was clear that today (Wednesday) was time to head back up the Bay and say farewell to Roger till he sails back through next Spring. It has been an interesting and fun few days on the water with a well-traveled and superb sailor, not to mention his vast technical knowledge as a naval architect. So this little company divided with expectations to connect again as did Tolkien’s heros.

About 0800, I weighed anchor following a nice sunrise—

— said farewell (for now) to Roger and turned the boat back to the north – destination Dun Cove off Harris Creek behind Tighlman Island. A well-protected and beautiful spot to ride out the weather predicted for Thursday – gusty winds 15-25kts and possible rain. It will be good to have a day to get the boat back in order, do some cleaning and rest J

Not a bad spot to be in for awhile — more to come…………

 

Stay –tuned still more sailing and exploring to come !

 

Hobbit land 2012

Two boats sailed from Back Creek in Annapolis (Eastport) for a small adventure on the Chesapeake Bay. Strider, skippered by Roger Long of Maine was joined by Valinor, skippered by Jim Mosher of Maryland. Those who are J.R.R.Tolein fans will recognize the connections.  Strider was king of humankind who inherited he world after the last great middle earth battle. The elves, Gandolf the wizard and the Hobbit heros (Bilbo and Frodo) sailed off to Valinor, the undying land having vanquish evil.

Strider

Hardly an epic sailing adventure we’re about, but good company and great time on the water. The first leg took the duo to Baby Owl Cove off Broad Creek near Tilghman Island and St Michaels. It was an ideal sail down Bay with 8-15kts of favorable wind that provide some great sailing before dying just short of Tilghman.

We ducked through Knapp’s Narrows under the lift bridge and motored the final leg up to the first anchorage at Baby Owl. The cove is a well-protected, and often used spot to meet-up with sailing friends or protection from bad weather.  It is mostly undeveloped shore line surrounded by forest. We found calm waters and only one other boat, a power yacht, at anchor. Tidied up the boats and enjoyed a sunny and pleasant afternoon and evening. Dinner from the grill (tasty flank steak) and a good wine topped off the first day. Were even treated by Bald Eagles in search of dinner – looked like mom and this year’s kid.

A lovely evening at anchor

The Tolkien characters would have approved J

The start of day 2 brought the arrival of the predicted winds. About 0130 the first gust hit, and for the next several hours periods of relative calm were broken by 20-30kt gusts. This is being written at 0300 as I maintain my ‘anchor watch’ having let out additional scope an hour ago.

The night sky is clear. With almost no ground lights to interfere, all the Fall constellations are bright against that background!  Orion is just outside my port side window. As long as I can see him framed in that opening, I’m reassured the anchor isn’t dragging. Forecasts call for strong and gusting winds the next day as well which will slow our southerly progress.

 

Sunday morning arrived with a clear blue sky, ‘V’s of honking geese moving out to feeding grounds. Heard them moving around overnight, likely because of the winds that kept me checking the anchor. After breakfast – steak, eggs and OJ – cleaned up, put on Nora Jones and had a cup of tea

SW winds were still strong and we decided to take full advantage and relocate to Cambridge where it’s more protected, and Roger wanted to see the museum.

Had a great sail on a reach most all the way, and anchored just off the yacht club.   ….   Check back for more of the adventure……

Boat Show fun!

The annual Annapolis sailboat show is always a treat. It’s great to visit all the vendors to see the latest gear, and bump into folks you know from the water, but don’t often see ashore. It’s a great chance to ask your boat manufacturer tech folks questions about issues – easier to do in person than on-line or phone. And, the food is always a treat!

I had the chance this year to work for Passport Yachts – my personal favorite boat for when the lottery check arrives…… you can browse their website for great info and pix at www.wagnerstevens.com .

 

Passport 470 center cockpit

A side benefit was no time to shop, so spent a lot less this year!

Chasing the wind

It was a fun weekend with 22 SOS boats rafted in Whitehall Creek – just a short run from home port in Annapolis.

Circle raft coming together

The original destination was expected to be crowded with several dozen boats from other clubs, so we chose to go closer to home. Winds were forecast to be light, and it looked like we would motor the few miles there and back.  The pleasant surprize was 8-14kts WSW providing an opportunity to enjoy the sunny day and sail much of the way. 

On the down side, shifting winds from being near shore made for frequent adjustments as the track in the picture (below) suggests 🙂  Coming home on Sunday, we simply sailed to the wind and worked our way westward to Back Creek. The crew got lots of tacking experience – and exercise!

SPOT track of the weekend sail

It was a really pretty day, and no one minded waiting in line (sort of) to come in and join the raft…….

Waiting to join the raft