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Around the DelMarVa – again

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Most recent updates will appear at the top, older posts in sequence following…

…….pictures and more to come later – check back.

Crew consensus – head off shore.

……….Posted 6/22 underway down the Bay headed home.

With a good weather window and a spirited crew, we left Hampton, made a right turn and out the Thimble Shores Channel into the North Atlantic via the Bay Bridge Tunnel.


  A left through the commercial traffic channels headed us NE up the coast to the Delaware Bay.   We took something of a beating at the start and at the end of this leg. Off the mouth of the Chesapeake we found confused, heavy seas and adverse winds. Waves were short and steep, running 3-4 and occasionally 5 feet, so progress was very slow. For several hours, a 3kt speed over ground (SOG) was considered great.

Once clear of the Bay entrance, the seas state improved and the NE head winds veered ENE enabling us to sail towards our destination through the night. With a couple long tacks we made reasonable progress up the coast. As we passed Ocean City we hove to, had dinned and prepared for the second night’s run to the Delaware. It was good to have rested, however brief. We arrived off the Harbor of Relief Light about 1am. The tide was turning and we had steep 3-5ft swells chasing us from astern, and poor visibility. To add to the fun, unidentified traffic failed to respond to hails as we approached the entrance. So, we proceeded slowly with all crew on watch. Inside we found calmer waters and a safe anchorage behind the inner breakwater for the remainder of the night.

Despite the late hour, it seemed appropriate to share a glass of wine to toast the successful offshore passage .  Morning came sooner than hoped, but with a pleasant SE breeze and plenty of sunshine. We transferred one crew off in Lewes at the Lewes Yacht Club. Vickery had a friend wedding to get to, and her skills and help will be missed for the balance of the tri

We had left Lewes, headed for the C&D Canal, a bit ahead of the tide schedule, but with favorable winds. Early progress up the Bay was slowed by adverse tide, but was scheduled to change and did so about 1/3rd of the way north. Mostly a downwind run, we even ran wing-on-wing for a time. We had some heavy company along the way.


As the tide changed in our favor we chose to follow the Blake Channel up the west side. Not only did we find 2kts of current going our way, but were entertained by about 2 dozen foraging porpoises.  Multiple attempts to second guess them sadly produced no pictures. Made significant progress at 6.5 to 7.5 kts and reached Reedy Pt and the entry to the C & D Canal at 9:30pm.

….more later……

Tuesday in Hampton at Hampton Yacht Club…….

Waking up Tuesday morning after a much needed good night’s sleep.

The overnight sail (Sunday/Monday) from Annapolis to Hampton provided about everything a sailor might expect, including some terrific sailing. Most of the way south past Solomons offered hull speed sailing – for my Catalina 30, that’s 5-7kts on a beam reach provided by steady WSW winds.  Then, as the sun went down, winds became less consistent and more on the nose, so motoring or motor/sailing was the watch word for the balance of the trip.

There was enough time for some of the crew to play with their e-toys – garmin gps, ipads etc..… electronics has change distance sailing, and especially navigating, in interesting ways.


Some excitement was provided in the form of a nasty squall in the wee hours of the morning as we approached Hampton. Choppy seas and gusty winds in the gale range briefly made sleep a bit difficult for those off-watch, and a challenge for the watch at the helm.  None-the-less, the sun came up (mostly) as Hampton was in sight.

To top off the trip, while making way into the Hampton Harbor, we were treated to a parade of naval vessels. Three outgoing warships, with all hands on deck, passed by with periodic warnings to stand clear.  A more ominous warning related to an incoming naval vessel. We kept looking to see what it was, until finally the periscope appeared and a sub, with two escort gunboats, appeared off our stern. It partially surface as it headed into the base, passing us ‘more than 500 yards’ off as prescribed by the warning.  Sorry – no pix.

At 6pm the fleet gathered at the Hampton Yacht Club for dinner, shared stories and some briefings on the next couple day’s plans.  Next stop Lewes, DE – maybe.  Weather reports have some cause for concern.

Well it’s Tuesday AM and the decision was made to hold in Hampton to allow some problematic off shore weather to pass on by. So, plans are being modified and each boat skipper will make a final decision between offshore to Lewes or back up the Bay – hoping we can keep the Rally all together. Meanwhile, we will enjoy HYC’s fine hospitality!

Posted from Hampton Yacht Club; 6/18.

Annapolis, MD to Hampton, Va – The Start:  June 16, 2013;  0900

Start day is here! Sunday morning dawned with clear skies and the promise of a great trip down the Bay to Hampton Roads and the Hampton Yacht Club. On the downside, we start with adverse winds and tide, so it will be a bit of a challenge to make good progress south – at least under sail alone.

All the provisions were loaded aboard yesterday and there might be room left for the crewJ Let’s say politely, we will eat well.

So, Meet the crew:


Left to right……. Vickery Brewer – accomplished racer, our performance coach.; Bob Black – former skipper and twice around veteran.; John Halpern – off shore time, and marine head plumber

After putting the boat in order and briefing on the day’s float plan, we headed for the start at G5 just off Back Creek. Slipped dock lines at 0800, and cleared the start mark at 0830. Rally boats are starting at variable times based on estimates of travel time to Hampton – all to be sure we arrive in the light—AND before the start of the party at HYC J

Come back to see updates as we sail around the DelMarVa………..

Once Again around the DelMarVa Penninsula

On Sunday, June 16th, 26 sailboats will sail from Annapolis for the second Spinsheet- sponsored circumnavigation of the DelMarVa penninsula. The boats range in size from 30 to 41ft with crews of four or more aboard.  The Rally will stop in Hampton, after an overnight sail down the Bay, for a gathering at the Hampton Yacht Club. The next day, the fleet will sail, staged in three groups based on performance, off shore around the Chesapeake Light then north to the Delaware Bay and another stop at the Lewes Yacht Club. The last leg(s) will be a sail up the Delaware Bay and through the C&D Canal, then back to Annapolis for a final party! 

What to do with winter......

The Rally follows a series of informational seminars designed to prepare those who may be making this lengthy and off-shore cruise for the first time. Special attention has been made to be sure boats and crews are prepared, with guidance on safety considerations and navigation skills. Responsibility for boats and crews remains, as always, with the skippers of each boat. Skippers will certify their boats’ safety preparations and completion of on-the-water (including MOB recovery) practice with crews.


You can follow the progress of the individual boats or the entire fleet at the link above. Pictures and brief reports will be added here as we progress around the peninsula. Valinor made the same trip in 2011, but in the reverse (clockwise) direction. See “DelMarVa Offshore” earlier post here.

This is a great opportunity to gain off-shore sailing experience with support from accomplished off-shore sailors. The entire trip covers over 400nm with about 165nm being off the Atlantic coast  by 10-20nm.



A great seminar for registered skippers and crew is scheduled for this coming Sunday (19th) to cover safety and navigation issues. Presenters will be the same folks that manage the Caribbean 1500 and ARC rallies.

Check back for the leg reports…….. Thursday, June 13 – just a couple days to make final preparations and provision the boat. Looking like there will be decent weather/wind for the Rally 🙂


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