Best Laid Plans….
For some weeks I anticipated this extended cruise. Substantial planning was done with multiple alternatives built into the float plan. Destinations were set, both north and south, and on both sides of the Bay. Decisions were to be made each day depending on wind and weather – objective being to maximize sailing time.
First – don’t trust the weather reports more than a few hours out –
and then look around to see if they got it at all right!
Day one: First change. Destination was reset in order to meet up with sailing friends at Swan Creek Marina in Rock Hall. It was a good party and conditions allowed for at least some motor/sailing time over a relatively short distance despite pretty light winds mostly on the nose. I also took on two crew from the club for the one-way trip. Give the weatherman an ‘A’ for accuracy on this one. By way of Face Book, I heard from a fellow cruiser traveling generally in my direction, and not far away. So we began the dance of trying to connect in the same place at the same time……a fast trawler and a slower sailboat with varying weather conditions. First stop was just north for me at Fairlee Creek – a very nice protected anchorage.
Day two: I made an early start with a brief stop for fuel, and headed for Fairlee. I turned into another day of motor/sailing, but at least with a good boost from a favorable tide. The anchorage was still a bit crowded from a busy weekend but, being Sunday afternoon, it cleared quickly. My cruising friends decided to stay put, otherwise a pleasant evening at anchor.
Day three: Now weather reports were beginning to be mixed with cautions of approaching T’storms. So, with winds cooperating for a Bay crossing, it was a good day to get back to the western shore and one of several protected anchorages. While not ideal, SE winds enabled a decent sail, and with an outgoing tide I made better time than planned. After dodging a couple tugs & tows crossing the commercial channels, I sailed into Eagle Cove off the Magothy River. To the weatherman’s credit, I did encounter a brief shower as I approached the Magothy – give him/her a ‘C-‘ for the day. I shared the anchorage with only four other boats, and enjoyed a quiet evening. I also reconnected with my cruising friend who was now planning to head to Mill Creek near Cantler’s crab house – good motivation to adjust plans again.
Day four: More calls for PM T’storms by the weathermen, but now I had favorable winds and tide for the run to Mill Creek. Nearly ideal conditions made for a brisk sail just off the NE wind. Except for a short motor-on to clear the Bay Bridge due to chop and traffic, it was sails up all the way.
I passed my friend’s trawler on the way into the creek, but never was able to connect. The consolation prize was a dinner of steamed mussels and lump crab cake topped off with key lime pie for dessert! And, it was a short dinghy ride from my anchorage. I subsequently learned that, if empty slips, I could have used one free and stayed the night…. next time.
Day five: Now running low on provisions (bad pre-planning on my part), I chose to stop back in my home slip (Back Creek, Annapolis) to re-provision, clean and re-organize the boat. It also gave me a chance to lunch and visit with my former slip neighbor. The heat already was building and predicted to get hotter, so a good day to scrub the topsides, and continue the process of weaving netting onto the life lines. The latter project being undertaken to provide for the arrival of a new boat dog (yellow lab puppy), and her safety underway.
-one of these!-
Day six/seven: With a forecast of very light, but favorable winds for heading south, I made an early start heading to the Rhode River where I would catch up with my sailing club’s weekend raft. The two-day early arrival would afford time to enjoy some quiet time mid-week. Uponleaving the creek I found 8-12 kts of N wind and quickly was under full sail making great time down Bay. Managed to sail nearly all the way into the Rhode River anchorage. After dealing with an aggressive power boat dragging a raft full of kids around my corner of the bay and the buzzing of jet skis, it was steak on the grill and a good bottle of Cabernet.
Next day I re-located to the section of the bay where I expected the raft to be set up. Weather was HOT, but the predicted T’storms never arrived. Instead I got a brief 10 min shower. There was also ample time to drop the kayak in the water and explore – always good birding along the shoreline.
Day eight/nine: After several days of solo sailing, it was fun to welcome the arriving club boats. Building a raft can be a tense time. At least conditions were calm, if very hot, and the process got accomplished without too much fuss. We completed the linear raft (nose-to-toes) with 10 boats, and spent a pleasant evening sharing treats and stories – even got in a swim to cool down.
Weathermen got it right for the sail home on Sunday (day nine) with light SE winds. At least it was worth flying the head sail for the short motor/sail.
So, almost none of the ‘best laid plans’ materialized. The weathermen managed about 50% accuracy. I never connected with my cruising friends, but got three days of good sailing, a party with some sailing friends and a raft up with others. All in all, not a bad week on the water. Then, when is a week on the water ever bad?