Sunday, August 21, 2011


I'm starting to focus a little more on the fall trip.  It is about five weeks away and I've got to do a little more research, start checking the food supplies, check the gear and work out a few details.  Right now it looks like it will be an extended walkabout cruise, sailing eight days out of Crisfield as far north as the Choptank River and as far south as Tangier Island, returning to Crisfield.

One of things I enjoy on a cruise is sailing through narrow passages - creeks, guts, channels - that cut through marshes.  They are paths that are less traveled, paths that reveal a different view of Chesapeake Bay.  They are used mostly by watermen, few sailboats go there.  But a Pathfinder is perfect for those waters.

Here are a few that I am looking at for this next trip.

Deal Island

Behind Deal Island is Laws Thorofare, marked in yellow above, that leads to Laws Cove at the very north end of Deal Island.  Just to the north of the Cove is the community of Chance on Scotts Cove.  From google earth there appears to be a good-sized marina there.  I don't know much else about it but I will do some research.  The bay at the south end of the Thorofare looks like it might make a nice anchorage for the first night out.

 Lower Hooper Island

At the southern trip of Lower Hoopers Island is another Thorofare, one that leads from the Honga River to Thorofare Cove, neighboring Cow Cove and the Chesapeake Bay.  I've sailed by the Hooper Islands four times over the past couple of years, but never visited the islands themselves.  This time I hope to visit Rippons Harbor, just north of the Thorofare, and also transit the Thorofare.  We'll see.

 South Marsh Island

I expect as some point I'll pass through South Marsh Island.  I've anchored there a couple of times on Little Pungers Creek.  The "x" on the sat photo above shows where Bruce and I anchored on Day Two of our spring sail.  I have only entered the creek from the Tangier Sound side.  Each time I've looked  to the north and thought I could sail across the island.  The yellow path above leads to Gunbarrel Cove.  That would be a nice name to have in the log book.  On our last visit I also noticed the narrow gut that goes east-west across the island.  It was narrow, but from the color of the water it looked to be deep and navigable.  It is marked in red on the map above.  I'll keep both passages in mind.

Smith Island

I've sailed across Smith Island a couple of times.  Bruce and I used the Big Thorofare, the red line at the top of the sat photo, in 2009 going from east to west.  And last fall I followed the path of the lower red line going west to east from Sheep Pen Gut to Rhodes Point, Tylerton and Tangier Sound.  There is a connecting waterway between the two passages that I have not visited.  That will be on my list too.

And of course there will be plenty of open water.  Chesapeake Bay, Tangier Sound, the Little Choptank and the Choptank Rivers.  It is fun to spend a few hours on wide open water and then thread my way through a narrow channel.  I can't wait.



Bill said...

Steve, what's the draft on the Pathfinder? I looked but didn't find it at Welsford's site. Also, how is the Pathfinder ballasted?

Just general curiosity...

Steve said...


Board up about 12 inches I think, board down about three feet. I'm pretty comfortable in 18 inches of water.
John left ballasting up to the builders. I use 60 lbs of lead plus a steel centerboard that weighs 100 lbs. Works well for me.