Monday, October 24, 2011

a bend in the river

Downrigging Weekend is just a few days away and I need to start packing for the trip.  I am looking forward to spending time on the Chestertown waterfront and exploring a very nice, historical town.

Bruce and I were up there last May, sailing up the beautiful Chester River on the ninth day of our Spring cruise.  The photo above is from sail up the river, heading from our last anchorage on Reed Creek to Rolph's Wharf.  The wind was perfect that day and it was a treat to sail up the reaches of the river, following the contours of the water as she curved port and starboard through the farmlands.

We explored the old colonial town briefly, a nice tour from our friends MaryLou and Fred.  The old brick buildings downtown recall Chestertown's history of being a major port in colonial days.  It still surprises me to think about how ships in the 1700's navigated their way up the narrow, winding and very pretty river.  Our sail from Reed Creek to Chestertown was about 17 nautical miles.  How tall ships would make it up river with less than cooperative winds and against a surprisingly strong running tide I don't know.  Maybe I can learn something about that when I up there.

I do know that the Kalmar Nyckel just made the run up the river, arriving yesterday.  The trip was most likely courtesy of her auxiliary engines.

The replica ship of a vessel from the 1600's, the state ship of Delaware will be tied up just a few yards from Spartina's slip.  Because of a chance meeting on the water years ago the Kalmar Nyckel will always have a special place in my heart.  On the day I first launched Spartina, her bow still coated with champagne, my brother Mike and I sailed down the Elizabeth River to find the Nyckel with all her sails and flags flying in a very nice breeze.  Below is a photograph from that morning.  I smile when I see the brand new bright, white sheets on Spartina (they are not so white anymore).  At the time I knew the ship was heading to a festival in Hampton, but I liked to imagine that the tall ship was there to welcome Spartina to the river.

I've started packing gear for the trip and I'm just now realizing that I will have to adjust my packing from that of a typical cruise.  There will be at least two nights sleeping aboard, with some sailing each day.  I won't need the cook kit, but I will need the sleeping gear.  Thermal gear and clothes to layer will be important as it could get chilly.  I'll take my fisherman boots, which fit perfectly with heavy wool socks.  I won't need charts, but I will need the boom tent in case of rain.  I guess my project for the day will be sorting through the equipment, figuring out what I need to bring, what I should leave behind.  I will also have the luxury of my jeep parked a few blocks away, I can bring extra gear and leave it stored in the jeep should I need it. 

The weather forecast for the weekend seems to be improving.  A few days ago the forecast was for cold, rainy, windy weather.  Now I see the chance of rain is decreasing (depending on which forecast I look at), the temperatures are warming and the winds should be moderate to light.  Let's hope the trend continues.



Bill said...

I'm greatly looking forward to it! I just booked a sail for Saturday afternoon on one of the skipjacks.

I plan on getting down to the docks first thing Saturday morning.

MaryLou said...

Looking forward to seeing you. You know where there's a guest room if the weather turns ugly or just too darn cold!

Don't know what the water temp is upriver but out on the Bay proper its dropped to 59 degrees just north of here. Let us know when you know what your schedule will be.