Saturday, October 2, 2010

Day Eight - heading home

The rumbling diesel engines of deadrise boats woke me before dawn as watermen came through the creeks and guts of Black Cove on their way north to the fishing grounds. I was up quickly, packed and ready to go. I was looking forward to getting home.

The last sail was an easy one, eight nautical miles to the NE. Easy enough with the wind out of the SSE. I always like that last day to be a short one, hopefully back to the ramp by 10:00 and on the road home by noon.
The wind started out strong, fell off to a light breeze and then eventually picked up again. Not much to tell when the sail is just one tack across Tangier Sound.

Since it was a short sail I thought I would take some time to mention a few thoughts about different aspects of the cruise.
  • Food - I was very happy with all the food I brought along. I had a couple of different kinds of breakfast bars and never got tired of them. On the next trip I'll bring some honey to put on the bars for a little extra energy. Potatoes and sweet potatoes, cooked on the griddle, worked out great. About 10 minutes to cook, just about the same time as it would take to make a boiling bag of rice. The potatoes and garlic stayed fresh the entire trip. Sweet bell peppers stayed fresh about four days, no need to bring more than three or four to start a trip. They'll go bad after the first few days. Fresh fish was great, wish I always had that kind of luck. The single serving slices of Spam (despite is reputation) were great, cooked on the griddle. So was the Smithfield Ham slices, the kind that don't need refrigeration. A little salty, but what do you expect from smoked ham. And I was very happy with the packs of condiments - ketchup, "fire" hot sauce and little packets of parmesan cheese from the pizza place all worked out well. The parmesan cheese, sprinkled on top of just about every dinner, added a nice texture and tangy, salty flavor.
  • GPS - I loved the new GPS. Easy to use, great options for changing data on the various pages. The one thing I miss from my old Etrex was the ability to save track "since midnight." That was a quick, easy way to define a track. But that's the only thing I missed. This winter I'll add the garmin bluecharts. Can't wait for that.
  • The Pathfinder Yawl - Once again John Welsford's design proved itself in a variety of conditions. Sailing by myself, I had a ridiculous amount of space for storage. I don't think I used a third of the available space. Out of eight day's sailing I had four days with small craft advisories. The Pathfinder handled them with ease. I sailed with full sails up, main reefed and double reefed, and under just mizzen in jib. Pick a weather condition, there's a sail combination that will handle it.
  • Sailing Area - I'll be back to Rumbley. There is a lot of good sailing nearby. The Manokin River, Nanticoke River, Fishing Bay and of course the Honga River. Farther north there is a lot of exploring left to be done on the Little Choptank and Choptank Rivers. And don't forget the islands of Tangier Sound. I visited just two. There are at least of half dozen more worth visiting.
  • Single-handed Sailing - The most common question I hear is "Did you get lonely?" To my surprise, my answer is no, not at all. Why? I can't say. I expected, at some point, to get a little bored and lonely. I've certainly even found myself bored and lonely on just a four hour daysail. But that wasn't a problem this time. And I don't know why. Maybe it's like the weather. What are the odds of getting eight days of sunshine in a row? What are the odds of spending eight days on a boat and not getting a little lonely? Things just kind of lined up right. My sailing area was in the DC and Baltimore radio markets, I did listen to sports radio quite a bit. And then I would turn it off for a few hours and just think/daydream/sail. I had a great book to read that talked about a lot of things that interest me. That always gave me something to think about. There isn't a lot of free time when solo sailing. I was up at dawn and sailing within 30 minutes. Sail for maybe nine hours, drop anchor. As soon as I was anchored I broke out the cooking gear, cooked dinner, ate, washed the dishes, and put away the cooking gear. Then I set up the bivy, sleeping bag and other gear for the night. Then open up the light kit, break out the log book and write my entry for the day. Then get out my book, read for about 30 minutes. Then it was time to crawl in the bivy to go to sleep. Believe me, after 12 hours in the sun, nine hours sailing, I was ready to sleep. So when was I going to get bored? (That loneliness thing I've still got to think about.)

I was back at the dock before 10:00. Unpacked the gear, broke down the rigging and on the road by 11:30. It was a great trip.

Thanks to my wife, daughters and dog for cutting me a little slack and letting me sneak away for a sailing adventure. Thank you to all the folks who have given me ideas and advice through the blog or email. I appreciate it all. And thanks to everyone who has taken time to read this blog, I hope you enjoyed it.


distance sailed 8 nautical miles

total miles for the trip 191 nautical miles/219 statute miles

moving average 3.3 knots


steve said...

as always steve, its a privilege to read your have agreat gift for clear simple and evocative writing - just keep it coming....I stand in awe of your sailing, photography and writing
welcome back!
welsh guy in plymouth

Steve said...

Thanks Steve. It was a great trip. How much more of a sailing season do you have this year? I've got five or six weeks I figure.