Monday, October 31, 2011

it was a dark and dreary night

It was really three dark and dreary nights in Chestertown.  I anchored out two of the nights, stayed tied to the dock for the third night.  Squalls, rain, sleet, close to freezing temperatures and high winds.

Early in the evening and again early in the morning I would light a small candle in a small brass chimney.  It certainly did not warm up the boom tent, but the glow of the tiny flame seemed to make the evenings and mornings more comfortable.

The first night anchored out was cool and grey, with a fast moving squall that came through just after I anchored near the mouth of Radcliffe Creek just a few hundred yards down the shore from Chestertown.  That was the nicest of the evenings.

The second evening, after the fireworks, the rain began to fall.  Rain, and eventually a wet snow and then sleet, continued to fall for about the next thirty hours.  High winds filled in later that evening.  In the early morning hours severe gusts caused our anchors - a navy style anchor and a mushroom anchor - to break free from the muddy bottom.  Spartina was pushed across the mouth of the creek.

I woke up to find us 50 yards from the riprap-lined shore, a quick look at landmarks showed we were moving steadily closer to the rocks.  I put out a second anchor, jammed the sleeping gear and boom tent under the foredeck and motored away under full throttle, all in a pouring, cold rain.  It was not a fun morning.

I motored up the river in the lee of the marina docks.  At one point I turned our onto the main river and was quickly turned back by waves and wind, I could not keep the bow pointed into the wind.  I did get to a dock on the west end of marina and was able to tie up and regroup there.

The last night I spent tied to the dock listening to the sleet bounce off the boom tent.  I found myself warm and comfortable inside my sleeping bag inside the bivy under the boom tent.  I had a good night's sleep, waking up now and then to adjust the dock lines to deal with an unusually high tide.  There was ice on the tent in the morning.

I give a lot of credit to my new icebreaker thermals and the exped air pillow for keeping me comfortable at night.  My thanks to Kiwibird for the advice on both.

The last morning I was glad look out the back of the tent to see blue skies.  It was about time.



S R Wood said...

Steve, if there were ever conditions Icebreaker thermals were made for, it was Chestertown this weekend: relentless wind, rain, and worse. Great to see you and thanks for the sail and good company.

EyeInHand said...

Great photos, and better you than me, my friend.

Baydog said...

Wow, I feel guilty for the great weather we had in SC. But thanks for representing our blog community and keeping JW company.

Bill said...

Steve -

Great to finally meet you and really great to get a sail aboard Spartina. And even more great was getting to be the tillerman for an hour or so and glide alongside the big ships as they got underway. Really made my day - and saved the weekend!

Spartina really is a great little boat that you rightly should be proud of and enjoy.

I think my wife got tired of listening to me talk about it on the drive back home Sunday afternoon.

Bill said...

By the way, you can see us in a few of the pics that the Sultana Projects posted to its Facebook page.

Here we are just behind the stern of the Kalmar Nyckel:

Here we are again, tacking right behind the Kalmar Nyckel:

Here we're way over on the right side of the pic:

And here we are coming in at the end of our little sail, after the big ships had left, with Steve stowing the sails:

Thanks again, Steve!

Shawn Stanley said...

Steve, You're crazy! Glad you stayed warm and enjoyed the weekend up there in Chestertown.


steve said...

and I thought I got up to some escapades in arwen........oh my! I'll never complain about the sea conditions this side of the pond again....well done Steve...great set of posts

arwens meanderings