Wednesday, October 14, 2015

day three - a stationary low and the cold front

A clear night, cool and comfortable but with a wind out of the E instead of the forecast SE and stronger than expected.  A mild chop rocked Spartina till I fell asleep.

The wind, forecast to swing to the N in the early morning hours is pleasantly out of the SW as we sail off anchor, the sun edging over the horizon.  Weather radio talks of a low pressure system off of the Carolinas and a cool front moving in from the NW.  There will be wind.   We sail out around the oyster farm and find a stronger breeze off Port Isobel, soon making 3.5 knots to the N.  By 7:30 making 4.8 on a pretty morning, the water tower at Crisfield showing on the horizon. With this weather I begin thinking about sailing the length of Tangier Sound and making the lower Honga River by late afternoon.

By 8 a.m. Tylerton on Smith Island is visible to the NW, a small wave breaks over the bow.  The wind begins swinging and Spartina's hull pushes through more waves.  We round up and tuck in a reef and I slip on the foul weather bibs.  

The wind slacks and I shake out the reef just after 9:00 and we find ourselves working against both a light north wind and the outgoing tide.  Clouds move in overhead.  The wind comes back and the waves build.  Off the mouth of the Little Annemessex River we make a port tack out into the sound.  Big waves roll in from the NW, two and three and a time, and the wind is gusting out of the NNE.  We tack back and forth, rounding up to the big waves and rounding up into the gusts.  

We are in near the shallows at the southern end of Janes Island, the water is choppy and I begin thinking about possible destinations.  The Manokin River, the Big Annemessex maybe.  Tacking out from shore the gusts and waves build, and I realize I should seek shelter.  I drop the main, wrap it tightly and then fall off under mizzen and jib towards the Little Annemessex.  Still outside of the river I see we are in a field of crab pot buoys, something I had completely missed sailing into the wind and chop.

Just inside the river we round up and drop anchor near Long Point next to Old House Cove.  I look at my options and consider Old House Cove, but it is shallow and there are submerged pilings near the entrance and some sort of sunken structure inside cove.  I have anchored there in the past but only on calm days when the hazards were visible.  I choose to head SE across the river under mizzen and jib, dropping anchor near a little creek just inside the mouth of Jenkins Creek.  

It's just after 12:00 on an NFL Sunday.  A nice afternoon to relax, have a good lunch, nap, listen to some football and think about the sailing plan.  I put 19.8 nm in the notebook.  The forecast for tomorrow does not sound promising.

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