"When I think of all the fools I've been it's a wonder that I've sailed this many miles." -Guy Clark

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

day one - sparkling water

With Spartina in tow I leave home and cross the bay bridge tunnel in darkness, first hint of morning light comes heading up the Eastern Shore near the Maryland state line.  Stopping for a breakfast sandwich a man sees the boat outside and tells me it is too cold for sailing.  It is chilly.  Pull up at the ramp in Cambridge earlier than expected.  Rig the boat, load supplies and back down to the water on a beautiful morning.

Away from the ramp just after 10 a.m., all sails up a few minutes later on the choppy Choptank River with a NE breeze, a comfortable 4.2 knots headed downriver as I look around Spartina to make sure I've rigged and stowed everything right.  Terns dive on baitfish, two sailboats come out of Cambridge and looking west down the Choptank I see two more sails on the horizon.  

We round Hambrooks Bar light just before 11:00, water sweeping past the buoys shows we are sailing against an incoming tide.  Soon the entrance markers to La Trappe Creek are in sight to the north, moving west at 3 its.  NE winds swings to NW and falters.  Motor sailing now with birds diving on a large school of baitfish.

Wind fills in at 1:00, downriver at 4 kts.   I experiment with the mizzen trying to improve are performance close to the wind.  On starboard tacks it is almost chilly in the shade of the main.  

Off the Tred Avon River mid-afternoon, we turn towards Island Creek wing and wing, but I change my mind on the night's anchorage and head up the Tred Avon.  Wind comes and goes, then fills in just off of Town Creek and Oxford.  We sail pass a few mansions and round the point, entering Flatty Cove and tracking the shoreline until I drop anchor out of sight of the mansions, just a corn field to the west and a few modest homes hidden in the trees to the east.


Amos said...

Glad to see you are out cruising, enjoying the pictures.

S R Wood said...

Steve, what do you find limits your sailing season more, air temperature or water temperature? It's the cold water that scares me more, but you've done so much of this "shoulder season" sailing I'd be curious for your thoughts. These photos do look like the weather was crisp and cool....


Steve said...

I take both air and water temperatures into consideration. Last winter, warmer air temperatures than usual though the water was still very cold, I sailed every month of the season but only when air temperatures were up (55 or 60 degrees) and the wind moderate. For cruising, which generally means sailing in less than ideal conditions (i.e. reefed, double reefed, lots of spray) at least a couple of times during a 10+ day trip , I use a spring window of early May to early June when the water is warmer and the air temperatures are not too hot (also less thunderstorms that time of year) and a fall window of early September to mid/late October when air temperatures are comfortable but the water is not too cold.