Monday, November 7, 2016

day five - hippie pancakes and wind on the beam

Awake just after 7:00 and I get the feeling Michael and Sheila have been awake in the aft cabin for a while, giving me some extra time to sleep.  Heavy rains over night, the wind still gusting strongly out of the east.  Spartina is rafted along the port side of Kantala and I step down to the aft deck and slip under the boom tent.  I am pleased to find a very dry cockpit, the boom tent working very well and a bit of line wrapped around the mast above the boom tent wicking away the rivulets of water that normally run down the mast through the mast hole and under the foredeck.  I am also pleased to have spent a very comfortable night sleeping aboard the 44' ferro cement ketch.

Breakfast, Sheila tells me, will be hippie pancakes, pancakes with anything else she can find - fruit, nuts or whatever - thrown into the batter.  She serves up a platter and Michael and I dig in, topping them with maple syrup they had picked up in Canada and honey they had bought at a farmer's market while anchored in Portsmouth's Craford Bay.  An excellent breakfast and we linger for a while talking about our trips and our boats and how nice it is to ride out the rough weather in comfort.  

I am in no rush to leave Kantala, the wind still whipping out of the east.  St. Michaels is due south, about five miles away.  By 10:30 the boom tent is down and I've rigged Spartina for sailing.  The noise of the wind is so loud that I hesitate to cast off, but finally do so raising just the mizzen and jib. Falling aft of Kantala I wave goodbye to my friends, noticing that all the noise of the wind was really Kantala's wind generator spinning and the lines of the ketch rig humming in the gusts.  Blowing 20 or 25 mph, the wind wasn't so bad after all.  Out on the Wye River the wind tugs at the jib and we make four and then five knots. 

Just to the south the Wye opens to Shaw Bay and with no tree line to protect us we make six knots at times.  At Wyetown Point we are out of the Wye and now on the Miles River.  I look back and through the mist I see Kantala's white hull against dark trees.  Mostly five knots, sometimes less and sometimes more, we make a steady pace towards St. Michaels.  Looking back once more Kantala is no longer in sight, looking forward I can see the lighthouse at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum just beyond Deepwater Point.  I am the only boat out on the river.     

At marker "4M" we fall off and head toward St. Michaels.   Outside of Fogg Cove I round up to bring down the jib, starting up the outboard before going forward.  The steep chop across the river has become waves and Spartina's bow bounces up and down.  I free the jib halyard and jerk the sail down.  The wind jerks the sail right back up.  I try and again and again, still the wind pulls the jib right back up.  I grab the short piece of bright red line wrapped around the mast for this very purpose, clipping it to my harness, and kneel out on the foredeck.  With one hand grasping the mast I use the other to pull down the jib and then quickly tie the sail to the bow sprit.  Mizzen down easily, we motor to the dock where three sailors help me get tied up in the very rough harbor.

I clean up Spartina, charge some batteries and then start running into friends.  Kristen comes off a boat where she had been helping pull a sailboat out to the marsh (the east wind is tough on a waterfront exposed to the east)  and gives me a hug.  Barry shows up with his daughter and an invite later that evening for dinner.  I check on Spartina which is pitching fore and after in the wind and the waves, planning on sleeping on a porch instead of the rocking boat.  Then Barry shows up again saying "I've got a paid-for hotel that's going to be empty tonight" and I wonder how I've gotten to be so lucky.  At first I say no thanks, but when I see that Spartina is riding safely at the dock I take him up on the offer.

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