Wednesday, November 28, 2018


Jim B from the Outer Banks sent this "meme" to me.  I had heard of memes but did not know exactly what they were - I don't do facebook.  But this is a meme and the photo bottom center is from sailing on the Wye River with Kevin in the famous SLIP JIG not far behind.

For the record this is both what I think I should do and what I really do.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

day 11 - pecan pie

Calm night, heavy dew in the morning.  Anchor up and idling down Queenstown Creek 7:00.

A light breeze and all sails up just inside the mouth of the creek, baitfish snapping at the glassy surface of the water, the sun peeking through the trees.

Just over a knot making our way out on to the Chester River.  The sun catches a deadrise working in the distance.  Another deadrise comes out of the creek, no name on her stern, diesel rumbling and blowing black smoke straight up in the air.

Out away from shore more wind as we sail by the fish weirs.  Two knots, then 4 knots, by 8:30 making 5 as we approach the winding, tide rushed Kent Narrows.  I call for the 9 a.m. lift, the tide rushing south to north and SPARTINA the only boat passing through.

No rush today and a pleasant morning.  We duck into a cove with condos to the north and a wildlife refuge to the south.  Deadrises work trotlines.  Anchor down and time for a nap.

At 10:30 sails up and out past the wildlife refuge quickly tuck in a reef with the south wind building.

Still plenty of time to reach Tilghman Creek, my planned destination, so I take the long route and sail west over the top of Parsons Island then tack back east.  I find myself in lumpy, confused water.  The south wind travels up to Tilghman Point, each side of the point creating waves that cross each other north of the point and south of Parsons Island, exactly where I am.  The wind is good and strong and SPARTINA powers through the chop but I soon find I've got a headache from the jumbled motion.

We tack southeast to the far shore, then come about towards Tilghman Point, the water on the the Miles River now calmer and less confused.  

At 3:00 I near Tilghman Point and tack back out on the river for an approach in to Tilghman Creek.  Looking south I see a set of sails rounding Deepwater Point.  Tom, aboard his Pathfinder FIRST LIGHT.  

Video by Tom

I had cast off about 12 days earlier, he had trailered 1,200 miles up from the Florida Keys.  What are the chances we would be sharing tacks into Tilghman Creek.  Tom lets me take the lead into the creek and of course I make a cut to close to the point on the south side of the creek.  The centerboard touches bottom, I round up, tack out and then turn back into the creek.  After dropping anchor Tom comes along side, we shake hands and smile.

Tom came bearing gifts - cold beer with slices of lime and a wonderful stew.  We sit and talk about our trips, the coming weekend in St. Michaels and the fact that two Pathfinders are rafted side by side.  A great evening on Tilghman Creek.

Then Tom brings out dessert, a couple slides of Pecan pie he had picked up on the road up the Eastern Shore.  Life is good.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

not a monastery, maybe just a chapel

Webb sometimes writes about being in the monastery of the sea.  That is a place I will never be.  But sometimes I find a place on the river, maybe just a chapel, and I find peace there.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

day ten - Lovely Cove, and beyond

Calm, peaceful night.  I wake to a heavy dew on the boom tent.  We drift off anchor in the shade of the trees on shore, the sails catching the light and the wind simultaneously.  I want to explore.  Looking at the chart I find up at the north end of the eastern branch of Langford Creek a place called Lovely Cove.  I decide to see just how lovely it is.

Making a half knot up the creek, then nearly 2 kts at Orchard Point, farms and fishermen along the way.

Not the fastest sailing, but maybe the best kind on a cool fall morning.

Rounding Orchard Point I am rewarded with the sight of the classic 1925 buy boat "East Hampton," her white hull bright in the morning sun.  We sail by slowly and I enjoy every minute of it.

Beyond "East Hampton" is Lovely Cove, and it is lovely with a great blue heron perched on a duck blind at the entrance.  I can see a few boats tied to docks, then off to the side another, older dock that leads back into a tunnel through the thick trees.  A creek well-named.

Wind on the stern carried us up the creek, now it is tacking into the breeze as we turn back south.  Making 3 kts and then 4.5 close hauled.  The shores are lined by farmhouses, silos and windmills.

Just after 10:00 we cut behind Cacaway Island and I am pleased the centerboard does not touch the bottom in the narrow cut.  The mouth of Langford Creek opens to the Chester River to the south and we can feel a building wind.  Out on the Chester at 11:00, 4+ kts close hauled.  

We begin a series of tacks across the Chester River, the wind strong and, because of the shape of the river, the water pleasantly calm.  SPARTINA heels on each tack, putting her rail in the water and holding steady.  Wonderful, wonderful sailing down the Chester.  On the fifth tack near Piney Cove the wind falls and and then quickly comes back.  Another tack to Eastern Neck and then a last tack that carries us straight towards Queenstown Creek.  

Making 6 kts approaching the creek entrance, a sand spit to port and a tree-lined bluff to starboard.  In the creek just before 2:00, under power with the afternoon wind blocked by a ridge to the south.  Tie up at the public dock and make the short walk to Queenstown Pizzeria.  I order a small Philly cheesesteak, which I know cut in two will nearly cover a plate leaving only a small place for french fries, and I wonder just how large a large sandwich would be.  After the late lunch I grab an extra iced tea to go.

Queenstown Creek is quiet in the afternoon, the deadrise "Double Trouble" working a trotline and a single sailboat anchored near the mouth of Salthouse Cove. Further on up the creek I drop anchor surrounded by trees, clean up SPARTINA and relax.  

Saturday, November 17, 2018


More wind and less sunshine than expected at the ramp this morning.  Arrived with a temperature of 39 degrees, cast off at 46 degrees.  Skies cleared by the time I raised sail on Craford Bay.  Gusty in the morning, I eventually tied in a reef.  Calmer winds after noon and reef shaken out.  Steady trickle of snow birds still heading south.

I can get used to this sailing with heat and humidity.


Thursday, November 15, 2018

day nine - a scone for breakfast, lamb risotto for dinner

Anchor up at 7:15.  The two cruising sailboats are gone.  Sun breaking through the light overcast.  I motor over to the park wharf and tie up, walking about three blocks of the brick-covered sidewalks to the Ever Grain Bread Company, an apricot ginger scone and glass of unsweetened iced tea for a pleasant breakfast.  I read the newspaper and check in with the family.

Cast off at 8:15, under power, four small skiffs setting out lines of crab pots on the river.  Windless and working against an incoming tide.

Sails up 9:30 with a light breeze, cool and grey and birds making a racket in the marsh.  Just over a knot off the mouth of Broad Creek, Northwest Point at 10:00 and making a little better speed.  But on a beautiful morning what is the rush?  I hear the high-pitched whistle of an osprey long before I see it, finally tracking it down to a nest hidden deep in the branches of a tree on the point.  Jibe at the point, still under  2 kts. 

Under power at 11:00, Comegy's Bight at noon.  A light breeze arrives, sails up and trolling for striper.  Bring in a small one and release it.  Nichols Point at 1:30, light breeze that comes and goes.  By 3:00 rounding the point into Langford Creek, two sailboats anchored in the lee of narrow, wooded Cacaway Island.

As I look about for an anchorage the breeze fills in.  Why anchor when we can have a nice afternoon sail?  I tack back and forth on the calm water, listening to sports radio and just enjoying the afternoon.  I troll a bit but not too seriously, bringing in the line and sailing some more.

Anchor down 4:55.  Wild mushrooms and lamb risotto for dinner.  A calm evening as the shade creeps out from the trees on shore.  Life is good.

Monday, November 12, 2018

six degrees of sailing

It was 44 degrees when I pulled into the ramp at Elizabeth City yesterday morning, and blowing a bit more than forecast.  I thought about tucking in a reef but decided to see how it felt with all sails up.

How did it feel?  Spectacular!  From the town's waterfront to Forbes Bay and Cobbs Point, I spent the entire day riding the breeze.  Always appreciative of my Ice Breaker thermals, they kept me warm and comfortable.

I was even treated to a small regatta from the local yacht club.  Plus a few snowbirds came through by the way of the Dismal Swamp Canal.

Days don't get much better than this.  Late afternoon as I began the drive home I noticed the temperature had soared to 50 degrees.  How nice!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

day eight - hard hat required

Cool, peaceful night.  Sail off anchor 7:25, sitting motionless is SPARTINA and making less than I kt in a ghost of a breeze.  Motor sailing by 8:00, lose a small striper on the trolling line.   Wind arrives just after 9:00.

Tacking across the mouth of the Corsica catch and release a small striper.  Blue skies and close-hauled up the Chester River at 10:30 just off the marsh at Spaniard Point.  Making 5 kts near Deep Point, just wonderful sailing, an old white house tucked back in the trees, a dog barking at the point.

I set the solar panel on the foredeck to charge batteries and phone.

It's a peaceful, winding river with little traffic.  Farms port and starboard.  A group of kayaks paddle along the western shore.  Sailing up near the eastern shore I listen to the birds in the marsh.  At noon playing the shifting breeze and working against the ebb tide, making 1.5 to 2.5.  Motorsailing at Shell Point.  The wind comes and goes, I sail when I can and motor when I can't.  

Sails down at Northwest Point, motoring past Newmans Wharf.  There's a crowd on the beach at Ralph's Wharf and I think about tying up for a burger at the beach grill made around the old deadrise there, but it is too early.  Across the river small skiffs run up and down lines of crab pots hoping to bring home enough crabs for dinner.  I continue on to Chestertown to find the waterfront to be a construction zone.  A couple tugboats and barges with cranes, and warning signs to stay off the not-yet-finished docks.  I tie up to the pilings at a nearby park and walk to the Fish Whistle for a late lunch/early dinner, then take a walk through the old brick downtown.  

We push off from the pilings and anchor out in the river near two large cruising boats.  I can smell the steaks grilling on the nearest.   A couple kayaks by to say hello, asking if I needed anything.  I tell them thanks, but no, I'm fine.  Boom tent up, I slip into the bivy listening to the dj's music for a wedding reception on the waterfront.