Saturday, October 26, 2019

day five - a double gps day

Sail off anchor 7:00 after a peaceful calm night.  In the wind shadow of the trees I slowly drift away from shore.  Looking out on the river I can see wind on the Elk River.  One sailboat tacking out on the water, the anchor light still glowing and the two people aboard bundled up and looking as they had been sailing all night.  

Mixed berry Rx bar, buffalo bar and an apple for breakfast.  Water rushing around green Marker "21" shows I will be sailing against a full running flood tide.  Lots of tacking in our future.  

Tacking downriver at 8:20, we make a long run into Piney Cove, hoping for and finding less tidal current in the cove.  Back and forth on the river, sometimes gaining ground, sometime not.  We find a particularly strong current at Hylands Point, the narrowest part of the river.  Several short tacks as I cling to the eastern side of the river hoping for less current, then a long deep tack into the Bohemia River at 10:15 where cruising sailors anchored on their journey south wave and give thumbs up to the little wooden yawl.

Out of the Bohemia at 10:45, tacking with a scratchy voice on sports radio talks about a come-from-behind win.  Off Cabin John Creek at 12:30 making 4.7.  We sail in a hot wind as the temperature climbs to a record-setting 90+ degrees.

Tacking off Turkey Point at 1:45 I notice strange readings on the GPS.  8.9 knts?  A question mark instead of a cursor?  Gaps in the red track?  I text sailing friends Barry and Curt asking if they know of anything going on with the GPS system.  I speculate to them that maybe that attack has begun.  Barry responds with a statement from the GPS folks that says the system will be down for one minute.  

And I am told, yes, that the attack on the country has already begun.  But that is an entirely different conversation....

The one-minute has come and gone, yet I still can't hold a lock on the satellites.  The connection seems to come and go.  I open the aft deck plate next to the transom and pull out there backup GPS, insert batteries and boot it up.  It takes a while to find the satellites, once found it seems to lock on.  I leave them both in operation, the older one to keep the track and the newer one with the more detailed charts.

We round the red clay cliffs at Grove Point, entering the Sassafras River at 3:30.  A pleasant conversation with a Laser sailor and he runs alongside SPARTINA to ask about the boat.  Anchor down near the mouth of Turners Creek at 5:00.  Soon I realize that waves are rolling off the main river and it could be an uncomfortable night.  I raise anchor and motor north to Money Creek.

Spaghetti and a can of peaches for dinner.  While having dinner I realize that for the third time in five days I had changed my anchorage.  A gaggle of geese nearby make more noise than is appreciated.  They eventually quiet down.

Running total 144.4 NM

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