Wednesday, November 30, 2022

day seventeen - graced and grateful

A front is moving through, wind and rain.  I've got to meet someone soon on the Corsica River, not far away at all.  Ditcher's Cove is perfect to wait out the weather.  Calm night and a peaceful morning.  I'll stay under the tent all day, set up the solar panel to keep my phone charged.

Scrambled eggs, buffalo bar, cookies and hot chocolate for breakfast.  Life is good these days.

As I read FAREWELL MR. PUFFIN I notice there in an inscription inside the cover.  It gives me pause when I am told I "grace" their waters.  I think about how I built the boat to get away from people and instead met the best and truest friends of my life.  Not social by nature, I still struggle with that.  Yet I know that I am the one who is graced, and I am grateful for that.

I'm halfway through the trip and I have run out of "packaged" meal.  I break out the vacuum sealed breakfast bars, tuna, beef sticks and gallon bags to make up six meal kits for the next several days.

The front rolls through midday.  Not as much wind as forecast and heavy rains for just a short while.  I am content under the boom tent, reading the news and my book, checking in with the wife and daughters, and just relaxing.  

A can of tuna, some chocolate from Iceland and hot tea for lunch.  I read, take a nap and relax.  

Beef stroganoff for dinner.


Monday, November 28, 2022

day sixteen - cookies and tea

Sail off anchor 7:15 just as the sun breaches the horizon.  A calm and peaceful night in the lee of Dobbins Island.  Glassy calm and no wind in the morning.  It is a slow drift out of the wind shadow.  Peanut butter RxBar and beef strip for breakfast.  A crabber works a trotline to the east, a large cruising sailboat winches in her anchor nearby.  7:50 light wind out of the southwest.

Slipping through the entrance channel onto Chesapeake Bay more wind.  Making 3.2 as we leave Magothy River.  9:10 making 4.5 passing near the Baltimore Light.  No traffic in sight in the shipping lanes.  

A line of cormorants flying low to the water crosses our bow.  It is an easy, relaxed crossing of the Bay.  A handful of cruising sailboats are working their way south.

Round Love Point, the northern end of Kent Island at 10:10.  Calmer water but still plenty of wind on the Chester River.  Making 4.6 and feels like the wind is building.  Round Hail Point 11:45.  

Wind on the beam to Queenstown Creek, a favorite anchorage.  With calm water we make 5.0 in the channel to Queenstown.  Round up, bring down the main and jib, motor to the dock at Queenstown. 

 Tied up at 12:45.  It's a couple of blocks to a favorite pizzeria, then stop at a bank to get some cash.

Cast off 1:30 and motor up Queenstown Creek to a farm where I'm greeted by friends at the dock.  

It is a beautiful afternoon.  We sit on the porch of the farmhouse enjoying cookies and tea.  I am gifted with chocolates and the perfect sailing book, FAREWELL MR. PUFFIN, A Small Boat Voyage to Iceland.  How kind.  We take a walk on the farm over to the Chester River and from a perch on a small cliff I get a different perspective of a river that I have sailed for many years.

 Cast off 3:45, I motor farther up the creek and drop anchor in Ditchers Cove.  Stormy weather predicted for tomorrow, this will be a good anchorage.  

18.62 NM for the day

light snacks for dinner

Thursday, November 24, 2022

day fifteen - wind, finally

Raise anchor 7:20 after a calm and peaceful night.  Not even a hint of wind.  Under power through the swirling waters of the Fairly Creek entrance.  Think about crossing hte shipping channel but unsure of the Baltimore Channel so track south along the channel that I know.

Banana Chocolate Walnut RXbar, beef strip and a cup of mixed fruit for breakfast.  Two eagles take flight from red marker "20".  Look for wind but none in sight.

Raise sail at 9:00 in light air, making 1.2.  Then no wind at all.  Cross the shipping channel to the green side at Tolchester Beach under power.  10:15 west of Swan Point and headed southwest.  No shipping in the channels.  

See a tug and tow coming up the channel at 10:30.  SPARTINA is near the split in the channel.  I stay just outside the green markers, waiting to see which way the tug goes.  Clear by 10:45 the tug is headed northwest towards the C and D Canal.  

We cross the channel intersection.  Baltimore Light in sight at 11:50, raise the sails and make 15.  Just after noon the wind finally fills in.  Easy sailing with wind out of the southeast.  

Enter the Magothy River at 1:25 and sail up the river just to enjoy the breeze.  Sunny and getting hot. 

A red-hulled boat named GRATEFUL RED makes me smile.  I sail upriver to where there is no wind, then jibe back downriver at 2:50, tuck in behind Dobbins Island.  

Anchor down just off the beach at 3:10.  Set up the boom tent to get out of the sun.

23.39 NM

Stroganoff with noodles and beef for dinner.


Monday, November 21, 2022

day fourteen - they drank all the champagne

I wake to a chilly morning, a thin layer of fog hanging over the Sassafras River, a Hunter's moon hanging in sky.  I see Brian casting off his sailing dinghy for his annual row down the Sassafras and and sail back up.  He tells me he will stop for a moment at Ordinary Point to scatter some ashes of a favorite cousin.  He says wistfully "that will be our last adventure there."  I watch as he rows across the still water.

Cast off 7:25, cold and no wind, under power.  Not too long before I pass by Brian, we wave goodbye.  Ordinary Point at 9:00, full sail in a light west wind.  9:50 a light and shifting wind, making 1.5.  10:00 sailing at 2.2, put on a sweater against the cold.  11:00 no wind, under power.  Trees along the shoreline showing red leaves of fall.  

Noon rounding Howell Point, tacking into a south wind.  Better wind at 1:00, 4.0 tacking out to the edge of the shipping channel then back to show.  Pass the beautiful schooner NORTH WIND.

1:15 off Still Pond.  1:20 tack towards the channel, tug with a barge full of containers heads south in the channel.  2:00 off Worton Point.  A few more steady tacks into the wind and soon in the channel leading to Fairlee Creek.  

The creek has the narrowest of entrance channels and I wonder how bigger boats with deep drafts get through.  The tide is running and eddies swirl between the beach and the sand spit.  Sails still up I use the outboard for an assist against the tide.

In the creek at 3:30, the wind getting better and better so I keep sailing.  Handful of cruises anchored out in the creek and we tack our way back and forth between them.  A couple on a high tech catamaran, each with a tall fluted glass in hand, wave as I sail by.

I turn back down the creek to anchor in about four feet of water.  After being in the sun all day I set up the boom tent for some shade.  Cooking dinner I hear the sound of a small outboard, someone is asking if they can stop by SPARTINA.  I poke my head out the back and it is the couple from the catamaran.  They come alongside to look at the boat and ask about the trip.  They are waiting for some maintenance before heading south to the Bahamas.  As they are about to leave I ask them if that was champagne they were drinking in the tall glasses.  The man says "yes, but sorry, we drank it all."  He laughs and motors away.

 26.89 NM

Pasta Roma for dinner

Saturday, November 19, 2022

day thirteen - a dog's life

A day off the water in Fredericktown.  Up early to get a shower, clean up SPARTINA and get rid the trash.  Eggs over easy with bacon, hash browns and toast at the Sassafras Harbor Cafe.

A few chores.  Laundry, topping off the water bottles.  Catching up on the log.  On the docks I run into Brian, a friend from the Downrigging Festival in Chestertown many years ago.  

An NFL game on the radio in the afternoon while I recharge my batteries in the lounge.  Late afternoon I set up the boom tent and sleeping gear.  Dinner at the Fish Whistle, back to SPARTINA to slip into the sleeping bag for a chilly night.  


Thursday, November 17, 2022

day twelve - the cold front brings wind

Mild cold front rolls through overnight.  Wind and rain, much cooler in the early morning hours.  Very comfortable in my thermals and 30 degree sleeping bag.  Wake later than usual to bright sunshine and strong gusts.  Decide to wait out the wind.  Vanilla almond RxBar and a beef stick for breakfast.

Under power at 10:30, mizzen raised as we head into the strong west wind.  10:15 double reefed main and jib raised, making 4.3 tacking out to Chesapeake Bay.  11:05 tack under a broken overcast sky.  It is chilly, glad I on the drysuit over my thermals.  11:15 choppy water on a starboard tack. 

Shake out the second reef 11:35.  Tack at the edge of the shipping channel 11:45.  Making 4.0 in gusts with a track north to Howell Point.  12:15 past Worton Point and I smile as it has been almost two hours since I raised anchor and can still look east to see the entrance channel to Worton Creek.  Making 3.8 and skies beginning to clear.  

A couple of strong gusts out of the west at 1:25, then less wind.  Getting warmer now.  Out in the shipping channel is a cat ketch with tanbark sails and a junk rig.  Interesting.  Passing Still Pond to the east.   Clouds come over and cool once again.  Back and forth between 4.5 and 1.5 knots as gusts come and go.  

Wind swinging to southwest at 1:30, now coming over the port quarter.  Shake out the first reef at 1:40, full sail.  Round Howell Point at 2:15 and turn to the east.  Wind swings back to the west at 3:15 and pushes us up the Sassafras River.  Easy sailing.  

Inside red marker "2" at 3:45.  It has been a few years since I have sailed the Sassafras and surprised I no longer have to round Ordinary Point, it is almost a straight shot up the channel with wind and tide helping us along the way.  

Jibe inside of Ordinary Point at 4:00, now on calm water and with gusts on the stern doing 5.4 knots.  Call Sail Associates and ask for a slip for two nights.  They text a receipt and a dock map showing my slip.  Farther up the Sassafras and with no markers in sight the centerboard and rudder touch a shoal.  I raise the cb and reset the rudder.  

Making 5.1 with the marina in sight.  Round the bent and lose the wind, 2.3 on the final stretch.  Docked Sail Associates 5:10.

 22.57 NM for the day.  Dinner at the Fish Whistle.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

day eleven - north

Sail off anchor at 7:00.  Cool calm night with eagles crying in the trees at dawn.  A few mosquitoes early in the evening but they soon left.    Allow drift out of Hail Creek, 1.3. Coconut chocolate RxBar with a Tanka buffalo bar for breakfast.

Out on the Chester River 7:20, motor sailing at 7:50.  Off Wickes Beach 8:20, pretty day but light wind.

Some wind at 8:40, soon motor sailing again.  Sailing at 9:20, 2.0.  Off Swan Point at 11:00.  Light wind but sailing.

Noon, south wind and sailing against the tide at 1.3.  A tug and a barge in the shipping channel and I can hear her diesels grinding away.  Another barge near Tolchester Beach where the shipping channel runs up almost to the beach and I stay east of the channel, plenty of water for a small boat.  An eagle grabs a silvery fish out of the water and flies towards shore.  

Making 2.1 with a south wind on a lazy day.  The open bay to port, red cliffs of eastern shore to starboard. Geese fly overhead, they tell me the seasons are changing.

Entering Worton Creek at 3:50 and the best wind of the day fills in.  I can't waste it so tack back and forth on the creek on a pleasant afternoon.  Several cruisers headed south have anchored in the creek and I chat with them along the way.  

Anchor down Worton Creek 4:35.  The forecast for tomorrow confirms the seasons are changing.  North with and cooler temperatures.  I'll take it.

23.89 NM for the day.  Chicken and rice with veggies for dinner.