Tuesday, November 15, 2022

day nine - sailing another boat


I meet Kristen at the docks at 9:30, she is already bringing in some of the lines on her Cape Dory 32 MAGDALENA.  I've got foul weather gear in a duffel.  She tells me to get it on quickly, we're casting off and she doesn't want me to get wet and cold.  There's a light rain and a strong north wind.


We cast of to motor north on the Miles River.  Once around Deep Water Point we feel the full force of the weather, MAGDALENA pounding into the steep waves to the point Kristen steers at an angle to the swells.  Once in open water Kristen gives me a rundown on steering, then heads up forward to tuck in a reef and raise the main.  Once we get a feel for the wind Kristen puts out a bit of the headsail.  Great, great sailing.


At Tilghman Point we fall off the wind and round the point inside the channel marker, Kristen knows the area well and knows there is plenty of water inside the marker.  Then it is a nice downwind run on Chesapeake Bay along the shore then through Poplar Island Narrows.  Kristen disappears down below, returning with fresh made sandwiches, ham and cheese on a fresh baguette with fig tapenade - how nice!  And then she disappears again, returning with two mugs of hot tea.   I tell Kristen I never really understand why she is so nice to me.


Kristen sails right up to the pound nets on the entrance to Knapps Narrows, turns sharply to port inside the nets then turns south again towards Black Walnut Point - like I said, she really knows the water.  We round the point onto the Choptank River, a distant water tower showing our destination in Oxford.  


Wind forward of beam Kristen lets me take the wheel for the run to Oxford.  She knows my history in SPARTINA of cutting across the shallows, reminding me more than once to stay away from the dark blue on the chart plotter.  I do as told.


Coming into Oxford is interesting.  There is an issue with the water pump on the diesel, part of the reason for the trip to the yard in Oxford, and we basically have to sail in through the jetties at Bachelor Point.  We talk for a bit about the best way to handle that, both coming to the conclusion that we keep the reefed main and headsail up past the jetties, then Kristen turns downwind as I bring down the main while the headsail pulls us through the jetties.  I am a bit nervous but Kristen is confident.  Everything goes as planned, we slip in through the narrow channel then she starts the diesel for the last fifty yards or so into the slip.  Kristen makes it look easy.


 We walk the backroad in search of Doc's Sunset Grille.  We meet a couple and the woman looks at us, both wearing foul weather gear, carrying duffels, our faces burned by the wind.  "You two look like you are running away" she says.  Kristen tells her that we are.  We chat with them for a bit then they point us in the direction of the "pub" as Kristen calls it.


Our ride back to St. Michaels is running late so we have a beer.  Then another.  And then a great dinner - seared tuna and rice with wasabi peas - while watching the sun go down over the Choptank.  Just a great day on the water.

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