"When I think of all the fools I've been it's a wonder that I've sailed this many miles." -Guy Clark

Thursday, December 28, 2023

new, new, new

A new jib.  As a tribute to the late-great sailmaker Stuart Hopkins, the loft put their badge on the sail and then added Stuart's Dabbler Sails patch.

A new JW pennant.  The JW stands for both Pathfinder-designer John Welsford and also my folks, Janice and Walter.  I got seven years out of the first pennant, more than eight out of the second (but it was pretty well tattered and torn by the end).  The first two pennants were completely hand-sewn.  As far as I can tell that woman is no longer in business ( Dabbler Sails gone, now that pennant lady - I'm outlasting my suppliers).  This sail is on quality material but printed instead of sewn.  I think it will work.

And, because of the new paint, I had to get new registration numbers.  I never liked putting the VA numbers on as it was so difficult to align each letter/number.  Found this company that has a nice self-aligning system which should make it much easier to put on.

Sanding the cockpit today, hope to paint it tomorrow.  Then bottom paint next week.  All, of course, done to a workboat finish.

Saturday, December 23, 2023

a thirty-foot paint job

Here are some before and after photographs of SPARTINA's new thirty-foot paint job (i.e. stand thirty feet away and she looks pretty good).  The winter sunset came quicker than I expected so there is still some trim work left to do.  New paint right now on the hull and the deck.  Hopefully in the next week or ten days I'll get the brightwork and cockpit done.  And then the bottom paint.

My friend Stephanie at the sail loft tells me the new jib is finished.  The last jib that the late-great Stuart Hopkins made for me had 5.0 oz cloth and that lasted three years.  The new jib is made out of 6.4 material and should hold up a bit longer.

Still lots of work to do to be ready for the winter cruise down south.


Saturday, December 16, 2023

day twenty-nine - coming into Chestertown

Crystal clear morning.  Cold.  Strong northwest wind.  Sail off anchor at 8:00, passing by John Swain's beautiful schooner sharpie E.E. MOORE anchored out on the river.  

Double-reefed main and drysuit.  Quickly round up to shake out the second reef.  8:10 out of Davis Creek.

Making 4.6 on Langford Creek, round up and bring down the main.   Mizzen and jib, making 4.4 on the Chester River's choppy water.  9:20 pass Deep Point.  The river narrows and is much calmer.  Still plenty of wind and it is on the beam.  10:50 rounding Melton Point, then a handful of tacks at 4.3 to Northwest Point.  

Less wind, sunny and warm, raise full sail at 11:45.  Slip out of the drysuit.

12:40 passing Rolph's Wharf.  12:55 begin several tacks on Devil's Reach, doing 3.9 close-hauled.  

Round Primrose Point and just a few more tacks to reach Chestertown.  

Sultana is the only tall ship on the waterfront, most of the docks are empty.  Round up and the sail comes down.  Docked 2:40.

At the slip I see that my patched jib is tearing again.  Friend Stephanie, who handled the sail repair, told me it would get me through two cruises.  And it did exactly that - Maine and Chesapeake Bay -  can't ask for more.  Put on some sail tape on the jib to get me through the Downrigging Festival.  

Clean up SPARTINA, tuck some gear away and put up the boom tent.  An early dinner at The Pub at The Imperial, the only place open on a Monday evening in Chestertown, and a cold beer to toast a fine cruise on Chesapeake Bay.

18.18 NM


Thursday, December 14, 2023

day twenty-eight - fall colors

Morning comes with calm water and a brief rain shower.

A light NW wind as we leave the anchorage, making 2.0 away from the tree line.  The forecasted gusts arrive, tuck in the first reef.   

It's a day for exploring, hiding on the narrow waters as the jagged wind builds.  Wearing foul weather bibs and jacket sailing north on the west fork of Langford Creek.  Swirling winds and fall colors in the trees.

Leave Millstone Point to port and continue to the east where the fork splits.  Head north until the creek shallows, turn back south.  Colder than expected to round up at 9:30 and put out the anchor near Sinai Cove, slip on the drysuit.  Tuck in the second reef.

Back down to Millstone Point, round the point as tack northwest where the creek is filled with leaves from the trees on shore.

Sail past shipyard landing, get caught in a lull followed by a strong gust and SPARTINA is pushed toward the marsh.  Push off with the oar and motor back into the creek.  

Follow the creek to the north to where Navionics shows a depth of two feet.  Come about and turn back down south, rounding up and dropping the main.  Plenty of wind for sailing with mizzen and jib.

Making 5.0 past last night's anchorage and then Island Point.  Cling to the western shore and turn into Davis Creek.

Anchor down in a little notch on the north side of the creek 12:30.  Skies clearing and the sun feels good.  I realize it is a Sunday so turn on the radio for afternoon football.  Filling out the logbook I realize I've be on the water for four weeks.  How nice.

9.25 NM


day twenty-seven - gale warning

Morning comes with the last of the rain and a gale warning for most of the day.  

I wonder if I should have tucked a little farther into the creek.  The trees along shore block the wind, SPARTINA rides peacefully at anchor, so decide I am just fine where we are anchored.

Hot chocolate and hot tea, a hot breakfast and a hot lunch. Life is good. I nap, catch up on the log book and enjoy a book that I was gifted on the far.  I can hear the wind howling.


Wednesday, December 13, 2023

day twenty-six - changing weather

The day begins with breakfast at The Creamery with longtime friend and co-worker Vicki.  It is good to see her.  We catch up over breakfast bowls, then she gives me a ride back down to the docks where we say goodbye.

Cast off from the wharf 10:30, southwest wind, warm, humid and an outgoing tide.  Interesting clouds telll of the changing weather.  Making 3.4 as gusts come and go.  The river curves and wind on the beam.  11:55 off Town Point, round up to tuck in both reefs on the main.  

Put on foul weather bibs, it looks choppy out on the Chester River.  12:30 off Russia House, shake out the second reef, put out the trolling line.  Can see birds feeding near Nichols Point.   

Tack back and forth across the Chester, wind building.  Conditions not good for trolling, sailing too fast.  1:20 bring down the main, sailing under mizzen and jib turn towards Langford Creek.  The drag goes off entering the creek, reel in a small striper and throw it back.  Overcast moving in.  

2:20 round Island Point, turn north to sail up the western fork of of Langford Creek.  Gusty but easy sailing in the lee of the trees along shore.  3:10 anchor down in a little unnamed creek just above Whale Point.

Gale force winds and rain forecast for the evening.  Rain begins to fall 5:15.

11.37 NM


Monday, December 11, 2023

day twenty five - a lazy day sail

Morning comes with an invitation to visit friends on a farm.  How nice!

9:40 I raise anchor and motor down Queenstown Creek to tie up at the pier.  The visit to the farm has become a favorite part of my sails on Chesapeake Bay.  We sit on the porch of the farmhouse, drink hot tea and talk.  I only see my friends once a year for an hour or two at a time, yet we talk like we are old friends.  When the tea is gone we take a nice walk on the farm.  A very nice morning.  

Cast off from the docket 11:40, sunny and getting warmer by the minute.  11:55 sails up on Queenstown Creek, slip out on to the Chester River with wind over port quarter and making 3.3.

I see sails from five boats spread out over the river.  We sail almost due north to Grays Inn Creek, entering the creek at 1:30.

We follow the creek up Shippen Cove, come about and turn back down towards the Chester.

Then a lazy sail across the Chester River to the mouth of the Corsica River.  A perfect fall afternoon.

On the Corsica River and past the old Russian compound at Town Point, we begin tacking west into Middle Quarter Cove.  Why?  Why not??  Don't want to waste the wind.

Once up close to the docks at private homes on the shoreline, we turn back to the Corsica to work our way up the winding river.  Sailing and rowing teams from a local college are out training on the river, flocks of geese flying overhead.

4:45 the sails come down and we motor to Centereville Wharf.  There is a sign saying I need to pay by phone for an overnight stay at the wharf but I still can't figure out how to make the $10 payment.  I guess they can write me a ticket if they must.

Evening, a pleasant dinner under the stars with friends Johnny and Wendy at Dock's Riverside Grill.  A perfect ending to a perfect day.

19.04 NM


Sunday, December 10, 2023

day twenty-four - Q'town Creek

Cast off Rock Hall at 8:00, clear and calm.  Motor past stacks of crab pots on boats and along shore as crabbers bring in their gear for the season.

Out of the harbor 8:05, raise full sail.  More wind than forecast coming out of the northwest.  Making 3.4 and rolling in swells on the starboard beam.  

9:25 jibe to the southeast towards Eastern Neck.  9:50 jibe to Southeast towards Kent Island.  10:30 Jibe, 10:45 jibe.  

12:00 slip past Hail Point, lighter wind and on the stern.  Making 2.0 wing and wing.

Pleasant sail with Queenstown Creek dead ahead.  Warm and sunny.

1:10 a final jib just inside Queenstown Creek entrance.  Sail until the creek narrows, round up and bring down the sail.

Tie up at the town dock, a sign says "two hour limit" but I can't imagine there is anyone around to enforce it.  

Make the short walk up to Queenstown Pizza for a burger and fries, then stop at an ATM for some cash.  

(worth turning up the volume for the video above)

Cast off from the dock 2:50, motor back up Queenstown Creek and continue past the entrance channel, past the anchorage for larger boats and past Salthouse Cove.   Anchor down Ditchers Creek at 3:10.

16.70 NM