I sleep later than usual. No reason to get up early, winds are forecast to gust to 20 just after dawn. That's my limit for sailing into the wind on the open bay. Sail off anchor at 8:25, cool and dark, very low overcast. Mizzen and jib, making 3.6. Two reefs tied in the main which is still furled to the boom. Making 3.6.
On the Little Choptank at 8:45, 3.0. Just after 9:00 raise the double reefed main. Gusty, grey and lots of waves. 9:45 passing green marker "1" as we leave the Little Choptank and sail out onto Chesapeake Bay. Doesn't feel like we are moving, just pounding into the waves. Check the gps to see we are doing 4.0.
10:20 less wind. 10:30 shake out the second reef, 3.7. Have a hard time coming about with reduced sail and waves on the bow so instead I jibe just before 11:00. Skies starting to clear and wind dropping off Trippe Bay.
11:45 shake out the first reef, full sail. Tack at noon, 4.3. 12:35 tack toward the Choptank River and slip onto the river just above Cook Point..
1:55 Tilghman Island is due west of us, 4.5. Tack at 2:00. Wind building with afternoon gusts. Waves are smaller on the river. 2:35 tack near Black Walnut Point. Get a good run to the north and at 3:10 tack toward the Knapp Narrows channel markers. Reach the markers at 3:45, main and jib down, under power in the channel.
Approaching the lift bridge I throttle back and call the bridge tender on channel 13. Almost immediately I can hear the bells clanging as the bridge readies to lift. I throttle up the out board, it sputters and dies. I pull the starter cord a few times. I look back to the bridge. It is open. There must be no bridge traffic or I have the world's most patient bridge tender as he waits while I make a few more pulls and get the outboard going.
4:30 tied up at Knapp Narrows Inn and Marina, $176 for a room and the slip, a good price I think. Dinner is across the bridge at Characters Bridge Restaurant, a couple Blue Moons and a soft-shell crab. A good reward for a hard day of sailing.
I check on SPARTINA on the way back to my room. She rests peacefully in her slip.