Five entries per page, scroll down (maybe a LOT) or enter a search word(s) to the right. Trip Logs are in reverse chronological order.
For the action packed Delivery of 2010 through 8 foot waves and 30 knot winds across 140 nm of Lake Erie, click here.
Shaw Bay Music and Mayhem, Sept. 5-7, 2014
When I watched the new luxurious Beneteau 50 sailboat drop her anchor only 50 feet away from Kelly IV, with barely enough chain to reach the bottom, I knew the show wouldn't end when the music stopped.
The weekend began typically enough as Kelly IV and I raised anchor and set off for Shaw Bay, a large, well-protected anchorage that was scheduled to host the annual on-the-water concert presented by the Eastport Oyster Boys. The event was a fund-raising event for the Wye and Miles Riverkeepers and is very popular with boaters. I had heard about the event for the past couple years, but never was able to attend. We departed the day before so Kelly and I would be there before the crowd and be able to relax the day of the concert.
The breeze was light and from the south, so on the nose for the trip from Back Creek to Bloody Point. However, our course up the Eastern Bay put the wind off our starboard quarter for a fun reach until we turned the corner to head south again briefly before steering back northeast into the Wye River and Shaw Bay. Although our sailing speed rarely topped 4 knots and mostly hovered about 3 knots, we were in no hurry with plenty of daylight left. The sailing proved to be a relaxing, quiet time as we slipped through the water with a mild gurgle and bright sunshine.
Only six other boats were in the anchorage when we set our CQR anchor and 150 feet of rode. That is about a 7:1 scope, an important number to recall later.
The next morning as I was lolling about the cockpit in the morning brilliance, I stumbled on some unexpected energy. Grabbing the bucket and a cloth for scrubbing, I began cleaning the teak in the cockpit. Once the dirt was scrubbed away, then I oiled the wood for the finish you see in the photos. Kelly IV really looks great with her teak all clean and glistening.
As the day wore on, boats starting arriving until it seemed the anchorage couldn't hold anymore. Later we heard that almost 90 boats were in attendance. It was midway through this inrush of anchoring vessels that our huge Beneteau neighbor showed up and dropped anchor close by. As you know, anchor scope is the ratio of the length of the anchor rode vs the height of the deck above the ground. In Kelly's case we were in 16 feet of water with the deck 4 feet higher, so with 150 feet of rode (150/20) we had roughly a 7:1 scope. Our luxurious neighbor had maybe a 2:1 scope, if that. Then another large 47 foot Beneteau rafted to the fifty footer, so two large sailboats were depending on that anchor and minimal scope.
The forecast was alerting us to the likelihood of thunderstorms later, which was the reason I both set a proper scope for Kelly IV and was concerned about the poor anchoring job my neighbor did.
Well, the concert was a rousing success, great fun, terrific music and even had some good boat humor mixed in. With the concert concluded, a few boats raised anchor and headed elsewhere for the night, but most settled back for dinner, drinks and to enjoy the night where they drifted about their own anchors. Thankfully, the 47 footer broke off the raft with his larger friend, but (it became apparent later) must have attended the same anchoring school as he dropped his hook about a hundred feet away on the other side of Kelly IV.
Of course, the storm came roaring in an hour or so later and all the boats were now bouncing in the small waves and swinging on their anchors as the powerful wind roared through the anchorage at 30 or more knots. Kelly IV danced around, but her trusty CQR never budged, confirmed by the GPS I held in my hand to make sure all was well.
Our neighboring Beneteaus had a notably different experience.
At first the 47 footer blew away to our starboard and to our good fortune, but not to the vessels downwind of her, she appeared to be under sail, her anchor merely a decoration she drug through the water. She disappeared in the spume and dark.
When we turned our gaze to the fifty footer now off our port bow, we saw a similar action as her bow was forced to her port and her anchor also proved ineffective. She was blowing sideways before the wind and her stern swept right past Kelly's port sides with inches to spare. Their dinghy was in davits, much like Kelly IV's dinghy and the two dinghies just lightly brushed each other, and thankfully no more than that.
The thirty-footer aft and to port of Kelly IV was anchored just as securely as Kelly, so she became the stopping point for the luxurious Beneteau. In fact, the larger boat formed the head of a “T” as she was driven before the wind onto the bow and anchor line of the smaller vessel. It was an ugly scene as the solo crew on the small boat worked with the husband and wife crew aboard the Beneteau to release the larger sloop from being pinned broadside onto the bow of the well-anchored cruiser.
It seemed to take almost half an hour before the two boats were disentangled and the Beneteau motored off to disappear in the murk and rain. I kept a continuous watch to be sure no others were threatening to let the storm get the better of them. Although shouting, horns and whistling wind made for a noisy evening in the dark storm, no one within sight had any issues and their anchors held in the blustery conditions.
The storm blew through and conditions settled after about an hour, but there was still a 15 knot breeze in the morning as we raised our anchor. When the breeze has some push in it, manually raising anchor becomes a significant exercise pulling Kelly IV forward into the blustery breeze. It requires that I rush back and forth from the foredeck to the helm as I shift the engine into forward to help press into the wind, then haul the chain, then anchor as we move forward. Of course, the wind blows the bow off to one side, so the process must be repeated frequently, to steer and shift so the chain and boat don't bang into each other.
Once accomplished, we now had a very nice breeze for sailing, except it was on the nose until we reached the end of the Miles River at the head of Eastern Bay. It was there Kelly IV and I raised the reefed main and jib for a terrific sail down Eastern Bay consistently making 5.5 knots and occasionally bursts exceeding 6 and 7 knots. Sadly, the wind was again on our nose as we sailed up and across the Chesapeake, into the South River to drop the anchor in Harness Creek.
Harness Creek was selected as Kelly IV would need to stay there unattended while I made a trip to Ohio and Pennsylvania. Although friends checked on her daily, it was good to return and bring her into Back Creek where she'll stay through the US Sailboat Show. Soon after the show, we'll depart for the ICW and southern climes for the winter.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 28 September 2014 16:08 )
Smith Island, August 19-25, 2014
Smith Island has been on my list of “must see” places ever since I learned about their famous accent many years ago. I had learned that due to the remote and independent nature of the island, the inhabitants had developed their own unique manner of speaking that is supposed to have similarities to an English accent and a Southern accent, but is truly unlike any other spoken English. At one point last year, I even found some YouTube videos to hear the local dialect.
As you can see on the chartlet, Smith Island is some distance from Annapolis, so when I first plotted a course to visit there, I planned the trip with crew in mind. With crew, it was reasonable to sail overnight, arriving at Smith Island in one day. That was last year and although we got within 10nm of Smith Island, we never made it (See Overnight Passage). For this trip, I was sailing alone and prefer not to sail through the night, as I have trouble staying awake and alert. Unlike the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2011 (Richibucto, NB), the Chesapeake Bay has a LOT of boat and freighter traffic, so heaving to and napping is not an option. My plan to make the solo sail to Smith Island had to include an overnight stop so I could rest.
Since I couldn't depart Back Creek until midday, I set a course for the Rhode River. It allowed me to begin the trip without delaying any longer, but the sail to the anchorage there is a short one, only about 12nm. The breeze was favorable, but light so I set the sails and shut off the motor. It was a gentle, leisurely sail, and I had hopes of actually sailing into the anchorage, not needing the engine, except to set the anchor. As it turned out, the wind was just too weak to sail all the way into the anchorage, so about half a mile shy, I started the engine and set the hook.
That evening, I checked the charts, guidebooks and my plotted course so I'd be ready for the trip to Solomons, my next stop before Smith Island. As I examined the details, it dawned on me that the distance between Back Creek and Solomons, was only a couple miles further than from the Rhode River anchorage to Solomons. Although I had sailed 12nm, I would only reduce the distance to Solomons by 2nm! I took this lesson to heart and when I returned a few days later, I traveled directly from Solomons to Annapolis, a 46nm course.
The next day, August 20, was gorgeous, but typically Chesapeake, as the wind was less than 5 knots until after 2pm. Although the breeze finally attained sailing power, I was already in Solomons and the 12 knot air merely helped set the anchor. The 21st was nearly a duplicate of the 20th, so I enjoyed motoring into Smith Island. The channel from the bay is said to be a bit tricky, but it is well marked and I merely slowed down as the depth near Red mark “2A” dropped to 7 feet at high tide, 6 feet at low. There is a notable current in the channel, especially as we approached the docks in Ewell, the very small town that is still the largest on Smith Island.
There were a number of working waterman plying their workboats up and down the channel, which felt like a watery main street with the shops, fuel station, restaurant, tiny marina and homes facing the water instead of the street behind them. When the depth shoaled to 6 feet, I turned Kelly around and headed back to Ruke's Dock, the only spot in town with depth to accommodate Kelly IV's 5 feet draft. Later, when walking through the small town, I took a long stick and checked the depth in the 6-slip marina and found that there was only about 4 feet of water.
I was planning to eat at the restaurant, and walked there about 6pm. It was closed! I walked to the other restaurant (only two are on the island) a block away and found they were closed as well. As I walked through the town, I discovered that everything closes when the last tour boat departs at 4pm. People were out and about, visiting with each other and walking or boating, so it wasn't like no one was about, they just didn't bother to keep the tourist places open once the tour boats are gone.
The next day I ran the entire length of the island, visiting the only other town, Rhodes Point. The road between the two towns is the only road on Smith Island and runs less than two miles long. There is a small boatyard at the end of the road in Rhodes Point which still builds and repairs many of the boats used on the island by the locals.
I made a point of eating at the restaurant for lunch so I'd be certain to try the Smith Island crab cake and their famous Smith Island Cake for dessert. The crab cake was delicious, but similar to other crab cakes I've had around the bay. I suspect the crabmeat is fresher on Smith Island as the restaurant is across from the small, shallow marina that houses most of the local workboats.
The Smith Island Cake is tasty and unique in the design consisting of 8 – 10 very thin layers of cake with icing between each layer and covering the outside of the cake. For someone like me who enjoys lots of icing, this cake is great!
I visited the small museum & visitor center to learn more about the island and its people, but attempting to reprovision at the two small shops was more fun, as I chatted with the local folks and even sat and enjoyed their conversation for almost an hour. I say “attempted” to buy provisions, as neither shop had much selection, mostly canned goods and very little inventory. The proprietors were very friendly, but apologetic that they didn't have but a couple items I was looking for. And I admit I didn't expect much given the rural nature of the island. I chose to go shopping there for the experience and conversation, not the goods. And the venture was successful!
As evening crept over Smith Island, I discovered a couple visitors aboard Kelly IV, two bats! Within moments of taking this photo, they quickly flew away into the gathering darkness.
After two nights, one full day, I departed Smith Island at low tide in a nice 15 knot breeze. I was excited to be sailing again! As the sun rose, the wind gradually diminished, but Kelly IV and I sailed with full main and genoa four hours before the breeze dropped below 6 knots and our Speed Over Ground (SOG) fell under 3 knots.
The forecast for August 24th was 10-20 knots from the northeast, which meant good sailing, but not for me, when Kelly IV and I had to sail due north. With any northerly breeze we'd be tacking back and forth, increasing our 46nm trip to something more like 70nm. That would mean a v-e-r-y long day or motoring into 2-3 foot waves which would slow us down and burn more fuel. So given the forecast for much lighter air for the 25th, I spent the day in port, walked about Solomons and reprovisioned at the nearby supermarket.
The next day kept to the forecast with a light 5 knots out of the northeast. Kelly IV could make use of the breeze, as we motorsailed almost four hours before a windshift eliminated the benefit of having the main set. The balance of the day was spent motoring back to Annapolis.
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 16 September 2014 16:31 )
Murph's Women (with Apologies to Gene Roddenberry)
Unbelievable, I know, but I actually had women aboard Kelly IV that were not brought by someone else.
It is actually wrong to say they were anyone's women, certainly not mine, as these are four very independent minded ladies who make their own decisions and do their own thing. It was merely my good luck that they decided to make sailing to St. Michaels aboard Kelly IV one of their “things.”
Kim and her three daughters, Paige, Taylor and Mallory met me Thursday morning in Annapolis to make an early departure for St. Michaels. What a day! We raised sails immediately upon departing Back Creek. The 12 to 15 knot northwesterly was perfect for a port broad reach to Tolly Point. From there we merely eased sheets to reach toward Bloody Point, then trimmed for close hauled up the Eastern Bay. The breeze seemed to shift somewhat to the north, heading Kelly IV, but we still cleared Tilghman Point, just barely. Then we eased sheets again to run and reach our way up the Miles River, all the way to St. Michaels.
Yes, we sailed the entire way! We were rarely below 5 knots of boat speed and Kelly IV often saw 6+ knots! What a grand say of sailing! Truly the best sailing this season and what an introduction of sailing to Kim's daughters as they had not sailed before.
Thanks to the fine breeze and early start, we were anchored by 3pm and shopping by 3:30pm. Wow can these ladies shop! They did themselves proud and left me bushed, just following them from store to boutique to shop. We enjoyed a fun dinner at the Crab Claw and returned to Kelly IV in time for sunset photos from deck.
While the next day proved beautiful and sunny, it was also a typical Chesapeake day, that is with little or no wind. We had a lazy day motoring back to Annapolis and even stopped to anchor and swim off Chesapeake Harbor for an hour. Once cooled off, we returned to Back Creek and the impressive crew of beautiful women departed from Kelly IV. It was grand to enjoy their company and thrilling to share such a great day of sailing with them.
Last Updated ( Saturday, 06 September 2014 07:12 )
Keith's Women, August 2-6, 2014
When Keith signed up for his annual cruise with his best girl, Stephanie, he also asked if they could bring Stephanie's daughters. Not one to refuse having pretty ladies aboard Kelly IV, I readily agreed. As it turned out, they are wonderful young women, both actively embarking on terrific directions for themselves and their futures.
Alex was living in Maryland at the time, but working, so she only had the weekend to spend. Stephanie and Keith brought Alex with them to Back Creek and we took off for a local day sail. Unfortunately, there was no wind to sail so we merely explored Spa Creek from Kelly IV and set the anchor to enjoy an evening in town.
The next morning found us dinghying back into town so Alex, Stephanie & Keith could enjoy breakfast and the Pledge of Allegiance at Chick & Ruth's while I did a morning run through town. I've discovered that if I exercise and eat less, I lose weight! At some point I'll share this secret with the world. But for now, I'll merely struggle to keep doing it.
Following a fruity lunch aboard, we motored our return to Back Creek so Alex could remain employed and so Keith and Stephanie could retrieve Abbey from the bus station in the morning. Abbey is an actress working in New York City and just getting started in her exciting career.
Monday morning found the new crew eager and ready to sail to St. Michael's, so Kelly IV gathered them aboard and off we went. Light winds of 5 knots and less forced us to rely on the engine, but as we rounded Bloody Point the breeze was now from the northeast which enabled us to tack leisurely up Eastern Bay for an hour. By that time it was clear that we'd never make St. Michael's before dark, so the engine was enlisted again.
Arrival in St. Michael's was late enough that several shops were closed, so we merely wandered downtown making plans for shops to visit in the morning. The next morning we found many shops open and the girls did their shopping with gusto.
Another light air day meant motoring from St. Michael's but as we turned north from Bloody Point we saw two tall ships, one with full sail trying to make the most of the small breeze. As Keith steered us closer we discovered ourselves in the presence of the Pride of Baltimore II, (Video) a grand sailing ship that Keith and I had also seen on Lake Erie when she visited the Niagara for a mock battle on Presque Isle Bay.
We raised sail ourselves and sailed the two miles from Thomas Point to Tolly Point, but again the breeze was too minimal to continue for any more time. Dropping anchor in Back Creek, the week with Keith's women (Video) ended. A fun time and I got to meet the wonderful ladies that Keith spends so much of his time with.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 28 September 2014 15:59 )
Eagle Cove, Gibson Island, July 25-27, 2014
The weekend began late, but still with a BANG!
Crew Bill, Sarah, Guy and Ollie didn't reach the fuel dock at Annapolis Landing Marina until after dark, but the party began immediately. Provisions and gear were loaded and stowed even as the party broiled around the activity. Local guests from the marina joined us in Kelly IV's cockpit as we toasted the cool evening and discussed our plans for the following day. No one actually timed the party's conclusion, but we did depart the fuel dock before the marina needed the space in the morning. (Back Creek Anchorage Video)
Our newly gained local knowledge included news of a horse farm on a beautiful anchorage at the north end of Gibson Island, Magothy River. Although we made that our destination for the weekend, we decided a swim stop at Dobbins Island (definitely on the way) would prove fun as well.
There was enough breeze that Kelly IV sailed with her main and jib under the imposing Bay Bridge (Video, 2nd Video), then motored into the Magothy and anchored off Dobbins Island. The weather was bright and clear so the crowd was easily a couple hundred or more people, families, youths, young adults, cruising oldsters and everyone you might imagine has access to a small boat. There were even a couple large motor yachts anchored to watch the activities. Given the large crowd, it was no surprise to see the representatives from Maryland DNR, USCG, and the Maryland State Police cruising the waters and beach. Although we witnessed them board a nearby sailboat, there were no scenes that would make the papers. In fact, Bill took a number of great videos showing the festivities. (Pudgy Video)
Once lunch and swimming were concluded, we raised anchor and headed the last two miles to Eagle Cove. After a brief dogleg through the protecting shoals, we emerged into a sizable bay with plenty of depth and room for many boats. In fact, Kelly IV was probably one of about twenty small yachts to anchor there. Even so, there was still plenty of room for everyone's water toys and we were not to be left out. Bill, Sarah and I lowered the dinghy, rigged her sail, leeboards and rudder, then took turns sailing the little pudgy between the wide open spaces amongst the anchored vessels. Sarah particularly enjoyed sailing close ashore to see the horses up close.
The meal that night was an extravaganza including alligator, tuna and sauces prepared by chef-extrordinaire, Bill. It was delicious and there were no leftovers!
Sunday proved to be another grand weather day, but the forecast predicted otherwise so Kelly IV departed early to ensure an easy trek back and a simple disembarkation of crew and gear. The early departure put us back in Annapolis by 10am and the weather was perfect for a trip through Ego Alley. We made the trip twice and tied up at Pusser's for a couple drinks and relaxed conversation before returning to Back Creek and the workaday world.
Last Updated ( Monday, 01 September 2014 09:50 )