Sunday, September 02, 2012

A Long Sail

[Kyle]I was up early the next morning for my next leg up the Bay. My early plan was to stop at Tippity Wichity Island in the St. Mary’s river on the north side of the Potomac. The forecast, however, was for an unfavorable wind shift the next morning. I decided to make the most of the current favorable wind that I could while I still had it.

When I got to the point that I would have needed to leave the Bay for Tippity Wichity, I was making good way on a comfortable point of sail. I was feeling rested and alert, so I decided to continue on to the next logical stop at Solomon’s Island at the mouth of the Patuxent River.

I arrived at the Patuxent just before sunset. The wind had picked up, was still out of a good direction and I was still feeling alert. The long stretch of Chesapeake Bay between the Patuxent and the Annapolis area is a desert of decent anchorages, at least on the western side. To continue would be to commit myself to another eight hours of sailing. With the next day’s forecast headwinds, it would be at least twice that much time tacking back and forth against it. I decided to continue on while the wind was so favorable, made a pot of coffee, and settled in for the night.

It was marvelous sailing. I had the whole bay to myself, the wind was from behind and warm and the nearly full moon lighted my way.

At 2 a.m., I arrived at Annapolis. Even though I had been up for twenty-three hours straight, I was still feeling surprisingly good. I decided to continue for another three hours to another anchorage at Bodkin Creek, at the mouth of the Patapsco River, upon which lay my weekend destination of Baltimore.

By the time I pulled out of the main channel for the Bodkin Creek inlet, I was starting to fade noticeably. It was short lived, however. The minute I pulled out of the main shipping channel, two things happened: The Moon went down, removing it’s helpful light and I suddenly came upon a minefield of crab pot floats. If a prop picked one of the float lines up, I would be disabled. There’s nothing like threat of impending disaster to get the adrenaline flowing and wake a person up. With spotlight handy, I wove my way in on a crazy zigzag path into the harbor involving lots of crash stops and full rudder turns.

Once inside the harbor, the floats stopped and I was able to find a nice spot in the middle of the river with good holding. I had come so far that I now had the luxury of only needing to go another seventeen miles or so over the next three days. Wind direction was now much less critical. I could take the last few miles at a much more leisurely pace.

As I was falling asleep just at the first light of day, I heard the rain come, signaling the arrival of the wind shift.

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