Friday, November 24, 2006

Greenwich, NJ, to Reedy Island, DE

23.1 nm
Wind: N 10-15 knots
Seas: calm
Maximum speed: 5.9 knots
Average speed: 3.2 knots
Latitude: 39°30.74’N
Longitude: 075°34.00’W

We’re south of the Mason-Dixon line! At least I think. Delaware is the south, isn’t it? I’m actually not quite sure. But we’re getting there, at least. Tomorrow’s Maryland, and then after that we’ll be in the south proper. I’ve been whistling Dixie all week. It was a beautiful day for a sail, too, plenty of sunshine, the temperatures in the sixties, the wind about ten knots. The only problem was that the wind was coming from exactly the direction we wanted to go, which it always seems to manage to do. This, we know, is part of sailing. We are learning to live with it.

Quite well, actually. We tacked across the Bay about five times, practicing our tacking skills. I kept the helm the whole time under sail, and I think I’m getting a lot better at maintaining us exactly in that sweet spot where a vacuum is created right in front of our foresail and the wind just sucks us along. We were maintaining around five knots, which is generally our goal speed Even though seven is our hull speed, it’s fast enough to scare the pants off me most days, unless we’re running. We haven’t run at seven knots yet, and I think that would probably scare me too.

At around three, when the current turned against us, we decided to break out Ole Faithful, the diesel, to carry us against current and wind combined. Even she couldn’t do much against both of them together, barely breaking two knots. The best part was that the Master is back in service again, so neither of us had to be slave to the tiller. Finally, Karl hoisted all sail, and that got us clipping along. It’s pretty bad when you have to have all your sail out, plus your engine in full gear, in order to fight a current!

We came into our anchorage after dark, as usual these days, and those last hours are always very stressful as I hover around the GPS watching our depths, and Karl freaks out about that light or the other. We made it just fine, to just where our GPS said we should be, and our now anchored safely right under a giant blinking green and white light on Reedy Island. The currents are still insane here, and I imagine they will keep being so until we get farther south in Chesapeake Bay again. We had delicious leftovers for dinner, improvised gravy out of cream of chicken soup, and are drinking leftover fruit punch. All is right with the world.

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