Saturday, November 25, 2006

Reedy Island, DE, to Bohemia River, MD

22.7 nm
Wind: NE 5 knots to calm
Maximum speed: 6.5 knots (with current)
Maximum speed under sail: 1.8 knots
Average speed: 3.8 knots

It was a beautiful day for a sail again, today, although we didn’t get very much sailing done. We were a little unexcited about going through the Chesapeake-Delaware Canal under power, but it ended up being a lot more fun than we thought, mainly, I think, because the Master is working again. We decided against short tacking up north of Reedy Island, and ended up right at the entrance of the canal. We had thought we would sail those six miles, so had budgeted four hours, as the wind was only supposed to be five knots. As it was, we ended up at the canal two hours early for the current.

We still did fine, our speed building to six knots as we picked up the current halfway through the canal. We only had one big huge barge pass us, a Swedish one, carrying who knows what. They ended up passing us with a huge wake right as we were nearing a bridge piling, and we had to fight a little hard to avoid getting thrown up on it. Still, it was exciting being so near such a huge ship. They kept sounding their horn, making sure we knew they were there. We had our main up for extra power, so they were probably wondering, what the heck is that little sailboat doing in the middle of the canal under sail?

We passed by Chesapeake City, which is supposed to be a good stop for restocking, but we wanted to make more miles today so we headed on to a beautiful, pristine anchorage in the Bohemia River. We’re both shocked by how beautiful Chesapeake Bay is. I had always wanted to visit, but I don’t think Karl expected it to be any more unusual than Buzzards Bay. There are quaint-looking old plantations and farms right up to the water’s edge. You can tell we’re in the south by the plethora of Nascar flags and the orange-painted camaros.

The best thing about tonight was meeting another cruiser who’s crazier than us. Geoff, a Vermonter, sailed his 23-foot Oday Serenity all the way from Lake Champlain, single-handed, without having any idea how to sail. He was like us, just wanted to live on a boat, and ended up the proud owner of a classic plastic. Sometimes I think that we’re pretty crazy, but doing what we’re doing except single-handed? That’s really crazy. To make things worse, he has a swing-keel that got jammed during the last big storm when he ran aground, so he had no ballast coming through Delaware Bay. I’m shocked he’s alive, honestly. Especially with no storm jib and having to hank on his sails himself, while he ties off his tiller, because he has no self-steering.

When we were heading into our anchorage, about a mile away, with hours of beautiful sunshine left, Karl decided to anchor under sail. We progressed at a stately pace of about one knot, into the anchorage, the Master performing admirably. Geoff radioed us to find out what was wrong, it being unthinkable that a boat would actually try to sail under such conditions. It really was rather unthinkable, but we had a blast, actually sailing, trying to coax an extra quarter-knot from the slack sails.

So when we got into harbor, we had to radio Geoff back, thank him, and invite him over for a pasta and sausages dinner, it being about all the fresh food we have left. We’re running low on water, too. We really need to find a town, and fast. We had a great time, though, talking late into the night, about boats, heads, solar panels, electricity, ice—all the fun things we crazy people talk about.

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