Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Annapolis to Rhode River, MD

13.2 nm
Wind: SW 25-30 knots, gusting to 35
Seas: 3-4 feet, building to 6-8 feet
Maximum speed: 4.8 knots
Maximum speed under sail: 3.9 knots
Average speed: 3.1 knots
Latitude: 38°52.54’N
Longitude: 076°31.41’W

I’ve been thinking, lately, that we’re being a little chicken about the weather. So it’s blowing thirty. Who the hell cares?

Today I proved myself wrong.

We’ve been listening to the weather for days now, and allegedly there was supposed to be a break in the weather today, tonight, and tomorrow. We decided on a plan to zoom down the before the next storm broke on Thursday night. The idea was to be in Norfolk, Virginia, near the soothing caress of the gulf stream, by this time tomorrow night.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night and thought someone was stealing our dinghy. That’s how bad the waves were at anchor. I was so convinced I even went to check on the thieves. They were, of course, nonexistent. The seas bashing the dinghy against the boat were real.

So when the alarm went off at five o’clock this morning, I decided to go check the weather forecast rather than waking Karl. The wind was still howling in the rigging, and it seemed a lot worse than predicted. But no, it was the same as it had been yesterday. So, naively, I figure, it must just be the remnants of Monday’s storm. The waves will probably die down before we leave.

They didn’t. We double-reefed for only the second time, the bow coming up on top of each six-foot breaker, pulling the propeller out of the water, and crashing back down into the next one. Cabinets inside the boat flew open. Cans went flying. Bottles of water went flying. Mostly empty coffee pots and mugs and boxes full of spices were scattered all over the floor.

Thanks to the Delaware Bay experience, I didn’t exactly fear for my life. I knew Secret could handle it. But when yet another gigantic wave sent shudders through the hull, both Karl and I asked the same question. Um, where’s the next anchorage? So much for 130 miles. Instead, we’ve only made six miles of progress, according to Skipper Bob’s mileage down the middle of the bay. Six lousy miles. And we’ll probably be here for the next three days.

I know we’ll make progress eventually. This is just God’s way of teaching me patience. Right? RIGHT??? We have to start sailing at night, and making breaks for it when the weather’s good, but I swear, the weather was supposed to be good today. When we got into the anchorage, the weather forecast was the same as it’s been for the last three days, but the buoy reports weren’t. Thomas Point Lighthouse, which we had thought was way out in the middle of the Atlantic but was actually two miles away, was gusting to 28. And that was a random sampling, after it had died down. So I’m betting we’ve sailed in at least 35, now. I think the wind today was the worst we’ve been in. I guess we either need a better weather forecasting system, or we need to start listening to buoy reports. Or something. What we really need is to have left two months before we did. Which I even knew at the time. Oh well.

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