Saturday, June 25, 2016

2016 Month-Long Sailing Trip - Part 1

--Blogpost written by Bob

This is our second month-long sailing trip, the first being in 2014.  This year we are doing this trip without a plan.  The first couple days were spent relaxing on a mooring ball (#28) at Hartge's Yacht Harbor on the West River.  It was an easy transition from staying in the quaint Hartge Guest House (while our sailboat was hauled out) to hanging out on the mooring buoy in the harbor for the weekend.  We provisioned for about a week's cruising, with the idea that we will provision at other places along the way.

Lately, we've both fancied drinks using cucumber-infused vodka.  After first trying Svedka cucumber-lime vodka with club soda at Bo Brook's Tiki Hut in Baltimore, we have recently switched to Pinnacle-brand cucumber vodka with diet tonic water.  The clean refreshing taste seems to be a good medicine for combatting the humid Maryland summers on a sailboat.

The clean refreshing taste of cucumber=flavored vodka & diet tonic water
seems to be a good medicine for combatting the
notoriously humid Maryland summers.

Monday, June 20

We left Hartge's Yacht Harbor at about 9 AM after topping off our water tanks and taking showers.  There was barely a breeze as we motored out the West River.  In fact, the wind was very light and out of the south most of the day--of course, we were headed south to the Choptank River and then up the Tred Avon.  So, the first day was all motoring until we anchored off the Strand in Oxford.  At anchor, the wind was blowing at seven knots out of the west--it was a nice cool breeze.

The Strand is a road that runs along the harbor on the north side of town.  Large homes are located along the road and face the water.  The Robert Morris Inn, a historic inn, is located at the junction of the Strand and Morris Street (the main street through town) on the west.  (Robert Morris was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.).  Closer to the east end of the Strand is a small beach where local families enjoy swimming and sun bathing.

We anchored at the little red square symbol in the harbor
just north of Oxford.  The Strand follows the edge of the harbor.

I've been sailing to/from Oxford for many years.  I kept my Sabre 28 in a marina in Oxford a couple years while I lived in southeastern Pennsylvania in the early 80s.  At that time it was not uncommon to see two dozen boats anchored off the Strand on weekends and at least six or eight during the week.  About ten mooring buoys have been installed in the harbor in recent years.  Today, we are the only boat anchored off the Strand.  I have to ask myself what has changed to diminish the sailboat traffic to this beautiful small town on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay?

For dinner we had grilled pork chops with Mango Ginger Habanero sauce, sliced tomatoes, and a grilled half apple for dessert--it was scrumptious!

We rarely make pork chops at other times, so this was a special treat.

It was very windy during the night as a cold front moved into the area.  Today, the summer solstice (longest daylight of the year) coincided with a full moon, known as the strawberry moon (first full moon in June) because it marked the beginning of strawberry season by native tribes.

Tuesday, June 21

We started the day with quiche lorraine for breakfast.  We bought it pre-made at Fresh Market in Annapolis before we left on this trip.  I've always thought that quiche is the ultimate breakfast on board.

After a rough dinghy ride against the waves down the Tred Avon from our anchorage, we had a great lunch at the Masthead at Pier Street I had a soft crab sandwich (one of the best I've ever eaten) while Maggie has a nice salad with crab balls (which are like very small crab cakes).

A thunderstorm rolled through the anchorage at about 3 PM.  We hunkered down
and read until it was time to make dinner.  The storm continued in waves until
about midnight.  Our new Rocna-brand Vulcan 20 anchor with 120 feet
of rode out held firmly through the 180-degree wind shifts
and gusts during the thunderstorms.

For dinner, Maggie made grilled apple and brie sandwiches with watermelon slices on the side.  This dinner was based on a recipe from Galley Pirates--it was absolutely delicious!  We made a note to add bacon next time--some time ago we purchased canned bacon just for instances like this.

During dinner we ran the engine for about an hour to generate power because
we missed a lot of solar power due to the hours of darkened skies
during the storm.  The engine gauges contain red LED
lights that was one of my boat projects.

I just realized this blogpost is beginning to sound like a foodie blog.  I guess we better start sailing tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 22

We raised anchor at about 9:30 AM.  (So as not to sound like a foodie blog, I didn't mention the French toast we had for breakfast--it was made using whole grain bread and powdered eggs that we purchased for our cruising.  It is much easier to store powdered eggs than fresh eggs and they were perfect.)  The wind was blowing hard and it was a tough job getting the (new Rocna Vulcan 20) anchor up.  As we motored out the Tred Avon it was clear that we'd have to reef the main--the wind and waves increased as we got into the Choptank River.  In fact the wind was right on our nose (westerly at 20+ knots and gusting higher) going out the Choptank.  At that point we decided to turn east further up the Choptank River to La Trappe Creek, a little anchorage I haven't been to in many years.  (Dickerson sailboats used to be manufactured at the head of this creek.

Two large sailboats, one a 50-foot Amel, are anchored at the inlet to the anchorage
area just off the sandbar at the entrance to La Trappe Creek.

Making our way up the creek past the old day marks 1 and 2, we passed the little sand bar to port and arrived at our destination.  There were nine boats anchored when we arrived.  About lunchtime, most of them left, motoring eastward toward Cambridge.

We anchored in La Trappe Creek near where the red anchor is
shown on this segment of the chart.

One of the highlights of this anchorage for me was taking a hot shower in the cockpit before lunch--I had to hook up the outdoor shower for the season to make this happen.  The other highlight was having pizza for lunch--Maggie made it on thin panini bread.

The eighteenth governor of Maryland, Samuel Stevens, once lived in this circa-1750
house after inheriting it from his father.  He was elected to three terms, his first
term beginning in 1822.  Back at that time, this creek was known as
Dividing Creek.  There are a couple other historic homes
dating back to the mid-1700s on this creek.

The forecast is for rain and thunderstorms all day tomorrow...

Thursday, June 23

The rain started gently about 6:30 AM as I felt the cool raindrops coming through our overhead hatch in our v-berth.  As I got up to close the hatches and put the dodger's front window in place, I heard a waterman plying his trout line not far from the boat.

Watermen are up early and work hard in all kinds of weather.
I'm sure that rain is not the worst of the weather they face.

We usually unzip and remove the front dodger window while we are
underway or at anchor.  When it rains, we zip it back in place so
we can leave the companionway open without getting wet.

Captain Jack sits in the cockpit during the early morning rain.  He
even tolerates occasional thunder without being alarmed.

This day turned out to be a lot of reading and interior boat cleaning. 


So far, we have had the mainsail cover off but no sails have flown yet.  We've had a lot of windless times, times with too much wind, and thunderstorms.  I hope we get some good winds soon!

We are progressing slowly down the Chesapeake Bay as indicated by the red line.

More on our month-long sailing trip in our next blogpost...

Thanks for following our blog!

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