Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Made it to Chesapeake Bay - Turner Creek, MD

Wed, Oct 6
Distance Traveled:  132 from NY to Cape May,
                              false starts:  18nm (est 9 from tidal currents moving the knot meter while anchored)
                              Cape May to Turner Creek, MD  70.13 nm
Total Distance Traveled: 710.13 nm

Phil and I woke at 115am this morning to get ready to leave for the trip up the Delaware Bay with at least 2 other boats.  I turned on the laptop and checked the Brandywine Shoal Light - Winds were W 5-10 knots - so it was a go to leave this morning.  We, especially me, put on our many layers as it was 50F outside.  The winds had calmed down a lot!  Phil got the dinghy lines so that it was ready to leave, turned on the engine and we started raising the anchor when all of a sudden the engine stopped and I couldn't get it to start again.  Then Phil said the the line was wrapped around the prop.  For once I didn't say much, but boy were the thoughts going through my head.  It was close to 2am and we saw some of the other boats that were going with us motoring to the meeting spot.  Phil stripped to his t-shirt and underwear and got the biggest serrated blade knife that we had and jumped into the water.  After a couple breaths, he cut the line cut off the prop and the engine started without any problems.  He went to the head and rinsed off with fresh water and I started some water heating up on the stove so that he could have something warm to drink.  It wasn't too long and he was dressed in dry clothes.  He checked the engine and the transmission wasn't damaged, but we got this squealing noise whenever we increased the rpm of the engine.  We were able to meet up with the other 3 boats - leader was Cats Paws then there were 2 boats with French speakers with us bringing up the rear.  Later Phil said that he looked at the dinghy port line and say that it was under the boat, but with not being completely awake - said to himself - it will be ok - and it wasn't.  Usually Phil is a real stickler about have the lines out of the water so that this kind of problem doesn't happen.

We sent slowly through the canal making it through without any problems.  We were still having a squealing noise like loose belts on an engine.  After a period of time, I took the helm and Phil checked the engine behind the companionway steps - and it turns out it was a loose belt.  All fixed and the noise disappeared.   It still was a little wavy in the Delaware bay 2-3 footers but the winds were from the W 6-10 knots and we set a course of 330 degrees to get to the Ship John Shoal Lighthouse.  After 30-45 min, we starting leaving the pack of boats.  The French boats were motoring much slower than us and Cats Paws was sailing - we still had our reef in the mainsail (Phil didn't want to remove it) and not wanting to go 3-4 knots, Phil increased the speed of the engine so we were going 5-6+ knots motorsailing.  We were close enough for the captains to yell back to each other - and Phil blamed motorsailing on me - have to satisfy the wife - but that's ok.  At 4am Phil started his watch and I went below to warm up and get to sleep as I would take the next watch from 6-8am so that Victoria didn't have to drive in the dark.  By the time it was my watch the winds had increased slightly to 8-12 knots, still from the West so we were still motor sailing up wind, the sails were adding quite a bit of speed and the sun was going to rise soon.  The moon had just risen above the clouds at the horizon but there was just a sliver to be seen.  Phil went below and actually slept this time.

By the time it was Victoria's watch we were a couple hours from the C&D canal making good time with the 1+knot favorable current from the tide so we were going 7 to 7.5+ knots.  It made a huge difference leaving 2hrs after low tide and we had the favorable current all the way to the C&D Canal.  Victoria said that she saw 8+ knots on the GPS earlier in her watch before the wind die and she had to increase the rpm of the engine.  I went to sleep and woke next when Victoria said that we were almost at the C&D canal and it was 933am, 30 min early.  Phil and I got dressed, but when I realized that we not going through any locks, I went down below and went to sleep again leaving Phil and Victoria on watch together.  By the time I surfaced again about 1145am we were almost at the end of the C&D canal and entering the Chesapeake Bay - but now the winds were on the nose from the SW 15-19+ knots.  Just my luck as we continued down the Chesakpeake Bay that the waves continued to build - just like Lake Erie - choppy and close together - hey! sounds familiar.  It was interesting to me that there was a line of sticks from the masts of sailboats ahead of me and also behind me - most going to the Annapolis Boat show if I were to guess.  At least it was mostly sunny even though it was cold.  Glad that I have my Gill helmsman sailing gloves!

As my watch continued, the waves built to about 4-5 feet so that we were pounding into them. Glad that I was at the helm as I would have gotten sea sick below.   After a while, Phil said that we had some water going in the forehatch into - you guessed it - the V-berth.  I changed direction to take advantage of the lee from the land until we could go into Sassafras River when Phil took over the helm. Once we turned into the river, the waves were 1ft or less and we motored into Turner Creek to anchor.  We came in at low tide and the lowest depth on the instruments was 5.4 feet - so we made it in.  There are many mooring balls in this anchorage, but we were able to anchor without any problems.  Once we were set - out came the bedding from the V-berth and Phil's clothes that he had left in the head sink due to the salt water in them to be hung across the boom and on the life lines.  The sun was shining for a while and though it is chilly, hopefully most of them can get dry.  Now that they got wet with salt water, they won't dry completely, but I hope we'll get to a laundromat soon.

We searched for the bottle of Champagne that Dodi Farmiloe and the First Mates from GRYC had given us feeling that it was good to celebrate getting out of Cape May and into the Chesapeake Bay.  So we toasted to being in the Chesapeake Bay and had some cheese and crackers since we missed lunch due to the waves.  The cell phone signal here is really bad, can barely get 1bar of signal and Victoria can't use her iPhone and she is in withdrawals :) , but the internet access is available for my laptop - go figure.

We have 38nm to get to Annapolis and hope to get one of the mooring balls on Spa Creek for $25/night - or we can anchor.  They have showers and laundromats close by to use - then we can wash the bedding to get out the salt water.  I called the Annapolis Harbormaster - and there are only a few mooring balls left - first come first served, which is what I thought, but it doesn't hurt to call.  The best time to get a ball is 11am to 1pm as check out time is 12 noon.  We should call 30 min before we arrive so they can direct us.  That means that we need to leave at 630am - when there is enough light to see the red nuns and green cans and get there as quick as we can.  This is when being 34feet long is an advantage, as they only take boats 35' or less. 

Tonight after Victoria and Phil wake from the naps they are taking, we'll have pan fried steak, potatoes and vegetable or brats and cabbage and potatoes.  Will see what we feel like.

On a side note, it looks like we'll meet up with April Manji-Holko and her husband on Sunday at the boat show.  We are trying to work out where we can have mail delivered to.  I am almost ready to break down and buy a new digital camera as I'm having problems with the camera saying there isn't enough power in the batteries - and they still have 1.4volts of energy left in them. I've had many times that I want to take a picture - and the camera won't turn on.  Very frustrating!

I've gotten some feed back about my sock pictures - and the pattern was made by special yarn that was dyed so the pattern comes out as you knit them - very easy!  Glad tate you like them and I used them today with my sailing boots.  They worked out well I'm glad to say.

I've noticed that you've also had some cool, rainy weather in the Cleveland area, so hope you enjoy the warm-up coming Friday.

PS - I have pictures to post but with the poor cell phone signal here, need to wait until another day to upload.


  1. Lorraine & Phil
    I have an older digital camera that behaves the same way and has since it was new. When the AA batteries dip below about 1.46 volts the camera doesn’t work. A new battery starts out at 1.6+ volts. I recycle my camera batteries to duty in other devices that tolerate lower voltage like flashlights, cpu mouse and tv remotes. Do you have a tv remote? Do you watch soap operas in the afternoons? Anyway, I am not sure a new camera will solve the battery problem or not. One thing a new camera might give you though is more mega pixels and features at a lower cost. I think I could buy 2 cameras today for the price I paid for my digital many years ago.

    I love reading the Blog. Your narration and pictures are great. It’s almost as good as taking the trip myself, maybe even better. I don’t have to sleep on a wet v-berth or stand sleepy watches on cold wet nights. Here’s the biggy. I don’t have to remember where I parked the house every time I go grocery shopping.
    Paul C

  2. In viewing Turner Creek on Google Earth, it doesn’t look like it has much in the way of amenities (unless you know your shore bound neighbors). It does looks like it is very well protected as an anchorage spot. I would also say, from the size of the houses and a number of tennis courts on the Eastern shore, your overnight neighbors are well to do and like to play tennis.
    Paul C