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Thread: Fall Cruise

  1. #1
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    Default Fall Cruise

    Hampered in our departure by tropical storm Ophelia, Suzanne and I buttoned ourselves down below and hosted a yacht race on our cabin table. Here we have the yachts at the hotly contested windward mark.

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    Suzanne, in the white boat, took the lead here. She held it almost all the way the finish, where a sudden windshift allowed me to squeak over the line in front of her.

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    Well done that man.
    To quote Forrest Gump,"when God gives you lemons make lemonade"

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Here Suzanne takes us south in the lingering effects of Ophelia while I do the dishes.

    Sunday morning the weather cleared enough (and enough water returned from a blowout tide) for us to leave our slip and sail to a quiet anchorage. Monday saw us leave our anchorage and proceed to Annapolis.

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    Good! I am following your voyage on my map. Which part of Annapolis are you docking at?

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    If you head up the Severn River, then turn to port into Spa Creek, there's a mooring ball field off the west bank just past the drawbridge. That's where we were last night.

    This morning we left to sail north to Cornfield Creek just north of Gibson Island. Much of today's sailing was dead to windward and on an ebb tide. First reef in the main and second reef in the jib, the rain and cold persist. Good exercise.

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    Thanks Dobbs, I'm going to get a larger chart of that area if I can. Found the Spar Creek Drawbridge. Anywhere near the Annapolis Yacht Club Activity Centre?
    Rob.
    Last edited by Bligh; 09-27-2023 at 13:50.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Yep, that's the drawbridge. We had a ball right across the Center. We dinghied under the bridge to a public dinghy dock which happened to be right next to the Pride of Baltimore which was visiting Annapolis.

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    The Pride from an earlier encounter. We'll be seeing more of her next week. She's a fixture in the Great Chesapeake Schooner Race.
    Last edited by Dobbs; 09-27-2023 at 06:47.

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    This is starting to get really exciting Dobbs. I am really looking forward to your exploits.
    Is Suzanne going to run her blog again? She should have more time now that you are doing the washing up.

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Suzanne is still writing. Here's the link:

    https://suzanneanddobbs.blogspot.com/?m=1

    Yesterday we needed to cover 23 miles as the seagull flies. It took Grace 46 miles of beating to weather to cover the distance. Once again, the wind was from the NE and we were fighting an ebb for most of the day. Perhaps you can see where our tacking angles improve as the tide switches in our favor?

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    Thanks Dobbs. I will have a look at that too.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Yesterday's adventure had us once again battling an ebb tide and small craft advisory. The wind was again on the nose. We sailed 40 miles to go 20, and we even threw in the towel and motored the last 8 miles.

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    You can see from all the fun we've had the last 3 days why I had to come up with rules to incorporate current in Sails of Glory. If you don't have the current in your favor, it just magnifies the pain and suffering of going to windward!

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    That was some hard graft Dobbs. I can well understand that you made the last eight miles a little easier.
    Hope your crew got an extra tot at the end of the watch.

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    I told Suzanne that the Admiral had commanded an extra tot of rum and she said, "I like Bligh."

    Race day came with strong current and light winds. Here's an overview of the course. We started at the yellow scribble just south of the yellow can. The scribble is the track as boats jockey for position in the 5 minutes before you can cross the start line. It's as close as you can come to a dogfight without planes. I think we were 3rd out of 11 across the start, but mainly I was focusing on driving the boat. Suzanne was giving me a running tally on boats in our proximity and how to avoid them. The first leg was to windward (wind from the NNE) and went north around the red green. Grace cannot sail very close to the wind so we took a beating on that leg. After that, we raced counterclockwise from the top and we were chasing most of the fleet.

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    Here's a dramatic photo that one of our competitors took after we passed them at the mark in the lower righthand corner. Coming into the mark, we were in the back. At the mark, an enthusiastic Commodore Nelson could have jumped from boat to boat, we were so close! The pictures is coming out the other side.Grace is the white boat in front.

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    We were racing 10 other boats, but ultimately it was Mother Nature that defeated us. We never crossed the finish line. The wind faded and the current strengthened. This final scribble is our course as we approached the finish from the bottom right. We had to pass north of the red/green but the current was setting us below it (the track going aroundit is from the first leg). After an hour of tacking as the wind decreased and the current increased, we declared defeat. An additional irony was watching the boats that we passed, that could sail just a little closer to the wind, cross one after the other. These things, they happen.

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    Last edited by Dobbs; 10-01-2023 at 17:47.

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    How dissapointing for you both Dobbs. After all that hard work to be pipped at the post just because you could not point up as well as the others.
    When my lads have a bad day I always cheer them up by splicing the mainbrace. You might instruct your crew that this is the order of the day! Got to keep them happy.
    Once again thanks for posting your course chart.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Sunday morning we had a leisurely start on our way to the Schooner Race. For an hour or two, we wafted between close reaching and closehauled until the wind just gave out again, and then we motored the rest of the way to a quiet secluded anchorage. We spent the afternoon swimming and cleaning Grace's bottom to prepare for the race.

    The next day dawned with light NW winds. We had a lovely 19 mile spinnaker run to our anchorage just a few miles from Baltimore. Suzanne helms while I trim the spinnaker and take pictures.

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    Tuesday morning we picked our way out of the anchorage in the predawn darkness. We'd told the race organizers that we'd arrive at 9, and were 3 hours away. Three hours of motoring put us in our slip for the open dock portion of the race, where folks can come by and ogle the vessels and chat with the crews. We did some ogling and chatting ourselves and settled in. Wednesday was spent with more open docks, a captain's meeting about the race, and a parade of sail through the inner harbor of Baltimore. It was a challenging bit of fun sail handling in close quarters with so many schooners. It was good practice for Thursday's start.

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    Heading back up north then Dobbs!
    Looks great weather too.

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    The weather was extremely mild for October, but someone must have set something iron next to your compass, Admiral. We were traveling from Havre de Grace to Baltimore, a course with a decidedly southerly angle to it.

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    One fun thing that I forgot to mention was that Suzanne and I started Wednesday with an invitation to crew on a Chesapeake 3 sail bateau, JollyDolphin.

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    https://thejollydolphin.com/

    The race organizers encourage the boat owners to take folks out for a spin who would otherwise not have a chance to play on sailboats. Since this was our first time attending this race, we thought that tagging along on someone else's boat to see their how they did it would be informative for us to do it next year.
    Last edited by Dobbs; 10-08-2023 at 10:19.

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    Thursday morning we were up at 2 bells on the morning watch (5am). There was a mandatory captain's meeting at 6:30 followed by a dash to the start line 22 miles away! Start was at noon and Grace has to work hard to make 4.5 knots under motor. The wind, or lack thereof was no help.

    The trip to the start went fine and we got there just as the start sequence began. There were to be 3 starts, with the biggest fastest boats starting first. We were in the last start, a half hour after the first, but we wanted to see everyone off. The forecast 5 knot SE breeze manifested itself as a shifting 5 knot NW wind instead. The flukey breeze dealt a cruel blow to Pride of Baltimore and drove her west of the starting line! She was just working her way into a position to cross the line when we started. It was painful to watch.

    There were dozens of spectator boats swirling around. There was even one right on the starting line as our start was counting down! Even with the confusion we were on the line at zero and the race was on. One other boat shared the line with us and another was less than a boat length behind us and to leeward. The rules of racing says that we have to stay out of the way of a leeward boat. With the light air, this was going to be tough...
    Last edited by Dobbs; 10-08-2023 at 11:44.

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    Don't know what I was thinking of Dobbs. I had you still placed down near Annapolis. Must be my age old chap.
    Update on the chits. Lt.Bush has sent me a semaphore signal, and I now know where to forward his parcel which will hopefully be on its way by mail packet in the next few days.

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Dramatic Picture Section:

    Coming into Baltimore Harbor with Fort McHenry dead ahead (British 1814 perspective).

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    The Schooner Parade, as seen from the back. We didn’t want to be obtrusive as the newbies.

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    Highlights of the start:

    Denis Sullivan, the most masted schooner of the race. She's a reproduction of a Great Lakes cargo schooner and belongs to World Ocean School.

    https://www.worldoceanschool.org/

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    Here, Pride and Virginia mix it up prior to their start. We weren't really sure what was going on there, but it was shortly after this that Pride was way out of position.

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    Last edited by Dobbs; 10-08-2023 at 17:55.

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    We followed every puff, trimming out and in and gaining inches on Radian. Every time we came up with something to move us faster, they followed suit. Finally we were able to crawl away from them and had open water all around us. This view shows Pride of Baltimore and Denis Sullivan behind us.

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    Great pictures Dobbs.
    It all looks very exciting.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

  24. #24

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    I would chime in and say that normally we get better wind in October, but a few years ago when I was in the spectator fleet the fresh breeze died just as the fleet reached the start line!

    We now have some crisp fall weather but alas rain is forecast for Saturday when I am heading down to the Annapolis sailboat show.

    I do believe Dobbs has some updating to do in this thread and maybe a photo of some "silverware".

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    I am currently traveling in an internet challenged area and cannot upload much. I will return.

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    I did not know you got places like that in the States Dobbs.
    Just how far out to sea are you?

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    A little lesson on social geography Rob; the Chesapeake Bay divides the western shore and Eastern Shore. Note the capitalization on Eastern Shore. It's inhabitants almost consider it a separate country. The western shore has urban centers like Baltimore, Washington, and Richmond. The Eastern Shore has Dover and Salisbury. The United States managed to build a railroad across its entire width before anyone succeeded in building one down the length of the Eastern Shore (also called the Delmarva Peninsula). Technology lags here, and here is where we like to explore.

    As the breeze faded and moved forward, Suzanne and I explored new and different ways to trim for light air. I ran the spinnaker sheets, which trim way far aft and can trim farther inboard. These I attached to the clew of the jib to maximize twist in the leach. Suzanne helmed.

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    I sat on the lee rail to induce heel, which we know works on dinghies. I did not allow my feet to trail in the water - FRICTION!

    Here, our efforts have paid off and we have caught Virginia. Sunset was coming on.

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    With sunset, we thought it too risky to leave all our nifty speed enhancing ropes in place. The cockpit sole was a tangle of spaghetti. Instead, we would just have to rely on our experience for navigating at night. I cleaned up the mess to reduce the chance of sleepy confusion. By this point, our average speed, which had started out around 4 knots, was dropping toward 2, but we were still toward the front of the fleet!

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    Thanks for the expose on the Delmarva Peninsula Dobbs. So it would seem it is a bit of a technological backwater!
    Those are actually the types of places I enjoy most. Guess its that historical hankering for the good old days where something isn't going bing every few minutes, and you can actually hear the birds singing instead of coughing in the fog of motor exhausts.
    As for your sailing, it seems you have the legs on most of your other competitors.
    Keep up the good work.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Here, sunset is coming on. That's the Pride of Baltimore i the distance. The sloop is just a diehard spectator keeping us company.

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    Here, Virginia tacks in front of us. Even at 2 knots, it was exciting tacking between her and Pride. Their crews are very competitive.

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    As the night wore on, we continued to work our way south. A scratchy throat Suzanne had noticed on our way to the start manifested itself as the flu as darkness settled in. Nonetheless, she kept trimming. To really help her health, every time I laid down for a catnap, I got to sleep. Every time she lay down, there was a wind shift and it was all hands on deck to tack, or there would be a giant schooner crossing tacks in the dark. Pride thoughtfully had white light on the end of her bowsprit.

    It all came to a head at 4:30am, when the only boat near our size materialized out of the dark just in front of us. We crossed the finish line a handful of minutes behind them and 30 miles south of the starting line. The only other boat in our class that reached the finish had crossed more than an hour in front of us, but was much bigger. We had woken at 5 the previous morning, motored to the start at 12:30, and been trimming and thinking hard for the next 16 hours.

    It was two days before the race organizers posted the results, but we were surprised and happy to learn that the handicapping rules corrected for that hour and more. Of the three boats that finished, even though we were last, we still won! Sometimes being small just works out.

    The flu kept Suzanne in its grip for the next three days. Just as she was feeling better, I succumbed. I didn't have to race. We're all better now, and another 50 miles farther south.
    Last edited by Dobbs; 10-17-2023 at 18:01.

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    Thanks for the update Dobbs, and congratulations on your win. You didn't even need to give your competitors a broadside to gain the advantage in this game. That sailing through the night must have been exhilarating. A pity it was spoilt to some extent by being unwell. All the more kudos to your good lady for sticking at it.

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    We have sailed many places since my last post but I haven't been taking pictures.

    We spent two days sitting out weather in Solomon's Island then had a delightful sail to St. Mary's City on the Potomac River.

    https://www.hsmcdigshistory.org/

    St. Mary's is the first capital of Maryland until it moved to Annapolis in the 1690's. The really neat part is that the entire community basically was abandoned or became farmer's fields and is an amazing archeological project now.

    We left St. Mary's and had a long motor back to Solomon's where our replacement galley pump was waiting. Our previous one had given up the ghost during the race and was hanging on with a jury rig. In Solomon's the marina that hosted the racers gave us our slip back at no charge afterwe'd been gone for a few days!

    Once again we left Solomon's, this time heading for Smith Island. It was a nice, leisurely sail, with just enough wind to keep Grace moving at a good clip.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith_Island,_Maryland

    Smith Island is the last community in Maryland that is only accessible by boat. I think there's less than 200 folks that live there year round. It's a quiet place and most of it is only a few feet above high tide.

    After a day in Smith Island, we left Ewell, the main town, and headed for Mill Creek off Ingram Bay, Virginia, just south of Smith Point. The wind was initially light but filled in nicely as the day went on. We were heading to Mill Creek because it's a great place to sit out weather and more was coming. The day of this weather event was spent Terraforming Mars.
    Last edited by Dobbs; 10-23-2023 at 18:51.

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    Mill Creek is exceptional for providing protection from the wind. Following the unruly forecast, Suzanne and I set off expecting to take two days to get to Pocomoke City. An hour or so after starting, we had the second reef set and were surfing down waves on a broad reach, averaging well above our hull speed, which is rather unsettling. Suzanne said that while she was setting the reef, the waves behind me (I was at the tiller with my back to the wind) were quite unsettling. Anyhow, we covered the distance to Pocomoke City in one day with time to spare but we were too tired to do anything.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pocomoke_City,_Maryland

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    St Marys reminds me of our trip to Williamsburg Dobbs. We spent a week there just visiting all the different re-enactments, businesses, shops and taverns.

    Rob.
    Last edited by Bligh; 10-26-2023 at 03:34.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Your voyage to Pokomoke City sounds exciting Dobbs. A pity you were too busy to get a shot of the conditions, but from your narrative it is easy to see why you didn't.

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    I was down below at one point and looked out the windward windows and thought about a picture, but it didn't happen. The problem with photographing crazy seas-states is that there's rary anything in the frame as a reference. My thought while down below involved the horizon obscured by the waves. That sort of works like a reference point.

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    I am learning more and more from your voyage every day Dobbs,

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dobbs View Post
    Mill Creek is exceptional for providing protection from the wind. Following the unruly forecast, Suzanne and I set off expecting to take two days to get to Pocomoke City. An hour or so after starting, we had the second reef set and were surfing down waves on a broad reach, averaging well above our hull speed, which is rather unsettling. Suzanne said that while she was setting the reef, the waves behind me (I was at the tiller with my back to the wind) were quite unsettling. Anyhow, we covered the distance to Pocomoke City in one day with time to spare but we were too tired to do anything.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pocomoke_City,_Maryland
    I saw sustained winds over 20 knts with gusts over 30 knts in Rock Hall last weekend. Even up in Wilmington we had a steady 17 knts with 20 knt gusts. I was out cycling on Sunday and really got blown around a bit.

    Would have been excellent conditions for the Great Schooner race, at least for Pride and the larger vessels!

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    I was down below at one point and looked out the windward windows and thought about a picture, but it didn't happen. The problem with photographing crazy seas-states is that there's rarely anything in the frame as a reference, so the scale is lost. My thought while down below involved the horizon obscured by the waves. That sort of works like a reference point, it'sjust hard to photograph.

  40. #40
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    We departed Pocomoke City before dawn. The town is several miles up a cypress swamp river from the Bay. I tried to capture the early morning beauty of the light in the trees with these pictures.

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    Our destination for the day was Onancock, Virginia, which we were able to make under easy sail by mid-afternoon.

    https://www.onancock.com/community/p...4aAhFoEALw_wcB

    Onancock is the point of departure for the last naval battle of the American Revolutionary War.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Kedges_Strait
    Last edited by Dobbs; 10-28-2023 at 06:11.

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    Very picturesque Dobbs.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    From Onancock, we headed north again to Bivalve, Maryland on the Nanticoke River.

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    Found you on my map Dobbs.
    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    The town of Bivalve is really just a collection of houses on a road to somewhere else, but it's delightful. For some reason, they have a very nice marina plunked down in a park on the outskirts. In fact, there are a number of very nice riverfront parks all a short distance from the marina. We hunkered down in Bivalve for 3 days to sit out some weather and used the time to explore the surroundings and play tennis.

    Leaving Bivalve, our plan was to head back to Solomon's because our real destination was too far to make in one day. The plan changed when the wind filled in and Grace went charging along and brought us to our target an hour and a half earlier than we thought possible.

    The target was Slaughter Creek, east of Taylor's Island on the south side of the Little Choptank River.

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    The following morning we tied up at the Slaughter Creek marina to explore the island. A funny thing was that the marina owner informed us that he had a bunch of bicycles we were free to use, but he wasn't sure if any were rideable. Suzanne and I spent our first hour doing whirlwind bike repairs and made two functional bikes out of four.

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    Well done those two sailors.

    When I was a young student at college we had an experience somewhat similar. In the College laundry were a gaggle of broken washing machines. My friend in the next room to mine had been working on mending machines for a holiday job. We offered to the Student Union to get as many machines working as we could for a small remuneration. By cannibalizing eight machines he got four working for them in the laundry.
    The fifth one which we did not mention was spirited away to our GP room. We were the only corridor with our own private washing machine and spin dryer for two years. When we graduated and left college, a strange fifth machine suddenly re-appeared back in the laundry room.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    That's great! We plan some of our adventures based on if there's a washer and dryer at the end. In fact, Slaughter Creek marina was supposed to have a pair, but was having well issues.

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    Not so good then Dobbs.
    When camping, I have even seen salad spinners used to dry individual bits of clothing. Not the most speedy process but when all your kit is wet in camp on a rainy day anything to aid drying works.Dry socks can make things seem a lot better.

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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    Here's a link to the Taylor's Island Wikipedia page.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tayl...land,_Maryland

    As an aside, much of the Eastern Shore is elevation challenged, and the Chesapeake Bay, being a long estuary, can have some interesting tidal effects when the wind blows just right. It hasn't happened this trip, but we have made landfall where it's actually drier to stay on the boat. Some towns have communal "rust trucks" for driving when the roads are under water. As we travel year to year, we see the coastline retreating and the trees dying off from saltwater intrusion. Change is a constant on the Chesapeake.

  50. #50
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    Got it on Google maps Dobbs, Saw the church and Marina marked.Also the wildlife sanctuary.

    Rob.
    The Business of the commander-in-chief is first to bring an enemy fleet to battle on the most advantageous terms to himself, (I mean that of laying his ships close on board the enemy, as expeditiously as possible); and secondly to continue them there until the business is decided.

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