Sunday, November 06, 2005

Downrigging Weekend in Chestertown

Part One, Annapolis to Chestertown- We set out early Friday morning for Chestertown. Winds were light, but we did get some sailing in. It is about 2 hours across the Bay, then a long, winding trip up the Chester River to Chestertown, Maryland. Chestertown is the home of the Schooner Sultana, and other tall ships join her to celebrate the end of the sailing season every November.

Part 2, Anchored (and not) in Chestertown- We arrived around dusk Friday night. As the boys set the anchor, and the dogs whined to go ashore and "do business," Shannon shot pictures of the tall ships and other boats in the anchorage. The Schooner Sultana, Schooner Virginia, Lady Maryland, skipjack Stanley Norman, Kalmar Nyckel, and Schooner When and If were all tied up along the Chestertown docks. At dark, they were all lit, a beautiful (although eerie) sight.

After the dogs were dinghied ashore, Buckley set the table and Ben made an excellent dinner of ceasar salad and lasagna. We toasted the tall ships with Count Choculas, a mixture of hot chocolate, dark rum, and creme de cacao, then hit the sack.
Saturday morning, we awoke to find ourselves much closer to the boat ahead of us than we remembered. We had drug anchor. The anchor did stick in the new spot, but unfortunately it did so on one of several cables that run along the river bottom. Ben and Mark couldn't budge it. So they tracked down a scuba diver, who did the job. Sandy was upset by his disappearance beneath the water.

Buckley was upset that the guy took the dinghy, which he considers his own personal boat. Once the anchor was freed, we moved further down the river and re-anchored, and Sandy and Buckley reclaimed the dinghy. After a gorgeous sunset and yummy dinner, we all enjoyed a walk around downtown Chestertown Saturday night.

Part 3, Chestertown to Annapolis- Sunday morning, we set out on the return trip home. Shannon took the helm, and realized why color GPS is so necessary, after all. With marine charts loaded in, it gives the helms(wo)man the location of the deep water channel and all nautical markers. The weather was beautiful, but the VHF radio warned of a small craft advisory for the northern Bay, so the boys donned their foul weather gear (for the spray that accompanies high winds), and Shannon and the dogs ducked below. (Lest you think she wimped out, Shannon reminds you that this meant rolling around below decks, being buffeted by one very large dog and one very bony-elbowed dog.) The winds did indeed build, but just enough for a wonderful sail back. We sailed under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge as the sun was setting and the crescent moon rising.

This just about says it all.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Sunday Sailing

Around Annapolis, many people choose Sunday sailing over Sunday driving. This Sunday, we went out with friends Ben and Jen, their visiting friend Dave, and their dog Buckley, who loves sailing probably the most of anyone. It was a gorgeous fall day, and we sailed out of Back Creek to the Bay Bridge, then motored into the harbor and Ego Alley, before returning to port and an amazing dinner Jen made. You'd think this was our nostalgic last sail of the season, but you'd be wrong. We're headed across the Bay next weekend (with both dogs along for warmth) for the downrigging of the Schooner Sultana in Chestertown. Stay tuned...