Cheaspeake Bay, Solomon Isle. Position 38:20.278N 76:27.605W
Bill and Judy Stellin
Thu 29 May 2008 01:43
We are back at anchor in Solomon MD. Almost in the same exact spot we were before. Getting here was pure joy. The night before could have been pure hell.
We were in Back Creek next to Eastport which is next to Annapolis. We had been at anchor for 3 nights with no problems. Last night, however the wind shifted very suddenly, (although well predicted) from out of the north. It had been blowing gently from the south. About 1AM I awoke at the shift and thought I had better look at where we were and if we were ok. All seemed fine so I went back to bed. I never got to sleep again because the wind really piped up. It was blowing about 20-25 knots so I got up again and noticed we seemed to have moved a bit closer to shore and some boats and docks. While I was pondering if it was my imagination or real, I saw we had indeed begun to move and now faster.
I got my pants on and woke Judy to help. We had to move and move fast. By the time I got to the wheel and the engine started we had drifted to within about 10 feet from a dock.
The bottom in the Annapolis area creeks and bays is what is known as "puff mud". It is just a slurry about two feet deep with hard clay underneath. Skippers are warned about it, so anchoring is chancy at best. Trouble is, slips are $2.00 to $2.25 per foot. At 42 feet it adds up quickly. Mooring balls are available but they cost $25 per night and are located in a very rolly part of the harbor. Anchoring is much preferable for peace and quite and cost.
We got the boat moved to a new spot where we were in the middle of the channel. The wind was blowing straight down it, so at least if we dragged, it would be down it's length instead of across it.
We re anchored twice before we were satisfied we were holding. The water is only 10 feet deep and we had to have 100 feet of chain out to stay put. As an added measure, we put out our danforth anchor astern to keep us from getting sideways in the channel.
It all went well and we were soon back in our cozy bed and asleep.
In the morning, we had to recover the danforth astern. It and the rode, were covered with the blackest, stickiest mud you ever saw. It got everywhere on the boat and on us. Next time, maybe the $25 rolly mooring ball will look a lot more inviting.
The wind was still howling out of the north at about 20 with gust to 25 knots. Our kind of weather for a romp south. We left the harbor with just the Genoa doing about 6 1/2 knots, respectable speed, but nowhere near Jaywalker's potential. So, up went the spinnaker and we flew. Hitting 9 knots at times was better than anything I could think of at the moment. There were about 4 foot waves behind us so we hand steered for an hour and a half, but then let the pilot take care of the rest of day while we marveled at the speed and the excitement of the day. It was 43 miles of pure bliss. Cloudy skies and cool but better than hot and sticky with flys. We passed every boat that we saw ahead of us and caught some that were over the horizon when we first left.
This was the first time in months we've had a spinnaker up for any length of time and it sure felt great. A very good way to bring the season to a close.