Mill Creek, south of Reedville
Saturday 5th November 2011
Distance run: 45 nmiles
Once again up with the light, we set off in no wind out of Back Creek and into the river. For some inexplicable reason the chart plotter was showing the boat going backwards, albeit in the right direction! The autopilot heading said we were going on a reciprocal heading to the one we were actually on! We tried switching it on and off but this had no effect. In the end we went around in circles swinging the compass in an effort to get it to sort itself out. Still it thought we were heading in the opposite direction. In the end we had to press various buttons on the autopilot to realign the heading, and then it seemed to be fine. No idea why it lost its heading in the first place, but hey, that’s technology for you!
Once out in the bay, the wind began to pick up so we put a reef in the main and furled the genoa to ¾ and stonked along at 7 knots. After a while it picked up even more with 25 knots blowing consistently and gusts of up to 30. Scott-Free loved it, and was flying along at 9 knots, but the sea was becoming decidedly lumpy as we began to cross the mouth of the Potomac River. So we put another reef in the main and furled the genoa to about the size of a pocket handkerchief to make the ride a little more comfortable. Still we were flying along at 7-8 knots and made excellent time to the mouth of the Great Wicomico River. The slight problem here was that the wind was blowing strongly straight into the mouth of the creek we were planning on spending the night in. Knowing that the entrance actually wound around two doglegs, we assumed that the waves and wind would drop once we made it round these, so decided to go for it anyway. In the end the entry was fairly easy around the well-marked channel, and we arrived in a wonderfully calm creek, surrounded on all sides by trees with their beautiful autumn leaves. From here, you could have no idea what the conditions were like outside. We had the entire place to ourselves so we chose our spot and dropped the anchor.
Mill Creek - calm, peaceful and deserted… …whichever way we looked.
As the forecast was for the winds to continue to increase in strength overnight and the next day, we decided we would stay here until Sunday. So today we have done the usual boat tidying and Steve tackled the problem of the deck wash that only works when it feels like it, and usually not when I need it. This tends to be when we are lifting the anchor as the chain gets covered in thick grey mud lying around on the seabed, and brings a lot of it up with it when we pull it up. Not being too keen to have this mess on board or choking up the anchor locker, I like to spray the chain as it comes over the bow roller to get all the mud off before it comes on deck and then down into the locker. As the deck wash uses sea water I can use as much as I like to get the mud off. But the switch that operates the spray has got corroded and so the contacts don’t work efficiently. We bought a replacement box and switch in RS when we were back in the UK, and so now seemed a good time to replace the dodgy one. The sort of job Steve loves doing, an hour later the new switch was installed and working every time!
The old switch had become corroded and very temperamental… …the nice new one works a treat.