A Weekend at Still Pond, Part 2

5/12 Sunday, 54/48, cloudy with rain, NE15-20>25, 1344.6 - As forecast, a strong breeze filled in last evening. Our anchor chain popped and groaned in the bow roller despite the snubber taking the strain of the rode. I’d forgotten to lower our Hances Point Yacht Club burgee and it periodically strummed the upper shroud like a bass fiddle. Rather than put on foul weather gear to fetch it, I put in ear plugs instead. Dobbs and I awoke to a steady rain thrumming on the deck. We stayed in bed until 7am, cozy and warm in the V-berth. Dobbs got coffee started and then I made us a breakfast of brioche French toast stacked in layers with banana slices and drizzled with maple syrup. I’d never tried French toast with bananas, and I read that it’s popular in France this way, so I wanted to try it. The French know what they’re talking about - it was delicious!

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After breakfast, Dobbs rowed Murphy to shore in the pouring rain.

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I packed lunch for us to eat underway and then got dressed - long underwear, wool socks, Spinlock knee pads, comfy pants and a flannel, a fleece, and foul weather gear.

These socks were supposed to curry favor from the gods…

These socks were supposed to curry favor from the gods…

When Dobbs returned with Murphy, I stowed our wet dog below, along with a dripping mainsail cover - two of the hallmarks of a rainy day underway. We loaded Coquille on the foredeck and upped anchor. As we motored clear of Still Pond Creek, we could see big white-capping waves out in the Bay, beyond the lee of Meeks Point. We set our mainsail with the second reef and unfurled the 95% jib.

In no time at all, we were in the thick of it - shouldering through the waves when we could, slowing and getting washed over when we couldn’t. The wind was stronger than forecast - more of a constant 20-25 knots. Add to that our forward speed of 3.5-4.5 knots, and now we’re approaching 30 at times. The waves were impressive (for the Northern Bay, which also means they were close-set) because, while the tide was moving in our favor (Yay!), it was opposing the wind and stacking them up (Boo!). We beat back and forth across the Bay for three tacks over the course of about an hour. The sailing was intense (hence no video). I had to play the main a lot to keep Grace from being overpowered, and we couldn’t put the 3rd reef in because we needed the power to drive ahead. Grace’s side decks were occasionally awash up to the windows. Maxwell showed his enthusiasm for the experience by throwing up on Dobbs’ violin case and the genoa AND spinnaker bags. After the fourth tack, we decided to turn back. We’d explored both sides of the Bay and the middle, looking for lower wave heights, and come up empty-handed. Visibility was deteriorating, rain was coming down harder, and the breeze showed no indication of letting up or shifting. I furled the jib and we broad-reached back to Still Pond at 6+ knots, with Dobbs carefully steering to keep Grace from slewing sideways.

To say we were jubilant to get back in the protection of Meeks Point would be an under-statement. We coasted to the creek entrance at 3.5 knots and then motored back around to our anchorage. Somewhat shell-shocked, we cleaned up the boat, ate lunch, sipped some port, and took a nap. The creaking of the anchor chain didn’t keep me up one bit - I was glad to be safe. Around 4pm, we launched the dinghy and, this time, I rowed Murphy to shore. The wind was so forceful on the dinghy’s transom that instead of rowing, I had to use the oars as brakes to keep the bow pointing downwind!

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Once ashore, I walked around appreciating the variety of trees that grow there, and the sandy beaches and yellow irises just beginning to bloom.

The row back out to Grace was a workout - if I’d stopped rowing for a moment, I’d have been blown yards in the opposite direction. We spent the rest of the afternoon playing rummy. For dinner, I had to be creative - I’m out of practice for weekending, and I brought only one night’s worth of food. We’ve never been shut down coming home from Still Pond before! It’s a good reminder to always have a reserve. I cooked the rest of the penne pasta and heated up the left-over alfredo sauce with some sautéed onions and turkey deli meat tossed in. I topped it with dried basil and chopped roasted mixed nuts. It was really good!

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I tried writing and reading after dinner, but with a full belly, I couldn’t keep my head up. Dobbs stayed up for a while reading and then washed the dishes before coming to bed.

Suzanne Fryberger