Sailing South!

Saturday 11/3, 7:20pm, 58/39, W15-20>30, partly cloudy, 955.3 engine hours - We awoke at 5:15am to catch as much of the ebb as possible once the sun was up - the tide turned around 6am. A strong west wind had filled in during the pre-dawn hours. Even so, we had no trouble taking off our seasonal dock lines - these lines are 1/2” diameter and stay in place on the dock April through November and we travel with 7/16” ones which are easier to handle - and springing out of our slip. We set the mainsail with 2nd reef and unfurled a 95% jib and Grace made 6.5 knots down the North East River. The sky was beautiful - azure blue highlighted by pale pink.

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A west wind meant short tack/long tack instead of sailing straight in the direction we wanted to go. Grace sailed comfortably - so much so that the spray coming over the bow and the fact that we were shouting to each other were the only indicators that it was gusting to 30.

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About halfway from Turkey Point to Howell Point we shortened the main to the 3rd reef (thank you North Sails for adding it!). This was a good idea, as the wind-against-tide waves at Howell Point were substantial (read as HUGE for the Northern Bay). In all the bumping, our knot meter started to read more accurately - it was stuck at zero this morning. A few other boats were out, all trying to stay on their feet and go somewhere. The wind continued to build, so we rolled away a wrap or two of jib - this was abreast of Still Pond.

We decided to put in at Worton Creek for the remainder of the day and night. We’d sailed well in rough conditions - why push for Rock Hall and a more exposed anchorage in Swan Creek when we can tuck in here? We’re anchored beyond the far side of the mooring field, away from the channel. We found 5’ of water at low tide, which is plenty for Grace, and it’s a well-protected spot close to the tree line. Our friend Joe’s boat “Arrow” is moored astern of us, but he’s in Florida right now, helping with post-hurricane clean-up.

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It felt really good to have several free hours this afternoon, to do as I pleased. At 4:30pm, we drank tea in the cockpit, enjoying the warmth of the sunshine and the way it lit up the tree leaves in reds and golds.

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Later, Dobbs took Murph back in for one more romp and I made a soba noodle stir-fry with peanut sauce for dinner.

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The wind is slowly abating. I think I’ll sleep well tonight.

Suzanne Fryberger