It looks as though we'll be pinned down in Solomons by the weather until Saturday. High wind, thunderstorms and rain today and gale warnings tomorrow and high winds again on Friday. The nice thing about having to wait to move on is that it's greatly improved out breakfast menus. Today Robert made pancakes and eggs - and bacon for him and Madison.
Robert checked out a bike and went to the Food Lion about a mile and a half away today, but I hardly left the boat until late afternoon when we took Madison for a long walk in misting rain. We had dinner, played a game of Quiddler and turned in.
Both times we've anchored in the Rhode River the sunsets and sunrises have been spectacular. Last night was no exception as the photo above shows. We were up before sunrise and on our way south by 8 a.m. As Robert got ready to pull up the anchor a young bald eagle flew over the boat. What a thrilling sight. It's overcast and cool with light winds as we motor-sail down the bay for Solomons.
We picked up a mooring at Zahniser's Yachting Center about 4 p.m., fed and walked Madison, ate dinner, showered and called it a day.
An Autumn walk
Today dawned bright and clear, a lovely crisp Autumn morning. Robert walked into Eastport to wash Madison's bedding and the other things I'd covered with berry juice on Sunday. Madison and I stayed on the boat and did chores. When he returned, we went to the dock to meet him and had a lovely walk on the "unofficial" trail in Quiet Waters Park before hoisting our anchor and heading for the Chesapeake Yacht Club's fuel dock in the West River. There wasn't much wind, so we motored, but it was a gorgeous day.
Reintroducing oysters into the West River
As I was walking Madison at the yacht club, I ran into a father and son team, Joe and Ross Hunter, who were putting baby oysters into the water. Oysters in the West River won't propagate, they told me. There are several theories as to why, but they are trying to get a definitive scientific answer, which may take 20 years, Joe Hunter told me. These baby oysters were propagated at the University of Maryland where they have big indoor pools with a water temperature of 86 degrees, which is the most favorable temperature for oysters to spawn.
The Hunters regularly raise the cages that contain the baby oysters so the sunlight will kill the flatworms that eat them and to release any crabs that have gotten into the cages and grown too big to escape.
The Yacht Club is applying to the state to buy plastic tables on which they can place the cages containing baby oysters to keep them a few inches out of the mud on the bottom of the river, they told me.
More about the oysters being reintroduced to the West River can be found at:
Oyster reintroduction program
A Sabre to the rescue
On a brief visit to the clubhouse, I learned that Chesapeake Yacht Club members who own a new Sabre were involved in a lifesaving rescue on Oct. 5. It's a tragic, but really interesting, story:
Story of the rescue
A Rhode River sunset
After getting fuel, water and a pump out, we motored to the Rhode River where we anchored for the night. We took Madison for a walk in some lovely woods near the anchorage and watched a spectacular sunset on the way back to Arwen.
Late breaking news....American 2.0 wins
We checked on the race outcome this morning and, no surprise, America 2.0 won its class. Woodwind also won its class. The complete results can be found at the race Web site:
The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race results
Off to a bad start....
Some days, I think, there's a little pixie who's decided to make sport of you. He sits around watching for every opportunity to foil your agenda.
I spent the morning trying to catch up on the blog instead of following my regular morning routines - stretching, eating, tidying up the boat. I couldn't keep the Internet connection going, so I posted the same update multiple times, getting more frustrated as the time ticked away. We had agreed we would leave at 9 a.m. At 10 a.m., after feeding and walking the dog and doing everything necessary to cast off the mooring line and head out of Back Creek, Robert, long-suffering and patient only to a point, began getting ready to leave. I hastily got dressed and ready to take the helm to pull away from the mooring when he threw off the line. When we got into the Severn, the winds were 8 to 10 knots out of the southwest, so we hoisted the sails.
Soon after, slave to my stomach that I am, I went below to fix something to eat. I poured a glass of juice - one of those mixed berry juices that's a lovely red color - and put it on the little lift-up table beside the stove. I cut up a bowl of fruit for me and one for Robert and pulled the yogurt out of the cooler and piled on a couple of tablespoons. It was just about then that a gust of wind heeled the boat and the juice came sliding, sliding, sliding caught the lip of the table, flipped onto the settee cushion and sprayed Madison and her bed (she was startled awake and looked very put out) with what didn't end up on the cushion, my clothes or the cabin's woodwork. I may not be much of a sailor, but I can tell you, my language at that moment would qualify me for the hall of fame.
Robert, trying to keep a straight face, yelled that it wasn't his fault - it was the wind. I knew that. Smart aleck.
Then he had the temerity to tell me he needed my help because we were being blown onto a couple of anchored fishing boats.
Couldn't he see I had a mess to clean up!
Fifteen minutes later, we were past the fishing boats and Madison's bed, a towel, a dish cloth and a couple of rags were soaked with berry juice and out of sight in the laundry bag. I was sitting in the cockpit defiantly eating my fruit and yogurt. Evil pixie.
It was a gorgeous day for sailing with 10-to-15-knot winds in the bay, but I was too out-of-sorts to appreciate it, though I did enjoy seeing the beautiful red and blue spinnakers of the boats involved in some regatta near the bay bridge.
We passed Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse and headed into the South River, then into Harness Creek where we anchored for the night. We had a very nice walk on an "unofficial" trail in the woods of Quiet Waters Park, then had dinner and played a game of Quiddler. It's a good thing I won.
We tried to check on the race, but the site tracking the boats had crashed.
Annapolis Maritime Museum
In the early afternoon, we visited the Annapolis Maritime Museum, located in the old McNashby Oyster Co. building on Back Creek. A volunteer docent told us that there were once 12 oyster shucking houses in Annapolis and that about 15 million oysters a year were harvested in the bay around 1885. Last year there were 140,000.
The entire Chesapeake Bay was totally different in those days, he said. He pointed to a cloudy aquarium in the center of the building that contains oysters and fish. It continually circulates water from the bay. He said that if they have to turn the recirculation off to do maintenance, the oysters have filtered the water in an hour and that the entire tank will be as clear as the glass at the top where there is no water.
One of the signs in the museum said there were 3 million oysters harvested in 1952 and only 100,000 in 2009.
The museum displays focus on oystering. There's a model of an oyster showing its anatomy - its heart, stomach, mouth, muscle, gills, etc. There's also a boat built in 1931 and used for harvesting oysters that's been cut into sections and set up so children can board it.
Annapolis Maritime Museum
Lunch at Davis Pub
From the museum we went to Davis Pub on Chester Avenue near Back Creek where we could sit outside and have lunch. It was a perfect fall day and Madison tucked herself under the table and didn't snarl at a single one of the numerous other dogs at nearby tables or passing by on the street. After lunch we wandered past the Weems and Plath tent sale (a sale of navigation equipment, barometers, clocks, lamps, etc., under tents), across Spa Creek Bridge and past the gates to the power boat show. We ran into Chris Kling, who's been working at the show and had a short visit.
Then we used the walking tour guide I'd bought at the museum to take a walking tour of some of the historic houses in Annapolis. It was a glorious autumn late afternoon in an incredibly charming city. Along the way, a woman stopped us and asked if we had a camera with a long enough lens to get a picture of a big bird that had been perched on the decorative wrought iron (cross?) at the top of St. Anne's steeple for about an hour. She wanted to know what it was. We managed to get a few fuzzy photos of it, enough for Robert to identify it as likely being a peregrine falcon. They are truly magnificent birds and this one was especially so in the late afternoon light.
Getting ready to head south
After we returned to the boat we took the dingy over to Port Annapolis Marina, where we've paid for facility passes since we've been moored in Back Creek, and took showers and did laundry in preparation for heading homeward tomorrow.
Port Annapolis Marina
More technical difficulties
We tried to check on the race again when we got back to the boat in early evening, but our Verizon air card kept kicking us offline, even though Annapolis has a 4G connection. We've had this problem ever since we've been here. I spent about 45 minutes on the phone with a technician from Verizon. I should say, I spent about 30 minutes on hold and about 15 minutes talking to the technician, who was very nice and seemed to have the problem solved - at least for the rest of that day. Now we seemed to be back to the same issue.
America in the lead
We checked on the schooner race this morning and America 2.0 is leading, just as she was last night. She was making just over 9 knots last night. This morning about 9:20 a.m. she was making 10. America is 104 feet long. Woodwind was in second place last night and is this morning also. She's 74 feet long and was making 7-plus knots this morning. It would be interesting to know their length at the waterline to be able to calculate their hull speeds. Cruising and traditional sail boats can't get up on plane (when you see motor boats speeding along with their bows out of the water they are on plane.)The length at the waterline determines the speed for displacement boats like large ships, traditional sailing vessels or any boat that doesn't get up on plane. The longer the waterline length, the faster the boat. The formula for hull speed for displacement vessels is 1.34 X (LWL)½-power. For example, Arwen is 29.9' but her length at the water line is 24'. Her maximum hull speed is 6.56 knots. Theoretically, that's as fast as she will go, no matter how much horse power or how much wind. (I more or less understand this because Robert has explained it to me several times....)
Hull speed calculator
A Black Dog trophy
From reading through the race rules, there are a number of classes, ways of handicapping boats and several trophies, including a Black Dog Trophy that made me think a kindred spirit played a role in the history of this 22-year-old race, since our boat Arwen is named after a faithful black dog. Here's what the rules say about the trophy:
"In 2006, the GCBSR Board of Directors created the Black Dog Award to honor an individual(s) who supports the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race in the spirit of Captain Lane Briggs (1932-2005). Named after Captain Briggs' faithful companion, Reb, this bronze statue of a "black dog" signifies loyalty to the race mission and faithful and honorable support for the event without personal recognition. In the words of Captain Briggs, "It's amazing what you can get done if you don't care who gets credit for it!" The Board of Directors presents this award, honoring significant contributions to the race, as deserved and not on an annual basis, making it the most prestigious presentation of the organization."
Saving the bay by remembering its maritime heritage
The race is about much more than the fun of racing or coming in first, though I have no doubt the crews of all those boats out there would love to be first in their class and are working hard to make it so. It's about preserving the maritime heritage of the bay and promoting the preservation of its natural resources through education.
America 2.0 and Woodwind
America 2.0 was added in 2011 to the fleet of New York's Classic Harbor Line, which offers private charters and tours. Their Web site says she is "the newest, largest, most elegant vessel designed for Classic Harbor Line...the fastest, has the most refined finishes." The site says she is based on an 1851 icon.
If her performance in the race so far is any indication, they're not exaggerating about her speed. When we passed among the ships as they started down the bay, there was one ship already well out in front and I think it was America. I took a picture, but it was foggy and overcast, so there's not enough detail to be sure. It's posted above. Thanks to the fog, in many of the photos I took, they really look like ghost ships. It's a little eerie.
Woodwind I and Woodwind II offer tours out of Annapolis. One of them was tied up to the city fuel dock when we arrived in Annapolis the first time. She was so long there wasn't much room left on the dock, so we circled around until she pulled away. They are beautiful boats.
According to the race Web site, the boats have to finish by 10 a.m. Saturday or they are considered not to have completed the race. A list of all the boats and their current locations can be found at through the Web site at The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race
Historic Annapolis Museum
The day started rainy and cold. I'd begun to think we wouldn't accomplish much, but in the afternoon, despite the rain, we decided to take turns touring the Annapolis Museum, which is right on the harbor. The docent asked me to take my rain gear off and leave it on the ground floor when I went to the top two floors where the exhibits are housed. The displays of the silver and furniture made by early Annapolitan craftsmen were very nice. But one of the most interesting displays was of photos of the area around the mouth of Spa Creek in the windows overlooking that area. You could compare what it looked like in previous decades and now. The docent asked that we not take pictures of the exhibits, but I didn't think they'd mind if I took a picture through the window of what it looks like now. Madison was allowed on the ground floor and, as usual, she got petted by the docents. We alternated between the museum and the Hard Bean Coffee Shop where we visited with our friend Ed who played the flute for us in the gazebo in Quiet Waters Park a couple of weeks ago. After Robert finished his tour, he met me at the coffee shop and we shared a bagel for lunch.
By then it had cleared and was a beautiful fall day. We spent the rest of the afternoon looking at boats.
Historic Annapolis Museum