All About Tonight
27 July 2013 | Rhode River
Nick / 80, 14-16 knots, South
Meredith and I woke up Saturday with pretty vague plans for the day other than sailing, spending the night on the boat and having BBQ chicken. A pretty laid back day and good continuation of her birthday weekend.
Our friends Dan and Tara were nice enough to watch Bailey for the night. After packing - and giving Bailey a bath - we dropped him off and headed out to the boat.
I've learned to pretty much ignore the weather forecasts because the weather in Galesville isn't the weather on the West River. The weather on the West River isn't the weather on the Bay. And, the weather on the Bay is rarely what they forecast it to be. We got to the slip and were greeted by a fresh southern breeze that built the whole way out of the river. By the time we were raising the sails, the wind was a nearly constant 16 knots. Meredith was a little nervous since we hadn't been on a good sail in a few weeks and we decided to put a reef in the main. There were boats out with all types of configurations ranging from full sails to jib alone, to several reef arrangements. Besides, it's easier to shake a reef out than put one in.
We made quick work of sailing north to the mouth of the Severn with the winds coming from our back quarter, as well as the waves. Once we got past Thomas Point - and the growing swells caused by the water going from 25 to 10 and back to 25 feet - I set the auto-pilot. It seems to steer downwind better than I do. Our speed was down to about 5 knots and I figured now would be a good time to take out the reef.
Meredith laid out while I watched a one-design race out in the Bay. A boat was on the same heading as us and appeared to be making up ground - which is the real reason I took out the reef. No need to get passed when you don't have to, right? Once we started going up into the Severn, our lack of plans had to come to an end. We toyed with the idea of staying in Annapolis then heading back Sunday morning, but getting under way early enough for a three hour sail before a 12:30 tee time didn't seem too appealing. We tacked back toward the West River. As we did, I saw that the boat behind us was Muse. Peter had told Meredith they planned on visiting Annapolis Saturday night. They tacked right behind us and I saw Judi taking a couple pictures of Cordelia under sail. I've been wanting a picture of us sailing. I grabbed Meredith iPhone and did the same for them, though their photos turned out MUCH better than mine.
The wind was still blowing pretty good and we had a nice sail back to the West River, even though we were beating into a pretty good chop. The seas got a little confused as we went over the end of Thomas Point shoal and Meredith gave me a heads up just in time to see a big spray douse the cockpit. Our speed started to really pick up as we headed into the West River. It's easy to tell when we break about 6.7 knots just by the sound of the water flowing past the transom. Get close to 7 and it sounds like the water passing under the hull has started to boil. I love it. Especially when we are on a nice reach, with balanced sails, a shoulder in the water. Cordelia roars along like a locomotive on the tracks.
We turned further off the wind until we were going into the Rhode wing-and-wing. We can't grill at the dock, so dropping anchor near the islands in the Rhode for the night seemed like a good compromise. We're still anchoring out and the wakeup call wouldn't be too early. Now that we've spent several nights on Cordelia, getting up with the sun isn't an issue anymore. Great for sleeping. Not so much for maximizing sailing time.
The weather, aside from a short-lived sprinkle, was perfect for lounging in the cockpit. We had a cocktail, some snacks and Meredith took a quick nap. I finally got around to hooking up the grill and making the BBQ chicken, which had been in the ice box covered with some marinade from The Shed in Ocean Springs, Miss. After dinner we straightened up, played cards (the ever-classy game of War) and called it a night.
The house battery cranked the engine on Sunday morning without too much protest, even after running the instruments, anchor light and stereo. Hopefully our battery issues were as simple as returning the "bad" one to West Marine.
Meredith motored us back to the slip, even though she did admit to wanting to head back into the Bay, and we loaded the car to head home.