Enough people at the marina knew that we weren't going to be out there for a few weekends, so I wasn't worried about anything happening to Cordelia while we were gone. She would be well looked after. But at more than a week and a half - longer if don't count a quick motor around the West River after work - this was by far the longest we've been away. It's an understatement to say we were both pretty anxious to get back in our usual weekend routine on the Bay and the weather for Friday and Saturday looked pretty great.
We headed out Friday evening with Bailey in tow. It felt great to walk down the dock and see Cordelia still in the slip just like we left her. One of the most important things about your boat, I think, is being able to walk to the slip time after time and still think, "Wow, that's a pretty boat." That's what we thought when we first saw Cordelia and it's still true now.
Meredith took Bailey and our bags in the cabin to stow everything while I tackled the dinghy - which hadn't been used in a lot longer than two weeks... We took the dinghy over to say hello to Bob and Sandy who were sitting in their cockpit before we headed to Pirate's Cove for dinner, a couple drinks and dancing. The cool August weekend must have been the excuse everyone was looking for to take their boats out for the night because the West River had several larger power boats and a few more sailboats anchored out than usual.
On the way back to the dock after dinner, we watched the jellyfish spark past us. They don't make for very pleasant swimming, but they do make night rides home from Pirate's Cove more entertaining as the outboard stirs them up.
I took Bailey on a nice walk and Meredith and I went for a quick run through the neighborhood. Chalk Point has a abundance of wildlife. Every time we're out there we see geese, ducks, rabbits, an occasional deer, you name it. I guess people aren't the only ones who like the view.
It was a great feeling when we finally threw off the dock lines and motored out of the slip. The time off didn't seem to have done too much damage, other than the half knot of speed we lost from the bottom growth.
It took about a half dozen somewhat sloppy tacks before we were able to get into the Bay, with the winds coming from the East at about 12-14 knots. I also got too close to the wind twice causing us to heave-to before doing a tight little doughnut. So maybe the bottom growth wasn't the only thing suffering from lack of use...
Once we were in the Bay things improved greatly. Our speed picked up as some of the algae sloughed off and I found the groove. We made good speed almost the entire way to the Eastern Shore and had a perfect tack to zip around Bloody Point into Eastern Bay. The thought of heading over to St. Michaels sounded appealing, but with no dinghy the water taxi rides to walk Bailey didn't seem like the most fun idea - and the forecast rain Sunday didn't sound too great either. In the end, we decided another night at the dock would be the easiest.
About 2:00 the wind started to slowly fade away. Still coming from the East and us heading back West made the light winds even more of an issue. By 2:30 they weren't even strong enough to fill our jib. We could have headed more North to get a better tack and I even thought about fussing with the spinnaker - despite leaving the pole at the dock. In the end, about 2:30, we fired up the engine and motored back, passing several boats who were still holding out hope for more wind. We heard the wind did finally fill back in sometime between 4:00 and 5:00, but I was already on my second cocktail by then.
Back at the dock, I convinced Meredith we should take another dinghy ride to explore the nooks and crannies of the West and South Rivers - you know, things a sailboat with a 6'2" draft just doesn't let you do. Remember this...
The only real excitement for the evening was a dog overboard drill - luckily it wasn't Bailey, he's too big of a chicken to even think about jumping in the water. I heard a dog near the dinghy dock while I was in the cockpit reading a book. Sure enough, the hyperactive Chesapeake Bay Retriever (?) that was supposed to be on the boat that pulled out about 10 minutes before was swimming around the marina. She was drug up on the dock and relieved to no longer be swimming around, but very upset about being left. Within a few minutes, she was hopping back on her owners' boat. They thought she was down in the cabin and had been searching along the shoreline since discovering she had abandoned ship.
The more nights we log on Cordelia the more we're finding that sleeping-in on the boat, something that we couldn't do at first, is not a problem anymore. Meredith and I didn't get up until almost 9:00 on a rainy, sunless Sunday morning. We packed up and headed home, glad not to be sailing back from St. Michaels on a dreary day.
The cool spell this weekend was welcomed, but it did make me start thinking about fall (Comment from Meredith - a TV on the boat might be nice so we could watch college football.) and that we are now entering the twilight of boating season. I figure there are an easy two - maybe three - more months left of good sailing weather before it's time to put Cordelia in the yard for the winter. Hopefully the weather cooperates and we can make the most of the remaining weekends.