CURRENT LOCATION: Anchored in Jackson Creek, Deltaville, VA
37 32.941' N, 076 19.857' W
We picked up my friend, Kirk, at the airport late last night and returned to the marina where he was able to get his first look at Prudence
. He stepped carefully aboard and climbed down the companionway ladder. Once below he took in his surroundings and stated, "It is larger than it appears in the pictures." Despite the fact that we had not seen each other in several years we resisted the temptation to stay up late and catch up. We needed to get our rest and be ready for a first light departure.
At the break of dawn we untied the docklines and muscled our way out of our tiny slip. After we cleared the jetty leading from Little Creek to the Chesapeake Bay, we turned the boat into the wind and Sheryl and I raised the main. Our moves were practiced and my non-sailing friend looked on with keen interest. We fell off the wind, back on course, and Kirk said to me, "I feel as though I just witnessed an intimate moment, the way you and Sheryl and the boat worked together was incredible."
We added the genoa to the mix and motor-sailed for the first three hours as we dodged the big ship traffic heading in and out of Norfolk and Hampton Roads. Winds were light, but we finally grew tired of the droning engine and switched it off once we were clear of the shipping lanes.
Around this time our guest became very quiet. This is uncommon for Kirk, so I knew something was up. He had become afflicted with a subtle case of seasickness. Sheryl jumped into action and provided meds. I suggested that he try different things to make bearing the symptoms easier. Sheryl prefers to stay in the cockpit when she is seasick. I prefer to go below and lie down. Kirk found that he was aligned with my approach to surviving the green menace. He went below and, with the help of the medicine, he even managed to sleep a little.
Meanwhile, Sheryl and I kept the boat moving steadily northward. We sailed for a while with full main and genoa, both just barely filling with wind. We had to keep the wind on the quarter and steer off our course a little to prevent the main from blanketing the genny. As is generally the case when sailing the waters of the Chesapeake, we were not the only sailboat underway. Sheryl made the astute observation, "I'm surprised that nobody is flying a spinnaker." The suggestion spurred me to action.
We rolled up the genny and rigged the lines to raise the big snake. Once the halyard was cleated, I pulled the control lines on the sock and revealed the huge sail. It filled with a soft "Whump" sound. Our speed increased a knot over what we had been doing before, but we were still not quite on course. So, we sailed for a while then gybed the boat.
Gybing on this occasion involved pulling down the sock, turning the stern through the wind as the main came across to the other side, walking the spinnaker sheet and sock to the opposite side and re-raising the sock. Once the "Whump" was heard again, we dropped the main and sailed with spinnaker alone. Now we were on course.
Conditions were perfect for flying the spinnaker. Winds remained light but consistent enough to keep the big sail full of air. Kirk rejoined us in the cockpit, still a little shaky but feeling better than before.
In the final hours of our sailing day, the winds filled in and we switched back from spinnaker to main and genoa. Winds were in the teens when we approached the rather tricky entrance to Jackson Creek. We made a sharp turn closer to land than is generally comfortable, but remained in 10 feet of water the entire time. Soon we were anchored just off Deltaville Marina.
Our friends Jen & Maxwell keep their boat Anastasia
in this marina and they rowed their dinghy out for a brief visit. Note, we sold both our dinghy and outboard engine, so we are boat bound for the duration of this journey.
The conversation flowed like a strong tidal current, but soon our droopy eyes and yawns gave away our state of fatigue. Our friends rowed off into the darkness and we retired to rest before another first light departure.