The C & D Canal
13 September 2009 | Chesepeake City
We waited out the last blow at a marina in Cape May. There was some excitement during the 55 knots of wind and heavy rains. Lots of backyard flooding in Cape May, some streets were closed, some power outages; a sailboat broke loose and went ashore, another was hit by lightening. We developed a new leak in one of the windows I so painstakengly re-caulked over the winter, darn!! Someone once asked Alice, what do you do? won't you be bored? A sailboat is like your home on maintainance steroids; there is always a project list, always something to fix, tinker with, investigate or worry about. So the good ole silicon caulk tube will see a little more action.
We discovered that Saturday morning was one of those by-weekly times when the current runs up the Delaware Bay during the day and if you time it right by the time you reached the C & D Canal it would be favorable for a run through the Canal and then favorable back down the Chesepeake. pretty neat, an extra 1 - 2 knots up, through and down. This whole thing only works if you have enough boat speed to reach the C & D in time.
We left Cape May around 06:30 again not knowing what the storm might have left behind in the Atlantic. At the mouth of the breakwater there were a few standing waves, pretty small stuff and a little chop. The wind was from the west forecast to shift northwest and then north, here's another one of those arggs!!. If it stayed west were in fat city, shifting NW would make us tack and north would be on our nose. Hey wind, how about a nice 15 knots from the SW?? Nope, after rounding the tip of Cape May going far enough out into the Atlantic to miss the shoals and sand bars, we set sail in the westerly winds. Fantastic, we are sailing and in the right direction, can you believe?? This was what sailors look forward to, a slight chop 2 - 3 feet, wind just forward of beam, full sail, no helm, seven knots through the water with a favorable current building under us. Hold on, this can't last right, it's too good; it didn't, the wind went northwest pushing us further and further toward the east side of the bay, into shallower water and oyster fishing areas. So we tacked back out into the bay, remember the date we have with the C & D Canal, we have to be there for the current change. Still sailing but now the wind is under 10 knots and from the north, our SOG, speed over the ground, even with the current is now only 6 knots, so roll up the sails and turn on the engine. Fortunately we had covered about 2/3s of the bay by sail so powering would be tolerable. Now we had 8 - 9 knots of SOG and back on track.
We could have pushed on but these cruisers wanted to take a break so we pulled into Chesepeake City where they offer dockage for free, Yes FREE.
There's a solo sailor tied up behind us who has been here for a few days waiting for parts, ah that maintenance thing again. (As a sidebar, in Cape May there was a 90 foot power boat tied up across from us, boat's name - Grumpy. I spoke to the captain when I saw him returning from the ships store with parts in his hand. I was currious about maintenance on such a large and beautiful yacht. He looked at me with an incredulous facal expression and told it was constant. So Lucky Bird you are in good company, maintenance on L B isn't constant but enough.)
This solo sailor helped us tie up and then said he was experiencing a bit of dejavue. Pete and Stephanie on their Moody 425 Brilliant where here just two days ago. Two Moodys tieing up next to this guy, it reminds me a little of one of those Pink Panter movies with Peter Sellers in a car chase with an older fellow standing on the street corner watching the same cars go by in different directions getting totally confused as to what he was seeing.
Anyway we'll continue on today into the Chesepeake on route to Annapolis which pretty close now, less than a long day away. It's hard to believe that we've come so far and are now so close to our one goal of Annapolis. To this point we've been pushing, making long passages, now we will slow down starting pur preparations for our trip to the Virgin Islands.