Travel to Watkins Rendezvous – Kilmarnock VA

Three days of slogging up wind – I could recount each day in detail, but basically it was a slog, interrupted by (all too) brief bits of sailing.

Not sure why it is that we can’t get away from the pier before noon on departure day, but that is becoming our pattern.  No amount of preparation or pre-packing seems to shorten our day-of-departure routine.  I guess it’s stuff like paying bills, post office runs, and cleaning up that we “just remember” before we go that sets us back.  Glad we get our business taken care of, but I guess we should think ahead just a little bit more.

So we cast off at noon, and motored down to Solomon’s Island for our first night’s anchorage.  We anchored in Mill Creek in a lovely spot.  The weather was perfect and the anchorage was beautiful. Nothing like cruising for providing that water-front property view.

Here's a view of our first anchorage and the enormous boat that shared it with us.

Here’s a view of our first anchorage and the enormous boat that shared it with us.

Next day was similar, with strong winds (10-15 knots) SSE as we motored-sailed SSW, making our second night’s anchorage in Mill Creek just south of Great Wicomico River.

Some of the "local" scenery as we sailed south.  Smith Point Light, just south of the Potomac River.

Some of the “local” scenery as we sailed south. Smith Point Light, just south of the Potomac River.

Second night's anchorage in Mill Creek, South of Great Wicomico River.  Yes, I realize that we stayed in "Mill Creek" the night before.  I guess there is more than one river to claim the name.

Second night’s anchorage in Mill Creek, South of Great Wicomico River. Yes, I realize that we stayed in “Mill Creek” the night before. I guess there is more than one river to claim the name.  Nice of the moon to cooperate with the other boat in the anchorage.

Finally, our most difficult, but shortest day of motor-sailing put us arriving at Kilmarnock by 1100.  We got underway today by 0630 due to the dire weather forecast.  We hoped to beat most of the bad weather and strong winds.  We didn’t beat the winds, but missed the rain and thunderstorms.

When we motor-sail up wind, we’ve found that raising the main, and pulling the boom windward of center, then tacking up wind gives us the most efficient passage through chop and strong winds on the nose.  We did that for most of our last two days.  This allows us to get power from the mainsail, and quarter the seas rather than hitting them head-on.  We typically can average 4.5-5 knots in this way, under conditions that would otherwise take us down to 3 knots.  1.5 – 2 knots can make a big difference in how much time is spent struggling up wind.

We cleaned and straightened up the boat from a day of strong motion, had lunch, then welcomed our first arrivals for the rendezvous at about 1500.

Paul and Sylvia arrive in Finally, their Watkins 33

Paul and Sylvia arrive in Finally, their Watkins 33

Our own Watkins 27 Cay of Sea, looking like she has a hair net on with the bug screening on the fore hatch.

Our own Watkins 27 Cay of Sea, looking like she has a hair net on with the bug screening on the fore hatch.

Two more boats checked in late afternoon/early evening – and the gathering begins.  I also walked around the marina a bit, having spied an attractive yacht, and captured a few photos.

Beautiful classic-styled ketch with teak coach.  The varnish is stunning.

Beautiful classic-styled ketch with teak coach. The varnish is stunning.

Cockpit detail.  Note that this yacht is all of 45' yet she's tiller-steered.

Cockpit detail. Note that this yacht is all of 45′ yet she’s tiller-steered.

You gotta love varnish to own a boat like this.

You gotta love varnish to own a boat like this.

I just love these lines.

I just love these lines.

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