The Annual “What-Did-We-Forget Cruise”

Our third year of cruising down to Virginia for a Watkins Yacht-Owners rendezvous begins on Tuesday.  We’ll be on board for about 10 days, and it will be the first significant amount of time we spend on the boat for the year.  Each year, we cruise somewhere overnight as a shake-down cruise before we cast off for 10 days.  This year I overheard my wife call it a “what-did-we-forget cruise,” and that’s exactly what it is.  Last year we forgot bed pillows.  This year we forgot. . .  bed pillows again!  Well, they’re kind of good pillows, and they do double duty when we have guests in our house.  We don’t store them bagged and cleaned in the attic like we do the rest of the boat linen, so when I haul everything down and restock the boat with this stuff, I forget the pillows that are on the guest bed.

I also forgot my boat coat.  It’s a float coat, with inflatable flotation in it, but it’s hanging in our hall closet.  Fortunately, I didn’t need it on this overnight trip.

And that’s it.  We will load the boat with food, ice, water, and clothes, then cast off for Deltaville on Tues.  We are fortunate to have our adult son living with us, who can look after the house while we are gone.

Misty, foggish late morning on the bay.  No wind, just damp and kind of cool.

Misty, foggish late morning on the bay. No wind, just damp and kind of cool.


We crossed the bay yesterday, departing about 1130.  It was 60 degrees on the water, and I was wearing a sweater, so I didn’t need the coat.   No wind to speak of, we motored the 15.5 miles to our anchorage on the other side of Knapps Narrows. This time we had Dun Cove almost to ourselves. There were two other boats in the anchorage, but they chose anchorages nearly out of sight from our own.  That was nice.  We got there about 1500 and relaxed for a while – Ruth sketching and reading, me playing guitar and forgetting words to songs I know well.  I got inspired finally, and started sanding exterior teak, then wiped it down and applied Cetol.  We had dinner about 1945, cleaned up all the dishes on board (they were exposed to project dust and filth throughout the spring), showered and went to bed about 2200.

I slept poorly, as the wind picked up and the boat movement became more pronounced.  I finally got up at midnight, thinking it would be prudent to check the anchor set.  It was prudent.  The shore was about 30 yards off our transom.  We had dragged a good long way toward shore.  No wonder the boat motion was bothering me – we were in about 4.5 feet of water as opposed to the 8-9 feet where we anchored, and the movement was noticeably different.  I woke Ruth, and we re-anchored the boat – after we figured out where we were and where we had to go.  It was so disorienting in the dark of night because we couldn’t identify every landmark, but we saw the flashing navigation markers, understood the direction back toward the river, and could move with confidence to a new anchoring spot.  This time I set two anchors, taking two attempts to set the second hook.  We were finally secure, and went back to bed.  Next thing I knew, it was 0730.  I rose and checked our position – still in place – then made coffee.

After breakfast and clean-up, we retrieved both anchors which was unexpectedly complicated: Somehow, in emptying and refilling the cockpit locker where the second anchor resides, the rode got passed twice around the handle of the canvas bag it stays in – I can’t really figure out how that could have happened.  So it took extra long to get the rode straightened out and ready to run free out of the bag.  Retrieving the bow hook was no problem, and we got under way.  During the anchor drill, I noticed that hundreds of larval shrimp had attached themselves to both anchor rodes, and where scattered about the foredeck after the sea and anchor detail was finished.  These guys were infinitesimal – maybe the largest were 1/4 inch.  Ruth wanted to see them, so she got the foredeck wash down duty too.

Plying the canvas bucket.

Plying the canvas bucket.


Bucket operations.

I didn’t get a photo of the shrimp.  We just had too much going on at that point, and I honestly didn’t stop to think about it. but they looked much like this:

shrimp shrimp1We passed through the Narrows again, and into the decidedly cooler main part of the bay.  Winds were forecast to be 10-15 knots from SE, but didn’t materialize until we were almost back to Herring Bay.

"I just opened it a minute ago. . . "  The bridge tender didn't say that, but I'm sure he was thinking it, because we saw it close as we approached.

“I just opened it a minute ago. . . ” The bridge tender didn’t say that, but he must have been thinking it, because we saw it close as we approached.

Here we go. . .

Here we go. . .

Another minute, and we can pass.

Another minute, and we can pass.

Back in our slip, now the rain comes.  We’ll get the stuff out of the boat later when the rain abates. Okay – the check list now includes pillows and boat coat.



1 comment
  1. ShimonZ said:

    Sounds like a fun trip. But it’s certainly a good idea to take a little one before going off on a real adventure.

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