Most difficult day on the water I can remember. Weather conditions, while not benign, were definitely the most favorable we ever had for a trip south. Rain with winds out of the NE at 10-15 mph. Big following seas, which made steering an active struggle at times. But the conditions themselves weren’t the problem. It started when I assumed towing the dink would be no problem. It turned out to be a significant problem. After 8-10 miles of great sailing (if not a little cool and damp), the dink was pooped by a breaking swell, and gained 10 (or so) gallons of movable ballast. We were immediately in an untenable situation. Now the dink plowed under tow, bow high, transom low, inviting another boarding sea to swamp her. The only thing to do was get her on deck, which was so difficult, and so dangerous. We managed it, with a few scrapes and bruises, but I never want to do that again. After 11 years of towing the dink everywhere, this is the first time we’ve had a problem. Maybe we’ve just been lucky.
It took a half hour to do this, and we were exhausted by the effort, and freaked out by the safety hazards it presented. While landing the dink on the foredeck, I managed to break the plexiglass window in the forehatch. Fortunately, rain doesn’t come through, because the dink covers it. Having the dinghy in the foredeck complicates sail handling and anchor operations, so that was a struggle today as well.
We finally anchored at Solomons, after having our usual fun getting an anchor to set in the St Mary’s river. I relaunched the dink to set a second one, and just couldn’t get it positioned correctly, or set satisfactory. Retrieving the dink allowed me to reposition bow-forward, and that improved working space at the bow. My final blunder of the day was to deeply cut my right thumb while trying to unlock a knot in a line. I used the wrong tool, and of course it slipped and cut me just about the time I recognized the risk. I bled all over the deck, the line, the dink – while finishing my tasks, and finally went below and took care of it. . . but what a day of fun on the water.
We have determined to make tomorrow’s leg south better than today’s.