October Overnight To Rhode River

In the midst of a busy week, we escaped for an over-night, determined not to miss the entire autumn sailing season without savoring a short cruise. As usual, wind direction determined our destination, but I found out a little later that Ruth wanted to go to Rhode River anyway, so it worked out fine.

We cast off about 1600, traversed the length of Rockhold Creek to the open bay, then headed NE for West River, of which Rhode River is a tributary. Winds were SW so we broad reached until the wind backed deeper south, after which I dropped the main, sailing moderately under jib alone, then finally motorsailing until we turned west. Our route was lit by an amazing sunset, of which I took too many photos. I’ll only publish two here, but while we were watching, it was impossible to not be overwhelmed by God’s majesty and power.

DSC_4736 DSC_4741

We had the hook down behind Flat Island in zero wind by 1905, and rigged for the evening routine. Dinner started, lamp lit, we chased the evening chill from the air. I cleaned up after dinner while Ruth relaxed, then we both settled in for reading until our eyes closed on their own accord. I went to bed secure in the knowledge that our new (to us) 33# Delta anchor was keeping us in place. It had set fast and hard. I rose once at about 0330 and checked our position, but there was no reason for it. We still had nearly zero wind. I think a rock on a string would have held us in place. Towards morning the breeze picked up to 7-8 knots without consequence.  We had a relaxing morning at anchor over two pots of coffee.

Ruth painted “Flat Island” behind which we had anchored. I took a poor photo of the incomplete painting, and a photo of the island itself. Interesting to see what an artist does in a painting to make it work. The composition is far more important than the details.


I also photograph her art for reproduction and web publishing, and I do a much better job than this snap shot. Turns out, photographing a painting isn’t easy, as demonstrated above!

Here's a photo of the subject sans the anchored sailboat that has now departed.

Here’s a photo of the subject.

We watched this boat make sail from anchor and creep around the other side of the island and a shoal that extends a fair distance towards the far shore. Then he made for the river channel towards West River with the sun behind him.

Couldn't get a good enough image to guess at designer or manufacturer of this boat, but it's a good looker.

Couldn’t get a good enough image to guess at designer or manufacturer of this boat, but it’s a good looker.

Sailing into the sunrise.

Sailing into the sunrise.

We watched the research vessel from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center take a sample with a drogue net and haul aboard.


Towed net marked by buoy.

Towed net marked by buoy.

Hey, what did we get this time?

Hey, what did we get this time?

We finally got under way about 1000. The new Delta anchor is significantly more difficult to haul aboard, even with the bow roller and anchor platform. Takes me by surprise, and may take me a while to learn how best to manage it each time I drop or retrieve it. We made our way towards the West River and the open bay, passing on the way this elderly, but nicely kept cruiser.

Nice lines, nice boat.

Nice lines, nice boat.

With NE winds at 10 knots, our southerly route had the potential of keeping us on my least favorite point of sail the entire time. I experimented poling out the jib alone with no main, but was dissatisfied with both set and performance. At Ruth’s suggestion, we decided to tack down wind at a shallower angle to avoid the wind on our stern. So on a broad reach we sailed for several hours in one long board, not needing to tack or jibe until it was time to make the turn to Rockhold Creek. It was a wonderful morning sail. The boat performed very well like this, and we weren’t constantly slatting and rattling.

We met this guy coming up the bay.

We met this guy coming up the bay.

We turned west at the southern reaches of Herring Bay and made for Rockhold Creek. The breeze was strong enough to make me avoid a jibe, so we tacked 270 degrees and settled on our westerly heading. Just outside the creek, I struck all sail and stowed them as Ruth motored us toward home. In our slip by 1305, we were unpacked and had the boat buttoned up in record time, moving on to the next thing in the day.

  1. Tom Ward said:

    Nice photos Rick. Sounds like it was a nice over-nighter. We miss being on the Bay and we miss you guys too.

    – Tom & Cheri

    • Thanks Tom. It was an all-too-brief respite, and made me wish for a couple more days afloat. Hope you guys are doing well – I savor the memory of our times together.

  2. A serene and inspirational trip, Rick. And well written!

    I continue to be in awe of Ruth’s magic!

    • Thanks Bob. Ruth’s talent knocks me out too. I married well.

  3. Anonymous said:

    Thanks for the vicarious sail. I drove up to Hampton on the 13th and started getting ready for the race on the 17th. Winds were high and rain moved in for two day. Of course the day of the race ( I actually had three guys crewing) the winds were strong at the start. After rounding Middle Ground Light (near 664 bridge tunnel) in a little over one hour for a leg of approx. 7 nm, the wind went away and it too us almost 3 hours to drift back down to the starting area. As the race required us to now go out into the Chesapeake and round Thimble Shoals and return to the start area, we decided to withdraw. At least 12 other boats had already withdrawn. It still felt bad, but the post race dinner made up for it. Winterized the boat the next day and headed back to Atlanta on Tuesday morning (early) so I did the drive home in one day. Hope this spring proves better, and hope you guys have a wonderful Holidays season.
    Paul L.

    • Paul, so sorry we missed you guys this year, but hoping for better things next spring. Too bad about the race. At least you weren’t drifting alone!

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