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