Dinghy Excursions

Although the holiday busyness has put a temporary hold on exploring Rockhold Creek, I did get out on the water earlier in the month, pushing northward on the creek farther than I’ve ever been. It was a beautiful cloudless day with barely a stir in the air, yet it was enough to ghost along for a little while. After half a mile I had to brail up the sail and row, but it was fun, and good excercise too.


Dinghy rig waiting to set up.


Ready to launch.

To brail up the sail, the mast-ends of the sprit and boom fold in opposite directions: the sprit drops down parallel to the leach, and the boom swings up parallel to the leach. Then the two spars are rolled into the sail until they are rolled up next to the mast. I lash them together with the  sheet. It takes about 2 minutes to stow the sail and unship the rudder and centerboard. But. . . I have to move carefully. I keep as much of my weight towards the center of the boat as possible. It would not be difficult to ship water over the transoms by moving all my weight into the ends.

I screwed down a length of firehose over the edge of pier where the dinghy slides into the water to protect the bottom paint from scrapes and gouges. I’ve used various materials through years in different places where we’ve used the dink – an old piece of carpet, or a scrap of foam – but the fire hose permanently installed in this manner is the best.


Sailing rig stowed, ready for rowing.

I safely transitioned from pier to dinghy (hardest part of the whole operation) and glided out of the slip powered by a light breeze.


Looking back over the transom at the launching area in my slip. My house in the background.

Out into the creek, I was the only vessel under way. We headed north toward the bridge, and passed underneath with no problems! When the mast is only 5′ tall, a bridge is never an obstacle. And under the bridge is where sailing ended, as we passed into a more sheltered part of the creek.


Looking back on the bridge.


Bridge resident. I didn’t see any trolls!

I rowed in a leisurely fashion for another 20 minutes, passing under another bridge and a large power-boat marina – boats that moor here are low enough to pass under the bridge, eliminating all but the smallest sailboats, and most of the larger motor yachts.

I finally reached the edge of an area devoid of houses, and really wanted to explore further into the marshy area beyond, but I had evening commitments and had to turn around. I reluctantly spun around and pulled steadily towards home for a solid 30 minutes. By this time I had stripped off my sweatshirt and soaked through my shirt with the effort.

Unrigged, Sea Minor upended on the pier, I carried the sailing rig back to the house, moving on to the next thing in the evening.

  1. A lovely afternoon! And a beautiful house in a beautiful location.

  2. Nice.

    The other branch of the creek (over by Herrington Harbor) is much nicer for kayak exploration. I highly recommend it, though high tide is best.

    My favorite area, quite explorable by the likes of C Minor, is the broads of Slaughter Creek. Just magnificent. Bald eagles every time.

    • Thanks. I looked up Slaughter Creek and it looks inviting. Looking forward to exploring it.

    • It’s a pretty peaceful way to see the local waters.

  3. Johadel said:

    I used to do a lot of exploring around the Goodwin Islands at the mouth of the York River in our hard dingy. There’s a lot of pleasure to be had in making those little boats go in the fluky winds up creeks and such. It’s tough, though, when the tide is running the other way faster than the boat’s hull speed!

    • Yes, it’s fun sailing a little boat like this. And they will go, typically, under the lightest of breezes. Although, since I built the boat and the rig, I’m always thinking about how to modify it to make it sail faster. . .

  4. Johadel said:

    Ahh, sailing. . . The fine art of going slow as fast as you can!

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