Being “retired,” or otherwise uncommitted to a schedule of a work week and weekends for our time on the water, it was unusual for us to cruise on Memorial Day weekend – of all weekends! We really enjoy having the bay mostly to ourselves during the week, and try to stay off the water on the weekends. But this past weekend we met up with friends on the Wye River, and though there were many (many!) boats on the water, we had a wonderful time.
The passage from Deale is 4-5 hours for us, depending on wind, current, etc., and destination anchorage was close to five miles up river. We departed on Saturday about 1225, motoring out of the creek and into Herring Bay until we were clear to raise sail. We couldn’t have had a better day on the water – mid 70s, crystal clear skies, southerly breeze at 10-12 mph. We raised sail and set off NE on a beam reach, the southerly wind vector backing around to SE through the apparent wind angle. 5.5-6.3 knots average speed – never over-powered, Cay of Sea in the groove surging through the miles.
We found ourselves in the middle of a race that began in Annapolis and ended in St Michaels. There must have been more than 100 boats. We were in the middle of two heats, rapidly being overtaken by much larger, faster boats. The really fast boats had already completed the race, and we saw them returning from the finish line as we were making our way north.
Our trip was slightly more than 25 NM, and the route looked like this:
As we approached the raft of boats we were joining, we realized we were in “Ward’s Cove.” This is a “secret” anchorage different cruising friends showed us several years ago. So, I guess the secret is out, and has been for a number of years. It’s an infrequently populated cove – I think mostly because it’s so far up the river – most cruisers want to drop the anchor long before they reach this spot.
We moored with the other boats and socialized and shared a meal through the evening, finally dispersing about 2230 to our own boats. Time on the water is exhausting and we were all feeling it, so the raft got quiet quickly. Next morning we gradually crept out, one by one, coffee in hand, or sharing coffee as needed, talking through the morning until. . . it was time for lunch! (enthusiastic eaters, we sailors are), then due to a poor weather forecast, broke up the raft and headed home by about 1330.
We hit rain about 2.5 hours into the trip home, but it wasn’t too bad. I got a little wet, and my foulies got pretty wet, but I wasn’t uncomfortable. The trip home was all under power, as what little wind was moving wasn’t moving in the right direction. Just as well – we had the memory of yesterday’s sail to sustain us, and I wanted to get a good long charge on the batteries anyway. We were backing into the slip by 1730 (on the second try – my skills are rusty), and spent the next 20 minutes unloading the boat and cleaning up.