Saturday, March 7, 2015

Escape from the Winter of Our Discontent

November was a busy time at work and with family. The weather wasn't exactly favorable for sailing either, with the first of some significant Nor'easters rolling up the coast.  So I didn't get back out on the water with S/V Corsair until late November. While a little chilly it was a nice day sail on a decidedly more empty Chesapeake Bay than what I had become accustomed to over the summer.

25 November 2015 Day Sail out of Herrington Harbour South

Colder Weather, Work, Holidays and A Decision

The holidays, weather and work colluded to thwart my sailing aspirations over the month of December and as New Year's Eve approached I was noticeably agitated and anxious about the prospects of a cold Chesapeake Bay winter aboard S/V Corsair.  Was I going to be "dock locked" until late March or early April?  Just the thought of it made me sad. I needed to change the paradigm and I needed to go sailing! So before dawn on 1 January 2015 I packed a seabag, got in the car and drove from Kitty Hawk, NC to Rose Haven, MD. Arriving around noon I spent the rest of the day prepping and provisioning the boat and  reviewing the charts and weather forecasts. The conditions over the next few days looked favorable for a move South; at least as far as Portsmouth, VA.   

I cast off from Herrington Harbour South and sailed to Solomons Island, MD where I spent the night at Calvert Marina.

Herrington Harbour South to Solomons Island 2 Jan 2015

I had stopped at Calvert Marina at the end of October when I moved S/V SeaSprite south. At that time it was absolutely busy with all the cruiser traffic heading to Florida and beyond for the winter. This time was much different. Rather lonely and bleak my only company was the working watermen on their deadrise boats dredging for oysters.

Faced with the challenge of completing the 60nm leg between Solomons Island and Regent Point Marina on the Rappahannock River in VA on what looked to be a short, wet and cold winter day I rose well before dawn. After encountering a small delay due to malfunctioning running lights I was back out on the Bay as the sun came up and with a steady 10 knot breeze out of the east was able to reach the T-head at Regent Point just as it was getting dark.

Solomons Island to Regent Point Marina 3 Jan 2015

Warm, Wet, Windy Layover 4 Jan 2015

Sunday 4 January saw the arrival of a warm front that brought very strong SouthWest winds and so it was became a layover day. I spent the spent most of the day lounging in shorts and a t-shirt and taking a tour around the marina to admire the very nice collection of sailboats that call it home.  A sailing friend, Larry Wilson stopped by to help me adjust my genoa halyard which had slipped down a bit and then we went to lunch over in Irvington.

The forecast for Monday, 5 January was for sunshine, temps in the high 40s and a strong NW breeze at 18-22 knots.  Fantastic weather for 55nm run down the Bay and up Hampton Roads Harbor to my planned destination of Tidewater Yacht Marina, at Mile Marker 0 on the ICW.

Again I cast off early and in a effort to reach my first waypoint at the Stingray Point Marker quickly  I chose to motor-sail down the Rappahannock.  Just as I approached the marker I heard a loud "pop" from inside the cabin and steam immediately began to rise out of the companionway.  Switching off the engine, I jumped down into the cabin and opened the engine compartment to find the engine engulfed in steam.  Hmmmm….what should I do?  I could call TowBoat US and get pulled back into one of the many Deltaville marinas or I could try to make Hampton Roads Harbor and then arrange a tow into Tidewater Yacht Marina.  With the favorable winds the answer was obvious.  I'd keep sailing. S/V Corsair is a sailboat after all!

Regent Point to Mile Marker 0 on the ICW 5 Jan 2015

With the 35 year old Perkins needing some work and a series of powerful Nor'easters lining up to clobber the eastern seaboard I chose to leave S/V Corsair at TYM while waiting for a better window to continue the move south.

Stay tuned…….

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