WHERE was I?
Oh yes: Then I accidentally kicked the throttle and we stalled again.
Eventually we were puttering slowly down the creek, happily debating whether it was green right going or the other way round. I think I kicked the throttle again–damn thing’s in a stupid place–but otherwise, we got out of Cadle Creek into the Rhode River, then past the ‘cupola’ (it’s on the chart) into the Chesapeake Bay proper. All told, it took only about twenty minutes from casting off to rounding the light into open water.
On most channel markers in this area there is an osprey nest; it’s one of the wonderful things about the Bay. They generally aren’t bothered by boats, especially when the engine is off, so you can get quite close. The light marking the mouth of the Rhode has a good sized nest, and what is apparently a ‘hide’ for the viewing thereof. I use scare quotes here because it was the single most obviously out-of-place structure I saw in the entire trip. We noted its presence some ten minutes before we could identify it.
Once we rounded the point (not sure of its name), we headed into the wind and hoisted sail. This proved to be somewhat more complicated than anticipated. The halyards (rope with which you hoist sails) are made of wire, which is strong and doesn’t chafe, spliced into rope, which is easy on the hands. In our halyards, the splice is too far down the mast, so as HB hauled the sails up, she found herself hauling on wire, which is not easy. We managed to rig a sheet winch to wind the last few feet, since the wire extended past the mast-mounted main halyard winch, and we got the main up well enough. The jib we hoisted and furled earlier but it has a similar problem. However, that is a project for the near future. I am entirely confounded as to how that set-up could have come into being, though.
Once the sails were up, we cut the engine and turned out of the wind. I’ve always loved the first few moments after a boat changes from steam to sail: the sudden quiet, the heel, the boost in speed. The boat really knuckles down to business.
She sails dandily. The winds were a bit shifty, and we’re pretty rusty, so finding a fine point on the wind was not so easy. The sails need attention to how they hoist, beyond just the wire splice issue. For example, the jib has a couple of feet of wire attached to the head. We originally took that out, but then the wire section of the jib halyard reached past the winch. Presumably this was some ass’s idea of a ‘solution’. All this conspires to make trim a bit shoddy.
That didn’t matter on Sunday, though. The weather was beautiful and we just had a ball beating up the Bay. A lot of people still have their boats on the hard, so there weren’t many boats out; more sailboats than power.
About half past three, we turned her around and ran back southwest towards home. By this point the wind had really dropped and was probably only giving us about two knots. Fortunately, neither HB nor I sail for the excitement; we sail for the slacking back in the cockpit, sipping on iced tea, watching the other sailboats motor on by.
The wind was sufficient to push us all the way back to halfway up Cadle Creek, when we cranked up the jenny for the rest of the way.
HB, having crewed Incognito and Summerwind, is adept at the seamanly arts of furling a main. This is good because I’m awful at it. The jib is on a roller furler, which feels a lot like cheating.
We had decided to bring her in stern-first this time, partly because getting out had been so tricky, and partly to make boarding easier. We now knew what we were up against from the prop-walk, so I brought her around and reversed her in to starboard, which she did like a champion. We got into the berth and tied up without hitting anything. I, for one, was most impressed.
By the time we’d coiled the last rope and lashed on the last cover, and generally put her to bed, the sun was nearly down, and we were quite ready for dinner. She sails. That’s really all we can ask.