Up the Lazy River
The Sailing Club’s June cruisers enjoyed changeable weather, warm water, and lively companionship plying the waters of the Magothy River. We gathered at Haven Harbour Marina in Rock Hall, Maryland, on Friday afternoon to meet our boats and one another. We stowed provisions and gear, and adjourned to the Harbor Shack for dinner. We all hoped that the evening rains were not a precursor of the weekend’s weather.
Before getting underway on Saturday morning Rum Bob got a new water pump, but there was no fix for the dead 12 volt outlet. With our plan to be anchored out only one night, Skipper Bob Rainey did not deem this to be a show stopper. Intention, skippered by Steve Krakauer, and Mariposa under Mia McCroskey’s leadership, had no issues, so the fleet got off the dock by 10:00.
All three boats got in some sailing time in the morning breeze (the rainstorm having moved on), but the wind as the day went on. After lunch Rum Bob’s and Mariposa’s crews decided to head for our planned anchorage in Cornfield Creek north of Dobbins Island on the Magothy River. Mariposa, the smallest boat, hung back to let Rum Bob anchor. The middle of this placid creek was the best place to be, offering enough depth and good holding. Once Rum Bob’s crew had the anchor set, Mariposa’s crew brought her alongside under the direction of skipper candidate Gary Brubaker. Soon enough both boats were settled in the creek and wondering what Intention’s intentions were, as it had yet to arrive. Intention was still out in the bay tacking back and forth just north of the Annapolis Bridge, wringing every last breadth of wind available.
While the anchored crews enjoyed an early happy hour and started preparing the traditional appetizer dinner party, Intention made her way up the creek. Once she was secured, swim ladders were lowered, followed by swimmers. The anchorage proved perfect for it: warm water, no jellyfish or sea nettles, and no noticeable current. It wasn’t even very salty!
Refreshed, crews started presenting their appetizers contributions. Most were laid out in Rum Bob’s cockpit, but Mariposa’s crew didn’t get that far with Mia’s platter of enchiladas. As usual, the selection of appetizers was spectacular, and the quantity far exceeded demand.
With everyone sated by food and drink, it was time for the games (an advertised feature of the trip) to begin. Rum Bob’s wide cockpit hosted the Farkle contest, as at least eight wanted to play, and several more wanted to watch. A smaller group took up a modified form of Cards Against Humanity over on Mariposa. The Cards game ended first, with Rudy Vallejo winning the game, which awards the person with the raunchiest mind. Farkle went on a few more rounds but finally ended with a decisive victory by Lilli Lawrence, 12-year-old granddaughter of Judy Dunbar. At first Lilli didn’t want to play, but as her lead increased, she didn’t want it to end. Each winner received a collapsible solar LED lantern – perfect for late night cockpit illumination.
Breakfast was spurred early by the sound of an engine engaging at 7:00 a.m. Rousing from her bunk, Mia grumbled that someone’s battery damn well better be nearly dead to be starting the motor that early. It turned out that was exactly the case. Unbeknownst to skipper Bob, Rum Bob’s inverter had been on all day Saturday while under sail, leaving the house batteries very low. If only he’d known, crew might as well have used the 110v outlets to charge their phones!
Sunday was warm with light wind, but all three boats decided to try finding wind back out on the bay. Aboard Mariposa, Mia put her back into unrolling the mainsail. And put more muscle into it. And rolled it back up and out again. But no matter what she did, the rolled sail bulged out of the slot in the mast when the sail was a quarter of the way out. After forty minutes of trying, she declared that they would sail under jib today.
Rum Bob and Intention had no such difficulties, and enjoyed hunting the breeze across the bay under full sail. Mariposa’s crew took turns guiding the boat most of the way across the bay and back, finally resorting to the motor when they were becalmed at the mouth of the Magothy. Intention and Rum Bob managed to power through the mouth to sail further up the river to our destination: the Magothy Marina.
The marina didn’t answer either radio or telephone as Mariposa approached with Rum Bob not far behind. Gary spotted the fuel dock right on the river front and Mia directed him to go for it. Nobody was around, but Mia found an intercom on the dock and summoned dockmaster Oliver.
Oliver directed Gary to make a 90 degree backward turn to port, to bring the boat alongside the dock facing outward. Between Gary’s use of prop walk (a skill he honed at OWT) and lines handled by Mia and Oliver on the dock, Mariposa was gently rotated and backed along the seawall far enough to leave room for Rum Bob in front of her. Soon enough Rum Bob was secured as well, with Oliver providing power hookups and information to both crews while simultaneously organizing a slip for Intention.
Mariposa’s crew deployed power cords for the house systems and the air conditioning. The house systems came on. The air conditioning breaker tripped. They tried different outlets with no luck, called Haven Charters and got advice that didn’t work, and finally simply lived like old-time sailors with just the boat’s electric fans.
Most crew met at the marina’s swimming pool for an hour or so of relaxation before gathering food and charcoal for a barbeque using the marina’s facilities. Magothy Marina is small and well laid out, so that both the pool and the barbeque area were right at the top of the dock. Fortunately, there was a sheltered patio next to the open barbeque area, because a thunderstorm built up from the southwest after the coals were lit in both grills. Everyone took refuge on the patio while the coals hissed and steamed beneath vegetables and shrimp.
The brief soaking might have been the best thing for Mariposa’s delicate shrimp and swordfish, but the zucchini and other vegetables did take longer to cook. Intention’s crew had finished their burgers long before Mariposa’s crew were finished. Rum Bob’s crew hung around a little longer, keeping the Mariposans company, before adjourning to their air conditioned vessel.
On Monday morning it was Gary’s turn to deploy Mariposa’s main. Before departing the dock, the crew successfully pulled it all the way out. Encouraged, they pulled away from the dock and, once out in the river, Gary started the unfurling process. The sail came about a quarter of the way out and jammed in the slot.
Just as Mia had done on Sunday, Gary pulled it in, hauled it out again, and finally declared “we will sail under jib today.”
Back across the bay the fleet went, enjoying light to moderate air and comfortable temperatures. Dave from Haven Charters met Mariposa at her slip to help hook up the air conditioning. Its breaker popped there, too. Mia and Gary described their struggle with the mainsail, so Dave took a look at it with the marina’s rigger. The rigger observed that the furling line didn’t look right, but they successfully pulled the sail out. And then the furling line parted from the mast fitting. Mia and Gary felt intense relief as the sail was lowered to the deck – if they’d gotten the sail out while underway, they probably would have had to deal with the parted furling line at sea.
Despite the ominous start to the weekend, and the mostly light and variable winds, everyone appeared happy with how the trip went.
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