Some Things Never Change - And That's a Good Thing
Crew members arrived at Haven Harbor in Rock Hall, Maryland on Thursday, October 17th, as planned. After boat checks, crew introductions, division of sleeping quarters and stowing of gear; both crews (Intention, skippered by Gary Brubaker and Honu, skippered by Bob Rainey) made their way to the Wheelhouse in Rock Hall. Everyone enjoyed the food and meeting the crews. Even those that had enjoyed a great barbecue late lunch at Smoke, Rattle and Roll, Chestertown cleaned their plates!
Kent Narrows was not an option due to shallow conditions, so departure Friday morning was at 9:00 AM for the 24 NM sail to St. Michaels. Leaving Swan Creek we passed a boat clearly left at it’s mooring entirely too long.
Friday’s sail was fantastic . . . for some. For others, the high winds and choppy conditions made it a day that had to be endured. Winds were 22 knots, with gusts close to 30 knots. Honu sustained a boat speed of 9.2 knots several times. The wind gusts and choppy conditions all but disappeared once we went under the Annapolis Bay Bridge. The crew of Intention was able to maintain a sustained speed between 6 and 7 knots using just the Genoa. The wind abated when we entered Eastern Bay and, once rounding Tilghman Point, the Intention Crew chose to motor the remainder of the way to St Michaels.
Crews appreciated the facilities at Harbour Inn and Marina in St. Michael’s upon our arrival about 3:30 PM. Additionally, the group fondly referred to as the “Land People” came from their mainland hotel rooms to join us - Linda Baker, Charlotte Chappel and Larry and Patty Sherwood. Some in the group utilized the free bikes for a ride around town; some enjoyed a walk; while others just enjoyed relaxing on the boats. There were only two or three other boats at the marina which made hot showers easily available!
Both crews and the "land people" gathered about 6:45 for a walk to Awful Arthur’s Seafood restaurant, about a 15 minute walk from our boats and well worth it.
After dinner, the walk back to the boats seemed a little longer. We shouted our goodnights upon arrival at the Inn’s parking lot. Everyone wanted to get a good night’s sleep in order to be ready for Saturday’s Tilghman Island Day. This celebration of the heritage and food of the Chesapeake is an annual event sponsored by the Tilghman Volunteer Fire Company.
The first event was the rowboat races at 11 AM. A display of both skill and unskilled contestants, the races created laughable tangle-ups at the turning buoy. Then it was time for the Jigger Toss (a small anchor used by the Waterman when picking up crab traps or oystering). The contest is made more entertaining by the running commentary made by a local resident. His comments are meant to entertain the crowd more than to instruct the contestants, although he manages both.
At 1 PM the working boat docking contest got underway, but the crowd had started to gather about noon as seating is limited. The Sailing Club members skillfully handled this issue by taking seats on the paved parking lot in front of the bleachers, on the sidelines or leaning against an accommodating piling.
By 5:30 PM our group was tired and ready for our taxi pickup at Knapps Narrows Bridge. Once at the boats, both crews began setting up the planned appetizer party. Skippers reminded crews we had an early start the following day and all was quiet by 10 PM . . . or at least it seemed that way.
Sunday morning, October 20 greeted us with light rain and cool temperatures. Honu untied by 7:30 AM as planned, with Intention quickly following. Wind and rain continued throughout the day, but Honu was able to get a little assist when the main was raised. The day’s weather provided that bit of encouragement to buy “proper” foul weather gear (or remember to pack it next time). Warm sandwiches and hot tea were passed around for lunch while underway on Honu. It was a long motor back to Rock Hall for the Intention crew, but given the wind from the Northeast, a steady rain, and the time constraint to return the boats to Haven for fuel and pump out, we felt motoring was the prudent choice. On the positive side, a number of the crew gained valuable experience with Otto (the affectionate name given to the auto-pilot) doing the driving.
Once back at Haven Harbor, the scramble was to pack up, clean up, and for a few, a hot shower before the long car ride home. Gary’s comment as I headed to the car was “Are we having fun yet?” I had to reply no, as I’m not a fan of cold and wet. But most everyone felt that two sunny days in advance of the rain, more than made up for it. Bob Rainey was more than happy with Honu’s performance.
Photos supplied by: C. Gill, E. Beck, J. Dunbar, R.J. Rainey and M.A. Gordon
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