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When Jackie at Haven Charters says “It will be windy Saturday and Sunday, so reef, reef, reef!” – we listen.

That was Friday morning just after breakfast. The crews of Legacy and Silver Lining were preparing to depart for four days of sailing Above the Bridge – north of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Skippers Mia McCroskey (Silver Lining) and Bob Rainey (Legacy) met on the dock around 9:00 a.m. and declared it a skippers’ meeting. The plan was simple – sail from Rock Hall north into Worton Creek. The first to arrive would anchor with the other tying up alongside.

After safety briefings, making lunch, and stocking up on ice, both boats were away. After motor sailing south outside of Rock Hall to Can 3, Silver Lining turned west to reach across the bay for a bit, hoping for a better angle on Worton Creek. The breeze was southwest clocking north and building.

As the afternoon progressed, the breeze built into strong winds and the swells built up. The final couple of miles to the mouth of Worton Creek seemed to take forever. Legacy made her way into the creek and found a good spot with some protection from the wind. Quite a while later Silver Lining rolled in and came alongside to raft up. Conditions were questionable – the swells were bending around the point into the river and the wind gusts were swaying the masts, but the crews secured the raft, at least for the time being.

Members of both crews jumped in the water for a delicious swim. But when Mia stuck her foot in under Legacy’s stern, something nipped at her toe. She squealed rather uncharacteristically and kicked hard away from the invisible predator. She wasn’t sure the others believed her until, a few minutes later, Virginia was also attacked by what we decided must be a large fish sheltering under Legacy. It left clear bite marks on Virginia’s skin.

As preparations were starting for a summer solstice Club appetizer party, the boats rocked together on confused swells.

“We’re un-rafting,” Mia announced.

“Before the party?” someone asked.

“Before it gets any later. And before I have a drink!” was Mia’s urgent and immediate response.

Lines were quickly loosed and Silver Lining motored back behind Legacy and anchored, letting out a lot of scope. When skipper and crew all agreed that it was holding well, appetizer preparation resumed, as well as another swim. Legacy’s crew sent photos of their display of “summer solstice” appetizers, declaring Mary’s lemon blueberry cupcakes the solstice theme winner. On Silver Lining the food vanished before anyone could take pictures, but Craig’s tortellini/olive/sundried tomato skewers were the agreed winner.

It was a long, rolling night with constant wind and strong gusts. In the morning both boats were still in place, as well as the three or four others in the anchorage. Legacy weighed anchor and headed slowly for the channel to exit the creek. Silver Lining’s anchor was slow to come up, but lost its hold early on. So the strong wind pushed her into shallow water before Mia could take control. As the anchor broke the surface, the keel brushed the bottom. Mia let the bow pivot around and applied a lot of reverse. Bump, bump, bump – the keel dragged through mud, but she kept moving backward for about ten yards into deeper water. Mia finally breathed and turned the bow into the wind and toward the channel.

Legacy deployed a reefed main and jib while Silver Lining stuck with just the reefed jib for the reach down into Kent Narrows to Castle Marina where slips were waiting. Seas were slightly abaft the beam and rough, with swells starting at a couple of feet, but building somewhat higher as the day went on. The wind was hardly steady, but averaged around twenty knots and gusted a lot higher, driving from the northwest. The sky was overcast and the water looked muddy brown with occasional lighter patches where the clouds broke and the sun came through. Off of Rock Hall, Legacy surged past Silver Lining, looking like she had a little more sail up than was efficient. Silver Lining’s crew didn’t feel inspired to put up more to compete.

Once south of Love Point the seas flattened a little and the wind felt less intense. The boats reached down toward the channel into Castle Marina and turned in, Legacy just ahead of Silver Lining. Both boats stopped at the fuel dock to pump out the holding tanks, then moved to their slips. Docking beers were cracked open, crew members went to the pool and hot tub, and everyone relaxed.

Later the crews fired up two grills and occupied a pair of picnic tables for a wide selection of grilled vegetables, hamburgers, chicken kabobs, and home-made desserts. Beth’s faux key lime pie (faux because it was regular lime juice) and Mary Ann’s flourless chocolate cake, made with garbanzo beans, were both winners.

During the long sail on Saturday, aboard Silver Lining there had been discussion of just staying in the marina if Sunday’s weather was the same as Saturday’s. Fortunately, overnight the wind dropped considerably and after a very good night’s sleep the clear morning renewed enthusiasm for venturing out. Both boats had perfect sails north from Kent Narrows and across the bay to the Magothy River. The wind was still strong, but the swells had calmed a bit and both boats enjoyed great speed under reefed sails.

Legacy was first to the anchorage again, and took a few minutes to explore the inner harbor at the north end of Gibson Island, finding a sandbar and a lot of moorings, so no room to anchor. They returned to the usual large anchorage, which was somewhat crowded with, we assumed, Father’s Day revelers. Legacy was finishing anchoring when Silver Lining arrived, and shortly Bob waved Mia in to tie up on port. As crews were passing and securing lines, a shout from a third boat got everyone’s attention:

Legacy, you’re dragging!”

Indeed she was, right into that guy’s boat. Bob got behind the wheel, while Mia got her lines back on board and Silver Lining away within half a minute.
“I’ll anchor, you raft,” she shouted to Bob as his crew worked on pulling up their anchor.

With seven-to-one scope out and the anchor holding steady Mia signaled Bob to come in. This time the raft took shape beautifully and no neighbors complained.

Some appetizers were shared back and forth between the boats, and both cooked up their final dinners. Legacy’s crew took up their ongoing Farkle game while Silver Lining’s admitted to being too tired to play anything. Overnight the front we had experienced all weekend passed, leaving us with cool temperatures and no wind on Monday morning. After leisurely breakfasts, the boats separated and headed back to Rock Hall, motoring all the way.

Pre-summer solstice had provided variety and challenge, and we’d risen to both. We departed the Eastern Shore both tired and energized.

Silver Lining: Mia McCroskey (Skipper), John Francischetti (First Mate), Craig Gill, Ilene Greenfield, Barbara MacMillan, Eleanor Popolizio

Legacy: Bob Rainey (Skipper), Hank Jelinek (First Mate), Beth Jelinek, Mary Ann Gordon, Virginia Malik, Mary Wojchik



Photo Contributors: Craig Gill, Mary Ann Gordon, Ilene Greenfield, Mia McCroskey


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