October ~ Frostbite Trip
While the weather on the Chesapeake can range from extremely cold and stormy to warm and windless, this year’s outing, thankfully, was somewhere in between. Sixteen intrepid members assembled in Rock Hall on Friday evening at various times, but all made it in time for dinner. Two crews chose the always popular Harbor Shack, while the third opted for Waterman’s. Unfortunately, due to the lateness in the season, Maryland’s famous blue crabs were no longer available. Not to worry – other crab options were available, as well as many other tasty treats.
On Saturday morning, our flotilla of three identical Beneteau 38.1s led to a quick checkout with Haven Charters. Honu – skippered by Bob Rainey, Si Certo – skippered by Mia McCroskey, and Odyssey – skippered by Steve Krakauer, were all underway between 10:00 and 10:30. It was a great day for sailing, as the winds were from the northeast at about 10 – 15 knots, with little sea state. Once clear of Can 3 at the foot of Swan Point Bar, all sails went up, and, sailing on a beam-to-broad reach it was easy to fly along at over seven knots.
After lunch underway, the winds eased to near nothing. Ghosting along for another hour or so, by the time all boat passed under the Key Bridge at the mouth of the Patapsco River, it was time to motor-sail the rest of the way to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and our destination for the evening at the Harbor East Marina. The marina is a short walk from historic Fells Point, home of famous Bertha’s Mussels.
All crews chose to dine at this landmark restaurant and were not disappointed. The crews of Si Certo and Odyssey dined outside and watched as many locals paraded by in some very creative Halloween costumes, pub-crawling their way through the evening. For the Bertha’s fans among us, it was a bittersweet occasion. Bertha’s is for sale and will be closing at the end of the year. After dinner, most of the crew of Odyssey got into the Halloween spirit by taking a guided ghost tour of the area. The crews of Si Certo and Honu chose to return to the marina, with Bob’s crew engaging in a fierce game of Farkle (de rigueur when sailing with Bob).
Sunday began much the way Saturday ended, with no wind. While it would have been nice to sail out on the Bay before rafting up, instead all boats engaged in leisurely breakfasts, after which some went walking about the Inner Harbor area. On Odyssey, Walt Wronka prepared a five-star breakfast, consisting of an omelet, avocado, fruit and cucumbers.
All boats waited until after lunch to get underway, then motored around the Inner Harbor basin. Alas, the USS Constellation had been moved for three months to dry dock for some hull repairs, so the harbor looked quite empty.
None of these delaying tactics improved the chances of sailing – the wind gods were just not co-operating, so it was an afternoon of just motoring to our raft-up spot in Jubb Cove on Bodkin Creek, near the mouth of the Patapsco.
Once there, Odyssey set the first anchor, followed shortly by Si Certo setting a second, with Honu tying up on Odyssey’s starboard side. All crews then got into the “spirit” of the holiday by decorating their boats with pumpkins (real and papier mâché), balloons, witches, lights, and other ephemera. In addition to the abundance of great food, Hank Jelinek provided entertainment with his Hohner Airboard.
Monday morning was by far the warmest of the weekend, at 52o! The skies were gray with still no wind about. After another leisurely breakfast, all boats departed. By mid-morning the dead calm turned into a minor squall. Si Certo, leading the flotilla, sailed along in pouring rain for at least a half-hour, her skipper loving every minute. Honu and Odyssey experienced some brief moisture, but avoided the brunt of it.. After that, it became another great sailing day, with winds again 15-20 knots, this time from the south to southeast, again providing for about seven knots on a beam-to-broad reach.
The trip ended as all trips end – removing gear, excess food, securing the boat, and driving home, just in time to see the last of the neighborhood trick-or-treaters making their rounds.
Photos by Jan Cornelius, Joel Mack & Mia McCroskey
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