June 14. Today was one of our longest scheduled days. It looks to be about 85 miles.
For optimal tidal flow assistance we need to be adjacent to Chesapeake City by 1020. Since we’re about 20 miles away that means that we are going to need to get underway by 0700. We manage to get it together and get underway by 0645.
We get a knot push until we get to the C&D Canal and then it becomes a 2 knot advantage for us. The wind is blowing directly in our face so as we turn south at the far end of the canal we are able to put up all sail. The wind almost immediately dies but after an hour it builds to 10 to 15 knots so we are able to shut down the engine and sail for the better part of the day.
We’re on a beam reach with an assist from the current up until we have 9 miles to go. Then we have to start the engine and motor sail until we reach the Cape May Canal. When we reach the end of the canal we drop sail but are asked to wait outside for a few minutes until the Cape May ferry clears the channel. We’re always happy to cooperate with someone 20 times bigger and 40 times heavier than we are.
Once inside the channel we make good time down the river headed for the anchorage. There are 2 fixed bridges with a height of 55 feet. We only need 52 feet and have passed through these bridges before. We can see that the bridge height boards are currently showing 53 and a half feet. The current is against us and the spans are very narrow and then WHAM! Christy and I look at each other and simultaneously realize that we just hit the small light that hangs below the bridge to mark the center of the span.
There’s a light at either edge of the bridge to mark the center of the span. At night if you line the 2 lights up then you will pass through the center of the highest part of the bridge. The light was hanging down a couple of feet below the bridge and we smacked it perfectly. The light pivots so it swung out of the way after we hit it and it does not appear to have damaged anything on our masthead.
After changing my underwear we proceeded into the harbor to look for someplace to drop the hook. The first space that looked even semi appealing was already crowded so we continued on. The second anchorage was also very crowded and the only other choice involves us opening the Route 9 lift bridge and anchoring up the river behind it.
After looking at the crowded second anchorage we chose it anyway because I didn’t want to add any more time to our long day tomorrow dealing with the bridge in the morning.
We wedged our way in between 2 boats and both Captains were a bit concerned but we used the “Bitch Wing Counter” and then did a nice job of dropping the hook and coming to rest with perfect spacing.
It turned out to be an 83 mile day and it was good to finally get the hook set and sit back for a bit before turning in for the night.