October 13, 2008.
We were up early and after taking the dogs to shore were underway by 0730. There were about 6 boats in various stages of getting ready to leave as we departed. After transiting the exit and heading back out to the bay we picked up about another dozen boats that had spent the night around the corner in Fishing Bay.
We had a little bit of breeze from the west so we had to motor sail the entire day. We were about the sixth boat in line as we headed southward. We did a little creative navigating and cut the corner on several marks and soon found ourselves leading the pack. That is until the incident……..
I just wrote about our spat of mechanical failures and we had yet another. The coupling bolts on the drive coupling sheared again. It already happened twice in the last 2 years. Of course, the wind had just died and we were debating taking down sail when the drive train was suddenly disconnected from the propeller. So we left the sails where they were and ghosted along at 1 to 2 knots while I went below to start to make a repair.
This time something was different though, I was unable to turn the propeller shaft by hand. Something had it jammed so I figured I should check to see that we didn’t pick up a crab pot in the propeller.
Christy got my mask and fins while I got ready to slip into the water. While I got ready she also rigged a line to drag behind the boat in case I was unable to keep up. I would be able to grab the line as it went by and pull myself hand over hand back to the boat. I should have dropped the sails but there's that ole' hindsight is twenty twenty crap but thankfully the wind didn't choose this moment to pick up. I was only in the water for a minute and the problem became obvious. The shaft had slid back after it became disconnected and the prop shaft zinc had jammed up against the face of the cutlass bearing. I was able to free it and dragged myself back aboard no worse for wear.
Once back aboard I was able to replace the bolts and get us underway again. In the 2 hours that went by we went from “first to worst” and trailed the fleet into Norfolk. All the other boats continued on to Hospital Point or further while we settled for Mill Creek. It’s a great anchorage and we have it all to ourselves.
Here's a couple of shots of some of the boats we've seen lately. First there was a tiny power boat with a mizzen mast. I saw the boat the night before at anchor but I didn't really think he put sail up on that mast. I guess it lessens the side to side rolling, again, I dunno.
Then there was this guy with the newly installed aluminum radar arch. It was a design I've never seen before; at least not that big. It just looked a little out of place on a trawler with such classic lines.
The Chesapeake does always yield a classic.