October 25, 2009.
Chesapeake O’ Chesapeake why hast thou forsaken me O’ Great Chesapeake? I mean WTF?
On Saturday the wind was supposed to be between 15 and 30 knots from the south bringing with it bands of torrential rain. It was supposed to be over by midnight and it was. The forecast couldn’t have been more spot on.
Today was supposed to bring 15 to 20 knots out of the northwest with beautiful skies. I went to bed with sailing terms like “rollicking, boisterous and spirited” dancing in anticipation in my head. We left the dock in time for the 0900 bridge opening. As soon as we were clear of the inner harbor the sails were up and the engine was off.
Our plan was for us to sail the entire bay; today and through the night. It’s a distance of about 125 miles to Norfolk. It can be 3 reasonable days, 2 grueling days or just 1 overnighter. It’s getting a little chilly so we’d like to knock the trip down the bay out of the way in a single day. There are so many crabpot floats in the bay that we won't consider running the engine at night. So its sail or nothing.
We started the day with about 12 knots of breeze coming over the stern from about 9 different directions. We were on port tack, starboard tack and then wing and wing at least a dozen times in the first 2 hours. It was exhausting but we were moving along nicely. But by the time noon came the wind was dying and we were down to 4 knots SOG. Where the hell’s my breeze?
In the spirit of “stick to it ness” we sailed all day. Even as our speed dropped to 2 knots. Finally around 1600 hours the wind absolutely, completely died. We found ourselves still doing about a half a knot as we were swept south by the ebbing tide. The problem with that was that we were actually sideways to the current while being swept south. Not very dignified at all.
The tide started to change and there was a very real danger of us being swept north so we had to bite the bullet, crank up the engine and decide on a spot to drop the hook. Instead of heading a few miles off the Chesapeake to drop the hook in a sheltered spot we just pulled off to the side of the bay and picked a spot. It’s calm as hell as we sit here anchored among a few crab pots.
As they say “Tomorrow is another day”. O’ Great Chesapeake permit us the breeze to sail upon your bountiful waters on the morrow. Please.