October 26, 2009.
I’ll admit it. It was my fault, completely and totally. I was brash enough to ask the Chesapeake to grant me enough wind to spend the day under sail. I never really expected my wish to be granted so I never mentioned a specific time for when I’d like the wind to pipe up.
When last I wrote we were anchored in the shallows, along the eastern edge of the Chesapeake. We were well away from the shipping lanes. We even intentionally anchored among a slew of crab pots to lessen the chances that a small boat would come blasting through.
We watched a beautiful sunset, had dinner, read awhile and turned in at 2200. At 0237 the wind started just like somebody flipped the wind switch. It was only 10 knots or so at the beginning and I listened to wavelets lapping against the hull. At 0430 the wind was cranking and the seas were starting to build. By 0440 we were dressed and preparing to get underway.
It wasn’t that we were eager to get underway; it’s just that the conditions in our wide open anchorage were starting to get a bit nasty as the winds crested 20 knots. Another non-bonus of our predawn departure would be that we were unable to use the engine. It was pitch black outside and all those crab pot floats were just waiting to be sucked into our prop shaft.
So Christy took the helm while I raised the mainsail. Then the boat sailed forward as I pulled in the anchor chain. After a few moments we were free of the bottom and headed back out to deeper water. We've practiced sailing off the anchor several times in the past and it was nice that we possessed the skill when we needed it. Once we turned south we unrolled most of the genoa.
We found ourselves making 7 knots on a beam reach hour after hour. We encountered one huge ship after another but only had to call one to negotiate a safe passing in the predawn darkness. Yes, I still love the AIS. The waters built to three foot choppy seas but with enough wind in the sails Veranda loped easily down the bay.
After lunch we were in discussion about whether or not we should continue on to Norfolk or not when the wind started to get fluky. We’re very familiar with the anchorage in Norfolk so it wasn’t the proposed after dark arrival that was the issue. The day had been such a good day of sailing that we decided to stop while we still had some wind. Unlike the day before when the wind dying on us had been so frustrating. Not to mention the fact that we had gotten started pretty early.
So after a long but great day we pulled into the anchorage at Jackson Creek in Deltaville, Va. An hour after we dropped the hook our friends the Makeitso's pulled in and anchored beside us.