October 18, 2010.
With the first leg of our trip being less than 50 feet we were ready for a bit of a longer jump for our second day out. So at 0900 we motored slowly out of Back Creek and bade Annapolis adieu.
As soon as we were clear of the creek the sails were set and we started what would be a very pleasant trip down the bay. Late in the afternoon we still had decent wind so we decided to keep going rather than stopping for the night.
The wind was closer to the nose than I would have liked, but it was just great to be back underway. We encountered a few large ships and several tugboats during the night. Things went well for us but we did hear one captain having a fairly difficult passage. He was bringing the cruise ship, Carnival Mercury up the Chesapeake when he encountered several southbound sailboats in the dark.
First there was the captain of the “Schooner Libertate” who informed the huge passenger ship that he was under sail and therefore the “stand on vessel”. The captain of the Carnival Cruise ship informed the Libertate that he was right in the middle of the deep water “shipping” channel and that he would NOT be maneuvering around his small sailing ship. Almost immediately after that encounter, he very tersely hailed a small sailboat and very politely but between clenched teeth told them NOT to try and cross his bow. When the sailboat called back to declare their intentions it became apparent that they barely spoke English. The cruise ship captain was very polite but you could practically hear him squeezing the mic as he told them EXACTLY what he wanted them to do. I dunno, we had an easy night.
The wind got lighter as the night dragged on and we spent a few hours in the 4 knot speed range. The wind finally died when we were 6 miles from Norfolk. So at 0800 we started the engine and motored in.
There are a few bridges in Norfolk that can really suck the fun out of a good day so we decided to knock those off today before we stopped for the day. The first 2 bridges we came to are train bridges that are normally open unless a train is nearby. Luck was with us and they were both open for us, then we came to the Gilmerton lift bridge. We came around a bend in the river and the bridge was just opening. There were several boats lined up waiting to go through. We hailed the bridge tender and asked if she would hold the opening for us. She said to slow down and she’d drop the bridge, clear traffic and go right back up for us, awesome. And then reality kicked in. As soon as she put the bridge down the adjacent train bridge also went down as there was a train coming. Shit. That crap turned into an hour as we waited for 2 trains to cross the bridge.
The next bridge is only 2 ½ miles away and only opens on the hour. Of course, we got through the damn train bridge at 10 minutes to 1300. We can cover 2 miles in about 20 minutes so we couldn’t make the next opening so we dragged our feet and spent the next 70 minutes basically waiting for this last bridge. After that it was a short hop to the lock at Great Bridge.
We locked through quickly and found a spot on the free town dock between the Great Bridge lock and the Great Bridge bridge. We were tied to the wall and had drinks in hand by 1500. It ended up being a 30 hour day covering 145 miles with the first 23 hours being entirely under sail. So we’re out of Maryland, in Virginia and only a stones throw from North Carolina.