April 15, 2014.
Well, its happened. We're back in Annapolis. At the free dock in Great Bridge we were about 150 miles from Naptown. On Saturday morning we passed through the 0700 lock and motored towards Norfolk.
|The Lightship of Portsmouth|
Of course now our friend “The Tide” was against us and we motored northward on a dead flat, completely windless day. For just about ever. It was a perfect, warmish day that any boater would love. Unless you were a sailboater, there was literally zero breeze....all day.
There was the promise of wind from a favorable direction due to arrive the next day so we chose an anchorage for the night. At just about the halfway point lies one of the many Mill Creeks that dot the Chesapeake. Our friends Pete and Lynn from First Edition have a house on the water there so we thought we'd pop in and surprise them.
|Fish traps border the approach to Mill Creek|
Surprise! They're not home. So we dropped the hook just after sunset right behind their house. We still had 78 miles to go so the next morning the hook was up by 0600 and we headed out onto the bay. We had 15 to 20 knots from directly behind the boat as we blasted north. The water was small rollers behind us and we hit the Potomac at slack tide so everything was going pretty well.
With such a long day ahead of us we listened to NOAA for a weather report. Our 15 to 20 was supposed to build to 25 to 30 by late afternoon. Crap. The next few days are supposed to be worse so we opted to keep moving. As we pulled into the harbor at Annapolis the wind cranked up like somebody flipped a switch. Of course there were dozens of boats sailing in every direction when the wind hit. A lot of them looked surprised by the newly honking breeze. And several of them gave us cause for concern as they barreled close by with sails flailing and sheets popping. It took some timing but we did find enough space to run downwind to roll up the genny before turning hard on the wind to drop the mainsail.
We motored into Back Creek and headed towards our slip. Our slip is very protected and I was shocked to find that we had 15 knots of breeze screwing with me as we tried to parallel park into our slip. The outside pilings on our slip are only 11 ½ feet apart and the Veranda is 13 ½ feet wide so we have to think outside the envelope to get into our slip.
Too much speed and the prop walk can be brutal, too slow and the wind was having its way with us. It took several tries before we were able to nail it. I had a legitimate shot on the second try but one of the neighbors had a moment of lucidity and decided now would be the time to chat us up. Our technique involves Christy standing on the bow and slipping a bowline over a piling so we can slowly warp our way into the slip.
|Land immediately to port and 15 knots from the starboard side made docking into a challenge|
|Once we get a line on that piling off the port bow warping in is easy|
|Honey we're home!|
I got the boat into position next to our slip, Christy is about to toss the line and a woman behind me starts screaming “You can't anchor there, we won't be able to get our boat out!” Christy, with the patience of a saint stops what shes doing and explains to the woman that we're just getting into our slip.
When we're in our slip her boat sits on a lift off our port quarter. In the 5 years that we've been here their boat has never ever been in the water. Its a lift queen, it just sits there.
|The boat hasn't been wet since the Roosevelt administration|
|The wind caught us but we beat the rain|
I think it was on the fifth attempt that everything lined up and we slipped comfortably into our home for the next few months.