Deal Island Trip
Keith Henry once again shared my trip to Deal island this year. We arrived at the boat Thursday evening to finish undoing the prep for Hurricane Irene. After provisioning the boat and stowing our bags, we took to the task. I had done some work such as hoisting the genoa and replacing the bimini the evening before, but it still took us four hours to replace the battens, bend on the mainsail, replace a broken sail slide and a host of other small jobs.
Our goal was to leave at dawn Friday to catch the falling tide at Sharps Island. We didn't make that and ended up spending all of Friday fighting an incoming tide as a result. Not that I am complaining. It merely made for an extra hour or so of boisterous sailing as we beat down the bay in winds 10-15, occasionally as high as 18 or so... Perfect conditions for my wonderful and spectacular boat. I love my boat.
What a grand day, we had. On the way down, we caught and passed a boat that appeared to be about a 47 footer. We beat him on tactics as he was a much faster boat. He crossed the bay at Cove Point too early and got swept below Cove Point, had to come back (almost caught us again) to the eastern shore (where the tide current effect was minimal) and try again. When we crossed, we got swept down toward Cove Point, but managed to get across into shallow water above it.
Apparently nervous after his last crossing, the larger boat waited until they were even further below Cove point than us to cross, then tried crossing in a dying breeze and got swept down again. The last time we saw that boat, it was a speck on the horizon, still on the eastern shore.
Loin Steaks and some magnificent beans with lots of Nueske's Bacon, (the best bacon in the whole world and the only bacon suitable for my beans or a trip to Deal Island.) some onions, red bell pepper and portabello mushrooms. mmm mmm good.
Saturday, with another wonderful building southern breeze, we crossed the bay on a close reach, caught the tide boost through Hooper's strait on a beam reach and after joining up with Marc and Patty Bergmueller, whom we met at Shark Fin Shoals as they came down the Nanticoke. Together, we had a lovely beat down to Deal Island. I believe Keith stood the helm watch for all or most of that leg and all of it with a grin on his face.
After dropping the hook in Chance Harbor, Marc and Patty rafted up with us, We had a wonderful evening swapping stories over a cocktail or two. I shared the last of Friday night's beans with Marc and Patty, so I had to make another batch Saturday night to go with my smoked Turkey Drumstick. MMM MMM good.
Sunday is a work day for me at Deal Island. I'm in the harbor, surrounded by a festival, a car show, music playing and people celebrating the holiday. I almost always spend the day working on my boat. It is just about the only day of uninterrupted work I get on my boat. And what a great place to do it. The weather this year was perfect for sailing and even doing teak. Amazing, considering it was the end of summer, which normally has baking hot temps and scalding humidity. There was such perfect conditions, that I managed to get 5 great coats of varnish on my drink/binocular holder all in one day! I did it on the galley counter, where the relentless drying breeze poured down the aft hatch. It was simply amazing. I was able to do a coat every 90 minutes. (normally, it takes a full day to cure that well, more if it is humid)
Monday morning, Keith arrived for the return trip. I keep trying to convince him to spend the whole weekend, but he only lives 15 minutes from Deal Island, so he goes home, gets a hot shower and spends time with Betsy. Betsy had planned on making the return trip with us, but the weather forecast was right on the edge of fantastic and going south.
We Departed Deal Island, 0930. Arrived and dropped hook in Oxford MD 1720. 7 hrs 50 minutes, beating last year's previous best time by 70 minutes... What a rocking day on the water!!! What a run up the bay we had...
Excellent! Top speed that we saw was 8.7 kts. But that's just what we saw, since the only instrument we have measuring speed is the gps and that is at nav table. And that was SOG, with us fighting the tide all the way up the bay.
I didn't take very many shots of the Skipjack race this year, we were working too hard sailing and I figured I've got plenty of shots of skipjacks. But, I am upset that I did not think to take pictures of the Catamaran that Keith and I raced from Cove Point to Oxford. What a delight that was! He passed us twice. We passed him for the last and final time as he set up for wing and wing at G1 Tred Avon. We barreled by him on a reach. I was going to call it a race at R2, but he gave up and motored 100 yds before R2... LOL
The second time he tried to pass, we took him up and luffed him up until he stalled out and tried to pass below us. Then we dropped down on him to keep him in dirty air until we had a great sail angle for G1 Tred Avon. He finally dropped down far enough to get out of our dirty air, then he came screaming up on a close reach to pass us just before G1, whereupon we immediately passed him back when he set up for wing and wing and we didn't, because Keith and I knew we could get away with not honoring R2, which won us the race.
What a delight. Keith and I especially got a chuckle when during the wing and wing setup, the skipper ran forward to help his crew, who was evidently having trouble setting the preventer. Then he ran back to get back to the helm. LOL What fun! The boats were pretty evenly matched. Being a cat, he could kill us on a close reach, but upwind we walked him and downwind we were pretty even. Even on a beam reach we seemed to do well against them.
Monday night dinner on the hook, Rib Eyes and you guessed it, More BEANS with lots of Nueske's bacon. This time, no bell pepper which was gone, but lots of portabello mushrooms to finish those up. Who'da thunk beans and mushrooms would go so well together?
Tuesday dawned rainy and windy. A 180* wind shift in the night had a neighbor dragging and scrambling to pick up a mooring so they could sleep the rest of the night. I felt the wind shift. When I got up to look around, I couldn't even see our neighbor. After it got even more windy, I got up to check to see if we were dragging and this time saw the neighbor trying to pick up the mooring. We never dragged a bit. Not bad for sailing to the anchor and not even backing down on the rode. Though as usual, we did have plenty of rode out...
After a leisurely breakfast and some waiting around for the downpour to ease up, we set off for the final short leg to Cambridge. Another great sail! Fantastic weekend.
On our return to the slip, we hung around for a couple of hours cleaning up and relishing the wonderful time our old girl had provided us in the most spectacular sailing weather yet for our annual trek to Deal Island.
Thanks again Keith, for sharing the trip with me. It is always a pleasure to sail with you.