Archive for October, 2009

One Tack a Day

October 30, 2009

Hampton, VA  N 37′ 01.476  W 076′ 20.448″

Well here we are in Hampton, VA.  We passed through the edge of Hampton Roads, the site of the famous civil war battle between the Monitor and Merrimack.  This is one of the busiest ports in the world.  We snuck in the side door, but we will have to transit the area on our way south.

Our last post was from Solomons Island, MD.  We left there early yesterday under cold, gray skies and an easy wind out of the northeast.  Like our first day the favorable wind pushed us along until early afternoon.  The sailing was good, but the overcast made it feel very dreary.  The wind lightened after noon and we put up the mizzen staysail – a large, free flying sail that sits between the main and mizzen masts.  We passed the mouth of the Potomac and entered a part of the Bay where neither one of us had ever been. 

The mizzen staysail helped move us along, but eventually we had to resort to motoring.  We had a lot of discussion about where to anchor for the night.  There are many creeks between the Potomac and Deltaville and each has its pros and cons as an anchorage.  We wanted good protection from the wind and waves and relatively easy access to the Bay.  Eventually we settled on Antipoison Creek, just north of the Rappahannock River.  It seemed to be a good compromise and it didn’t dissapoint us.  It was one of the rare times that our boat was the only transient in the anchorage.  It was beautiful and quiet except for the early morning watermen waking us as they cruised out to their fishing/crabbing/oystering areas.

Antipoison Creek is supposed to have received its name because it was there that some native Americans gave John Smith an antidote for a stingray sting.

We left Antipoison Creek early this morning and had a wonderful wind from the northeast.  The sun burned away the clouds and we had a beautiful, warm (relatively speaking) day.  The pattern of the first two days repeated and we lost the wind early in the afternoon.  We motored along on a falling tide that pushed along down the Bay.  Then the wind came back as we passed south of the York River and we sailed the last ten miles to Hampton.

Some friends arrange for a  slip for us at the Hampton Public Pier where we are surrounded by some pretty impressive boats.  The guys on the boat next to us we vacuuming the deck.  We were lucky to get a slip, because the Caribbean 1500 cruising rally starts early this coming weeks and the boats are gathering for it.


Howdo you deal with the terrors of dragons and pirates and storms at sea?

The trip so far has been amazing.  Typically the wind blows up the Bay from the south.  We had three days of northeast wind making life easy for us by pushing us down the Bay.  We sailed the same tack for three days.

We plan to leave on Monday morning after our crew arrives, so we have a couple days to neaten up the boat, get some supplies, and take care of some boat chores.

We will check back next from the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW)

We’re Off!

October 28, 2009

SOLOMONS ISLAND, MD.  38′ 20.157″ N, 076′ 27.613W”

It seemed like this day would never come.  We slipped the dock lines off the pilings and backed out of the slip.  A short stop at the fuel dock and then we pointed Little Rosie’s bow out of the West River.  It was just after 10.  By 5:30 we were anchored in Solomons Island, MD sipping a celebratory glass of rum.

The day started gray and nearly windless, but when we got to the Bay there was a nice breeze out of the west.  Compass Rose loves to have the wind on the beam and she flew down the Bay.  The sky cleared, the day warmed, and we had a glorious trip.  What a great way to start.


Compass Rose stretches her legs










The Admiral Plans the trip


Galesville…Aptly Named

October 16, 2009

GALESVILLE, MD.  N 38° 50.569 , W 076° 50.567

Jackie and I moved aboard Compass Rose, our Dickerson 41 ketch, on Sunday, Oct. 4.  Our house is rented with a two year lease, so there is no turning back.  We are (or should be?) committed.

It’s cold, rainy, and blowing like stink outside here in Galesville.  Technically not really a gale, but it feels like it.  And we expect three more days of it.  Hard to believe just a few days ago I was wearing shorts and a tee shirt.  Now it’s socks all the time and foulies when we go out.

Inside Little Rosie – our pet name for Compass Rose – looks like a bomb went off.  There is stuff everywhere.  We keep trying to find spaces to stow things, but it’s a challenge.  Jackie’s car has turned into a dock box full of stuff we think we need to take with us, but haven’t even tried to stow yet.  Who knows what we really need?  The bigger question is “where will we put it?”

We have to stay until the middle of next week when our life raft arrives – then we are free to go.  Shortly after that we will pull in the dock lines, head out of the West River, and point Little Rosie’s bow south.  We will sail down the Chesapeake and stop in Hampton, VA to pick up some gear that’s being shipped to a friend’s house.  Then it’s on down the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW) to Oriental, NC where our crew will join us for the offshore hops to Florida.  We both have relatives in Florida, so we will probably stay there a little while and then hop to the Bahamas and eventually to the Caribbean.

Or so the plan goes….. 😉