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Log Entry

Winding Into Winter

Fall is in the air and the recent cold snap has turned the verdant landscape into vibrant bursts of colored foliage. It's Holly's favorite season, leaves turning bright reds and yellows, shifting summer winds into fall with some of the best sailing anywhere on the east coast, and our first voyage with CAYUGA beyond the safe harbors of our beloved Annapolis.

Tomorrow morning, after an extra hour of sleep (!), we begin our transit from Whitehall Creek over to the Eastern Shore, up the Choptank River, and ultimately to the Town of Denton where CAYUGA will get some tender loving care over the winter at Mathews Brothers - the picture is of me with Pete Mathews at the recent powerboat show. Given the time change and earlier sunset, we're breaking up the travel into two days, plus we need to arrive on a weekday for the haul-out. So, our trip tomorrow lands us in Cambridge for a tie-up overnight at the Cambridge Yacht Club. In addition Holly's pleased to dock locally for a visit to one of her favorite breweries... RAR.

brad and pete

It looks to be a spectacular few days ahead, favorable wind at our backs, minimal current, and today was already a success with a lovely road trip over to the boatyard to drop off one car for the ride home on Monday. Fingers crossed for reasonably calm waters and decent temps as well; I think it's going to be chilly sleeping weather Sunday night aboard, but we're fearless sailors. (is there a power boater version?).

We've been looking forward to the run across the Bay and up the length of the Choptank for many reasons, but one is traveling where we have not yet been.

While it should be easy-peasy, even a short trip in mostly familiar waters requires a bit

of forward thinking. That includes boat prep, passage planning, and provisioning. The better the prep and planning, the less likely we are to have I love yachting issues. Thanks to Holly, on the maiden voyage, we had the first aid kit when I was unfortunately sprayed by hot coolant fluid from a broken hose. That said, CAYUGA has been running well – knock on varnished teak. Boat prep will consist of the usual visual inspection including checking fluids, belts, and hoses. And making sure all safety gear is aboard and in operable condition. The rest is up to the ole gal.

Holly has sailed on the Choptank for log canoe racing, out in the river off the shore of the yacht club, but never power boated further than Island Creek right around the corner (so to speak) from Oxford. Oxford is where CAYUGA began her forays into Bay waters when she was delivered from CT, on a very, very rainy, cold early May day. That inauspicious start behind us, tomorrow, we will motor through Knapps Narrows (with a pit stop for fuel), past Oxford, Island Creek, and onward up the river to our dock for the night.

Monday will be the true adventure as we wind our way slowly up the remainder of the Choptank into historic Denton. The Choptank is meandering and narrowing from Cambridge to its headwaters. And probably has some wicked current too... the guidance given is stay in the middle of the markers and closer to the outside of the turns (where the water runs deepest). Oh, this is going to be interesting! Mathews Brothers enjoy space along the river next to the Choptank River Yacht Club (a delightfully unassuming place) and there's where CAYUGA gets hauled and then towed into her own indoor space. The picture is of CAYUGA being delivered to Campbell's Boatyard in Oxford where she first arrived to MD.

I can't pass up a bit of the old-school world of passage planning, which is pretty straightforward, to share with you. Holly and I are still loyal Power Squadron (now known as America’s Boating Club) members, therefore, we (mostly me) plan and plot courses in advance with nautical protractors and paper charts.

For this passage, we will be using Chart 12266 to get through Knapps Narrows and to Cambridge. From there we venture to Chart 12268 to get from Cambridge up to Denton. Looking at the 12268 chart, and how that river just keeps on going, reminds me of a movie with a river and a crazy Marlon Brando character, but regardless, this is going to take some time...

CAYUGA is equipped with an older version Garmin chart plotter, and we both have navigation apps on our phones, but we always have paper charts at the ready just in case. Furthermore, reviewing paper charts is still the best way to get the big picture of where we are going and the obstacles between start and finish. It’s also a way to gauge how long the various legs of the trip will take. Yep, good old course, time, speed, and distance - dead reckoning. We will leave the dock knowing where we are going – magnetic courses to steer – and about how long it should take to get to the destination at average speeds.

With the hard part of navigating an unknown body of water researched, my provisioning is the easy part. It'll be the usual cooler bag with ice, Modello, some wine and healthy snacks. No chance I'd forget the water, Holly always makes sure we have that too. With extra blankets, warm clothing, first aid kit, the usual music playlists and some jazz and Chicago (for Don), full tank of gas, and an attitude of "time to get off the dock", wish us luck. And with fingers crossed, next week we will NOT have an I love yachting story to share with you.

But then, what would be the fun in that? Remember, where there's a boat, there's a story.

1 Comment

Nov 08, 2021

Ending the boating season is always such a bummer. However that means that ski season is approaching. Summer doesn't end it just gets cold.

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