I don't know about the rest of you, but I think this weekend was great. I'd be interested in hearing any amusing or cool stories that you might have. I know a lot of you folks aren't from the USA, but you probably have good weekend stories anyway. So, let's hear em!
Here's my July 4th story.
The last few months have been full of hatch repairs
, porthole rebedding, and varnish
work, but I met my goal of having Icefire ready for sail on the 4th. The plan: Head
across the Bay from Annapolis
to a crab shack on the eastern shore, feast, sail back and anchor
harbor for fireworks. The crew: me, the Admiral, our 7-month old daughter, my cousin, and my in-laws (my mom joined us at the crab shack).
Underway time was a bit later than I'd planned, so by the time we got down the Severn abeam the Naval Academy, I realised that getting across the bay and back probably was a bit ambitious. So we changed crab shack destination
to Cantler's off of Whitehall Bay. Mom was going to get our table, and we had some time to kill, so we spent some time just putzing around. Between crewing
on OPBs for the last few months and reading on this forum and others, I have a much better understanding of mainsail
trim than I did the last time I had her out. So in the nice wind
we had that afternoon, we all had a great time sailing about, practicing tacking, gybing, and trimming. Great beer
and margaritas helped of course.
I ended up having to backtrack a bit on the way to Cantler's because I made an error reading the chart, but we got there easily enough (although a bit later than planned). The Admiral and her parents had never been to a MD crab shack before, and they were suitably impressed. Talk about good timing: it started raining AFTER we'd been seated under cover. About an hour or so there let that small rainfall pass by, and we got back underway (with Mom joining us) to the news of a big storm down south near St Mary's on the VHF weather
Between the weather
warnings and seeing the clouds down south, I opted to just motor
back to Annapolis and pondered nixing the anchoring-out plan. It took about an hour to get back, during which time we heard more reports on the storm, and heard that it was heading east. It looked like we were in the clear as we approached the anchorage (filled with hundreds of boats). I saw the security
boats around the Academy (where the fireworks were) and heard on the VHF
that the fireworks were still on. So after a couple minutes of discussion, we went ahead and set the hook.
Now, Icefire is a Sabre
28, weighing in at about 7500 pounds, and I'd not anchored her before (though I have anchored other vessels). My only anchor
is a 20 lb CQR
with about 20 ft of chain and the rest rope
. I wasn't entirely sure how well she'd hold, so after backing down to set the anchor, I stayed on deck
for a while to see if we were dragging or not. Our position looked good compared to the other boats, but as I looked south, that storm that was supposedly heading east sure looked like it was heading right for us, as there was a clear front-line coming in and the wind
was picking up. Right then we heard the USCG warning about the storm, and I think they advertised 50 kt winds. That made me think about leaving. My mom turning pale and almost begging to just go back to the slip made me think more of it. So I started the motor
and tried to haul up the anchor. Well, by that time, the wind was at least 30 kts, and there was too much tension on the anchor line to get it to move at all. The only options were staying put or cutting the line. Seeing that the anchor was holding fast and that the storm was on us already, it seemed to me that the safest thing was to just wait it out and be ready to move if we dragged. So we hunkered down under the dodger
and belowdecks while I monitored our position relative to the other boats closely.
It was while doing this that I noticed the boat anchored next to us was another Sabre
28! How cool is that?
Anyway, after ~30 mins the storm passed, and Mom was all smiles. "Wow, that was really neat" she said. Funny
how panic changed into enjoyment so quickly. Actually, I was very pleased too: we didn't drag at all. GPS
position throughout the blow was pretty much static. I guess that little 20 lb anchor was enough for the boat afterall (or I am just so good at setting anchors that my skill made up for whatever shortfalls the anchor may have......or I was just lucky). Some guys weren't so lucky though. I heard one VHF call about an unmanned vessel dragging anchor right toward the seawall. That's a bad night in the works right there.
So now every jackass with a VHF was calling and asking if the Annapolis fireworks were still on. We could tell the Coast Guard (and several other people on the net) was getting pissed about using 16 to talk fireworks instead of distress
or hailing. Finallly, after it was annouced 6 times that we'd be told if it was cancelled or not, the word got out that the fireworks were still on. And sure enough, right on time at 2115, we had the best seat in the house. Great show! The other boats helped, too. A couple boats over, there were a couple ladies singing the national anthem, followed by America the Beautiful. Then they sang them again.....and again.....and again..... 'Nuff said.
Once the fireworks were over, we weighed anchor and headed back to our slip on Saltworks creek. Probably the most amusing quote from the night happened as we motored up the Severn. My mom looked at me and said "This is a great way to get around. What are we doing, about 25 or so?" I had to work hard to not laugh as I told her "No mom, we're going 5 kts by GPS".
So anyway, it was a great day out on the Bay and in the harbor, and a great return to sailing trim for Icefire.