More Air in a Hurry

Stay, go, stay …. Go!!  Sunday’s forecast kept us guessing and chicken sailor I am, I was not up for 25kts, even off our stern. But when Sunday arrived and conditions looked favorable for a decent sail much of the day, we took off. Monday was predicted to be a motoring event so we wanted one last good sailing day to complete our Chesapeake expedition. Plus, s/v Spray Cat, an Island Spirit 400 (same as One White Tree), the cat ahead of us coming into Crisfield, was leaving and even we possess a teeny bit of competitive spirit.

The day was a virtual replica of Friday; big wind overnight, moderating in the morning and diminishing down to less than 10kts by early afternoon. We raised the main with one reef and shook it out after 30 minutes. Conditions were so favorable that we felt comfortable using the screecher, but that didn’t last long as the wind diminished too much to keep the large sail filled. At least we got to take a good look at her since the repair work and check that we’d gotten her and those long lines back on correctly. So much for that air in a hurry- in a hurry to leave I’d say.

We did catch up to Spray Cat who’d left at least 30 mins before us. But in their defense, they had a reef in the entire time and looked to be headed toward Deltaville, a closer destination than ours but a better sailing angle.

We passed by Wolf Trap Light near the end of our day

We passed by Wolf Trap Light near the end of our day

Even with our 9am late start we logged 57nm (65 land miles) in 8 ½ hours, arriving in Claxton Creek just past 5:30. Earlier in the day we crossed the state line; farewell Maryland, hello Virginia!

And some of you know what Virginia means- Norfolk! and all those Navy ships, Coast Guard cutters, tugs, barges, pleasure craft, pilot boats, container ships, oh my!   This being our seventh time through here we’ve become a bit blasé about the trip. But just in case others are too, the Naval ships make sure to get your attention.

Naval aircraft carrier #5 announced the ship was preparing to leave the dock and heading out to sea. Our ears prick up when we hear any naval vessel on the airwaves. This announcement is made on CH16 and is a bit lengthy. The gist of it is who they are, where they are headed and what actions other vessels should and should not take. Other vessels need to keep clear by at least 100 yards and if they don’t they will be subject to, “….including arrest and deadly force.” Well, alright-y then. We kept our distance and cut across the channel before #5 arrived.

We stay clear of No. 5 as she heads out of Norfolk

We stay clear of No. 5 as she heads out of Norfolk

We’d seen a steady stream of double-masted sailboats heading up the Chesapeake as we came in to Norfolk. After the first few I figured some weekend event must have taken place and sure enough we learned about the Schooner Fest. Weren’t surprised to see our old friend, The Pride of Baltimore II heading back to her home port. She sure gets around.

Pride of Baltimore II heads home after the schooner fest

Pride of Baltimore II heads home after the schooner fest

We got lucky and snagged the last spot on one of two free docks near the Great Bridge Bridge. Guess who was on the other free dock? Yes- Harmony II!  We may see them yet. Swapped stories and shared ActiveCaptain info with m/v Otter who was docked ahead of us. From our stop last April we knew just where to go; Chili’s for dinner, Panera for breakfast treats, then Farm Fresh supermarket for a couple of bags of food. We are now at Mile 12 on the official AICW; only another 1,000 more to go; less if you convert to nautical miles 🙂


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