We left Solomons on 14 October early in the morning headed for Potomac River, with some place marked on the chart to stop. As we were getting close to the Potomac, we made the decision to go on to another area simply because we’d not gone too very far to begin with.
We ended up heading to the Great Wicomico River near Reedville area and anchoring in a bay behind something called Sandy Point, at Kurt Seastead’s suggestion. Not sure if he’d been there before but he seemed to know it so we stopped.
Turned out to be a very cool place with only one other sailboat there. We dropped anchor and spent a night there enjoying the silence. Location was in 18.5 feet of water at 37 degrees 49.346 mins North and 76 degrees 18.686 minutes West.
I’d noticed several issues over the past couple of days with the forward sail, not the least of which was the fact it was not working right and had changed to the genoa a few days prior to this. Well, turns out the car carrying the sail up is adjusted incorrectly (and I still need to fix it as of today) but also I couldn’t get everything working right. The sail is not going high enough, it’s not letting out all the way, the inhaul wasn’t doing it’s job correctly either. I needed to add more line around the drum… so I fixed all that stuff only to find out my line is now too short to let out the entire foresail. Grrrrr. I’ll have to change out the line on the drum soon.
The following morning (15 October 15) we sailed off the anchor, with the engine running just in case. Ended up needed it since we were leaving is a pretty narrow channel going out and didn’t have enough to room to tack back and forth. As usual, I ended up giving up on sails after we has very little wind.
The boat is literally so heavy that 6-10 knots of wind barely fill sails, let alone make the vessel move at one or two knots. With a time constraint, this is not good. So, engine power it is.
Our destination was Fishing Bay. We intended to catch up with Kurt (S/V Lo-Kee), and Barb and Tom Bjorkholm (S/V Morsan) – other Formosa 41 sailboats.
Arrived at 1445 and dropped anchor in 21 feet of water and put out what I thought was just enough scope to keep us situated in the same spot over night. I dropped just under 100 feet of chain. Because, you know, weather reports said “calm” and “5-6 mph winds”. No big deal. So, a little less than 5:1 scope.
It was almost our undoing that night. More on that later.
That evening Barb and Tom came by and picked us up, gave us a tour of their beautiful Formosa, Morsan and took us over to a small Mexican restaurant. Since JoAnne and I LOVE Mexican food, it was heaven. Ok, well, it was alright anyway! We went back to the boat that night and headed for bed.
Later in the evening, the wind picked up and began to whistle through the rigging. I wasn’t concerned. At midnight I was still checking things and we were fine. I finally dozed off and at 0400 the next morning, JoAnne awakened and told me to check things – which I did. Not one fraction of an intergalactic declination or sidereal hour had we moved, or a latitude and longitude either.
I fell back asleep. At 0630 I woke up and something didn’t “feel right”. I got one of those weird feelings, in the pit of my stomach that something was very wrong. I still can’t figure out what the feeling was or why I thought there was a problem but I opened the curtains by my head and looked out and saw a house. Closed the curtains and lay back down, then sat bolt upright.
I looked again. Yup, definitely a house, I wasn’t sleeping and dreaming either. Next to the house, or more accurately, next to US were several very large, very strong and sturdy telephone poles. Right outside my window.
(Note, these were pylons. not telephone poles, but my mind saw them as telephone poles because they were big, they were close and they should NOT have been there). I finally came to my senses and woke JoAnne telling her to get up, I needed her help. I pulled on my pants, rapidly climbed the ladder, removed the boards, the hatch and started the engine.
We were less than 40 feet from the shore and I was SURE, three feet of water at the edge. I ran forward and started pulling the anchor up. The windlass of course, was not on, so I yelled for JoAnne to enable it and ran forward again. She came up, took the wheel and I pulled the anchor up, as she drove us away from the dangers of the shore and the giant posts – and from what I am guessing, the kitchen of the folks that lived in the house whose yard we’d nearly invaded.
Somewhere in there is a lesson.
Never trust the weather report, never, EVER believe your anchor is secure, and ALWAYS drop a few extra feet of rode.
A few hours later I was dinghying up to the fuel docks and filling diesel cans, to fill my tanks and a couple from Canada and I started chatting. When he realized which boat I was driving he got agitated and said, “Oh my God, you must have missed me by less than 200 feet!”
I won’t repeat the entire conversation, he was not horribly mad, but was perhaps a little miffed at it all… 🙂 I did promise not to anchor anywhere near him if I saw him again though. haha
Actually, he was a pretty good sport about it and when I told him what amount of chain and so forth, he implied he didn’t have any more out than me and I could see his anchors were similar. So why’d I drag and he didn’t? Not sure.
But, we’ll get to more about anchoring later.
Fishing Bay, was a nice place. Enoguh room for about a dozen or so good sized sailboats, good holding if you have the right amount of rode out, and your anchor holds… 🙂 but still pretty. The showers (or rather use of the facilities) costs 10 bucks a person. Meaning, you can use shower, laundry, bathrooms, and the “Captains Lounge”. We paid our money and took our chances. Worked out pretty good because we got a total of FOUR SHOWERS (YES! We’re shower pirates, lol).
Over the course of the two days, we visited with both Barb and Tom and Kurt came down too. We gave Kurt a tour of the boat and he made a video. The video can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-KIv8m-VZo
We left on 17 October for Chisman Creek at 0930.