The 2007 Sailing Season

Sailing The Chesapeake

The sailing adventures on Aeolus II of West River

Joe McCary
Aeolus II  Catalina 27 #4795
West River, MD USA
38° 50’ 25.54N, 76° 31’ 52.20W
The Chesapeake Bay



Friday, December 14th, 2007

Ok, I give up, it's winter and although we flirted with some warm temps this week (mid 60s predicted but not quite reached) the wind and rain conspired to make it not worth the trip out of the slip.  I am packing it in for the year.  Christmas is just 11 days away and there is much to do for the holidays.    I still have many gifts to purchase, although the important ones are done.  The boat is still in the slip, and I am still hoping for a warm day or two so I can stretch my sea legs again.  Just one more week until the Winter Solstice and the days start getting longer! 

Saturday, November 24th

Last Saturday I decided while I am not giving up the idea of sailing more this “season”, cold weather is upon The Chesapeake Bay and I thought it prudent to do some winterization things.  I went down to the boat to bring home some things I didn’t want to freeze.  Things like my GPS plotter and my rather expensive Nikon Binocs.  While there I drained the water tank and closed the thru hulls.  I thought I would drain the fresh water out of the top of the Porta-Potty and then take the lower holding tank home to dump.  Ok it was cold (about freezing) so I was in hurry to be on my way and swing by Pirates Cove for a nice end of the season dinner with the wife who was waiting patiently in the car. 

I took all the stuff to the cockpit and then remember I wanted to replace 2 stern lines that were showing some signs of chafe.  With that done I started to move all the stuff to the dock.  The last item was the porta-potty holding tank.  As I picked it up the “flush handle” got caught on something and was pulled open as I lifted the tank to swing it up on the dock.  It started dumping ALL over me!  What a mess to say the least.  I quickly grabbed the bucket and scooped up some Bay water and poured it all over myself and second bucket for to slosh the cockpit clean.  I dragged myself and all the gear to the car.  I can’t say how overjoyed the wife was to first see me then to “experience” me and lastly to realize that we were NOT going for dinner.  And those new Rockport boat shoes I am happy to report they really are machine washable!  Sorry, no pictures for this trip.

Wednesday, November 21st

OK, it is fall and almost winter, but some days it feels like summer must still be exhaling!  Today was one of those days.  Warm summer breezes, SW 8-17 knots, and warm temps around 60° on the water (70s on shore).  I will take days like this as often as they come!  Another great day sailing ... but this day was a special day!  Just when you think you have seen all the wildlife The Chesapeake Bay offers, you are given a small reminder is offered to humble you.   The American Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) was fishing just off West River between the Green #3 and the Red # 4 around a fish trap that has been there since last spring.  These pictures were shot from over 300 yards away with a 200mm lens (they are cropped very severely).

But the day was more than just an Eagle sighting. It started with a trip to pick up the family turkey for Thanksgiving from a farm in Fulton, MD.  On this mission of retrieval I was accompanied by my mom, the Master Chef, and by my niece, Laura (right), just back from College for Thanksgiving break.  . After picking up the 21 pound turkey and dropping off mom and Laura I made a quick stop at the local grocery store and then off to the boat.  I arrived in Shady Side about 11:30am.  I readied the boat and backed out of the slip by about 12:20. Sails up by 12:30 and a nice run out of Galesville.  That's were I spotted the Eagle, and then it was off to The Bay. I sailed out past an old friend, #73, renamed to West River #1 in the 80s.   I turned around and headed back.  On the way I passed a boat that was enjoying the sun too, I asked the skipper where he was from and learned the Cayman Islands!  Then I shot a self portrait, the camera was resting on the coach roof and set to self-timer, not too bad. As the wind started to increase I noticed the GPS read 6.6 knots and this was against the current!  Along the way I passed my good friends Joe and John off for some fishing in Joe's power boat. As I approached the West River #3, I took down the sails and motored in. All in all, not a bad day for the day before Thanksgiving. I can't wait for the next warm day I can sneak off and catch a few hours sailing.  Have a safe Thanksgiving!







Wednesday November 14th

Ok,  today was predicted to be high almost 70° and azure blue skies... so much for predictions!  I awoke at 7am needing to get some office work done before splitting for sailing, also remember I had a 6:30pm assignment.  But a check outside showed it was foggy!  I checked the weather at Thomas Point and sure enough FOG.  I hate fog, it is worse than rain.  Maybe not as bad as snow, but defiantly a bummer  for sailing plans.  I decided to get a bit of work done and then split for the Bay.  I stopped and got some breakfast and headed down to the Bay.  When I passed Annapolis it was still foggy (11 am).  So I made a stop by Fawcetts to check on an order I made (it wasn't in) and then headed for the boat.  I arrived just as the fog was lifting.  A gentle breeze was blowing into the slip (SW, maybe 5 knots).  I got the boat ready and pulled out of the slip by 1 pm. As I was backing out my landlord and friend were heading out to go fishing.   I hoisted sails and turned to run out of the river.    When I checked Thomas Point weather earlier, it said 10-15 knots! As I sailed out past Galesville the wind died! I checked the GPS and it was reading a whopping .4 (that is decimal 4) knots!  I was nice and the sun was breaking out.  I cranked up the engine and motored out to look for wind.  From Galesville to The Bay is just over 2 miles,  I motored almost all the way!  Not a good sign.  Then I stopped and re-hoisted the sails.  The wind filled in nicely, about 8-10 knots.  I reached out into the Bay and kept going, almost to the #1 for West River.  At 3 PM I turned around and headed back.  The sailing was grand and when I arrived back at the slip, just 3 hours after leaving, I was plenty happy for the 3 hours, after all it is mid November, I will take any time on the water I can get.  I checked the GPS, 9.7 nm and top speed 6.4 knots!  Remember I sailed for 20  minutes with NO wind and then motored for 30 minutes waiting for wind.

Maybe Sunday ... the weather prediction is highs in the mid 50s and wind about 5 knots...  Not great but doable.

November 12, Monday Evening

It has been 2 weeks since I sailed last, way too long.  I was hoping that tomorrow was to be the day, but sadly while the temps will be 65°, plenty warm for November, they are predicting rain.  Not what I consider perfect sailing weather.  Maybe Wednesday will be clear and I can steal a few hours.  I have an evening photo assignment that starts at 6:30 pm so I can give it a shot for early and just be sure top be back to the dock by 4pm.  One has to squeeze any time that is available in the late fall and winter months for sailing.  So, lets see how Wednesday goes.  

October 30th, Tuesday Afternoon

This is my favorite time of the year.  The days are shorter and the wind is often too strong for casual sailing, so the number of days for sailing is fewer. BUT, when everything lines up, days like these make for some of the best  sailing ever.  The 30th was one of those days, the temps on the water were about 55°-60° and the wind was about 6 knots from the SSE (Thomas Point weather).  Sailing solo is fun and I do it wherever crew is short.  I wear an auto-inflating vest and keep sailing to the conservative side.

After a 2 week break from sailing due in part to a trip to Boston for my granddaughter's 1st birthday party and then last weekend Mary's work prevented us from sailing and the weather was a bit on the rough  side.  So this quiet Tuesday in late October became a great sailing memory. I sailed about 11 miles in 3 hours.  The others out sailing, and there were several, were all friendly offering waves and when prompted exchanged kind words.  We all felt like we were stealing precious moments of sailing time.  I will keep a careful watch over the next several weeks for more of this precious time.


For Ryan, who wants to sail under the Bay Bridge

Again, Thomas Point


Sunday, October 14th, 2007

October 14th and finally a really great day on the Bay!  We have had 90+ temps and no wind the past 2 weekends. Bit this day it was temp high of 75° and winds out of the NW at 6-9 knots.  So we backed out of the slip at 11:50am and set sail and with near calm seas we had breezed past Thomas Point in no time and by 2:45 (less than 3 hours later) we were under the Bay Bridge. We took pictures for our nephew Ryan who wants badly to sail under the Bay Bridge.  Then we turned around and sailed back to the slip by 5:15, just 5½ hours later to cover the 26 nautical miles, that is 4.7 knots average and we were becalmed twice for a few minutes. Out top speed was 6.7 by the GPS, so we must have been running with the tide.

The only down side to the day was when our sandwich we brought for lunch took a header onto the cabin sole, uck!

So, after a wonderful day sailing, we stopped at the local steak house for dinner. Then it was home by 9pm.

I have long thought Mid October is the best sailing of the year on The Chesapeake  Bay, October 14th confirms that for sure.  We will be out of town next weekend to celebrate our Granddaughter's 1st birthday, see October 11th for a picture of her in her present.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A boat for Claire

Of course Grandma and Granddad are proud as can be.  Claire, our only grandchild, has been sailing on Aeolus II already, as can be seen from September 1st entry, Claire and several of her "friends" made a test sail. October 19th is Claire's first birthday. And what better gift could grandparents give a prospective sailor than her own boat!  So after a Google search we found boat for her , a "Rocking Dory" at a nice handmade toy shop in Vermont.  We placed the order and it arrived today, about a week early.  But we figured no one is too young to get into boating so she (with mom's help) opened her package and set out on her first cruise. Of course she had to have some of her friends along for the ride. There will be a naming ceremony for the new boat when we arrive for the birthday party.

Sunday, October 7th, 2007

After an early rise, for us, we made our way slowly to the boat.  We planned a day of sailing/fishing and started with breakfast at what has become a favorite in Olney, BJ Pumpernickels.  After a leisurely breakfast we headed for the boat and pulled out of the slip just after noon (timed to miss the start of the PCRC Sunday frostbite series that started at noon.  We sailed out of West River on a nice SW wind of about 6 knots but quickly became light and variable.  We would sail along then suddenly be becalmed only to have the wind switch direction by 120°.  Then we had to dodge the racers returning. It was good to see our good friend's Megles 24 (slip neighbor top photo) in first place! As the wind in the river became more frustrating we started the iron jenny and motored out past the #1A marker.  We set sail again and had  a nice sail for about 2 hours. when the wind again died.  I am sorry to report, there were no fish willing to take our bait.  We motored back to the slip and decided to call Pirates Cove for dinner reservations.  We tied up and buttoned up the boat and were off to a pleasant dinner.


Sunday, September 30st, 2007

The wind was low <8 knots and Mary wasn't feeling well after breakfast so the day was cut short.

Saturday and Sunday, September 22-23, 2007

The weekend was grand.  We found ourselves without much to do, so we decided to spend the evening on the boat.   We arrived at the dock about 4:30 and loaded all the provisions on board and set sail about 5pm. The winds on Saturday were Southerly about 6-10 knots.  Aeolus II does well on a dead run so we set out for Whitehall Bay.   We arrived shortly after dark, about 7:40pm.  Whitehall Creek has a tricky entrance, a pinched channel in what looks like a broad area marked by a single mark.  After that about a half mile further in begins the channel into the creek.  These are all unlighted day marks that are not close to the shoal area.  With the aid of our trusty GPS chart plotter we entered the creek without incident and anchored in about 12' of water in a private anchorage surrounded by very expensive homes.  The day had been hot, about 88°+, and the cabin was warm.  But the breeze helped cool the boat.  We had a wonderful dinner planned, steaks grilled on the charcoal grill, but we were tired and not too hungry so we had just the Chicken Cesar Salad instead.  It was plenty and after dinner we settled in for a rest before turning in for the evening.  While sitting in the cockpit relaxing and watching the star filled sky it dawned on us that we both wanted to sleep in the cockpit.  So, we both went to sleep under the stars with light blankets and billows.  It was glorious.  About 3:30am the wind shifted 180° and after the GPS anchor alarm chimed we checked to see we were still holding hard.  Mary decided to head down below for the remainder of the night.   I remained in the cockpit until just after 6am.  It started getting light.  I went below and fixed breakfast of scrambled eggs and sausages and hot tea and some fresh pineapple.  It was great and then after washing the dishes we spent about an hour cleaning the boat.  At around 9 am we hoisted the anchor and headed out.  By 9:30 we had navigated the channel entrance and were out to the narrow channel and with winds behind us at about 20 knots we set just the Genoa.   We raced along surfing down the waves, we were making between 6-6½ knots and more while surfing! We reached the dock about 11:30am.

Sunday, September 16th, 3007

Oh, what a beautiful day on The Chesapeake Bay!  It was one of those days that give The Bay her reputation!  The temperature was in the low 60s and the wind was about 10-12 Kts!  The waves were 1-2 feet and because it is already fall there were fewer boats out. We got out of the slip quickly and were sailing in just under 20 minutes.  We sailed until about 6pm. When we returned to the slip there was just enough time to pack up (and help a slip mate with some chores on his Melges 24) before  dusk.  Fall is my favorite season on The Bay with cool clear days and chilly nights, this is the season that gives The Bay her best sailing days.

Quietly at rest.

Sunday, September 2nd, 2007

The second annual working man's fishing day!  Last year 6 of the family working guys set up a fishing trip. We chartered a boat for a half day ($600) and we went to a spot just off West River.  Joe, Mike, Kim, Bryan, Chris and Frank went out and caught ONE little blue fish.  We vowed 2007 would be different. 

With the new Catalina we decided to save some cash and we went out for the day on Aeolus II.  Mike was off watching daughter Laura run in her first colligate Cross Country race in SC (she placed 10th, way to go Laura!) so we were down one fishing partner.   So at the crack of dawn (well about 8 am) we left for the boat. We stopped at the fishing store in Edgewater to get some bait and the latest tips.  Marty told us we would catch loads of fish...yea sure, we heard that last year.  We got some bottom rigs and a couple dozen blood worms (ummm).  We pulled out of the slip about 10 am and by 10:30 we had the first line in the water,  by 10:35 we had the first bite!  And by 10:40 we had landed the first fish!  The came just like Marty said.  Loads of little spot.  As he suggested, we took the little ones as bait and sure enough, just as Marty said, we were getting big bites!  We landed 3 undersized Rockfish and several medium sized Blues.  By 2 we packed it in and headed back to the slip and then to Pirates Cove for lunch with the women.  Even considering a moderate cost lunch we saved a bundle over last year and we caught about 40 fish.  We had a great time.  We have the formula, so next year will be even better.

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

What a day!  Some day's memories will last for the rest of your life and others will fade over time.  Today will last for ever.  Claire, just 10½ months old, went sailing on Aeolus II for the first time!

When we arrived at the boat the wind was blowing about 12 knots so I decided it is better to take it easy, so I reefed the main.  We left the slip and motored out to the #4 Red and hoisted the main and rolled out the Genny.  Claire, safely in her new PFD was enjoying every minute.  We sailed out of West River, past the Red Number 2 and turned around and sailed back to the slip.  She was a sailor and seemed at least not to mind.

Saturday, August 18th, 2007

Nephew, David, was our guest this Saturday and after taking him to breakfast and then to the boat we sailed in about 13-15 Kts for a few hours. David was learning to sail and was an excellent student, not surprising he is a SR Engineering student at UMD.  We sailed across The Bay and got a close look at the new Popular Island.  Just as we arrived the wind dropped by 8-10 Kts.  So it was a slow sail back to West River.  And again dinner at the Cove.  Home by 10 pm.

Saturday, August 11th, 2007

Sailing again... its been too long. Just Mary and I but off to an early start. We left home before 8 am and stopped for breakfast.  Then off to the boat.  The temps were down to very comfortable temps and  the wind was decent.  We sailed out across The Bay and into Eastern Bay.  When we turned around we were more than half way to St Michaels.   We sailed back and had an early dinner at Pirates Cove. We both had the special Soft Shells and they were the absolute best!  Sunday was a family party to see Laura off to college, UNC-Charlotte.

Friday, July 27th, 2007 VACATION

Mary and I are forgoing sailing for the next week.  We packed the car and headed to Boston to spend a week with Jessie and Frank and our granddaughter, Claire.  We drove all day, spent the required time in traffic jams in NYC.  We arrived on time in Boston to learn the the AC had died and it was to be a toasty night.  Frank and I went out and got a couple fans, and then off to sleep.  We awoke early the next am slowly packed and readied ourselves for the drive to Wellfleet to spend the week.  It is to be a week of fun with our Granddaughter more than anything else.  Of course I plan to rent a small boat for a day of sailing on Wellfleet Harbor.

Sunday, July 22, 2007 Sunday

After a 24 hour delay Joe Matera and I drove down to Aeolus again and with significantly less wind and waves, we started out.  We motored out of the creek to find 8-10 Kts of wind and 1-3 foot seas.  We began our 60 KM journey to Mobjack Bay and the new owners.  The day was beautiful and we encountered very few boats along the way. The route was divided into four sections; Smith Creek to Smith Pt; Smith Pt to Windmill Pt, Windmill Pt to Wolf Trap; Wolf Trap to the Drew Matera's home off the North River.

Aeolus made a similar trip some 28 years earlier when as our new boat we ventured to Yorktown on the York River.  As Joe Matera and I crossed the Potomac I told him of that earlier crossing where we were hit by 2 Squalls; one coming down the Potomac and one coming down the Bay; joining forces as a single storm at Smith Pt. The waves on the day were reported (not by us) as 8 feet!  Today's crossing was a bit easier!  After we passed Smith Pt and turned South, the wind died a bit and we started the iron Jenny  (my trusty 5hp 4 stroke Merc).  The power boost gave us an extra 1½ knots of speed and considering the length of our trip that translates to 2 hours!

We pressed on and gradually the wind and waves increased to the previous day's height and speed, 5' waves and 18kts gusting to 25.  But they also swung around a bit from the East, so we were broad reaching and no longer running.  The steep waves provided some great surfing for Aeolus.  The GPS would show us at 6.3 Kts and then as we raced down the front of the wave we would surge forward and the speed would peak at 7-7.5 kts!  Gradually that speed increased until we routinely were hitting 9.5kts!  For a 22' boat that is astounding.  When I later checked the GPS' "Max Speed" for the day it read 14.5 Kts, over double the hull speed for the boat.  Finally as the sun started to drop we passed Point Comfort and turned to Starboard into Mobjack Bay,  The day's big waves were now behind us and as the light was starting to darken we made our way up the North River and Aeolus's new home.  I took the tiller one last time as we close reached the last little bit and Joe flaked the main and hauled in the jib.  I felt more than a twinge of nostalgia as I sailed her along, remembering the those early days when Mary and I were in our late 20s and Jessie was not yet in school.  I recalled all those fun ports we sailed to in our Aeolus, places like Dunn Cove, Harness Creek, the Wye River's Dividing Creek and St Michaels.  I recalled the long trips we made down to Tangier and to Yorktown and up to Georgetown.  Our Seafarer had  provided us with a long dear relationship.  So much of my personal identity had been a part of that boat.    As I sailed her I gently stroked her cockpit coaming and said my final good bye... When we docked we were met by some excited kids, her new owners.  They were excited and that made the handing her over a lot easier.  The kids introduced themselves to me and I learned that one of the girls, the one with blonde hair, that her name was Jessie!  I felt good down deep inside.  Aeolus would still have Jessie to sail on her.... 

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Delivery day for Aeolus (Seafarer).  I met Joe Matera at Smith Creek just up the Potomac River from Pt Lookout.  We started out at about 8:30am but after an hour we realized that the large waves and high winds would slow us down so we retreated back to Smith Creek to wait out until Sunday for better weather. 

Saturday, July 14th, 2007 Bastille Day and Howard's Birthday

A day for just Mary and I.  It started out early.  We left the house before 8am and made a short stop for breakfast at BJ Pumpernickels.  We stopped at West Marine and picked up some Crocks for Mary and I. Then after a stop for sandwiches (for later on the boat) from Bayside Beef & Bull. Then we headed  straight to the boat and off.  The wind was predicted to be light and variable from the SW.  Of course it wasn't; it was 8-12 from the NE and later shifted to 14-18 from the SE. But the best part was relatively low humidity and temps in mid 80s.  We sailed past Thomas Point and on past the mouth of the Severn River and Annapolis.  When at 2:45pm we turned around and raced back on one long tack. The wind was gusting so we reefed in the Genoa about half way to make the ride more manageable. This worked well. We reached a max speed of 7.2 on the GPS, I guess while surfing down a wave. It was a glorious ride.

Mary relaxing while flying home.


Thursday, July 12th, 2007

The last of the Maryland family goes out on one of those days that is near perfect.  Below you see what Thomas Point looked like... clear blue skies and calm water, the winds were 6-12kts.  This was a spur of the moment outing.  I called my mom who had not been out on the boat. She had an appointment with brother Bryan and his wife, Dolly. It happened they were off for a weeks vacation doing the final chores after over a year away from their home after "the fire."  Bryan was reluctant but Dolly was eager so they came.  And it was well worth the effort.  We backed out of the slip at about 3:30pm and motored out to the Red#4, put up sails and had a glorious sail out almost to Annapolis.  Mom was supposed to go have dinner with my other brother Mike but the sailing was so good we just stayed until almost 8pm.  Then it was dinner at Pirates Cove.

see the difference when a "real" camera is used...

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

More family to take out.  Today my nephews, David (as SR Engineering Student at UMD) and Chris (works as a computer programmer for a beltway bandit) and David's friend, Aerial (a SR UMD Design major) spent a relaxing afternoon sailing.  Of course the winds were up 15-18 KTs so after a short ride we ducked in to a secluded harbor for lunch and nap time and even some fishing. (David left, Chris and Aerial right),


Tuesday, June 26th and Saturday, June 30th 2007 The Fun Begins


Left, my brother Mike "enjoys" a ride up my mast to perform a few chores.  His first job was to retrieve the Jib halyard that was lost earlier (see June 16th)  and then use it as a safety line.  The real work was installing the Lazy Jacks.  Here he is drilling the mast for the top lines.  It was warm that day, about 96° and the humidity was about the same.  So after just one side "we" decided to call it a day.  We finished on Saturday am with the temps in the 70 degree range.  After we completed the rig Mary and Barb and Mike's daughter Laura joined us for an afternoon of sailing.  We had a wonderful time. After beating out of the river, we sailed to Thomas point and then on to Bloody Point across the Bay and then back to the slip and off to dinner at Pirates Cove. Above, Laura enjoys a stressful day of sailing.  Below we all are seen sailing out of West River.

Saturday June 23rd,2007

Its SUMMER!  But more, it is Summer Sailstice!  So what better way to celebrate then introducing sailing to someone who has never sailed before.  My eight year old nephew, Ryan is the new sailor.  Of course the recent release of Pirates of the Caribbean makes Ryan a pirate too.  I bought a nice little pirate flag to fly from the spreader flag halyard, so the boat became a pirate ship for a day.  He liked that I think.  Today was perfect for sailing and people not used to sailing.  The wind was blowing about 7-10 knots and there were no seas!  My sister-in-law found the rear end of the cockpit, just outside the shade of the Bimini to be the perfect place to be.  My brother roamed over the length of the boat and Ryan was everywhere. 

We sailed out of West River into the Bay with mixed winds.  In the river, we would be sailing along in 6-8 knots of wind and then nothing!  And just as quick it would come back from a different direction.  Once we reached The Bay the wind settled down and we had a nice long tack out to Thomas Point.  The return was a nice reach and then in West River it died.  We doused the sails and motored in, of course the wind reappeared as we approached the slip.  And later we had an early crab cakes dinner at Pirates Cove.


Sunday June 16th, 2007 Father's Day in the USA

OK, it was Father's Day!  My daughter and son-in-law and granddaughter came down from Boston for the weekend.  I had to work all day Saturday so sailing was out (such is the life of a photographer). But on Father's Day you would think that it would be a nice gesture to go sailing ... no, instead we had lunch with other family (mom, and brothers and their families) and then a dash to the airport. 

So at 4:45 after dropping the Jessie, Frank and Claire off at the airport Mary and I headed for the boat to squeeze in a few hours sail time.  Last time I was sailing the sail slides were hard to pull up the mast so I had picked up some "dry lube" spray.  I sprayed on a gentle coating and off we went. We backed out of the slip at 4:30.  But for some strange reason I couldn't make the turn into the wind, so I backed around until I could power out. (I realized later the engine which is supposed to be securely locked in line was a bit off kilter and left to its own devices it would make nice gentle turns to port.  Note to self to check engine alignment before backing out every time.  Then, it was up with the main.  But I couldn't pull it all the way up! I looked and nothing was jammed that I could see. I went up on deck and behind the Bimini was a sail tie.  When went back to the cockpit I tried for a 3rd time to raise the sail (sail tie now off), the sail flew up, but as I checked to see how it was, to my dismay, ALL the sail slides were off the mast!  Another trip to the mast to investigate was made.  It seems that some of my dry lube made its way to the metal screwed slide just above the mast slot and that slide was now sitting just above the boom and just below the slot (I am lucky it didn't take a dive over the side).  After re-inserting all the slides I raised the screw and tightened it down and we were off like a heard of turtles.  I looked like a rookie tonight in spite of 30+ years sailing the same waters.  One small preventive maintenance caused a series of disasters. OH, I forgot to mention that in all this raising etc, the jib halyard (never gets used because of the roller furling) decided to relax its grip and took a quick trip up the mast.  It's tail end is now wrapped around the mast winch and cleated. So next week (I hope), when I install the lazy jacks I will have to retrieve the errant halyard.

All was not lost, we then we sailed out of the river in a light breeze (8 knots).  We ran out wing & wing for an hour. Then we turned and tacked back in another hour.  Considering the earlier disasters it was a nice evening.  We drove off with smiles.  It turned out to be a nice Father's Day after all. 

Sunday June 10, 2007

Not a sailing day :-( But a productive day for both the family and the boat.  I spent the first half of the day helping the wife pack from her pending move from one school to another.  Still have plenty to do there but then it was off to the marine store.  I bought myself a new Father's Day gift, an new floating Icom handheld VHF.  And I bought 2 new fans for the cabin too and a spotlight.  And, I have good binocs so I guess I will not be posing as the 3 monkey set, hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil. 

Wednesday, June 6th 2007 (D-Day!)


I have been busy with work and busy dealing with sailing, as opposed to actual sailing.  One of the things the wife wanted on the new boat was a Bimini.  I got one and went to install it but was disappointed at where it would have to be. I was constrained by the winches and the end boom main sheets.  I ended up not installing it but rather just placing it and securing it the best I could. It worked fine for that first weekend but I realized that I needed to move the sheets from end boom to mid boom and that meant a new, and costly, traveler.  Today I ordered one from Catalina Direct in CA.  It takes 4-6 weeks to arrive so it won't be here to install until after July 4th and maybe not until the end of July.  But I am excited just o have made the decision.  When installed my main sheets will be from the cabin top. But the different part is the sheets will double ended, meaning that I will be able sheet the main from either side of the cabin.


And I also ordered a set of Lazy Jacks. They came in yesterday so now I need to get ready to install these. And my dinner plates I had ordered came in too.  The boat is getting set, I need to do some sailing soon!


I worked all weekend so no sailing for Joe.  Next weekend is open but the wife seems to have plans, she is a teacher changing schools this summer so she needs end of the year help and I am the likely slug to do the lifting.  But I have to remember that she is the one who gave permission for the new boat and these upgrades.  So maybe I can go sailing middle of the week next week...



Wednesday, May 30th 2007

So my good friend Joe Goodman wanted to go sailing.  We had a late start to avoid RUSH hour traffic and arrived at the Bay about 11:30.  First we stopped for lunch at Pirates Cove and then to the boat.  We set sail by 1pm and in increasing wind we ran out of West River and slowly headed up unto a close reach.  We reached Thomas Point.  We sailed past the famous light house and then tacked over and headed back.  We were in the slip before 4pm.  At times the GPS read 6.5 knots!  We hauled from Thomas Pt to the slip for sure, a glorious day, with winds about 13 knots and very little wave action.

Here is an image I snapped with the cell phone (pretty sorry excuse for
a photographer) as I sailed past Thomas Point..



Memorial Day Weekend 2007

May 26, 27, 28, 2007

In the USA, Memorial Day weekend (Last 3 day weekend in May) has become the official start of summer.  Most all work stops for 3 days and people flock to the beach by the car load. It is also the start of the real summer sailing season on The Chesapeake Bay.
With a new boat my wife and I had planned a first overnight on Aeolus II, our first.  I spent weeks going over charts and reading cruising guides.  But in the end I decided we would be more conservative, just in case.  We got up early (5:30am) on Saturday but by the time we loaded and had breakfast and made a stop by the cemetery (hey it is memorial day) it was just after noon on Saturday.  So we made a quick decision to stay close to home.  We opted for sailing to the next river, South River.  We had planned on staying at harness Creek but when looking at the charts I had a hankering for the next creek West, Crab Creek.  So Crab Creek it was to be.  South River is big on big power boats, and with those go monster wakes.  The winds were light but we sailed most all the way (about 10 miles) and averaged about 3.5 knots.  When we sailed past Harness Creek I couldn't help but noticed that it was over crowded with power boats.  Crab Creek had just a few boats and they were all sailboats.  We sailed in the tricky entrance and anchored about half way back.  Closest to us was a small raft with a catamaran.  We had grilled salmon and corn.  It was great.  As night fell we put in the bug netting and were not bothered at all.  But it was hot and humid.  We turned in early, nineish and tossed and turned until about midnight.  We learned we need another fan and I learned that the port bunk is not for me, I later moved to the starboard quarter birth and slept well.  The wife did not have as good a night.
We awoke about 7:30 but lounged in bed until almost nine!  We got up and I prepared to slip the anchor and get under way while Mary fixed breakfast, Bagels Lox and Cream Cheese and grapefruit juice.  We motored out of the tricky creek and headed for the Bay.  After passing the second mark the wind arrived and we cut the motor and sailed out the remainder of the river and across the Bay.  Just as we approached Thomas Point we crossed paths with a 30-32 foot boat, Jactar, and the two of us informally raced for the next hour.  We stayed anywhere from 150 yards to about 30 yards.  While I didn't beat him I didn't embarrass myself either.  It was a good hour or so.  But when I approached the Eastern Shore I gibed and set course toward West River.  When I looked over my shoulder there was Jactar.  So again we sailed, this time I led, for another hour or so and again the distance varied 30-150 yards.  And again, I felt good about my boat speed.
We decided to anchor in Rhode River, an old friend.  So, in the early afternoon we dropped hook in the anchorage area just past the green #7.  It was a nice afternoon watching the parade of boats come in.  Then we again grilled dinner, this time we had steaks.  After dinner I turned on the radio to learn that a big line of thunder storms was approaching. I thought we were not in the best place for possible 60 knots of wind as they said was possible.  I thought we might be better if we moved. So I hoisted anchor and powered out of the Rhodes and out to West River.  Looking up to the sky I realized we would not make the slip so I went to a secluded area that would offer some degree of protection and anchored.  The storm passed through a few minutes later, the wind didn't seem as bad as predicted but I was glad to securely hooked to the bottom.  While we were anchored we listened to the marine VHF and watched the GPS show us swing back and forth.  On the VHF the CG said a 35' boat capsized 3 rivers North.  We were safe.
About 9:30 we decided to head to the slip, so we motored in.  We were tired and it was buggy so we decided to spend the night in a hotel.  Oh, that shower was a god send.  In the morning we had a quick breakfast and went back and cleaned up the boat on a windless morning. 
While some might think the end of the weekend was a bust, we had a good time and that's what counts.  Tomorrow I am taking my good friend Joe Goodman out for the afternoon.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

No sailing today and none tonight. But I have been planning the Memorial Day weekend coming in just over 3 days. I have pored over chart books and the Cruising Guide to The Bay I have decided not to be too ambitious in my planed destinations.  That is for 2 reasons: first, historically the weather on Memorial Day weekend turns bad at the last minute. And second, this is still a new boat for me and the wife. So, I am planning on taking it easy.  My plans are weather dependant. If on Saturday we have North/South winds I will go across the Bay and anchor somewhere on Eastern Bay, maybe Crab Alley Creek, about 20 miles from Galesville.  If the winds are East/West I will head North and stop maybe at Mill Creek (outer edge of the Severn River, not far from Annapolis), 13.5 miles or maybe a bit further to the Magothy River, 22 miles away.  The second night in either case is planned for Harness Creek, a dear old friend.  Harness Creek is just 8.5 miles from Galesville so if the weather is bad on Monday we can slog that out without much pain and if the weather is glorious then we can make an all day sail of the return trip. 

So far the only wrinkle in the plans is I had ordered a Forespar Mini Galley (small propane single burner stove) that has yet to arrive after over 2 weeks.  Sure the boat has a 2 burner alcohol stove, but for a quick cup of coffee or some soup that seems a bit much. Today I called the marine store to inquire about the delivery and was assured that it has been shipped and "should" arrive. I am beginning to doubt that it will.  My other project is to install the Bimini top before the weekend.  If I can manage a few hours tomorrow I may attempt installation, but of course Murphy's law says if I succeed that guarantees that we will have rotten weather all weekend. The Grill is all in order and the head seems to be working just fine.  Goods news, my earlier problems with the engine tilt "system" seems to be fixed by changing how I release the tilt lever.  Its complicated but in the past 2 weeks it has worked flawlessly thanks mostly to the efforts of my brother Mike having been lowered head first down to where he could get to the lever and affect repair. 

I notice that we have had many visitors to this site, if you haven't noticed there is a "cluster map" that shows where the visitors are hailing from.  Take a moment and drop me a note if you would, I would appreciate any comments.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Mary's car is in for service so I was fortunate to drive her to and from work.  When I picked her up she suggested we go for a sail.  As one who NEVER argues with the one in power, I agreed.  By the time we slogged our way through the Beltway's rush hour traffic is was about 5:30pm when we arrived at the boat.  It took maybe 15 minutes to get the sail cover off, halyard attached to the main, engine started and dock lines off.  The wind was just barely blowing, maybe 4-7 knots.  But we sailed out of West River and on to The Bay reaching a top speed of 4.3 knots!  But there was nearly no one else out and those who out seemed to all be returning.  We were the only sailboat going out.  We pressed on.  By 7:30 we were well past the Red number 2 marker for West River and heading out toward the Green Can 1A.  A the wind settled we turnaround and started back.  Neither Mary or I was complaining, this was a beautiful evening and we were really enjoying it.  I furled sails as Mary drove us toward the dock.  We arrived just as it was starting to get dark.  A quick check of the lines and off we went, it was now approaching 9pm.  We settled for a wonderful dinner at Pirates Cove. Mary had fried Oysters and I had Broiled Crab Cakes.  Of course it was a late drive home but both of us were a peaceful tired.  Sailing on a gentle evening in our home waters, this was a night for the memory books.


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Life is not always sailing... today I did some payback to my good friend (and slip landlord) Joe Matera. I assisted him as committee for the WRSC big boat/Solo races.  But the weather predictions were not so great (small craft advisories and on and off rain) so only 2 boats raced.  But the committee still reports and does their job (putting out finish marks and starting and finishing the racers.  It wasn't a total bust of a day, I did spend it on the water and I did get to watch other sailboats ;-(   Later this week I plan to ready the boat for the first cruise of the year, Memorial Day Weekend (3 days).


Monday Afternoon , May 14th, 2007

So Saturday afternoon was light air...Sunday was 15-20kn with gusts at 30knots. 

So, I "allowed" my family obligations to take over...BUT today was nice with wind at 5-10kn and clear skies.  So, I decided to take a break from my heavy work load (there are times when working for yourself can be good) and go sailing on the new C27.  I couldn't find any other free spirits (my regular pool of crew all have jobs), so I went alone.  OK, this was the first single-handed sail, but hey light air so I decided to go for it. 

So I arrived at the boat about 2:30 and by the time I got the cover off the sail and the halyards on and dock lines cast off it was nearly 3 when I backed out of the slip.  Out to the anchorage area in West River and sails up.  It was pretty easy all form the cockpit. From the anchorage of West River it was a slow run out of the river, but hey this was my first single-handed venture, slow is OK. 

As I ran out the river, the wind began to shift to the East and the run became a beat.  As I rounded the next mark it was a close beat.  And the wind began to freshen.  Now the wind was blowing about 12kn to 15kn.  The 150 and full main were pulling me along at 5.5-6kn.  I made Thomas Point by 4:30. A quick gibe and I was back to West river by 5:30.  The wind was coming straight out of the river so I thought I would furl the sails and motor in. 

I rolled up the Genoa and went to start the engine and when I turned the key, NOTHING, not even a click.  I figured the battery was off, so I switched it to all and tried again, and again, NOTHING.  I unfurled the Genoa and figured I would tack up the river and into the slip (hey The English blockaded the French Coast in square rigged ships that were not as weatherly as a modern sloop and they didn't have engines!).  As I started to tack over to the river I thought that maybe the engine was in gear. Sure enough, when I checked the throttle/gear shift it was barely in gear but it was enough.  When I shifted it in neutral and turned the key it sprang to life and I then re-furled the Genoa and took down the main.  Not a bad first afternoon single-handing.

Saturday, May 5th

Above on May 5th 2007, Aeolus II gets her new name after a proper renaming ceremony complete with liberal libations for all the appropriate gods of the sea and winds.  Here I break a bottle of champagne over the bow as 20+ friends and family look on.  The sailing season is just begun and Aeolus II is ready for the summer!


Saturday, April 21st
Our maiden voyage, or may better described as a shakedown cruise.

April 21, 2007. Here as we leave West River for the first time aboard our new boat we first venture into the waters of the Chesapeake Bay.  Mary and I venture out on our own for the first brief afternoon sail.  We were a bit alarmed when we learned that the bilge pump can siphon water INTO the boat!  Now a check valve has been placed in the line and hopefully that little stunt is over for good.



Sunday, March 11th

This is the day we took possession.  She has been hauled, inspected, accepted and paid for. Here I am at the helm for the first time on the way to her new slip.

The next day I was taken ill with a serious bladder infection and off my feet for a couple weeks.  Long weeks with just 45 minutes of sailing the new boat. 



To email  Joe McCary