Night Lights ~ Chesapeake Float 2016


The Green Monster 

 

It’s already growing dark when Doug gets my attention, says the crabs and oysters are ready and I’m missing them. Indeed, people are seated around long tables under the trees. Sounds of laughter and conversation, and crickets. Shadows seep from the woods and collect in pools beneath the sycamores and cypress. Fireflies lift off from the lawn, scribing arcs above the grass.

 

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Chesapeake Float 2016 ~ Arrivals

 Mike’s Melonseed “Pepita”

 

“Don’t wait for me.”

“Where are you?”

“Just pulling out of the driveway. Of course. Still a lot of things to fix.”

“Oh. OK, well, call when you get here. Not sure where we’ll stop, but we’ll be back sometime tomorrow.”

Two hours later, Freeport Landing looks deserted. The sun is low, throwing long shadows across the water. A row of empty trailers lined up near the ramp. One lone boat there. Hmm, maybe someone went along as crew and left their boat. And Mike’s Melonseed is anchored off the beach. Not a soul in sight, though. Sometimes people double up for company or to lend an extra hand.

 

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Janes Island ~ Bright Sun, Big Downwind

 Harris with a tailwind in Mabu

 

It’s now gusting over 20 knots, and waves are building quickly. With the second reef tied in, and the chicken jibe out of the way, we have the wind and waves spanking us in the backside. Essentially this is now a five boat drag race across the river, all running for the mouth of the canal.

We’re way out ahead because we started first, but the other boats are coming really fast. It’s not a dead downwind run, which is no fun, but a very broad reach. Still, the Caledonia is amazingly well-behaved. This is probably the biggest wind Harris has had the boat in so far, and I can tell he’s both nervous about how she’ll handle and pleased with the results. Whitecaps are starting to break around us, charging in from the Sound.

 

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Janes Island ~ Bright Sun, Big Wind

Harris at the tiller of Mabu 

 

Unlike last time we were here, there is no argument over which direction we’ll go today: North. The wind will continue out of the Northwest – sensible in the morning but build steadily throughout the day to something very unsensible. I’ve always heard old sailors say the wind is strongest on the backside of a cold front. This prediction bears that out.

Based on the forecast, I plan to explore the marshes inside Janes Island in the Melonseed, staying clear of big water, but Harris suggests I ride with him. He has a sparkling new Caledonia Yawl, Mabu, bulit by Geoff Kerr of Two Daughters Boatworks in Maine. Sounds good to both of us. I’ll be free to take photos again, and he might like two sets of hands when the wind pipes up, especially in a new ride. Continue reading “Janes Island ~ Bright Sun, Big Wind”

Schooner Race 2011 ~ Night Sailing

In Portsmouth, friend, fellow sailor, and fellow blogger Steve Early appeared on the docks, working that day. We went for coffee and a bit of breakfast. We talked about many things, having much in common. He asked something I hadn’t expected, though: “How did you like sailing at night?”

It caught me off guard. It’s a simple question, but requires a careful answer to get right, and I don’t think managed it. Most of the Schooner Race takes place at night. Not many photos or video to show for it. I can’t just show them to explain. The previous post was what happened during the day. This is what it was like at night:

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