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Author Topic: Anniversary sailing adventure  (Read 1372 times)
Smier
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« on: March 26, 2013, 08:43:57 AM »

So for our 15th wedding anniversary, My wife and I are going to take a 4 day live-a-board Asa 101/103 course on the Chesapeake Bay!!!  This will either be a great adventure or an epic fail...  She says as long as there is a full day at a really nice hotel/spa to relax afterwards she is up for it!  We will be learning/staying on a 39' Pearson!  I am excited already and I have to wait 4 more months!!! 
  There are several reasons I wanted to do this.  My wife is undecided on sailing, and I am hoping learning hands on from an actual  instructor(instead of me) will get her hooked.  Of course, this could also be the end of her sailing career...  Secondly, we have young children, and I would like to give my wife the basic knowledge in case something should happen to me while we are sailing someday.  Lastly, it is a dream of mine to sail on the Chesapeake Bay, and I'm hoping we will have a great adventure we will take with us for the rest of our lives!  Who knows, maybe someday we will go cruising together...
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tmorgan
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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2013, 10:54:57 AM »

The Chesapeake Bay is a special place.  I take my Suncat to the Bay every year for several weeks.  My wife loves it too as long as we watch the weather and get off the boat everyday to walk around.  Not hard to do since there are a lot of nice places to walk around on the Bay!
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Wes
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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2013, 05:40:43 PM »

Smier - you'll have a great time. My wife and I learned to sail the exact same way, except in the Keys instead of the Chesapeake. It was such a good experience, especially having constant access to two experienced sailors the entire time. Wish we had done it on our 15th - we waited until our 25th and I missed out on ten years of sailing.

Wes
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Smier
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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2013, 07:35:09 AM »

Yes, it has been a dream of mine to explore the Chesapeake Bay.  There are so many places I want to visit!  I think having a knowledgable and experienced teacher will be a huge help with alleviating some of my wife's fears.  We both have a lot to learn, and this seems like an excellent way to gain some experience quickly.  She's not too excited about having to take any tests on our "vacation", but I'm sure she will do fine.  She is a teacher, some riends of ours are considering going on the trip as well!  It should be a blast!!!
  We are heading to Crisfield, Md for Memorial Day weekend.  It is their "Softshell Festival", and we want to check out the area.  I'm planning a family sailing trip to Tangier Island for hopefully next year, and we may move to the eastern shore of Md in the next few years!  We are just tired of the rat race, and need to make some changes for our families well being, our current pace is going to put one of us into an early grave...
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Smier
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« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2013, 05:14:37 PM »

We just got home!  The greatest adventure my wife and I have ever taken, and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!  I'll write up a full post with lots of pics ASAP, stay tuned...
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jthatcher
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« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2013, 05:25:37 PM »

"and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!  "

the question is.. would you wife do it again Smiley       we are looking to hear the details...  now.. how about BBB2013..   are you able to join us this year?    If I recall correctly,  you got a second boat not all that long ago..   bring which ever sailboat makes the most sense..   does not have to be the compac      jt
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Smier
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« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2013, 08:15:52 AM »

So I had signed my wife and I up for a 4 day, liveaboard compressed ASA 101 & 103 class thru the Delmarva Sailing School.  I am still pretty new to sailing, and as I mentioned before, my wife was very intimidated by sailing.  She also has some logical concerns about the safety of our 3 children ages 9,7, & 5.  I was looking for a way to give her a better understanding of sailing in a controlled environment with someone who knows what they are doing, and I truthfully hoped that by doing this she might even possibly relax and enjoy the sailing experience like I do.  
  
  My wife was not thrilled by the idea of going on a "cruise" where she would be part of the crew, especially when our text books arrived a few months ago...  She was equally not thrilled when she foun out that we would have to pass the ASA tests to get our certifications!  I convinced her that this was possibly a once in a lifetime opportunity to go on an adventure together on a really nice boat, with a qualified, experienced instructor.  She slowly warmed up to the idea, even though it wasn't going to be the romantic anniversary trip of her dreams.  She did enjoy teasing me in front of friends and family when ever the opportunity presented itself.  I was shocked to come home from my night classes and find her asleep in bed, with the sailing textbooks open next to her, revealing she was secretly studying for our upcoming adventure.  Maybe she wasn't as opposed to the idea as I thought?

  The months flew by, and before I knew it we were pulling up to the Sailing Emporium in Rock Hall, Md on a miserably hot, humid, and stormy Friday night.  We were greeted by beautiful gardens and flowers.  My wife laughed at my insistence to stop and take a picture of the sign at the entrance:



The marina is gorgeous, and the facilities are well kept, modern, and very clean:









We met Frank, our instructor, and the two other men (Bob & Pete) that we would be taking our courses with at the boat.  I was in heaven, my wife wasn't so thrilled.  Since we were the only couple, we were given the V berth on Gallivant, a 39' Pearson.  I was intimidated by the size of the boat, my wife actually thought it was going to be bigger!



More to come:
« Last Edit: July 22, 2013, 07:23:30 PM by Smier » Logged
HeaveToo
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« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2013, 09:57:51 AM »

The Chesapeake Bay is my home cruising grounds.  I have been sailing on it since I was 12.  I have been really cruising it for the last 9 years.

You are in the Northern Part of the bay.  There are some really nice places to visit up that way but I hope you guys made it to Annapolis and St. Michaels.  Those two destinations are amazing.

I will say that if I knew that you were heading out to sail the Bay in July I would have suggest picking another time period.  In July the winds are often very light and it is incredibly hot out there.  You may have some relief if you are sailing but when you get into the harbors it is horrible.  This time of year you should probably marina hop and have an AC for when you get into the dock.  I usually don't overnight in July and August.

Enjoy the cruise.  You are definitely in a very unique area.  I do highly suggest Tangier and Smith Island someday as a cruise.  There is nothing like them out there.
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Døyr fe, døyr frender
Døyr sjølv det sama
men ordet om deg aldreg døyr
vinn du et gjetord gjevt
Smier
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« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2013, 06:13:29 PM »

HeaveToo, I actually chose mid-July for the low wind predictions because I was afraid that too much wind would simply scare my wife further away from sailing.  The heat wasn't bad out on the water, but when we were in the marina we spent our time either in the beautiful in ground pool, or studying in Gallivant's air conditioned cabin!!! 






Saturday(our first day out), we awoke to a damp, humid morning.  This was our first view out of the V berth window:



My wife Amanda and I went out for breakfast, and to our surprise met a really cool, older couple who had just sold their last sailboat.  They both encouraged my wife to relax and enjoy the experience, and told her about how wonderful it had been raising their family and teaching their children how to sail.  you would have thought I had paid them to tell my wife about all the treasured memories we will create with our family! 

We all met back at the boat at 9 am, we were given a tour of the boat and all its features, came up with a plan for our day, headed to the store to choose all of our provisions for the next four days, and then we finished getting the boat ready.  We ate a quick lunch on board and motored out into the bay under Franks watchful eye.  We found almost zero wind, which after a few minutes frank decided we were going to create our own wind by motor sailing.  We repeatedly practiced tacking and gibing as a team.  We practiced MOB drills over an over again, every new skill we all learned how to do from every position on the boat.  We did them over and over again until we all had the hang of it.  I really enjoyed practicing the MOB's because we have 3 young children.



We then motored back into Rock Hall for a swim, seafood dinner at Harbor Shack, and another all night cram session on board, because our ASA 101 exam was in the morning.  But first we had our first beautiful sunset:





 Did I mention we were supposed to know the books and study materials before we came to the school?  I had read thru the books three times before we arrived at the school, and still we studied like madmen!

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Smier
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« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2013, 07:25:00 PM »

Day two(Sunday), welcomed us with more heat and humidity!  We all passed our 101 exams, and completed all the skills requirements.  The winds were mild, but we managed to have a nice sail up past Hart Miller island.  We practiced MOB's constantly, which were a bit harder under sail, but we kept practicing them the entire 4 day trip.  Someone would mention how relaxing it was and our instructor Frank would pitch the PFD overboard and yell "Man overboard!!!".  Go down below to use the head or grab a snack and before you could finish making a sandwich you would hear, "Man overboard!!!".  It was serious, but a lot of fun too.  I am confident my wife could now bring our boat back to save me if I fell overboard!

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hart_Miller_Island

We then continued up to the Baltimore Yacht Club, where we enjoyed a refreshing dip in the pool followed by a spectacular Surf & Turf dinner while overlooking the bay!  We spent the night at the BYC with the intentions of sailing down to Annapolis the next day.  We enjoyed a slightly less humid evening sitting on deck, enjoying a few adult beverages while watching the moon set over the water.





Monday(Day 3), we woke up to one of the greatest sites of all, wind!!!  We ate a quick breakfast and prepared to set out for Annapolis.  We quickly motored out past Hart Miller island again, and hoisted our sails and took off like a rocket across the bay.





That picture doesn't show it, but Gallivant can really point into the wind.  I was impressed!  We criss crossed the bay repeatedly, even took turns circling the Baltimore light:



We spent the rest of the day dodging crab pots...  Which I managed to snag one at one point.  We dragged it for a bit and we had just heaved-too to cut it loose when it popped off, thankfully.  Lesson learned!  Our next decision was an easy one, motor sail to Annapolis, because we could rip back and forth across the bay between Hart Miller and Rock Hall, but we weren't making much headway towards Annapolis.  The deciding factor was we knew we had a slip with shore power in Rock Hall, but it was first come, first served in Annapolis that night, which meant we might have ended up swinging from a mooring ball.  With a heat index of 103* we all opted to continue sailing where the wind would take us, and the promise of Pizza for dinner after another dip in the pool back in the marina.
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HeaveToo
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« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2013, 08:24:31 PM »

Annapolis is excellent.  It is the sailing capital of the East Coast.  Ego Alley is always an interesting place to see also.

The downtown shopping area is neat as well.  It is amazing how they convert the area during the sailing show every fall. 

Hopefully you will get to see the Thomas Point Light house on your trip.  It is just South of Annapolis and  marks a big sand bar.  It is one of the few remaining screw pile lighthouses (the lighthouse that they Chesapeake Bay is famous for).

From Annapolis you may try to cross to St. Michaels.  That is a cool little town.  There are a few good seafood restaurants there. 

May is the perfect month for cruising in the area.  The wind is usually pretty good an the temps are perfect.  July and August are unbearable if you are anchoring out and have no AC.  I have seen cabin temps in the middle of the night in the 90s.  It is so humid as well.  The Jellyfish make it so you don't want to go in the water also.

Not too much further south than Thomas Point you will sometimes see dolphins in the Bay.  It is amazing to see how far they go up into the bay.  I have seen them in the Potomac River as fall as Piney Point as well.  That is such a big thrill to see them.  I always see them around Windmill Point (Deltaville, VA). 

Enjoy your cruise and stay cool.  At least you have a bimini.  I couldn't imagine not having shade during the summer.

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Døyr fe, døyr frender
Døyr sjølv det sama
men ordet om deg aldreg døyr
vinn du et gjetord gjevt
brackish
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« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2013, 05:29:03 AM »

Hey, great reporting on your adventure, sounds like a really nice experience.

I am considering a future Chesapeake bareboat charter.  I have many ties to the Annapolis area but have not been back there for many years.  My Father was born and raised there (Eastport), met and married my mother there.  My Grandfather was Master at Arms at the Naval Academy for many years and lived in Severna Park.  Before that my Grandparents lived in Pocomoke for a while.  I lived in Annapolis and Bainbridge as a child, but moved away when I was 12.  Although my memories are fairly vague 54 years later, I think it would be fun to cruise and hang out in the area again.

May, you say is the best time?  What about early Fall, maybe late September.
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Craig
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« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2013, 06:09:10 AM »

Having sailed the Bay for many years, I would also include October and selected days in early November when temps are in the sixties and occasionally the seventies in the "best" list Smiley
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Craig, Horizon Cat "Kailani"  Punta Gorda, FL
Smier
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« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2013, 06:58:55 AM »

Brackish, do it! The Chesapeake Bay is Beautiful, and we only touched a very small area of the Bay.  We are already planning to take a trip with our classmates on a Catalina 28 in October, they tell us the winds are typically much stronger, and the changing leaves are supposed to be magnificent.  I have no regrets with our trip, and the light winds gave my wife an enjoyable sailing experience.  She's excited enough by sailing that Wednesday afternoon she went with me to pick out a new home for our CP16 at Spruce Run Reservoir which is only about 20 min from our house, and she is thinking of boat names for "her" boat!!!  In all seriousness, if your wife doesn't like to sail, take her for lessons.  It did wonders for my sailing future!
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Smier
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« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2013, 07:37:58 PM »

A few more pics from our trip, the good looking guy with the beard is me:







And of course, we needed some payback for accidentally snagging and dragging a crab pot on our trip:



It was a great experience, and I have no regrets.  We learned more in those 4 days than I did in all of last year combined.  My wife and I learned a lot about teamwork, which I hope will help us in the future.  It was a great adventure!
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