Oh what a sweet boat she is. Doing 7 to 10 knots just off the Jersey shore in sparkling sunshine with main and jib on a reach in gusty winds. We COULD raise more sail and maybe impress the three boats just offshore sailing in the same direction (that makes it a race), but we feel mellow and the autohelm is happy and we do not want to arrive in Cape May in the dark. Tides up the Delaware are temptingly fair at dawn, so there is certainly no rush.
The main sail is going up a lot easier with the shaved down gaff. Unfortunately our stack pack arrangements for the sail furling and cover did not work. Yet. Maybe the answer for us old folks might be a fat head fully battened megaroach main and foremain with commercially made stack pack and a mast track. It would not be as pretty as these gaff sails though. Add electric windlass for the main anchor, and we might have no excuses to quit sailing for another many years. So when these sails wear out, we may try that.
We are gaining on the three sailboats offshore... Ha HA! We over took all of them!
The wind was strong and gusty until sunset, and then someone threw a switch and it all stopped. We motored until fresh midnight winds arrived and then we were sailing well until just before dawn. We motored through Cape May at first light and only mixed up the day marks once. Thank goodness for shallow draft!
So now we are motoring up the Delaware in flat water and waiting for the promised 10 to 15 knots of reaching winds. The main is still up, so that is probably causing our delay. If we dropped the main and furled it neatly, then the wind would come immediately when we sat down for a cuppa tea. Right? Wind gremlins see to that sort of thing every time. But the weather is not cold, there are no flies, and we are not particularly bright eyed or bushy tailed after our overnight sail. So lazy motoring is OK for now. Simple scrambled eggs and toast were good for breakfast and I have cruiser stew in the pot when Nev gets the hungries. Oh the sun feels nice on my back... Somebody ought to be catching a few of these fish, but it won't be me today.
Monarch butterflies are migrating today and their navigation systems are set exctly to a course of 240* magnetic. We have had over 20 fly over our deck in the past few minutes and I checked their flight paths using my hand bearing compass. They do all this with no compass, no GPS, and no paper or electronic charts either. There goes another one, trudging to windward, followed by another, and another, and another. They have an appointment to keep probably thousands of miles away from here and, while some may not make it, plently of the others will arrive on time and ready for whatever butterfly business transpires in that location. And we think WE're clever...
Later. The reaching winds arrived but we decided to keep the engines ticking over also so we would not miss any of this strong moon tide. We did between 7 and 10 knots over the ground and arrived at the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal by 1pm. The tides were just changing fair to go into the Chesapeake, so we could not resist that. There was no sailing into that wind and we had to keep a sharp eye out for logs in the water, but we made it through in time to anchor in the Elk River well before sunset. Conditions are moderating and we sure will sleep tonight. Tomorrow we have a fair wind to Baltimore and Andy has explained where we are to anchor. We will hope to get our Fortress 55 well settled in before the PCA meet begins. And another good night's sleep will be welcome also...
All the best, Ann and Nev
© Anne and Neville Clement, 2005