Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Yes, It Really IS a Sailboat!

Friday, July 23 - Friday, July 30, 2010
Having made the three-day trip back down the Potomac, we're back in Yopps Creek on the Rappahannock to visit friends Carl & Debi from River Rat. We got quite a surprise at our last anchorage in the Potomac: Art from Destiny called to catch up, and it turns out he was anchored in Reedville, just 15 miles away! We tried to hook up en route to Yopps, but Art was on his way to Solomons to meet his girlfriend, Sue. She was flying in the next evening, and he wasn't about to miss that! So instead of meeting we had to settle for a radio conversation while we crossed a mile from each other in the mouth of the Potomac.

We dropped the hook off Carl & Debi's dock around lunch time on Monday, and gratefully accepted their offer of an air-conditioned room. The next couple of days were supposed to be scorchers, and it was a treat to be off the boat in a cool house. Debi made a fantastic dinner using fresh veggies from their garden, and Carl took us on a massive shopping run the next day. Rarely do we miss having a car, but they sure do come in handy once in awhile! That evening, we made a mess of their kitchen making Rene's "famous" seafood lasagna with white wine reduction sauce. We always jump at the chance to do some serious cooking when we have access to a big kitchen, and it gives our generous hosts a chance to relax. What a perfect combination!

Wednesday afternoon we all piled into our respective boats for a cruise to the Corrotoman River, the next entrance up the Rappahannock from Carl & Debi. The winds were perfect for a day cruise, and Debi & Carl radioed to see if we'd mind just sailing for a bit. Just sailing? Really?? Sadly, that's become somewhat of a foreign concept to us. We've gotten so used to following a designated route (you know, the shortest distance between two points), that we only sail (or motor-sail) if the winds accommodate us. Crazy, we know. So here we were, just five miles from our next anchorage, with plenty of time to just...sail. Engine off, sails up...ahhhhhh. This is what got us started sailing in the first place! We tacked back and forth for two hours, going wherever the wind took us. We only headed in when Carl's satellite weather warned of an approaching storm. It may have been a brief sail, but it reminded us how much we love it. Summer winds on the Chesapeake don't always allow much sailing, but we're going to have to try to do it more often.

After such a great afternoon on the river, we had an easy dinner of grilled steaks and corn aboard River Rat that night and headed upriver to Urbanna the following morning. Winds were light and on the nose, leaving us to motor the 9 miles to the anchorage. Fortunately it was a short trip, and we were anchored off the town dinghy dock in time for lunch aboard. We spent the afternoon wandering along Urbanna's quaint main street, window-shopping and watching some menacing storm clouds overhead. We made it back to the boat by 5pm, only to hear NOAA warning of a line of thunderstorms producing 70mph winds! We secured the boat as best we could, and Rene and Carl each spent the next 90 minutes in the cockpits...engine running, ready to take action if either anchor dragged. Our Manson held up beautifully, but River Rat began dragging half-way through the storm. (Debi had warned us that the holding was poor in Urbanna, and that they sometimes had to re-anchor 5-6 times to get a good set.) The dockmaster from a nearby marina radioed River Rat offering dockage for the night, which they happily took once the worst of the storm was over. Thankfully we never saw winds above 35mph; there was already plenty of excitement to go around! After the storm, we went back to our original plan: dinner at Cafe Mojo. The food and company were fantastic, and we really enjoyed our visit. Carl & Debi have offered to take us to the airport in October, so we'll be seeing them again in a few weeks. Thanks, guys!

River Rat left for home early Friday morning, so we worked our way down the Rappahannock towards our next destination, Reedville. We managed to sail part of the way - gorgeous! - but we had to drop anchor at the mouth of the Rap. Northerly winds were steady at 20kts with gusts of 25+, and the waves were miserable. We'd made such good time down the Rappahannock that we decided to hunker down until after noon when the winds were supposed to subside. Wouldn't you know, they never went below 15kts. We finally headed out after 1pm and slogged our way through the waves to Reedville. We made it to our anchorage in time to savor the fishy aroma from the menhaden plant over a G&T. (Note to Stacy's family: if I haven't said it before, Reedville is worse than the old "Aroma of Tacoma". Think paper mill PLUS day-old cat food. Aren't you jealous?!) Admittedly, Reedville isn't our favorite stop on the Chesapeake, but we've learned that there's a ferry from Reedville to Tangier Island. Tangier is supposed to be a unique trip in itself, albeit one for a ferry ride thanks to a shallow entry channel and a lack of anchorages. Stacy calls the ferry office Friday afternoon: "we'd like to reserve two spots on tomorrow's ferry to Tangier." A long pause... So you know those movies where someone tries to get a reservation for THE hot restaurant of the moment, and the response through the phone is invariably laughter from a snippy maitre 'd? Well, the woman at the ferry office was very nice, but the feeling was pretty much the same...don't even THINK about getting on a Saturday ferry at the last minute!

Truth be told, we're not up for spending another day in Stinky-ville so we can see Tangier. We may be in too much of a rush back to Deltaville to go at the end of September, but we'll play it by ear. In the meantime, we're heading back to Annapolis after a quick stopever in Solomons. Art and Sue are up in Annapolis now; while we may not make it in time to see Sue before she flies home, we'll hopefully hook up with Art for the first time in the Chesapeake...finally!

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