After a calm evening at Regatta Point Marina, we left 8:30 am for Reedville Virginia our initial stop over for the first day. Just an easy 18 miles north of Deltaville. Everything was performing great, the boat, crew and the wind, 10 mph out of the South East. This provided us with a broad reach up the bay to Reedville, at 6 knots, we were making great time and we were off of Reedville by noon. After discussing a plan “b” with Elizabeth, we decided to pass Reedville and head to St Mary’s. At this speed, we expected to be at St Mary’s in 4 hours. I thought this could be the case, so we knew different places to overnight in St Mary’s City, just in case! In the pending 4 hours, the wind grew to 25-30 mph, still out of the SouthEast. Now we heard stories about how bad the waves are at mouth of the Potomac. Many saying it took hours to get beyond Smith Point. We reached the Smith Point buoy and the famous words spoken by Elizabeth and I , “this doesn’t look too bad”. At this section of the Chesapeake bay, from the southeast, the closest land is approximately 25 miles away. So nothing is impeding the wind and waves from running up the Potomac River. To add to the fun, the tide was going out, so the current was going against the wind, the waves were standing straight up. Can you say washing machine, waves very disorganized and standing tall. Checked the marine WX and verified the conditions we were experiencing, winds 30 and 6 foot waves. As we entered the river, the wind on our quarter stern, I reduced sail area. The GPS reported upper 9 knots of speed over ground and even saw 10.2 surfing off the waves. At the same time, the VHF radio is super busy, a mayday call, then capsized catamaran, sailboat with lost steering… it continued for the next two hours. Elizabeth performed wonderfully, for a person that felt queasy the day before she was firing on all cylinders today. She kept track of the size waves and announced the next BIG one coming. So in all the action, I had her call Point Look Out marina to see if they had a slip for the night. Fortunately they had room and now our challenge was to find the Smith Creek channel. We were on the Maryland side of the Potomac, so when we found the entrance to the creek, we had to take the winds and waves on the beam for a half mile. Not a fun run, I was the one to take down the main sail while Elizabeth kept us on course. The area around Smith Creek, is very shallow, the water went for 20 feet to 1 foot in 100 feet, so our piloting had no room for error. One missed marker and we would have been aground with 6 foot breaking water all around. We snaked our way through the tiny channel and found Point Lookout Marina. They placed us on the new pier and we secured the boat for the night. Now Point lookout has an onsite restaurant, no cold cuts tonight! We didn’t even shower, right off to dinner, this was our first good meal in two days. Over dessert, we discussed the next’s day’s agenda. Originally, we wanted to leave St Mary’s and head for Solomon’s Island and keep the boat there for the week. The following weekend, Greg was available to help with the next leg but…. First, we were beat up and thought we would be really sore tomorrow. Now Elizabeth wrenched her ankle in PT before coming on the trip, so she was limping and I’m just an out of shape old guy. The weather for the next day was more the same, but the wind out of the North, yes in the same direction that we need to go. Many people say that the most dangerous thing on a sailboat is a schedule. So we decided to keep Calamay in St Mary’s for the week and proceed to Solomons with Greg. A local band was warming up at the restaurant but after dinner, we were exhausted and went to bed at 8pm. Susan left the house at 7am Sunday morning and was at the marina by 10am to pick us up and I drove home. Relaxed the rest of Sunday, then placed Elizabeth back on the plane to Texas Monday! All in all, I say we had a successful trip, finally back in Maryland making our way north, a little slower than planned but safe!
- Calamay – Commissioning 2019
- Urbanna Port Marina – Our Starting point