Friday, June 28, 2013

Cruising on the Bay

Despite the name of this blog, Freedom seems to spend more time off the Chesapeake Bay than she does on it. My wish for this summer was for an extended shore leave and some weekend cruising close to home.  Memorial Day weekend got us off to a good start.  We were asked to serve as the Committee Boat for the Corinthian Yacht Club of Philadelphia's Spring Cruise and we readily agreed. It a great opportunity for us to reconnect with fellow club members, spend some time on the Bay before it got too hot, and for the Cap'n to race his S2, Crazy Horse. 

But wait a minute: if Freedom was to be the Race Committee boat, responsible for acting as starting line and finish line -- typically in two different places -- and the Capn' was going to be racing, who was going to seer Freedom?  Yes, it was time for me to take off my Admiral's cap and step up to the role of Captain!

The winds were high throughout most of the weekend, forcing the Friday Fun race to be completed below decks using charts and conversation.  Saturday dawned calm and sunny and the early birds began race preparation. Mother Nature had other plans and by 8AM the winds picked up and the waves were white capped. Much to the dismay of some crew members, the days race was on. Some boats opted not to risk injury to crew or rigging and opted out (including Crazy Horse).  Those that pressed on faced an athletic day as they raced from Baltimore Light to the Magothy River. As you can see from the anemometer, it was not a day for the faint of heart:

That is 39kts of wind!

The Race Committee stared down the breezy conditions to  keep everyone informed and at the starting line on time raising and lowering flags, sounding the air horn,

firing the gun,

all the while maintaining color coordination...

We were all rewarded with a peaceful anchorage and evening, where we visited among the fleet and shared stories and laughs over dinner.

Sunday was breezy but better, bringing the full fleet to the race course. The Cap'n steered the boat to the starting line, then jumped on the Horse.  Once again anchored off of Baltimore Light we had some picture perfect starts:

Not sure if I would enjoy living in a Lighthouse ......

That's Reef Points -- formerly known as Pyewacket. A beauty!
Perfect Start for Class B

The strength of the winds told us the boats would be nearing the finish line sooner than usual, -- it was time for me to take the helm and head north to the Patapsco. Somehow I managed to avoid barges, car carriers 7 stories high:

holiday weekend boat traffic and buoys to make it safely to the finish line. Phew!!

The racers finished in rapid succession against the backdrop of the Baltimore industrial waterfront and the Key Bridge. 
The Commodore's yacht -- formerly known as Freedom -- nearing the finish line

Bluejacket - The overall winner!

Everyone was anxious to get to shore for a long hot shower and a chance to talk over the day's activities and before long we were all docked at the Maryland Yacht Club for a lobster dinner and awards ceremony.  Crazy Horse earned First Place for Sunday's Class B race! Go Horse Go!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Where Does the Time Go!?! April-May

I now, I have been neglecting the blog of late. Ever since my Shore Leave began in mid April I have been caught up in my suburban life and lost focus on the boat life. Not Freedom has been sitting idle either.

So, let's back track a bit as I get you up to date on our travels .... (you might want to grab a beverage, this is a long post, with only one photo at the end --  when the Admiral goes on Shore Leave so does the Staff Photographer)

After I hopped off in Ft. Myers  the Capn's sister and brother in law joined him for a few days on Florida's west coast before heading back across Lake Okeechobee.  Avid bird watcher's, Robin and Alan recorded many notable sightings, but they all agreed that the warblings heard at the Roland Martin Marina Karaoke Night were not Mother Nature made!

Once back in Suart, another crew change was made. Coming aboard were daughter Adrienne (did you know her name means "Woman of the Sea"?), her friend Peter, Cap'n Pete, and Al&Donna. A great crew for the trip up the coast. After a few days on the Intracoastal (ICW) Freedom headed outside for a 36 run from Fernandina to , taking advantage of the good weather  and (mostly) experienced crew.

By the time Freedom was back on the Chesapeake Bay she was down to the Cap'n, with Adrienne and (now experienced) Peter as crew.  Another winter south safely completed.   A good cleaning and  several loads of laundry later we ready to make plans for Spring and Summer on the Bay.

Just a few days after arriving, Georgetown, Maryland marked the 200th anniversary of the Burning of Georgetown. We took that opportunity to invite the "River People" to join us on the bow for the spectacular Fireworks display followed by dessert. It was a great way to reconnect with friends and properly kick off the season.  Even the Schooner Sultana showed up for the celebration:

Also joining us that night were our dogs Hamilton and Miles. I am fully engaged in training them to be comfortable and well mannered boat dogs. When we head south in the fall they will be along as crew, as our "in house dog watchers" (aka, the k'dults) will no longer be in house. Fortunately the fireworks did not disturb them, but woe to the guest who wanted to sit on "their spot" on the settee. Something to work on...

For now, I will work on my next post about Memorial Day weekend... Stay tuned