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!!

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