Archive for June, 2010

To Go, To Not Go

June 15, 2010

When it comes to most things, I tend to err on the side of safety. When it comes to sailing in bad weather, I err so far on the side of safety that I’m hanging onto the edge by my fingertips.

This past weekend we had planned to take a potentially 5-hour sail north from our marina in Rock Hall to Worton Creek Marina and meet some other boaters for dinner. The plan was to stay overnight at the marina and sail back to Rock Hall on Sunday. We looked forward to the trip and the camaraderie at the other end. Thursday before the trip I started keeping an ear open to The Weather Channel. The forecast from Thursday until Saturday morning was for thunderstorms both days. In near 90 degree heat and high humidity, the default forecast seems to always favor possible thunderstorms. As we packed the car on Saturday morning we decided to head to our marina and take another assessment when we arrived. Saturday morning was overcast and drizzly and at times downright dark but Rock Hall weather can be drastically different from our home two hours north in Pennsylvania. If we decided not to go once we got to the boat, there would be any number of projects we could still do.

The forecast didn’t get better once we arrived. The red weather alert icon on my BlackBerry didn’t go away so we decided to stay in Rock Hall and drive the 20 minutes to the restaurant later that evening. My concern was the return trip on Sunday. If we didn’t have to work Monday we wouldn’t have had a problem either staying another night at the marina to wait out the bad weather or anchoring out in a protected cove on the return sail.

Things happen for a reason. Deciding not to go proved beneficial in many ways. First, we met the couple who own the Catalina 387 several slips from ours. Preferring to spend most of their time underway, they happened to be in the slip that day to change the oil. We talked about our past boats, our current boats, bigger boats, other boats, our families and our boats. It was a nice beginning to what we hope will be a continued acquaintance.

The owners of the boat in the slip next to ours gave us crucial information about the 2.5 mile shoal in front of Rock Hall. That morning they went aground past the point at which the charted shoal should have ended. That told us that we must continue to the next buoy (at least) before making the turn west towards the center of the bay.

Then, on my way to the marina facilities, I happened to meet up with the man to whom we gave our last boat. We hung out for a while and answered some head-scratching questions he had about the boat and the trailer. He is a cabinet maker and I got some tips on restoring the wood in our cabin.

On Sunday some friends and their 4-month old pit bull puppy drove down for a day sail. While we didn’t have enough wind to enable Miles to stick his head over the gunwale and have his ears flap in the wind, we discovered that both Halcyon and John will survive getting peed on. We also, for the first time, saw rays in the Bay. I did some research and discovered that they are cownose rays. John will be disappointed to know that they find oysters just as tasty as he does. In the four years we’ve been sailing on the Bay this was a first.

The storms? A couple of the boats heading home from Worton Creek experienced torrential downpours and 35 knot winds. One couple had to anchor out for the evening. My knuckles, white from hanging on to the far edge of safety, don’t hurt so much anymore.