We picked up anchor this morning, just like any other morning; but today was going to be very eventful!
The winds were strong and we would make it to Harness Creek on the South River in no time! As you can see on the map, we jibed a few times while getting lined up with the river, our course was generally steady as we quickly cut through the water. When we arrived at the mouth of South River, conditions deteriorated instantly!
We quickly put two reefs in the main, raised the staysail, lowered the jib, and readied the anchor. We didn't raise the trysail because we wanted to still be able to move to windward since we were very close to shore. If the wind would shift, we would soon be on a lee shore!
This storm came out of nowhere! Today started off as a gorgeous blue sky day until this cloud system rolled in.
My sister called me to warn me about the storm. It took out the power at her boyfriends office when it rolled through Bethesda and she was concerned about what it would do to us.
We had no options, we had no water to drift, we had shores close by on all sides, and we were faced with this monster of a storm system. The weather alarm activated and the report stated that this storm was predicted to have winds in excess of 50 knots. Our plan was to try to continue making our way into the creek and hope the wind doesn't shift. If it were to get out of hand, we would heave to and if we were drifting towards shore we would drop anchor and wait it out.
It is important to come up with a plan before heavy weather situations arise, that way in the confusion of waves, howling winds, and flapping sails, you will know what to do and do it quickly without the need for talking.
We watched as other sailboats around us lowered their sails and began motoring into port while one other sailboat raised their storm sails and began making their way South to run before the storm.
All of a sudden, the wind stopped and the water went calm. I knew that we were about to enter the storm and was prepared for the wind to shift. I stood at the ready with my hand on the mainsheet and the wheel, ready to set the sails for the new storm force wind we would be facing.
All of a sudden, the water was churned up as 20 knots of wind hit us. We trimmed the sails and tried to use the wind to get us into the protected waters of South River. The wind began to build up to 25 knots and then leveled off for a moment. I was waiting for the 50 knot winds they were calling for on the radio.
I looked at the weather app on my phone and saw that the Annapolis Bay Bridge just North of us was experiencing the 50 knot winds, but we were still only in 25 knots of wind. South of us was also experiencing 45 knots of wind. Suddenly, the sun began to poke through the clouds and the winds slowed to a mere 5 knots.
Looking at the Doppler map on my phone, it appeared as if the storm parted around our boat and we were in the clear! We sat with our storm sails up for a few more minutes waiting for conditions to deteriorate again, but the storm had gone by and we escaped unharmed.
We shook out the reefs and raised the drifter as we ghosted our way up the South River towards Harness Creek in the very light winds. We made it!