We set out on a long sailing trip heading South. We have no set point to where we will arrive, simply sailing South for 2 weeks and then turning around and making our way back to Fells Point.
Our first day started rather un-eventfully, we took longer than expected to leave the pier, so that put us on a later start than planned, but it didn't matter because we had no time cards to punch!
We left the Inner Harbor of Baltimore in very light winds heading out of the Patapsco River towards the Chesapeake Bay. The sun was getting low on the horizon as we approached the Key Bridge when a squall hit us. We had reefed the sails already as the clouds approaching looked ominous, but this was rather strong for our first day.
I was up at the fore peak preparing to drop the anchor for the night when it hit. Maddie was at the helm on her 6th sailing trip, so when it hit, she was alone in the cockpit. I don't know what went through her mind as the wind picked up speed instantly heeling the boat over as the wind shifted onto our beam, but I don't think it was happy thoughts. The wind was ripping the tops of waves off and sending the water flying through the air as visibility was quickly diminishing. Through all of the noise and confusion, she let out the mainsheet which righted the vessel instantly. I was very glad that she did this as I was clinging to the bow rail waiting for her to rectify the situation. What probably occurred in a few seconds felt like an eternity as I was holding on.
In a few minutes, the squall passed and the seas flattened as the dead calm air hung over us. It was a bit nerve wracking to think this happened in our own back yard as we made our way to the ocean. I had only been crew on a sailboat for 4 days in the Atlantic from Key West, FL to Charleston, SC, and Maddie had only been sailing a few times in the Patapsco River. We didn't have a ton of practical experience between us, but we did have the will and knowledge to make the trip.
We anchored for the night and slept well as we prepared for our next day of sailing.