Today was an easy sail to Annapolis, the winds were light and we were on a steady run up the bay.
We started off with fair winds which slowly died down to a whisper of wind. We sailed along with all our sails set, trying to move forward any amount. When the wind died completely I broke down and set up the sculling oar. I have gotten okay at sculling Windpuff, our Alberg 30 which weighs 4.5 tons, but I can't seem to get Wisdom to move quickly. I attribute our slow pace to our large three fixed blade propeller and our massive 17 tons of displacement. While sculling, we were able to move at 0.5 to 0.8 knots. Certainly not record setting speeds but we were moving forward! I did this for around a half hour when Maddie convinced me to sit back and wait for the winds to return. I really wanted to make it all the way to South River or maybe even Baltimore on this run, but these fantasies were unrealistic without any wind.
As we passed South River, my parents came out to say hello.
On days like today, the appeal of a power boat is very apparent. When you set out for a destination, the time it will take is directly proportional to the speed you want to move forward through the water. You don't have to worry about the weather as much, since you can make it from one point to another in a predetermined and calculated amount of time. All you need is a weather window that will allow you safe passage. When sailing, you set out on a cruise towards a destination and deal with all different forms of weather that get thrown at you as you slowly make your way.
A few hours later, we finally made our way to the mooring balls in Annapolis and we snagged one that was on the outer edge of the field. Other boaters don't appreciate when someone comes sailing into the middle of a crowded mooring field under full sail! It comes across as dangerous and reckless. Instead we sail up to the edge of a crowded mooring field under reefed sails, slowly and under complete control.
Sailing with Maddie has made so many maneuvers so much easier! I used to sail up to a mooring ball, luff the sails, go forward with a boat hook, set the painter on the cleat, and drop the sails. It was a one shot deal with very little room for error since I was alone, and no one was at the helm while I was up on the bow cleating the line. Having Maddie on board, we can both manage the boat and it makes picking up a mooring ball much less stressful.
Under reefed main and staysail set up on the self tacker, Maddie takes the helm while I was to go forward to grab the mooring ball. The reefs were put in while out in the river, well before reaching the mooring field and our plan was discussed. We use hand signals to communicate direction since the dodger blocks a lot of sound, making verbal communication difficult. We decided that I would point in the direction she is to turn as we made our way into the mooring field. Once in the mooring field, I would then point at the mooring ball we are going to pick up and she would steer us from there.
We like to pick up a mooring ball on the leeward edge of a mooring field, that way we can come around the field and sail up to the mooring ball. As we come up to the ball, we luff the sails and the boat will come to a stop as it aims into the wind. We also like to pick up the mooring ball on the starboard side because I like to lower the sails onto the port deck. The port deck is typically covered with sails ready to be raised while the starboard deck is kept clear and open to make it easy to run forward to the bow unobstructed.
As Maddie came up on the mooring ball, I lowered the staysail, allowing us to point much further upwind without moving forward too much. Once I grabbed the mooring balls painter with the boat hook, Maddie released the mainsheet which ensured that the mainsail wouldn't offer any push. As the boat began to drift back, I walked the painter forward on the boat until I could hook the painter on the bow cleat. I tied the snubber through the painter and set it up as a bridle for the mooring ball, letting the boat rest evenly behind the mooring ball and giving us a smoother nights sleep.
Once everything was set, we rowed into the heart of Annapolis to grab some dinner at Chick and Ruth's Diner. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend grabbing a meal here! The food is very reasonably priced and the portions are huge!
We sailed for 14 hours to get to this restaurant, which made the giant milk shake all the more delicious! It's amazing how tired we were after this sail, the winds were light and we never worked hard all day; but all day we were out in the sun working the sails trying to get as much power as we could from the little wind available.