If all good things must come to an end, then it had to happen sooner or later. After 7 years and nearly 400 tips, DIY projects, yarns, and wordy expressions of opinion, we have decided to end our Monday posts and shut down the website. We will still be sharing tips and great information on our facebook page, and pictures of both the practical and eye candy variety on Instagram. So as we and technology move along, please move with us and like and follow us at either or both of those locations. And as always, feel free to swing by and say hi when you share an anchorage with Eurisko. Thanks for all the support. See you out there.

Sail North to Go South: Part 2

July 11, 2016

Last week we began our Caribbean-bound sailing adventure, by realizing we had to sail north to repower before we could continue chasing palm trees and turquoise water. This week, we'll share what a high price "living the dream" can sometimes demand.

We pointed out all the positives (to the kids and each other): the weather would certainly make it feel like Christmas this year, David was excited to ice skate in Rash Field, and we would get to see the fireworks display on New Year's Eve. But they were all surface comments to hide our resentment, disappointment, and depression. It was going to be a long winter. But first, we had to concentrate on sailing the 100 miles to Baltimore.

A beautiful 7-knot close hauled sail out of Fishing Bay, followed by a northbound romp up the Chesapeake. We didn't make the decision to sail all night until nearly sunset. A mean cold front was forecasted to come through in two days, we had a bit of wind, and our calculations showed we could maybe make it if we didn't stop, but would never beat it if we anchored, so we figured we'd sail while we could to try to get to the dock before it arrived.


It's so hard to do this...

It was too cold to subject our crew to 4-hour watches, so we amended the watch schedule to 2 hours. We had only originally planned to be sailing one night, but during mine and Nicholas's first night watch, we did the math and realized that the only way we would make it the next day was if we started doing 6 knots immediately, and continued at that speed for the rest of the trip. We were currently doing 1.6 knots. We were going to be out here a while.

We putzed along in the bombing range (trying to avoid it) and among the barges and menhaden boats (trying to avoid them) at less than 2 knots all night. From Fleets Bay at sunset to Point No Point by sunrise: 20 miles. During the day we discussed whether we would have to sail all night again. We had a couple of 7-knot runs that lasted long enough for us to get cocky and calculate what time we would be in Baltimore. One estimation was as soon as 8 p.m. that night. We sailed past Solomons Island, past Calvert Cliffs, past Annapolis, under the Bay Bridge, and the wind died. By nightfall we were barely moving, slowly tacking across the shipping channel. We continued to try to predict landfall. When the prediction was midnight, we were still okay with pressing on, but once we were completely stopped, the knot meter reading 0.0 knots at the mouth of the Patapsco, afraid we were going to be run down by every passing ship, we knew we had to stop. The cold front (predicted to bring 47-knot winds) was going to hit the next afternoon. We thought we could probably beat it to the marina if we got an early start, so we decided to anchor.


...when you want to be doing this.

We drifted as close to shore as we dared, trying to get as far from the passing ships as possible. When we finally decided we were in as good of a spot as we could hope for, given the situation, I dropped the anchor. The chain had fallen over on itself in the anchor locker at some point in the past two days, so I dropped the handle of the windlass to pull the chain out of the hawspipe by hand. When I did, the clutch tightened. Normally, this would be no emergency, I would simply loosen the clutch with the windlass handle, but it was then that I noticed that the handle was in the slot of the clutch crooked. Again, usually no big deal, just pull it out. Except when I had let go of the handle it had fallen backwards onto the deck while still in the clutch. To pull it out I had to pick it up off the deck. To pick it up I had to move the gypsy. To move the gypsy I had to loosen the clutch. To loosen the clutch I had to move the handle back, which I couldn't do because it was already lying on the deck. Stuck. In the dark, after two days of frustrating sailing, with a flashlight, while dealing with the enormous, close wakes of ships, Dave disassembled the windlass to remove the gypsy. As it began to sleet.

The next morning, with 12 miles to go, we raised anchor while it was still too grey to see the markers, but too light for them to be lit. We tacked up the river, doing 6 knots by the Key Bridge, calculating we'd be safely in a slip by noon, when the wind died. We never saw speeds higher than 1 knot the rest of the day. We tacked all the way into Baltimore, across the channel repeatedly, trying to avoid container ships, tugs screwing up our tacks. anchored barges in our way, concrete walls on lee shores. When we got to Inner Harbor Marina, Dave sailed her up to the fuel dock, and we took a deep breath to regroup. The marina found us a slip that was easy for us to get into, Nick inflated his kayak, rowed lines to the slip, and we warped her into her new berth. We beat the cold front by a few hours. Home sweet home, for the next 4 months.

We did eventually get the new motor installed and sail to the Caribbean. We got our palm trees and endless summer, and we enjoyed every year of it. Perhaps we enjoyed it even more because things didn't go as planned. Anything you have to work for as hard as we did seems sweeter. Though I don't know that I'd recommend it as a general rule, sometimes you have to sail north to go south.

Our weather-driven meander through the Bahamas this summer has lead us to places we might not have stopped without being forced to. MONDAY we'll share what started out as a "have to" stop that turned into a "glad we got to" experience.

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Connie McBride's work has been published in Good Old Boat, Sail Magazine, Small Craft Advisor, Cruising World, All at Sea, and Blue Water Sailing. As a full-time liveaboard cruiser for over 15 years, she has written several books and in her spare time, well, who has spare time?

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