Equinox Cruise

Sailing is all about cooperation. Nothing happens in isolation. The progress of a sailboat through the water requires wind, for example. There are other examples of cooperation, we’ll get to them.

The Equinox cruise was timed to greet the passing of the sun over the horizon on September 22nd, 2018 at 21:54 EDT. We celebrated the end of summer in Dunn’s Cove, off Harris Creek on the east side of Tilghman island.

Susan signed on as crew, and brought mountains of food. By itself, this is a wonderful example of cooperation. But it gets better.

The weather Saturday was spectacular for a big, heavy cruising boat like Red Ranger. We had winds from 10 to 15 knots, with a rare gust to 20. The early-morning seas were relatively flat. With wind from almost due north, we could comfortably broad reach across the Bay. 

Rather than go through Knapp’s Narrows, we went south around Back Walnut Point. The turn into the Choptank river always involves a huge question. “Will the wind on the other side of Tilghman cooperate as well as the wind in the Bay?”

With only two on board, tacking the huge Yankee is difficult. With an extra hand, we were able to beat up the Choptank through several tacks. Cooperative sail handling is one of the best parts of sailing. There’s a profound joy in the essential cooperation required to call “Ready about?” and “Helm’s a-lee!” 

Red Ranger’s cutter rig worked out well when we switched from the giant yankee down to the inner stays’l. We could then do our version of short tacking up the Choptank. The history is truncated by Marine Traffic. I think this is because we vanished from coverage. The last point recorded properly was at 17:57 UTC (1:54 EST). We made one more tack before firing up the engine to wind through the marks in Harris Creek.

We rafted up with Cephas Dawson. Our 25 Kg Rocna held both boats comfortably through drinks and snacks and story-telling. There’s a whole host of cooperation involved in rafting up, and shipping drinks from one deck to the other deck.

Rachel Dawson photo of the moon over Cephas Dawson

Red Ranger’s cockpit is large. However, getting over the winches to get into the cockpit isn’t always easy. It takes a deal of cooperation from everyone involved to make sure the guests arrive safely and can find ways to be comfortable.

The moon peeked through the clouds to see what we were doing. The night was calm. Until it started to rain.

It was a quiet, gentle rain. But thoroughly soaking. And it thoroughly soaked us all day Sunday. Here’s a view of Red Ranger during a brief gap in the showers.

Rachel Dawson photo of Red Ranger in Dunns Cove

Besides tacking, another joy of having a cooperative, skilled crew is getting a  hot breakfast. (Thanks Susan!) We spent Sunday morning rolling across the two-to-three foot seas and 10 to 15 knot winds with driving rain. It may have been a good sailing day, but we motored through the wet.

Here’s a picture of another guest on Red Ranger.

This was an Osprey with a fish, looking for a place to settle down and enjoy a meal. It tried the top of the mizzen mast a few times, but didn’t stay with us.

The secret to a great Equinox Cruise is cooperation. While cooperative weather might have been nice, having a cooperative crew and fellow sailors is always the best way to spend a weekend.

  © Steven Lott 2019