We took a weekend trip from Deltaville to Cape Charles. Our first weekend jaunt in two years. There was some drama, but none that caused any lasting problems.
Cape Charles is cute, and historic, and a comfy sail from either Deltaville or the Norfolk area. We had never visited the Eastern Shore by boat before. We can now highly recommend it. Be sure you have a reservation before you head down there.
We met some boats from the Rapahannock; they had to make an early start to cover the distance. Another boat we met had set out from Horn Harbor just 14 nm away.
We started from 37°32.95′N 076°19.78′W, which is the Deltaville Marina C dock. We motor-sailed for 6 hours at a gentle pace to 37°15.91′N 076°00.94′W; this is the fuel dock. All the slips were booked, so we were put into overflow parking.
Getting out of C dock was our first bit of drama. We have — strike that — had a fender board. It got caught on the piling, which pivoted Red Ranger until the bowsprit collided with another piling.
After freeing the mortal remains of the fender board, we managed to (eventually) ease our way out of the slip. The wind was fair to pivot in the narrow fairway between C and D dock and get moving before doing any actual damange to anything other than Red Ranger.
It was an akward mess because after two years of living aboard, we're still newbies at close-in maneuvering. We'd never hit the fender board on anything before. Why today? Why not today?
Saturday, the wind was from the N blowing at 14g17 and getting weaker by the hour. It could be nice sail. Except, of course, we're sailing about 150° from the wind. Our least comfortable angle.
With Mizzen and Yankee, we could almost make a good enough speed to sail.
Almost. There are two small considerations.
The quartering sea leads to a stomach-churning roll. Since it's the bay, the waves were closely-spaced.
The breezes and the sea state were "out of synch." The breeze was to light for the waves — or — the waves were too tall for the breeze. With 4′ waves, we'd roll forward over the top, backwinding the sails. We'd tip upward on the next wave and the sails would slam full.
We motor-sailed to try and even out the motion. That worked reasonably well. This leads to some minor drama: CA had to lie down with eyes closed for almost the entire trip.
Cape Charles Party
There were some tall ships in Cape Charles. They had been in Norforlk, where we saw them last week. The sights are spectacular. There were tours and musicians and all kinds of festivities.
Getting to the fuel dock involved a narrow fairway back into the "harbor of refuge" area. The dockmaster calls it "behind the Coast Guard Station." The fishing boat fleet and smaller boats are back there.
The area is shallow. We enjoyed some drama running aground getting into this overflow dock space. But we also got ourselves off. Something we learned in the ICW over the last two years.
There was a huge party in Cape Charles. Some folks were just meeting up on each other's boats. Other folks had spread tables out on the docks so that they could accomate a party larger than one boat could hold.
The local restaurants were backed up, too. That meant long waits for the kitchen to prepare entres.
The Rail Terminal
Cape Charles has a ferry for rail cars. The train cars can be pushed down the tracks onto barges. The barges can then be pushed around the Chesapeake Bay.
The old-timers said that it was dramatic as seeing train cars out in the bay. It lead one to question one's sanity.
Bay Sailing Back
The trip back up the bay from Cape Charles to Deltaville involved nearly flat seas and very light winds. We set the mizzen and motored almost straight into the wind.
We started from 37°15.91′N 076°00.94′W, the fuel dock. We arrived at Deltaville Marina D dock, 37°32.94′N, 076°19.82′W. We motored for about four hours and sailed for about an hour near the entrance to the Piankatank river. But the wind died utterly, so we returned to Deltaville under power.
We were able to put ourselves into the D-dock slip without any much more drama. I misjudged the turn, but the wind was fair to hold us more or less in position and I could "propwalk" sideways until CA could lasso some pilings and warp us in.