Lon said "I liken sailing to making music on the water. The two for me are inseparable." Lon followed his comment with an invite to hear Dramtreeo in Reedville on July 23rd.
Let's review our tangled social network.
Lon's a very active Whitby owner. We met him at the 2010 Rendezvous. He organized a diesel engine class for us. He looked at Chesapeake Eagle and decided not to buy her, allowing us to buy her and rename her to Red Ranger.
Reedville is a delightful place to visit (except for the smell: "Let me tell you, honey, that's the smell of money.") We went there last year as our first overnight when we were Done Fooling Around and as a bailout when things Gang Aft Agley on us.
Dramtreeo is a folkie band that focuses on the Chesapeake Bay. Traditional sea songs ("Strike the Bell Second Mate"), traditional pub songs ("The Wild Rover"), their own tunes ("Sing the Spirit Home"), plus a few pop tunes ("16 Tons", "Bad Moon Rising"). Perfectly delightful. Polished stage presence that shows decades of experience. Plus the kind of invitational approach that the Front Porch Rockers offer; as Jim Crutchfield said, "feel free to sing along: this is folk music and you all are folk."
In Reedville, at the ice cream shop, ran into total strangers who are cruising the Chesapeake. And again at the concert. How does that happen?
What a great trip. It was Mr. Midshipman Benmar's first trick at the wheel; we had our doubts.
A Sea Faring Man
I think that it's true: sailors have "that look". Here's how it played out for us.
It's 100°. Killer hot. Wind mostly from the W at 10-15; we had a perfect beam reach up the bay. We anchored in our favorite spot near the water tower (8' of amazingly tenacious mud.) We took the dinghy around the point and up the creek to the Fisherman's Museum where the concert is supposed to be.
We have a few hours to kill. On the museum grounds, we found a Captain John Smith Geotrail cache (GC2F41W). The museum is closing; time to move on. Transient boaters and other vagabonds have to keep moving. Where to next?
The Ice Cream parlor is air conditioned. And packed. And…
There's a couple sitting at the table; they have "that look". I nod—it's the South—"How're you doing'?" She gets in line behind us; we talk about ice cream. And backpacks—water bottles, camera, flashlights—and the 100° heat. (The fact that I had an outboard motor cutoff switch hanging from a lanyard on my shorts may have been relevant.)
We're anchored in the creek. "Oh, we're at the dock," she says. We're from upstate New York. Kitty and Terry are from Minnesota. We're just here for the day. They're doing the US Great Loop. In stages. Over a period of years. On a sailboat. Working their way north. They're here until they feel like going somewhere else and the wind is fair for their destination.
Of course, we exchanged boat cards.
CA tells them that we're going to hear a folkie band, Dramtreeo, up at Festival Hall—wherever that is—about 6-ish. We don't have a lot of solid details because we're just passing through.
And—delightfully—there they are at the concert. To be a transient boater, you have to work well with partial information, rumors and hints. They took our vague story and tracked down the event venue. Cruisers and vagabonds, traveling the same routes, running into each other.
The killer heat is, literally, a killer. We have some GatorAde® Powder Mix on board. We were slugging that down by the liter-sized water bottle. When you stop sweating, you're in trouble.
We forgot to rig the wind scoop, leaving the boat rather quite hot. We have several wind scoops. We couldn't figure out why we had more than one. Then CA figured it out: we should be able to rig a wind scoop over the companionway as well as the forward deck hatch. That would improve the ventilation considerably. Next weekend we'll try to remember to rig both wind scoops.
Sunday, there was essentially no wind. A 5kn breeze means that we would easily spend 4 (or more) hours working our way down the bay. If we didn't have a schedule, it would have been nice to rig the mizzen staysail and potter along.
Instead, we left the trip to Mr. Lehman. 7.0 kn (due to a favorable ebb tide) means we are back at the dock by 2-ish with plenty of time to clean up.
But we also allowed Mr. Midshipman Benmar to drive for a while. This was the first time we let the Benmar autopilot steer. It was delightfully simple. Set the course, set the sea state, power on, and away he goes. Let things settle for fifteen minutes and tweak the course. Mr. Benmar's compass doesn't agree perfectly with the GPS compass. Some tuning will be required. Also important is to open the valves on the binnacle hydraulics, otherwise the wheel turns unexpectedly.
Everything on Red Ranger worked. Nothing broke. Sails worked heading up. Motor worked heading back. Dinghy has a slow leak, but it seems manageable.
We got introduced to some new music. We met sailors we knew. We met sailors we didn't know.
This was what we signed up for.