Boat Buzz Newsletter

2010

FEBRUARY 2014

Cruise to Annapolis

Anyone who sails on the Chesapeake Bay will sail to Annapolis,
the “Sailing Capital of the World”. Our marina is ideally located for just such a weekend or mid-week cruise. I personally prefer sailing there during the week rather than on a weekend since there are so many other boaters who only have time on a weekend.

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From Mears Point Marina you have two choices of route – the shortest is to head out the Chester River and turn toward the Bay Bridge. Even before you clear the bridge, you will see the three red and white radio towers on the northern point of the Severn River. On the southern shore, you will also spot the water tank – sail just a few degrees east of this water tank until you enter the mouth of the river. Give the yellow spider plenty of clearance on your starboard side as you head up the river for a few miles until you reach the seawall off the Naval Academy.

For a longer sail, you might want to turn south outside the marina and head through the draw bridge. On this route, you’ll head down Prospect Bay then turn down Eastern Bay for a great sail to Bloody Point Light. Turning northwest, you should spot the three red and white radio towers on the northern point of the Severn River. Along this route you’ll pass the most beautiful lighthouse on the bay, Thomas Point Shoal Light. It is now owned by the Annapolis Historical Society which operates weekend tours out to this historic site.

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Either route will bring you to the historic capital of Maryland. Inside the harbor you’ll have many options to moor your vessel. You can choose to anchor in the open anchorage off the seawall, but it will be a bouncy exposed area. I prefer to pick up one of the many mooring balls just a bit further inside where there is much more protection from waves and wind. The charge is just $35 per night. If you want to impress all the tourists with your seamanship and the beauty of your vessel, you can opt for a slip in “Ego Alley”. This will be substantially more per night. Ashore, there are many great restaurants to choose from. While in town, take time to visit the Naval Academy – bring your ID. You can visit the Chapel, Visitors Center, and Museum – at no charge.

For those of you who have completed your ASA 104 Bareboat Cruising class, this is a perfect place for you to sail Moondance. In fact, she almost knows her own way there. Drop us an email to reserve your dates.

Navigation Challenge

To help you maintain and refresh your navigation skills, I will be posting a new problem each month during the 2014 sailing season. Please use the training chart, 1210TR, Martha’s Vineyard to Block Island for the solution. Email me your correct answer. The first correct answer will receive a $50 discount on your next class or charter this season. I will post the correct answer in the next issue of Boat Buzz.

It is June 1, 2013. You are sailing at 4.5 kt toward the Sakonett River. At 0945 you find yourself located at buoy W Or “A” Fl 4 sec bell south of the river. You now adjust your course to arrive at the BW “A” Fl 3 sec buoy at the mouth of theSakonett River. What is your true course and what is your PSC course to this location. What is your ETA? Note: Your deviation for this course 3ºE.

 

 

Cure the Mid-Winter Blues –
Take one of R&R Charters and Sail School’s classroom courses!

ASA 105 Coastal Navigation Feb 21, 22, 23

ASA 107 Celestial Navigation Mar 21, 22, 23, & Mar 28, 29, 30 ( 6 day course)

ASA 117 Basic Celestial Navigation – an at-home study course

Your visit to Annapolis –
It won’t be complete until you walk up to the Maryland State House – the oldest legislative building in use in the US. Inside, you can view the current Senate and Delegates meeting rooms, as well as the original Senate room. They’re restoring the original Delegates room where General George Washington resigned his commission in the Continental Army. There are also many historic homes nearby as well as the church located in Church Circle. The homes charge a small entrance fee, but the church is free. Three of the four Maryland delegates to the Continental Congress were members of this church.


 

 

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Boat Buzz Newsletter

2010

JANUARY 2014

Think Warm Sunshine

It's time to think of warm sunshine and the bright blue waters of the Caribbean. Some of you may already have plans to charter in the BVI’s – always a good choice! The people are friendly, navigation is line of sight, the water is warm and clear, and the food is great. Recently, Penny and I, along with four friends from O-Dock, chartered a vessel, and enjoyed sailing around St. Martin. When you look at a chart of the Virgin Islands, there are large coral reefs which help block some of the ocean swells, but when you look east of St. Martin, the nearest land is the coast of Europe and Africa

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After stepping aboard Shere Khan and stowing our provisions, we left the marina on the east coast of St. Martin. Clearing the inlet, we immediately began to experience 6’ ocean swells, and a strong east wind of 15-20 kt. Under a reefed main and jib, we set sail for our first overnight anchorage in St. Barts, 20 miles southeast. It wasn't long before waves were breaking over the bow as the wind began to pick up because a thunderstorm was approaching. Within minutes the waves had built to 8-9’ and heavy rain made it difficult to see the bow, but it would soon pass. It only lasted 20 minutes before the rain stopped, although the strong wind continued for the rest of the afternoon. In a few hours we arrived at our anchorage, prepared our dinghy, and headed ashore for a bit of relaxation and swimming – a great start!

The next couple of days were to have 35-40 kt winds with gusts of 50 and waves 8-12’. After checking charts, we decided to sail to Marigot on St. Martin, where we could enter a marina which has a surrounding seawall. So after breakfast, we headed off for an exciting sail. The crew insisted the waves must have been at least 15’! After a fast galloping sail, we turned the point, and passed the main airport runway as two large planes came down for a landing close overhead. The island blocked the large waves, so all we had to deal with was the strong wind as we beat toward our welcome Med moor on a concrete dock.

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We explored the French town, Marigot. Penny and I loved the little stores and super great French restaurants! In the morning, we shopped at the local farmer’s market for some fresh fruit and spices, and enjoyed tasting the local foods. There are many restaurants, cafes, and local pubs offering some of the finest French cuisine.

Next day, the storm had passed so we headed for Anquilla, a nice little British island with numerous marine parks. We had a perfect broad reach to the southwestern corner of Anquilla, and made our turn toward Road Bay. We set the anchor for the night, and I tried to take the dinghy ashore to clear us in at customs and immigration, but the dinghy engine decided it would be a good time to take a break and not start. I hailed another SunSail charter person, and hitched a ride ashore while the crew worked on the dinghy engine. In the morning, after a short sail, we picked up a mooring, and went to the beach for some exploring, before heading back to the main island for our overnight anchorage. We found a wonderful little restaurant right on the beach, and consumed large portions of delicious steak and lamb chops.

All too soon, it was time to head back to the SunSail Base. We stopped for a couple of hours to swim and snorkel, but by mid-afternoon it was time to turn the bow of Shere Khan toward the Oyster Pond inlet and bring her back home.

 

 

Dreams Can Come True –
Penny and I have had the opportunity to sail in many different areas of the world because of our ASA training. Still our favorite sailing location is the Ionian Sea on the west coast of Greece. We dream of returning with our daughters and their families to enjoy the area again.

Make your own dreams come true. Take the ASA 104 Bareboat Cruising Class – take ASA 105 Coastal Navigation, and make your dreams a reality. R&R Charters and Sail School is ready to help you achieve your goals!

Happy New Year! –
All of us here at R&R Charters and Sail School hope you had a great holiday season. Although sailing is a passion for us, we have to say that spending time with family and friends is always at the top of our list. Penny and I traveled to visit our daughters in PA and MA to spoil grandchildren a bit. We hope you also had lots of time with family and friends, and wish everyone a very Happy New Year! We look forward to sailing with you in 2014!


 

 

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Boat Buzz Newsletter

2010

DECEMBER 2013

The Holidays are Here!

I love this time of year! It’s a time when I can relax for a bit, and enjoy spending time with family and friends. My wife often accuses of me of being the local “Clark Griswold” since I begin decorating the house immediately after Thanksgiving. Personally, I would leave my decorations up until Easter if Penny would allow me. But don’t worry, because right after the New Year, I will be forced to take everything down and pack it all away until next season.

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So what can you purchase for that special sailor for this year’s gift giving season? Here are some of my suggestions:

* A gift certificate from R&R Charters and Sail School for any amount. The person can then use it toward a charter or sail class in 2014.

* A great sailing book such as "Longitude" by Dava Sobel describes Britain’s attempt to develop a dependable chronometer in order to establish accurate longitude position. Or "Over the Edge of the World" by Laurence Bergreen which describes Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe. Both are excellent and enjoyable reading.

* A type 5 pfd with built in harness and tether. After using mine to sail almost 15,000 nm it is time to think about a replacement.

* Chesapeake Bay Waterway Guide – a must-have for cruising the Chesapeake. Planning a charter in the Caribbean or Med?, think about a cruising guide for that area.

* Charts for your planned charter trip. I personally love to look at my charts and plan a cruise, even if I have sailed the area many times before. There are always new and interesting places to visit. Your charts and cruising guides are indispensable.

* New foul weather gear – I definitely need to think about replacing mine as well!

No matter who your special sailors are, they’ll love any nautical gift.

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R&R Charters and Sail School, Captain Penny, Captain Rich, Captain Amy, Captain Kathy, and myself wish all our students and clients a very happy and safe holiday season! We look forward to sailing with you in 2014!

Bedtime for Boats

With the sudden long cold spell, I have been busy putting the boats to bed for the winter. Amici has her few systems winterized, but her sails will stay on for those warmer mid-winter days when I want to do a couple hours of cold weather sailing. She is my choice for those short day sails – lots of fun and full of zip.

Moondance has all her systems winterized and her jib stowed. I didn’t have time to remove all the other canvas before the cold rain began to fall. Maybe I’ll have a sunny day in the near future so I can stow her main, dodger, and bimini and then cover her with her tarp.

Zufrieden also has all her systems winterized, but I didn’t have time to stow any of her canvas! Maybe I’ll leave her sails on for the winter just in case I want to take a longer, drier winter sail. Decisions, decisions. Needless to say my body has now been into all the tiny holes on the boats, and my muscles and joints are telling me that perhaps I overdid it. At least in the spring it’s so much easier to commission the systems. But that’s another story..

 

 

A Short List of Must-have Reference Books –
Recently, one of my students asked me about a list of reference books for sailing – great question. At the time I hadn’t really thought about that. So here’s a short suggested reference list:

"ASA Sailing Made Easy" "ASA Coastal Cruising Made Easy" "ASA Cruising Fundamentals"

"Annapolis Book of Seamanship" by John Rousmaniere

"Offshore Sailing" by Bill Seifert

"Blue Water Sailing Manual" by Barry Pickthall

"Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia" by Linda & Steve Dashew

"Coastal Navigation & Piloting" by Tom Tursi

Chart # 1 Coastal Pilot for your sailing area (available online at NOAA in PDF files)

Annual Tide and Current Tables (available from Landfall Navigation)


 

 

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Boat Buzz Newsletter

2010

NOVEMBER 2013

Cold Weather Sailing

Most of us are not as “lucky” as Captain Ron or Captain Bill, who are sitting in the warm weather of the Florida Keys or the South Pacific. We all live well north of these areas. My students often ask me when my sailing season ends. That’s a difficult question to answer, since it’s not unusual for me to be out on the water in December, January, or February. You just need to be prepared!

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I want to be sure the boat is stocked with cold weather provisions like hot coffee, hot tea, and lots of hot soup. Notice the key adjective "hot". Nothing tastes as great as a hot drink or hot meal, when the north wind is blowing across the water. I also want to be sure all the necessary through-hulls are open. Most times, this would only be the engine raw water through-hull for the cooling system. Other systems, head, and fresh water house system, remain winterized because I’ll only be doing a bit of day sailing.

Naturally, I don’t want to be on the water in a winter storm, so I'll choose a good weather day. I also want warmer temperatures with no arctic polar air mass pushing down from Canada. There are many days when the temperature will be well above 40° with warm sunshine – the best days to experience cold weather sailing.

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Finally, I prepare myself for the weather. If you’re a downhill skier, you know all about dressing in layers to keep warm. I'll begin by donning my long underwear and warm, woolen socks. Next, I'll pull on a pair of loose-fitting jeans and a flannel shirt. Over the shirt I'll put on a wool sweater. Then, a pair of ski pants along with a pair of insulated boots. For my upper body, I usually add a hooded pullover beneath my ski jacket. Don’t forget the warm woolen ski hat and a great pair of ski gloves! I am not a big fan of wearing a face mask, maybe because I wear glasses and the mask always seems to fog them up. You won’t be completely dressed until you add your PFD and tether – you definitely don’t want to find yourself in the water during a winter sail!

So, keep your eye on the weather, and when you see one of those warm, winter days approaching, give me a call and come experience cold weather sailing!

Where to Dine

In this season, everyone’s looking for a good restaurant. Don’t overlook Kent Island!

* My first recommendation is Annie’s. They have a great menu featuring huge sandwiches, great salads, steaks, and seafood. Their cream of crab soup is still the best on the bay, and their Sunday brunch is fantastic!

* Next is Kentmorr Restaurant, located on the western shore of Kent Island overlooking the bay, so you can watch the passing freighters. Their crab cakes are the best – and then there’s the homemade coconut ice cream and coconut cake.

* My final choice is The Narrows Restaurant. If you’re lucky enough to have a table on their enclosed porch, you can watch the boats going through Kent Narrows. My all-time favorite is rack of lamb, while Penny’s is the crab cake and filet mignon.

R&R Charters and Sail School wishes everyone a great Thanksgiving! Penny and I will be hosting our large extended family this year. We hope everyone enjoys the time with their family as much as we do.

 

 

Special Notices –
If you attended the Annapolis Sail Boat Show – drop me an email to let me know what you did there. I’ll try to share your fun in a future issue.

The 2014 class schedule is now posted! Check out the website, and make your plans for next season’s classes and charters.

Special thanks to all my students and charterers who sailed with us this season. Some had the opportunity to sail with Captain Rich, Captain Amy, and our newest instructor, Captain Kathy. From all five of us, thanks for a great 2013. We look forward to sailing with you again next season!

During the holidays, there are many special events happening on the Bay. There are lighted boat parades, fireworks, and special holiday activities such as St. Michaels Christmas and Annapolis Midnight Madness.


 

 

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Boat Buzz Newsletter

2010

OCTOBER 2013

Wish List

The Annapolis Boat Show will run Thursday, Oct. 10 through Monday, Oct. 14 – great days to shop until you drop. Obviously, if you are in the market for a new boat, this is the place to do that! Every dealer will be offering show specials which often include great electronic packages and discounts. I’ll be spending time with Tim Wilbricht discussing the Beneteau 41’ – this seems to be the year for us to take the final plunge!

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Sailing apparel is next on the list. Penny likes the Zeus tent. They offer great discounts on shirts, jackets, pants, sweaters, etc. from various sailing activities along the East Coast. You can find shirts for the Block Island Race and many other special events. Last year she found a fleece jacket they were practically giving away. I personally like the Gill tent. They sell wonderful foul weather gear, and some really great pants, shirts, socks, etc. A number of years ago I purchased my foulies there. It's time to take a close look at what they have this year – not sure if I will spring for a new set or wait, and get one more good year out of my current ones.

Onward – to Landfall Navigation and Maptech for the most current charts and navigation gear. I'll probably need to purchase a new set of charts for Block Island to the Chesapeake. After using my old set for numerous runs up and down the coast, they’re a bit tattered. It might be helpful to be able to read the buoys and depths through all the course lines and eraser marks! My annual purchase always includes the new tide, current, and nautical almanacs for the coming year.

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It'll be great to explore the latest electronics at Ray Marine. Most often I am just window shopping. I like to see what the newest chart plotters and radars do for improving safe navigation. And, of course I'll stop by West Marine to see their boat show specials. A couple of years ago they had a great propane grill for Moondance!

What are you interested in buying at the show? Maybe a deck chair, a set of pots and pans, some sail cloth or sunbrella, a piece of teak – just let your imagination run wild! If it's something you'd find on or near a boat, you can find it at the Annapolis Sail Boat Show! And for those of you who don't want or need anything – come on out and just enjoy the sights, smells, and the excitement. See you all there.

October, the Sailing Month

Right now is the greatest sailing of the year! The weather is clear and crisp. The wind is steady and cool. The daytime temperatures are comfortable; you may even need a sweatshirt or sweater; evenings and nights are cool and perfect for sleeping. Best of all, most of the boats have disappeared from the bay, even on weekends.

I personally enjoy dropping the hook in one of the quiet coves in the Wye River or Langford Creek and relaxing in the cockpit while listening to the newly arriving ducks and geese. Trees take on their annual colored leaves, and overhead the bald eagles circle looking for their evening meal. The stresses from daily life just disappear! If you have not sailed during October, now is the time. Gives us a call – it's not too late to do a sail class or a charter. We look forward to sailing with you! Remember sailing is more than just a passion – it's a way of life.

 

 

Winter Season Classes –
It’s time to register to take one of our winter season classes!

ASA 105 - Coastal Navigation – learn basics of plotting courses establishing fixes, adjusting for currents and wind, and more

ASA 107 - Celestial Navigation – learn how to plot sextant shots of the sun, moon, planets, stars

ASA 117 - Basic Celestial Navigation – a home study course of the basic sun and Polaris shot reductions

ASA 119 - Marine Weather – a heavy duty study of weather systems and plotting your ocean course to find the best passage

ASA 120 - Marine Radar – learn radar equipment controls as well as how to use your radar for navigation/ piloting as well as collision avoidance

The updated class schedule and 2014 class dates will be posted on the website in just a couple of weeks. Be sure to check it out.


 

 

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2010

SEPTEMBER 2013

Wish List

Everyone has a wish list of things to do – I certainly do. One of these years real soon, I want to sail across the Atlantic Ocean, and cruise the Med with my own boat instead of a charter boat. I’ve studied the various routes, and believe I’ve made my decision on the best one for me. I plan to sail from the mouth of Chesapeake Bay to Bermuda, from Bermuda to the Azores, and finally from Azores to Portugal. Once I arrive in Europe, I will sail coastwise to Gibraltar, based on good weather windows, and enter the Med. From there the cruising area is nearly unlimited – Spain, France, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Malta, Cyprus, North Africa. I wonder when I should plan my return trip?

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Even though I have sailed various areas of the Caribbean (Bahamas, BVI, St. Martin, St. Bart’s, Anguilla), there are so many other places I want to explore with my boat. One of the nice “cold season” trips would be coastwise south to Florida, then cross over to the Bahamas. Yes, I have already sailed there, but not with my own boat. While sailing there, I can just continue south to Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Leeward Islands, and when it is time to head back home, just turn north and sail directly back to the Chesapeake Bay.

Then of course, I want to sail around Cape Horn. I know, that must seem nuts, but I don’t plan to use my own boat. There are some very good charter captains in Chile who regularly make this trip. I have read many articles written by sailors who have taken advantage of their service.

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I certainly can’t forget the South Pacific! I want to charter in New Zealand, Australia, and Tahiti, just to mention a few great areas for sailing. There are numerous charter bases I could take advantage of, since I do not plan to sail my own boat there. Maybe if I did, I might end up like my good buddy Captain Bill, who seems to have become “stuck” in Fiji while doing his around the world solo sail.

And no, I do not plan to circumnavigate the globe. There are so many places I want to visit, and that would take time away from accomplishing my other goals. So, what are your sailing life goals? R&R Charters and Sail School can help you take the first steps toward achieving your personal goals. Drop us an email and get started today.

Sailing Daydreams – It’s Showtime!

It’s time to plan ahead for the upcoming sailboat show in Annapolis. This year the show runs from October 10 – 14. Stop by the Sunsail tent and speak with Jennifer Caruthers. She can help you work on that list of dream sailing locations. After chartering numerous times with Sunsail, the Greek Ionian Sea is still my favorite. Maybe I’ll need to return again next year to share Greece with my three grandsons. Our newest baby granddaughter is still too young to do that cruise.....but not for long!

As usual, there’ll be numerous new boats in the water for you to board, explore, and dream about cruising on. You’ll definitely want to visit Annapolis Yacht Sales and their new Beneteau’s. Be sure to speak with Tim Wilbricht, and begin your dream!

 

 

Annapolis Boatshow –
Don’t forget to stop by the ASA booth. Penny and I will be there some of the time, but other sail instructors will also be staffing the booth. In case you forgot, ASA is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. They will have some special opportunities to win ASA gear or books.

Of course, there’ll be unlimited opportunities to purchase sailing equipment – clothing, books, electronics, etc. If you are looking for a great deal on foul weather gear, do it at the show. A true sailor will definitely need that! In fact, I may have to replace my own this year. It seems I’ve spent so much time wearing mine, it’s wearing out!

While visiting the show, you’ll want to eat. We always have breakfast at Buddy’s Buffet. For lunch we like Pusser’s on the upper terrace at the Marriott where there’s always live music. Of course, all the seminars are inside the hotel in one of its conference rooms. Make your plans and mark your calendar.


 

 

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Boat Buzz Newsletter

2010

AUGUST 2013

My Favorite Time of the Year

I know everyone must think I’m a bit crazy, but I love the month of August for sailing! People always seem to think that this month is terrible for sailing on the bay. I personally find it enjoyable. Unlike July, which seems to be hot 24 hours a day every day, August evenings bring cooler temperatures. And most times during the day, I find some nice wind to bring me to some of my favorite locations on the bay..

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I enjoy the warmer water here on the Eastern Shore. And, even though the hot weather brings out all those nasty sea nettles (aka jelly fish), I can always find some interesting anchorages which have too much fresh water for them to thrive. One of these is a quiet little cove up Langford Creek, appropriately named “Lovely Cove”. It truly is lovely. Penny and I especially like to arrive early, and spend hours floating in the warm, refreshing water while waiting for the crabs to wander into our traps. Sometimes, I like to take a dinghy ride up the creek looking for animal life, and just enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. Penny enjoys paddling her kayak into the smaller coves along the shoreline. Without an outboard, she can quietly approach birds chirping and feeding in the shady undergrowth near the water’s edge.

In late afternoon, some of our friends usually arrive after getting a later start from the marina. I have already steamed the crabs and picked them, and Penny has made her famous crab dip for happy hour. As the sun sets behind the treetops, we all relax in the cockpit to share stories, and enjoy each other’s company. After an evening of fun and fellowship, it’s time to head below for a great night’s sleep. The cool evening breeze has cooled off the interior, unlike those hot, humid July nights.

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The next morning, after breakfast, our friends head back to the marina to pack up and drive home to face another week of hard work. Penny and I really enjoy those weekends, and try not to have any obligations scheduled for Monday so we can remain at anchor, or maybe head over to another quiet anchorage to spend Sunday out on the hook. Call me crazy, but hey, where would you like to be – at work on Monday morning, or waking up on a boat with no other boats in sight?

R&R Charters and Sail School can make it happen for you! Give us a call today.

Important Weather Sites

Sailors always need to be aware of weather. Of course you can listen to the VHF weather station while on board, but for planning any kind of extended cruise, you will want to look at potential forecasts. I use two sites for this for sailing on the bay.

National Marine Weather Service (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/home.htm) – extended forecast for any cruising area in the US including wind and storm.

National Hurricane Center (http://www.nhc.noaa.gov) – helpful for sailors as well as anyone who lives near the coast. Hurricane season runs from June 1 through October 31. You really should be checking this site several times a week.

Of course R&R Charters and Sail School offers the ASA 119 Marine Weather course which will prepare you to deal with lots of weather situations, and give the student an excellent grasp of weather patterns. Check it out!

 

 

August on the Bay –
Those lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer have lots to offer!

Aug 3 Oxford Coast Guard Day

Aug 9-11 Pirates & Wenches Weekend in Rock Hall with beach party, music, decorated boats, live pirate encampment

Aug 10-11 Battle of St Michaels Reenactment with parade, food, live music, crab feast and Watermen’s Day

Aug 15 Annapolis Art Walk

Aug 17 Crab and Beer Festival at National Harbor, DC

Aug 29-31 National Hard Crab Derby in Crisfield with docking contests, food, music, parade, and fireworks

Aug 29-31 Monty Alexander Jazz Festival in Easton

Aug 31 Charity Boat Auction in St Michaels


 

 

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2010

JULY 2013

The Adventure Continues

Response to last month’s Dreams article was very interesting. People emailed me saying things like, ”That’s what I want to do!” “It sounds like my dream!” etc. Most interesting, was an email from my good Aussie friends, Terry and Carol, wanting to know why they weren’t included in the article. Well, last month I only mentioned people I had sailed with during May. But, Terry and Carol, here’s your story.

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About two years ago, I received an interesting call from a gentleman with a strange English accent. He and his wife had just purchased a 42’ Catalina, and he wanted me to do a shake-down cruise with them, and give them some suggestions for preparing their new vessel for an extended cruise. We set out on a week long cruise around the Chesapeake, including the Choptank, Annapolis, Rhode River, and several other interesting sights that most cruisers enjoy visiting on the bay.

During that summer, Terry and Carol completed ASA certification for 101, 103, and 104. In the early fall they did the 105, Coastal Navigation. Then one morning in early November, 2011, I waved them off on their adventure. Over the next several months, they traveled south along the US coast, and crossed over to the Bahamas. After spending some time cruising the islands that winter, they met up with the trans-Atlantic flotilla in Marsh Harbor, and after a week of sailing, arrived in Bermuda. They relaxed a bit, provisioned for their ocean crossing, and headed for the Azores. During this passage, they experienced a bit of “rough” weather, but finally arrived safely. They cruised through the Azores until departing for Horta and Portugal.

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Once they reached Europe, they enjoyed day trips around the countryside on the way to Gibraltar, where they waited for a good weather window to enter the Mediterranean Sea. During the summer of 2012, they enjoyed adventures around the southern coast of Europe, and finally headed to north Africa for the winter where they secured their vessel, Common Sense, in Tunisia. They flew home for the holidays to spend some time with friends and family whom they had not seen for nearly two years.

Back in the Med aboard Common Sense once more, they havealready visited Malta, Sicily, and Albania with plans to head to Greece soon. Penny and I have been invited to spend some time on board this year, and just need to find some free time to hop across the pond. Terry is a retired bank manager from western Australia and Carol is a retired educator. Carol has written an extensive blog highlighting their experiences. You can check it out yourself at http://sailingnavyblue.blogspot.com. (Above photos courtesy of Carol and Terry, Common Sense)

I am not sure when they plan to depart the Med – there are still so many places to visit. Maybe in a few years, they’ll head back to explore the Caribbean before heading across the Pacific on their way home. But, naturally they will always be welcome to fly back to the states for a visit on the bay with R&R Charters and Sail School.

What is your dream? What can we do to help you on your way? The summer has just begun, and the timing is perfect to begin to make your dream a reality!

 

 

Reefing –
You’ve seen racing crews all sitting on the “high side” as their boat heels at a nice 30+ degree angle. This is not cruising! The adage for cruising is, “Gentlemen do not sail to windward.” I can’t imagine sailing on that angle for days on end. As a cruiser, it is important to understand how and when to reef the sails.

So far this season, I’ve spent most of my time on the water with reefed sails. As the wind increases in speed, the boat heels more to allow the excess wind to escape from the top of the sail. With increased wind speed, the waves, which are caused by the force of the wind, increase in size. Both the wind and the waves will make it less safe for the crew and the vessel.

Whenever the heel is in excess of 15 degrees, it’s time to reduce sail. Some have traditional slab reefing, while others have roller furling for both jib and main. You will want to know how to reef in order to make the ride more comfortable and safer.


 

 

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2010

JUNE 2013

Dreams

Most of you know I am living my dream of sailing and sharing my passion for the sailing life. I know every student who comes to me has their own dreams. So I thought I would share of few of these with you this month.

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Jacob and Jill arrived last month for their ASA 104 Bareboat Cruising class aboard Zufrieden, and shared their dreams with me. This class prepares students to charter a sailboat anywhere in the world, to explore new places, new cultures, and new experiences. Jacob and Jill dream of buying their own cruising sailboat and setting sail on their own exploration of the world. They dream of journeying to the Caribbean, Europe, South Pacific, and Asia. Maybe one of these years when I am sailing in the Caribbean, I will bump into them as they live out their sailing dream.

Eberhardt, on the other hand, wants to explore different areas of the Chesapeake Bay. He has completed his ASA 106 and has done several bareboat charters in the northern area of our beautiful bay. Last month he came to R&R Charters and Sail School for a 3-day charter to the Wye River, and Oxford on the Tred Avon River, two of my favorite destinations. Eberhardt enjoyed the peace and quiet of the rural bird sanctuary on the Wye, but unfortunately, didn’t see any bald eagles. On the second day, we sailed to Oxford, a quiet, Eastern Shore town – no big stores or fast food places here. On our return trip to the marina, Eberhardt had the opportunity to sail with Zufrieden’s spinnaker. The big smile pasted on his face told the shear joy of flying fast down wind! He will be back for a long cruise and perhaps a bareboat aboard Moondance to continue exploring the best area of the bay.

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Jesse and Christine, who have completed their ASA 104 and enjoyed a couple of bareboat charters on Moondance, are thinking about purchasing a boat to live aboard. Jesse plans to continue his education, and neither wants to give up their apartment in NYC. So why not live aboard their own boat while Jesse completes his graduate work, enjoy the sailing on weekends, and perhaps make plans for some extended cruising south.

Ed and Elizabeth, already own their own Morgan 34, and came to me to learn how to sail. Ed is a former powerboater, and Elizabeth has done some sailboat racing. Both want to learn and improve their skills. They dream of casting off the dock lines and heading south – to Florida, Bahamas, and who knows where adventure might lead.

Dave and Jeff completed their ASA 103 and are looking forward to doing the ASA 104 in the near future – perhaps aboard one of our boats in the BVI’s as Jeff suggested. Good friends during their high school years, they lost touch until a few years ago when they discovered each other on facebook. Dave wants to charter when his job as a commercial pilot takes him to various locations around the world. Jeff dreams of taking his family along on sailing vacations during his summer teaching break.

These are just a few of the dreams that R&R Charters is helping to bring to fulfillment. Captain Penny and I feel very privileged to be a part of our clients’ dreams; this is our biggest reward. So what is YOUR dream? Let us help you take those first steps toward living your dream.

 

 

Anchoring 101 –
To live out your dream of cruising, anchoring safely and properly is number one! You want protection from the wind, the waves, and other boaters, enough depth for your boat, and enough room for your boat to swing on its anchor. You’ll want to know what kind of bottom there is, and that there’s no threat of dragging ashore.

After you’ve chosen the spot, approach slowly, and stop the boat. Let the wind and current begin to move the vessel astern or use a little reverse. Lower the anchor, paying out anchor rode until it’s about 5:1 ratio. Do a quick wrap around the cleat, allow the anchor to begin to dig in, and ease out the rode until you have 7:1. Remember the ratio is the depth of the water + height of the bow + the tidal range! At 7:1, reverse at 1500 rpms and hold it for one minute, more for heavy weather. Take bearings on fixed objects along the shoreline and when you are sure the anchor is set, ease off, shut down the engine, sit back, relax, and enjoy life.


 

 

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2010

MAY 2013

It's Time!

The boats are scrubbed! The little repair items have been completed! And the weather is finally warm! Let’s go sailing! As I look at my schedule, things are filling up, but we can always fit you into the schedule. We can’t wait for the first students and charter people to appear on O-Dock.

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Last Saturday, Penny and I spent most of the day finishing the cleaning and repairs. Moondance is ready for you! Some have already booked her for their own bareboat sail. She is ideal for a weekend sail with two couples. Just take a look at her interior! One of our couples even took her for a four day cruise to Annapolis, St. Michaels, and the Wye River last season!

We still have the teak to refinish – a never-ending job. I also need to find a few days when Amici and Zufrieden are idle, so I can haul and repaint their bottoms. If you have never worked on bottom paint, you just can’t imagine this task. You crouch under the boat on your knees while you sand the entire bottom. At times you are even lying on your back looking up at the hull – all the time wearing a protective suit, breathing mask, and goggles. Once you finish with the sanding, it’s time to tape the boot stripe and then apply two coats of bottom paint. Fortunately, each coat dries quickly so you can complete that task in just one day. While the boat is sitting on the hard, you can more easily apply a good coat of wax to the hull. With good weather, I can complete this job in only a couple of days and have the boats back in the water ready to go. Next time you step aboard, just visualize me working on the bottom so you can enjoy your sailing time without having to deal with the work.

Rafting

This is one of our favorite boating activities! Penny and I enjoy joining up with our friends in one of the many great coves around our section of the bay. This gives us all a chance to socialize, and it’s always interesting to smell the mouth-watering aromas rising from the grills on each boat. Afterward, we gather in someone’s cockpit and share sailing adventure stories – all of which are 100% true and factual, of course.

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One of the first things to do when forming a raft, is have the largest boat become the anchor boat. Quite often this is Zufrieden. After setting the anchor with lots of extra rode, the other vessels begin to approach. You’ll need plenty of fenders to protect the topsides. It’s also important each vessel uses a bow and stern line, as well as a forward and aft spring line. You’ll also need to position each boat’s spreaders slightly astern, so the standing rigging does not become entangled. Finally, you’ll need a “bad” weather plan. At times we’ve found it necessary to break up the raft, with each boat setting its own anchor. We allow the weather to pass, and then reform the raft. That is a decision for the anchor boat captain to make.

If you’re ever out on a great weekend and happen to approach a large raft of boats in an Eastern shore cove, it just might be Zufrieden along with other O-Dock boaters. You can bet that Memorial Day will find us on the water with our friends, celebrating the holiday and enjoying the company. Try it! You’ll like it!

 

 

The Cleat Hitch –
Use this knot to attach a mooring line to dock hardware. Our boats have ridden out hurricanes, heavy weather, and winter storms with this simple knot. When properly tied, it can be released in an instant!

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Take a turn around the cleat, followed by a simple figure 8 around the two horns. For the last turn, flip the bitter end under the loop before placing it on the horn. The two parts of the line running atop the cleat should lie parallel to each other.

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The stronger the wind blows, the tighter the line grips the cleat. The strain is all on the bottom of the line, leaving the top end easy to release. Which of these photos do you think shows a correctly tied cleat hitch?.


 

 

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2010

APRIL 2013

Celebration

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This year marks American Sailing Association’s 30th anniversary! When Lenny Shabes, founder of ASA, began the business, his main objectives were to introduce uniform sailing standards to the US, and unite the many independent sailing schools across America. Today, we have over 2000 certified sailing instructors, and more than 300 accredited sailing schools in 18 different countries around the world. Over 400,000 students have earned certification from ASA 101 through ASA 108 in addition to the many endorsements courses like docking, marine weather, and radar. R&R Charters and Sail School is proud to be a part of this great organization.

In 2013, ASA will be sponsoring various flotillas, nationally and internationally. All ASA members are invited to participate. ASA is also conducting a photo contest. You can check out their Facebook page for more information. They’re looking for “Best ASA Sailing Photo”,” Best Sailing Lifestyle Photo”, and many other categories. At this year’s Annapolis Boat Show, ASA will be holding a large celebration party. It seems like only yesterday Captain Penny and I attended the 25th celebration.

Last year, ASA adopted the charity organization, Hands Across the Sea. This non-profit organization is dedicated to raising literacy levels of children in the Caribbean. As a retired public educator, I am very pleased to have contributed to this great organization last year, and R&R Charters and Sail School will also contribute this year. We would be happy to have our students become part of this great organization, too! You can contact us and donate to this organization through us. Join us in celebrating ASA’s 30th anniversary!

Let the Season Begin!

All three boats are cleaned inside! There’s still all the outside work to do, since the weather has not been very cooperative in March. Soon, the marina will be turning on the dockside water and I’ll be scrubbing. Within the next couple of days, the boats will have their shake down romp!

Classes are beginning to fill up, so check your schedule, and don’t miss out on your primary dates for a class or charter. Those of you who have completed the ASA 104 class with R&R Charters and Sail School have the opportunity to use Moondance for a bareboat charter! Zufrieden is always available for a captained charter.

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Our marina friends are beginning to arrive back on the dock to prepare their boats for the 2013 season. We’re expecting Rich and Betty to be returning after having sailed to Florida for the winter. I’m sure they’ll have many tales to tell. Friends, Ron and Theresa, are continuing to enjoy their life aboard in Key West – we certainly miss them on the dock. And our good buddy, Bill, is making 2013 departure plans from Fiji as he continues his around the world experience!

Sailing! It’s not just a relaxing experience, but a way of life. Maybe it’s time for you to cast off the “dock lines” of life, and head out to sea.

Captain Penny and I look forward to sailing with all of you in 2013!

 

 

Hands Across the Sea –
Co-founders, Harriet and Tom Linskey, are also retired educators. While sailing in the Caribbean, they began bringing library books to the local schools. With our help, their goal this year is to outfit 8 to 10 Eastern Caribbean school libraries with brand new books. There is nothing more rewarding than opening the world to young children through reading!

Our Good Aussie Friends –

Carol and Terry spent some time back home with family and friends during the Christmas season, and now are back to their boat in the Med. They spent the winter in Tunisia. After they finish a few boat chores (why does it always seem like those chores are never ever completed?), they are planning to sail to Malta, then onto Italy, and finally to Greece and perhaps Turkey. Penny and I may just have to join them in Greece and do some spinnaker training.


 

 

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2010

MARCH 2013

Spring Cleaning

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I picked up Amici’s cleaned and repaired sails this week! It must be time for spring cleaning. I have to admit this is not one of my favorite boating activities. It's sort of like doing laundry – by the time you finish all the jobs, it’s time to start over again. It seems it never ends.

As the weather warms up, I'll begin to uncover Moondance and Zufrieden, and open all the hatches and ports. There's nothing like fresh, clean-smelling spring air to drive out that “closed-up” smell. I'll use fresh water and strong soap to scrub the interior of each boat. And of course I’ll wash all the dishes, pots and pans, and spray all the cushions and fabric with Febreeze. Once the interiors are clean, it'll be time to scrub the outside. I'll take my power washer to the marina and wash the decks, cockpits, and topsides, cleaning all those special “gifts” the seagulls deposited on board during the winter! But I still won't be finished! I’ll need to scrub the decks with fresh water and boat soap. It’ll only take two days to do all three boats.

Next it’ll be time to redo the teak on Amici and Moondance – a few days’ work. During the season, I’ll remove all the old varnish from Zufrieden and redo her teak.

Finally, it’ll be time to wax the decks, cockpits, and topsides of all three boats. That’s an easy calculation – 1 day for Amici, 2 days for Moondance, and 3 days for Zufrieden. Good thing I've been doing my exercises all winter! With good weather, I'll be finished with all the spring cleaning jobs in just two weeks. Oh, and Amici and Zufrieden definitely need bottom painting! So come on aboard, I could use a good excuse to go sailing instead of cleaning!.

Celestial Navigation

“Why would you want to learn celestial navigation? Don’t you have to learn all those stars and planets? And all that math! Besides, I don’t plan to sail across the ocean and even if I did, I would just use the electronics.”

Many sailors have the same questions and thoughts. Personally, I find celestial navigation problems relaxing and rewarding. We use a simple format that’s easy to follow to solve all the celestial navigation problems. You need only do some simple basic math – addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Before taking a sextant shot, you’ll also learn to identify the stars and planets using the simple Star Finder, and then reduce the shot, and plot the fix on a universal plotting sheet.

Learning celestial navigation, will make you a member of a very exclusive club of sailors who have mastered the subject, and it’ll provide you with a profound, personal satisfaction in finding your position on earth by referencing the sun, moon, planets, and stars.

R&R offers the basic ASA 117 Celestial Navigation as well as the full-fledged ASA 107 Celestial Navigation. Get started with the ASA 117 which is a home study course. I guarantee you’ll enjoy the class. Then it’ll be time to take ASA 107 and learn to work with the stars, moon, and planets. Before you know it, you’ll enjoy doing celestial navigation problems just for relaxation.Most of you know I was a high school German teacher for 36 years. In June 2006, I retired from my public school teaching profession, and began R&R Charters and Sail School. What you may not know is I had planned for this many years before my retirement. My first step was deciding what I wanted to do after leaving teaching. Initially, I applied to do PhD work in comparative linguistics and literature, realized I would be writing all those boring academic articles that students hate to read. I do regret having never pursued my PhD – I love being a student.

 

 

The Figure 8 Knot –
As you learned in the beginning sail class, this knot prevents the line from running through the block’s sheave. Whenever I step aboard a different sailboat, I first check all lines to make sure there is a figure 8 knot in all sheet lines and halyards.

To tie this knot, first form the bottom half of the 8 by laying the bitter end over the standing end. Next, bring the bitter end under the standing end to form the top half of the 8.

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Finally, take the bitter end through the bottom part of the 8. You have successfully tied the stopper knot!

Good Restaurants on the Island
The Narrows

Fisherman’s Crab Deck

Harris Crab House

Four Seasons Bistro

Kentmorr


 

 

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2010

FEBRUARY 2013

Are You Ready to Sail?

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The weather man is calling for some of the lowest temperatures on the bay in the past several years. Yet, I can sense the warm spring breezes just over the horizon. Amici’s sails have been cleaned, and the seams and stitching checked. Around mid-March, I’ll haul her out to redo the bottom paint. Meantime, I’m completing a few repair jobs. Every time I step aboard I can almost hear her whisper, “Is it time yet?”

Moondance’s bimini and dodger have been checked, repaired, and cleaned. It’ll only take me a couple of hours to have her sails rigged, and the canvas in place. In fact, on the first good weather day, Moondance and I’ll head out for a brisk sail. It seems she’s happiest when leaping through the waves.

And then there’s Zufrieden. She definitely needs a haul out, and her bottom cleaned and painted! It’ll take me three or four days to complete her work and do some minor repairs and upgrades. Zufrieden seems to prefer the longer sailing adventures as opposed to the short afternoon romp on the water.

Of course, all will need a good wash down and a nice shakedown cruise. It’s always amazing after the boats have sat for about four months, they seem to need some unexpected repairs. But, after spending a couple of weeks working on the fleet, they will be all ready for you to hop on board for your next sailing class or charter.

Pursue Your Dreams

Most of you know I was a high school German teacher for 36 years. In June 2006, I retired from my public school teaching profession, and began R&R Charters and Sail School. What you may not know is I had planned for this many years before my retirement. My first step was deciding what I wanted to do after leaving teaching. Initially, I applied to do PhD work in comparative linguistics and literature, realized I would be writing all those boring academic articles that students hate to read. I do regret having never pursued my PhD – I love being a student.

Realizing, I could pursue a career teaching and sharing my passion for sailing, I’d need a Coast Guard Captain’s License. I spent 56 hours in class, passed the tests with flying colors, the owner of the captain’s school asked me to become one of his instructors, and so it began.

Penny and I often reminisce about a vacation many years ago, sitting on Martha’s Vineyard and looking at all the sailboats on their moorings. We looked at each other and said, “Wouldn’t it be nice, but it will never happen.” Well, it did happen because we planned and moved forward to fulfill our dream. Since then, we’ve sailed extensively on the Chesapeake Bay, Mediterranean, and the Caribbean.

My point in sharing this with you? Pursue your dreams. Make your plans, learn what education you need, and move toward achieving your goal. Continue to take sailing classes, charter, and dream of sailing over the horizon. Resolve to begin to live your dream today. Make this the year you take the first step toward fulfilling your own “wouldn’t it be nice” dream. We have, and we’ve never regretted that decision!

 

 

ASA IQC ABC’s –
Though Penny and I had sailed for many years, I still had to follow the required steps to become a certified American Sailing Association instructor.

I needed to attend an instructor qualification clinic, IQC. My first IQC was five days long. I was required to demonstrate my teaching skills as well as my sailing skills for ASA 101, 103, 104, and 105. After successfully completing this, I began teaching for some of the sail schools located on the bay.

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Of course, since I love being a student, I didn’t stop at this level. I’ve attended many other IQC’s since then, and I’m not finished yet! I plan to complete my instructor certifications for ASA 108, Ocean Passage Making and ASA 114, Cruising Catamaran.


 

 

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2010

JANUARY 2013

What's YOUR Sailing Goal?

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R&R Charters and Sail School wishes you all a Happy and Successful New Year! We are looking forward to sailing with everyone in the upcoming sailing season.

Whether you are a beginner or advanced sailor, we have something for everyone – instructors certified to instruct ASA 101 through ASA 107, as well as many ASA endorsement courses. Before warm weather arrives, you should plan to take one of the classroom courses such as ASA 105 Coastal Navigation (my personal favorite class!), ASA 107, or Celestial Navigation (a great mental challenge). R&R has an instructor certified in ALL the endorsement classroom courses, ASA 117 Basic Celestial Navigation, ASA 119 Marine Weather, and ASA 120 Marine Radar. All three of these offer the student lots of great insight into the particular topic of the course.

Even while the winter wind is nipping at your nose, be sure to check out the on-the-water class schedule, and book your class today. Last season, the class spaces filled up early and quickly, and unfortunately several people were unable to schedule a class on their optimal dates. Don’t be one of those people this season!

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Why take a professionally taught sailing class? I have discovered more and more charter companies are looking for documentation that their charter clients have had professional training. R&R Charters and Sail School has had numerous skilled sailors come to us to help them gain this documentation so they can bareboat. Insurance companies are becoming more demanding that individuals show this training. Personally, I am continuously expanding my own education. This past year I’ve completed my instructor certifications for both the Basic Celestial Navigation ASA 117 and Celestial Navigation ASA 107. My personal educational goal for this new year is to complete my certification for Ocean Passage Making, ASA 108. So what is your sailing goal for 2013?

Charter Opportunities.....

R&R Charters and Sail School has numerous opportunities to practice your skills using one of our boats. You can always schedule a couple of hours on the water with Amici. Take friends and family out for some relaxation, and enjoy the warm air and sunshine.

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If you’ve completed R&R’s ASA 104 Bareboat Cruising, you can opt to take Moondance for a day or weekend sail. Last fall, two of our students, Josh and Christine, spent four days sailing the bay on Moondance. They visited Annapolis, St. Michaels, and the Wye River. You should have seen their big grins as they returned to the marina after spending this time on their own!

For those who feel more comfortable charter sailing with one of our instructors, there are unlimited opportunities aboard Amici, Moondance, or Zufrieden. Imagine planning a week-long cruise aboard Zufrieden, and exploring great anchorages and ports of call, while having a captain there whenever you need some assistance in a tense situation. Drop us an email or give us a call and plan that dream sailing vacation now!

 

 

Meet Captain Richard Myers! –
He’s R&R Charters and Sail School’s newest instructor! He holds his professional USCG captain’s license and is a certified instructor for ASA 101 Basic Keelboat, ASA 103 Beginning Cruising, and ASA 105 Coastal Navigation.

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Captain Rich has sailed extensively in the Chesapeake Bay, along the California coast where he grew up, the Greek Isles, and the BVI. Just as Captain Penny, Captain Amy, and I all do, he truly loves sharing his passion for sailing.

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When Captain Rich isn’t teaching, he enjoys sailing with his first mate Sandy, aboard their Hunter 34, Rhapsody, and rafting up with friends.

 

 

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2010

DECEMBER 2012

Update:

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The boats are ready to take their well-earned winter rest. I hate putting them to “bed”, because I know I’ll be restless not being able to just hop on one of the boats and head out on the water.

Amici is such an easy boat to winterize, and is also one that can quickly head out for a few hours of sailing on those warmer winter days – usually. Unfortunately, this is the year for her sails to go to the sail loft for repair and washing. I quickly dump the small fresh water tank, and pump the pink stuff through the lines. Then, clean the head, close the water intake, and pump some more pink stuff through the head system. Finally, I pour some of that nasty pink stuff into the bilge. Finished!

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Moondance already has her sails off for the season, her water system, head, and engine winterized. Outside she is wearing her blue tarp over her companionway, and has all of her lines doubled up for the higher winds that we experience during the cold season. I usually spend roughly four or five hours doing all these tasks.

And then there’s Zufrieden! This is an eight hour job for me. I will need to empty the water tank, and flush out the fresh water lines before I pump the pink antifreeze throughout the system. I will also change the engine oil, and pump the raw water cooling system full of antifreeze. Finally, it’ll be time to winterize the heat exchanger with the antifreeze, and pour some into the shower sump, the refrigeration, and the bilge. Outside, I’ll need to remove the sails (Zufrieden’s sails spent last winter at the sail loft.), cover the dinghy with her blue tarp and lash her securely to the foredeck, double the dock lines, and cover Zufrieden’s companionway with another blue tarp.

Maybe next season I could winterize by heading south! But, in a couple of months, all three boats will be just as anxious for their shakedown cruise as their owners.

ASA 107 - For the Sailor Who Has Almost Everything

As the holiday season approaches it’s time to think about a special gift for your favorite sailor. Here’s a small list of suggestions:

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R&R Gift Certificate for His and Her Sail Class


R&R Gift Certificate for one of the Off Season Classroom Classes: ASA 105 - Coastal Navigation, ASA 119 - Marine Weather, ASA 120 - Marine Radar Usage, ASA – 117 Basic Celestial Navigation, or ASA 107 - Celestial Navigation


R&R Gift Certificate for a Weekend Charter aboard Moondance


R&R Gift Certificate for a Day Sail Charter aboard Amici


A Gift Certificate in Any Amount from R&R Charters and Sail School! Just contact us, and we’ll make sure you have your special gift in time for holiday gift giving.

 

 

Other Gift Suggestions –
From your marine supply store: I always use Landfall Navigation. If you order in the morning, you’ll have the gift within 3 days at no extra cost!

Hint, Hint –
Type V Personal Flotation Device Good Foul Weather Gear A Set of Chesapeake Bay Charts Chesapeake Bay Cruising Guide Captain Ron DVD

Men, for Your Special Lady –
14kt Gold Sloop Charm Woman’s Fitted Helly Hanson Sailing Jacket Polartec Mock Turtleneck Top 14kt Gold Snap Shackle Bracelet An R&R Docking Class..... Without Her Spouse!

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And the Ultimate –
Couple’s Bareboat Charter to Greece on the Ionian Sea!!!

 

 

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2010

NOVEMBER 2012

Update:

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Yes, I did finally arrive back in the Chesapeake from New England, about five days late. After having the fuel pump replaced in New Jersey, we continued to have some issues as we headed south. While beating and powering through 4’ and 5’ seas, the engine shut down again. But, after sailing into Atlantic City, my crew and I managed to reprime the engine. I believe the cause is a poorly mounted fuel filter. We continued our journey south along the coast at low RPM’s and safely delivered the boat to its owner.

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Of course, at the end of October, almost everyone on the East Coast was effected by hurricane Sandy. Each morning before class began, I arrived at the marina early to prepare the boats to ride out the storm in their slips. Having three boats to care for is a challenge, on top of the fact that I was teaching an ASA 101 class on the weekend prior to the storm’s approach. We spent lots of time out on the water on Friday and Saturday, and did most of the classroom work on Sunday so we could be ashore. On Saturday afternoon, after we returned from our sail training for the day, the students had a practical experience preparing Amici for the storm. We removed both the jib and the main, removed the canvas, added additional dock lines and fenders.

I now sit in my family room listening to the storm approaching, with rising winds and rain. I think about my babies sitting all alone in their slips, and hope they know I did my best for them. Only time will tell. Once Sandy decides to bid us good-bye, I’ll be taking a trip to O-Dock to check up on them as well as all our sailing friends’ boats.

ASA 107 - Celestial Navigation

After spending lots of time preparing, I traveled to Jacksonville, FL, to complete my instructor certification for teaching Celestial Navigation. Why would anyone want to learn this? Doesn’t GPS give you a more accurate fix? The best answer I can give you is this: If you like to challenge yourself, and expand your knowledge and understanding, I couldn’t recommend a better course than ASA 107. I personally enjoy taking the sextant shots, doing the calculations, and plotting my fix. It is very rewarding when you can look at your fix, compare it to a GPS fix, and realize that both are within the limit of error. I feel confident that I could make a passage using only celestial navigation and arrive at my destination. Besides, I think it is fun! I know – I have a “sick and twisted mind”. Finally, when you study navigation, every textbook encourages the student to always use “every available means”. Which means – use GPS, paper charts, radar, charter plotter, AND celestial navigation.

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When you take the celestial navigation course, you will learn about the sextant, how to reduce the sextant shot, and then plot the line of position (LOP) onto a universal plotting sheet. You will be able to reduce sun, moon, planet, and star shots, calculate meridian sun passage, and morning and evening twilight, determine latitude using Polaris, as well as latitude and longitude from a noon sun shot (LAN),

 

 

Off-season Schedule –
ASA 105 – Coastal Navigation (required for ASA 107) Nov 11, 12, 13 Dec 10, 11, 12 Jan 18, 19, 20 Feb 11, 12, 13

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ASA 107 – Celestial Navigation (recommended the student complete ASA 117 – Basic Celestial Navigation home study prior to this level course) Mar 11, 12, 13, and... Mar 18, 19, 20 (6 days)


ASA 119 – Marine Weather Endorsement – Jan 21, 22, 23


ASA 120 – Radar Endorsement Dec 4, 5, 6 Jan 28, 29, 30


The 2013 class schedule is now posted online. Classes fill early, so don’t procrastinate! Check your schedule and register now!


Read your "ASA Bearings" – Captain Dave has written an article on cold weather sailing. “Yes, I sail on the bay during the winter. Amici is always ready to go within minutes!”

 

 

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2010

OCTOBER 2012

My Time Off

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Many people wonder what I do when I'm not teaching a class or doing a charter. Well, when both Penny and I are free, we go out sailing, and raft-up with friends. Recently, our good friend Jeff, and his son Henry, met us and several other friends in Skipton Creek. It’s a very pleasant little spot up the Wye River. On shore, is a quaint little English Tudor guest cottage, and a larger family home surrounded by meadows and pastures where the owner stables his black sheep and reindeer. It is not unusual to wake up in the morning to hear his roosters crowing!

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What’s there to do on a raft-up? Simple! Enjoy each other’s company, swim, crab, and have great happy hours! We devoured Sandy’s famous meatballs; Jeff provided cheese and crackers; Penny prepared pesto cheese dip with fresh herbs; and Barb made a salad with strawberries and goat cheese. Our appetizers became dinner!

Next morning we woke to the smell of fresh coffee brewing on all the boats. We chatted across the cockpits as we relaxed over breakfast. All too soon, it was time to leave the raft-up and sail back. Penny and I luckily had an extra day off, so we headed for St. Michaels and a great lunch. Naturally, Penny did a bit of sale shopping just to "save me money".

"Free Time" Adventure

While writing this article, I am sitting in northern New Jersey aboard a delivery adventure. I came north to pick up a very nice 37’ sailboat and bring it down to the Chesapeake from Connecticut. Upon arriving, we stowed our gear and began to prepare for our departure. That meant we had to put the sails back on, purchase provisions, and make some minor repairs. By the time we had all the chores completed, low tide had arrived, and we were stuck until the next morning. We topped off the fuel, cleared the inlet into Long Island Sound, and set sail for a fantastic down wind run to City Island, just north of New York City, where, we dropped anchor, to wait for a favorable current for the trip through Hell Gate. Soon we were passing Manhattan’s beautiful skyline. I have seen the Statue of Liberty several times by day, but she is especially beautiful at night with her torch shining brightly over the water.

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We were pounding through the ocean swells south of Sandy Hook Light, when the engine shut down. Since the boat had been sitting on the hard for two months, we suspected the fuel filter. It was dirty, and definitely needed changing, so we had to prime the engine – no luck! Try as we might, we just couldn’t bring fuel to it. We raised sail, and fortunately the wind was perfect for a beam reach down the New Jersey coast.

We would be able to sail along, but later we’d need engine power to navigate the Cape May Canal, so as we were approaching the Manasquan Inlet, I called TowBoatUS for a tow into the inlet. As we were tying up to the dock, a service mechanic arrived to assist us. After Ken attempted to prime the engine for nearly an hour, he determined the fuel lift pump was defective – it just wasn’t bringing any fuel to the engine! The replacement was sitting in Massachusetts with the earliest delivery date on Monday. So here we are at a marina in Manasquan, New Jersey, waiting for the new pump to arrive. What do you do with your free time?

 

 

BVI Cruising –
There are a few available spaces for R&R’s March 2013 BVI experience. For $1700 per person you get 5 days of instruction and cruising including breakfast, lunch, snacks, and happy hours! Your cruise will begin and end in Road Town, Tortola, BVI. We’ll visit Jost Van Dyke and world famous Foxy’s Restaurant, The Bitter End Yacht Club, and The Bite, where there’s great snorkeling. Be a student or a cruiser. There’s even a queen berth for couples!

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November / December –
After all of you leave for the season, I have those last few warm days to do some great sailing myself. I may be wearing my ski clothes, but I am out enjoying the sunshine on my face and the wind whistling by my knit hat. Often I dream I’m heading to the islands and sometimes I need to fight the urge to just turn the bow of the boat south. Maybe I will, soon. maybe one of these days real soon, I will just loose that battle.

 

 

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2010

SEPTEMBER 2012

Autumn Already?

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Wow! I can’t believe September is here already. It seems like only yesterday, I was commissioning the boats for the 2012 sailing season, and now it's nearly the end of the season. The good news is the days are cooler, the evenings are pleasant, and the nights are great for sleeping at anchor! There are still plenty more sailing days to enjoy.

As I look back over the past months, I can remember great sails with great students. Some of you have come back for additional training; others have taken their first step toward a lifetime of sailing adventures. We have enjoyed sailing with all of you. We also miss those of you we haven’t seen this season. If you have that itch to improve your skills, or you have never stepped aboard a sailboat, it's not too late to register now. There's still space available for all levels of classes from ASA 101, Basic Keelboat, through ASA 106 Advanced Coastal Sailing. And of course, this winter R&R Charters and Sail School will continue to offer many classroom sessions in Coastal Navigation, Marine Weather, Marine Radar, and Basic Celestial Navigation.

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The approaching fall season also signals it’s Sailboat Show time! The Annapolis Boat Show gives us all opportunities to dream about that new boat, or a charter in some exotic location, new equipment, new clothes..... The dreams are limitless. Once again, I'll be working at the show, and like most of you, I'll also be exploring all the displays. Last year, my “dream boat” was the 54 Shannon – I wonder what it will be this year. Of course, I'll be booking my next adventure with SunSail at the show. I always enjoy the chance to speak with Jennifer Caruthers personally.

But, reality does finally set in, and I do have to think about making plans to winterize the boats......but not quite yet! Let’s just put that off for another couple of months. Maybe, just maybe those weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas will once again bring some nice warm, sun-filled sailing days!

Provisioning ASA 104

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Part of the Bareboat Charter 104 class, is learning how to provision the boat for a longer cruise. Over the years, I’ve learned to give students some guidelines in developing their grocery list and menu. We always need 3 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 2 dinners on a fixed budget. It is truly an unexpected pleasure for me, as students bring forth their unique meals while cruising about on the bay. I have had a Russian breakfast of ham, onions, peppers, and fried eggs, an Australian dinner of curried beef with rice, and some really delicious lunch salads.

All the students quickly learn they don’t need to dine on canned foods and pre-cooked expensive entrees. We always purchase ingredients, and with careful budgeting and planning, we have great grilled dinners of New York strip steaks, or Ahi tuna steaks, or delicious salmon filets. Thanks to all my 104 students for their wonderful culinary delights!

 

 

BVI Update -
Make your plans now to join R&R Charters and Sail School in the British Virgin Islands for 5 days of great sailing and learning! The class will be held March 11-15, 2013. We will pick you up in Road Town on Tortola on Monday morning, and set sail for 5 days of amazing sailing fun – Jost Van Dyke, Marina Cay, Bitter End, The Bight......all the places you've heard so much about.

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Enjoy learning on the warm waters of the Caribbean with Captain David Renoll and Captain Richard Myers, both experienced BVI sailors. The fee, $1700 per person for 5 days, includes breakfast and lunch aboard our Beneteau 44, sail instruction for 103 or 104, and sail certification for 103 or 104. This is ideal for couples! Space is limited to the first six students to register. Email us now and reserve your BVI sailing adventure!

 

 

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2010

AUGUST 2012

Heavy Weather

photo Have you noticed how your definition of things changes as your skills, experience, and knowledge improve? When I first began sailing, I would never consider sailing in winds greater than 15kts. But as my skills and knowledge developed, this seemed just a nice pleasant day of sailing. In the past year I have been in winds in excess of 50kts both on the bay and on the Atlantic Ocean!

Last month I asked what you would do if you were caught in this situation. My good friend, Gene, was the only person to respond. Most of you don’t know him, but he is one of the most experienced and skilled sailors I know. Often we would have our “friendly” sailboat race as we would head back to the marina after the weekend raftup. One little tacking error, and you would be assured of losing!

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Enough memories! What’s the answer to my question from July? As Gene stated in his email, it depends on your location. Last August as I was returning from an ASA 106 class, we were hit with a squall off the mouth of the Potomac River. We knew the storm would pass quickly, but we didn’t have much sea room. As the squall approached, we quickly dropped sail and powered up the motor. Using our engine, we carefully held our position into the wind and waves as the storm passed.

This past June, I was 600nm off the coast of Georgia with lots of sea room. We had just experienced a gale force storm (+34 kts) an hour before, and had both our jib and mainsail reefed. It seems these storms always hit you during the night when you can’t see them approaching, but we were lucky to hear the wind pick up and the waves began to grow. We quickly doused the jib, and changed course to put us on a broad reach with the wind and waves on our port quarter. We also started the engine as an added precaution. In a very short time, the waves built to 14-16’ and the wind peaked around 55kts. When the boat was overpowered by the wind and waves, she simply side-slipped down the wave face, spilling the storm’s forces. After 45 minutes, the winds dissipated and the waves began slowly to diminish.

I am certainly not advocating you all go out searching for these types of experiences, but you do need to challenge yourselves. If you’re afraid of those 15kt winds, go out in them on a clear day. Reef the sails so you feel more comfortable. Go with friends who have a bit more experience than you, and read articles written by other people in stressful situations. Most importantly, take the next level sail class. Keep in mind the boat is capable of handling these types of situations better than the human body.

The Urge to Explore

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Do you have the winter “blahs” every year? Are you ready for an adventure? Would you like to explore the BVI’s, but don’t feel you have the skills and experience to bareboat charter? This March, R&R is offering a 5-day charter and sail class aboard a sailboat in the islands! You can earn your ASA 103 or 104 certification, and your favorite passengers are welcome to come along for the ride! Space is limited, so email Captain Dave for details, and make your reservation right away! Experience the life, while gaining the experience. C’mon down!

 

 

Let's Go! –
Many people fear August for its hot, humid weather, and lack of wind. My personal experience, however, tells me the following:


1. Yes, August days can be hot and humid, but unlike July, the temperature most evenings, falls to the mid-70’s.


2. There can be days without wind, but some of my best sailing days have been in August! There are also days without wind in the other 11 months.


3. I can’t personally control the weather, so I go with what mother nature gives me. As a result, I’m out on the water enjoying life, while other people are sitting in the marina lamenting.


My prescription – let’s go sailing!

Cream of Crab Soup Report –
Annie’s Restaurant still holds the title for best on the bay! Try a bowl with a splash of sherry. You won’t regret it!

 

 

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2010

JULY 2012

Entrance Procedures

I recently brought a boat from British Virgin Islands to the Annapolis area. After a 10-day passage, we entered the Chesapeake Bay, and as we crossed the three mile line prior to entering, we hoisted the Q flag. It’s the all yellow one which represents the letter “Q” to tell all authorities we were entering US waters and had not yet cleared customs and immigration. At the same time, I called immigration to inform them that we were going to be docking at a marina in the Norfolk area. This person made arrangements for a border patrol officer to come to our vessel and complete the necessary paperwork for our entry.

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We first approached the fuel dock where we refueled, but we were not allowed to step off the boat. Once we were finished with our fueling process, we were directed to our slip. Again, we were not allowed to exit the vessel. In a very short time, Officer France arrived at our vessel. I cannot express how great a person he is! He treated us with pleasant professional courtesy. I asked if he could possibly process two of the crew first, one who had to be at work the next day in Washington DC, and another who needed to seek immediate medical care due to a personal health issue. Officer France did their immigration forms right away, and allowed them to depart the boat within 20 minutes of his arrival. During the entire procedure, we had pleasant conversation about our passage experience, and other personal experiences. We also learned that Officer France is a former marine who has served as a border patrol agent for many years. In fact, after the Iraq war, he was one of the US professionals assigned to Baghdad International Airport to assist the new Iraqi government establish good safety inspections at the airport.

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We had only one small issue arise during our clearance – Officer France had forgotten to bring along the necessary cruising permit paperwork for the boat. He promised me he would deliver it the very next morning. And he did! During my experience I thought of the many times I had entered the US at various airports along the east coast. None were as cordial, and many were actually rather intrusive. As Officer France disembarked, wishing us a pleasant journey up the Bay to Annapolis, I had the crew strike the Q flag and hoist the US courtesy flag. We were now legally cleared into the US.

Reefing

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It seems that this season many of my beginning sail students have discovered the miracle and wonder of reefing! I think too many people have seen images of sailboat races with vessels heeled at 45°. We cruisers just don’t do this! First, the boats actually sail slower; second, when we have too much sail up, we can’t easily control the helm. So whenever the winds build toward 15 kts, we immediately put a reef in the mainsail. If the wind should be even stronger, as it was for our last ASA 101 class, we reef the main and the jib. Why? The boat sails faster, flatter, and easier. Instead of fighting the helm and the heel, everyone will have a great time!

 

 

Weather Question –
What do you do when you encounter 50 kt winds, heavy downpour, and 16’ seas? Check for the correct answer in next month’s newsletter.

Practice Makes Perfect –
It’s time to review and practice your knots. This month, try the square knot, used to join two lines of the same diameter and material.

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Hold an end of the line in each hand. Wrap the line in your right hand around the line in your left. When done correctly, you’ll have switched the two ends from one hand to the other. Now wrap the line in your left hand around the one in your right hand, and you have completed the square knot. If it doesn’t look like the picture, you’ve tied a granny knot! Time to start over. Practice this knot until you can tie it without thinking.

 

 

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2010

JUNE 2012

Whatever the Weather

It’s standard practice to check the marine weather before casting off the dock lines. When you’re planning a 4-day cruise, like our ASA 104 Bareboat Charter Class, this can be a problem. Most weather forecasts are only accurate for 24-36 hours. After that, the upper winds begin to change, and the forecast changes. Case in point is my 104 class in May.

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The forecast for the first day was for rain to begin during the late morning. and to continue throughout the afternoon, evening, and night. The sun was shining with a very nice 10-12 kt wind from the southeast, almost perfect for our short sail to the Wye River and overnight anchorage in Shaw Bay. Throughout the afternoon, the sun continued to shine, but clouds began to build to the west. Just as we were relaxing and thinking of setting up the grill, the rain began to fall, so we simply cooked our chicken on the galley stove. We always plan our meals to be flexible! When we settled down for our first night’s sleep, the rain continued to drum on the cabin top. I don’t know about you, but rain on the roof, or in this case on the deck, is just about as good as counting sheep. Of course, we had checked the forecast for the following day – heavy RAIN all day, and strong winds.

In the morning, rain still washing the deck, we saw blue sky approaching. We cooked our breakfast, relaxed, and waited for the blue skies to arrive. We set sail and headed for Annapolis. Remember those heavy winds? Well, we had light and variable winds for more than half our sail. North of Thomas Point, one student voiced her pleasure in the good weather instead of the projected rain and wind. Too late! Never tempt the weather gods! As I moved forward to drop the mainsail for our final approach to the harbor, one lone storm cloud miraculously appeared overhead and dropped buckets of rain on Zufrieden and me without my rain gear!

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The forecast for our third day’s sail to the Magothy River called for strong winds out of the north, and waves 3-4’. We found ourselves needing to motorsail north under the Bay Bridge and into the Magothy where we had some very nice wind. We did our MOB drills and sailed into the anchorage. That evening, as we grilled our salmon steaks and zucchini, we watched the start of the Wednesday night round the buoy race from our ringside seats! During our last night, the weather forecast finally caught up to us. The winds picked up to 15kt with gusts to 20kt. When we set our anchor, we made sure we had a good firm hold, so despite the stronger winds, we had a safe night on the hook. As we prepared for departure, we reefed the main, had a great broad reach down the river to the entrance, then headed up to a close haul for our beat across the bay. After clearing Love Point into the Chester River, we jibed and headed to Kent Narrows and home.

The moral: always check the weather report and be prepared! If you’re ready to handle the worst weather, you’ll enjoy the moments when the forecast doesn’t live up to the bad report. If you are planning to sail more than just overnight, always be ready for a major change in weather. Here on the bay, our weather patterns flow from west to east and change every 3-4 days. When you’re ready to experience a great 4-day voyage, come join us at R&R Charters and Sail School!

 

 

Provisioning 101 -
Part of every sailing experience is provisioning your vessel. For a day sail you’ll need to be sure to have lots of fresh water available for you and your crew. ASA recommends 2 quarts to 1 gallon per person per day, depending upon the temperatures.

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You’ll also want to have some snacks. Mixed nuts are always good, along with something salty like chips or pretzels. Don’t forget to plan your lunch. You may just want to bring some sandwiches from home, but you’ll need to have some fresh fruit, and maybe some fresh vegetables and dip. And of course you’ll want something sweet! I would suggest some chocolate or home-baked cookies. Yum! to sail on your own yet. You can always book Zufrieden for a captained charter for a day, a weekend, a week, or maybe just a sunset sail. Naturally, you’ll be allowed to take the helm and gain some great coaching as you enjoy the waters of the Chesapeake.

 

 

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2010

MAY 2012

Crabs - An Original Chesapeake Experience

photoIt’s the beginning of the new boating season, and thoughts turn to crabs and crabbing. In an earlier issue of BoatBuzz, I wrote about my sampling of Cream of Crab Soup up and down the bay. It’s one of my favorites, and Annie’s Restaurant at Kent Narrows still holds the number one spot! Although I’ve had some other very good ones at many spots around the bay, I personally don’t care for Maryland Crab Soup, which is more of a vegetable soup with crab meat, rather than beef. But don’t let me prevent you from sampling this specialty, too.

Many of our students and charterers enjoy picking steamed crabs. Recently, I had a great British couple from a small town near Stratford on Avon, aboard Zufrieden for a two day charter. The husband couldn’t wait to have steamed crabs, so naturally, I made arrangements to dock at The Crab Claw Restaurant in St. Michaels. While his wife enjoyed a plump and juicy crab cake, he picked and ate his entire dozen steamed crabs trapped locally in the Wye River.

My grandson Aaron, enjoys trying to catch his crabs on a line or in a trap. When we have enough, we steam them and pick the meat to make our own wonderful crab cakes. There’s nothing like the taste of fresh picked crab meat, but I prefer it in a crab cake. I just don’t have the patience to work for an hour, picking enough crab meat to make a filling dinner – I’d rather chow down on a ridiculously large broiled crab cake with some fresh corn on the cob!

Think Charter

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Don’t miss our Maryland blue crab season! Maybe, you’d like to try catching your own meal while sitting at anchor in Wye River or Swan Creek. R&R Charters and Sail School wants to remind our students you have the opportunity to charter Amici, and practice what you’ve learned! For a reasonable hourly rate, we’ll charter to students who have completed ASA 101 Basic Keelboat or ASA 103 Beginning Cruising course with R&R. Simply drop us an email with your dates and time, we’ll block you in, and send you an eInvoice for the fee. Remember classes only present the knowledge and skills, practice develops proficiency.

Completing R&R’s ASA 104 Bareboat Charter class, qualifies you to charter Moondance for an overnight or weekend cruise on your own! She’s a fast, small, cruising vessel, and will sleep four adults comfortably. Imagine sailing to Wye River, St. Michael’s, Annapolis, or any of the other great sailing destinations within just a few short hours of our marina. Picture yourself standing at the helm piloting Moondance to her mooring or anchorage, then relaxing in the cockpit while a great evening dinner sizzles on the grill and crabs tug at your line.

Sailing is not just a pastime for us. It truly is a way of life and a passion. All those daily stresses are casted off with the dock lines. Whether you choose to sail Amici for a few hours or Moondance for a weekend, you will return to the dock refreshed and ready to face another long week of work. Come join us and become part of the sailing community.

 

 

Attention All Procrastinators! -
Many scheduled sail classes in May through mid June are nearly full. Others from mid June through September already have some spaces filled. Don’t wait any longer to register for your next sail class! We really don’t want to turn anyone away! R&R Charters and Sail School prides itself on giving our students top quality instruction and sailing experience. Come join us for the fun in 2012, and perhaps next winter you’ll be on your own SunSail charter in the BVI.

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Fun Cruising -
Maybe you don’t feel comfortable enough to sail on your own yet. You can always book Zufrieden for a captained charter for a day, a weekend, a week, or maybe just a sunset sail. Naturally, you’ll be allowed to take the helm and gain some great coaching as you enjoy the waters of the Chesapeake.

 

 

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