It’s 9 days after our last post and we’re in St. Michael’s, a beautiful town with a fantastic maritime museum. We are cold. And we’re probably 200% more confident at sailing Stout than we were the last time I wrote something on here. That’s not saying much, but at least now we don’t completely panic whenever something unexpected happens!
To remind our dear readers: Kasy has sailed a lot, lived aboard, and owned a boat before Stout, but that was 10 years ago and he’s spent the past 3 years fixing up Stout more than sailing her. As for me I have no sailing experience, but have spent the past year helping Kasy fix up Stout and make her a home. Therefore, Kasy has an immense responsibility, because not only does he have to become confident sailing Stout again, but he has to simultaneously teach me how to do that, starting from zero.
So it’s not like he can just say, “Emma, put a reef in the main” or “belay that line” or “Let out the jib sheet” or even “steer us toward that green buoy” and expect me to do everything right, let alone understand what he’s saying. So that’s what we’re working on.
When we left Rock Hall, we made the goal of not going to any towns for at least 5 days. Why? Because towns are distracting; we don’t necessarily practice sailing because it’s easy to just hang out… and more importantly, we spend money. We accomplished our goal, and spent most of that time sailing, anchoring, and working on projects in the mouth of the Chester River. I’m going to go with the previous format of captioned pictures to bring you up to date.
A thunderstorm dramatically blowing through Rock Hall last week. It was gone as soon as it arrived. Luckily we were not under way for this.
More of that ridiculous storm cloud! It was moving at about 10mph, too.
Misty morning in Swan Creek, off of Rock Hall
The round black thing on the staysail stay is hanging there to signify that we’re anchored during the day. We made this out of 6-pack cardboard and Gorilla tape.
Rowing the dinghy and looking wierdly salty.
Stout at rest in the Chester River. Me making curry.
View from the bowsprit, anchored in Gray’s Inn Creek off of the Chester River
At Grays Inn we were one of about four visible lights, no other boats around. Strangely, one of the other lights was a giant glowing inflatable snowman that someone had put on shore. We went for a row in the dark, and Stout looked kind of like a pirate ship.
Me at the helm, sailing on the Chester. Looking more at ease than I was, surely.
Happy Kasy at the helm with rain pants. The wind forecasts have been very inaccurate this week… each day was forecasted to be 5-10 knots of wind, but our experience was 15-20, sometimes with gusts to 30. We talked to at least one other person who experienced the same thing, so we know we’re not crazy. Disconcerting but we got through it!
We’ve been trying out our self-steering system, but we still don’t totally trust it. We’ve been trying to make it more sensitive and think we’ve got it figured out, but it’s been veering from side to side along its intended course. A work in progress, but we think it will be much more useful in larger bodies of water, not for navigating little rivers off the Chesapeake. (For non-boaters, self-steering systems use the wind direction to steer the boat, so that you don’t have to be at the tiller steering all the time. Notice that Kasy’s hands are free.)
Sailing downwind is strange because you can only go as fast as the wind is going, and since it’s pushing you right along, you can’t even feel it when you’re moving through the water. While being pushed along, I jumped in the dinghy and was towed along behind Stout.
I took this opportunity to get a picture of Stout under sail from outside of the boat! And Kasy’s sun hat!
At anchor on the Corsica River, off of the Chester River.
Looking tiny on the Corsica.
Got back from my row just in time before a crazy rainstorm rolled through.
Black bean soup and stovetop cornbread. But actually, this is not cornbread, because I thought the jar of cous cous was cornmeal. So its actually cous cous bread… but we only realized this two days after we ate it. So… cous cous bread is a thing now, since we couldnt tell the difference.
The first shower on board… we have a Solar Shower ( a bag of water with a shower head) that we hang from the boom gallows. We rigged up our awning for a shower curtain and it worked great! However, the shower had to be quick because it was COLD outside.
Morning view looking out of the cabin on the Corsica, off the Chester River.
After 5 days on the Chester, we anchored again at Swan Creek. The day after, we completed our longest day yet under sail, from Swan Creek to St. Michael’s, on Friday. It took us 8 hours, but we were proud of ourselves.
We had been trying to meet up with Adam, of Seeker, who we’ve been talking to through the blogosphere. Though we were both sailing around the upper Chesapeake, It didn’t look like our paths were going to cross, but it just so happened that as we were entering the Eastern Bay on the way to St. Michaels, he was leaving the Bay. After we spotted each other, he turned around and we met in St. Michaels, where we had an awesome time eating pizza and drinking beers. Here is his blog: http://b29seeker.net/
Kasy on our way to fill our 5-gallon water transportation and storage receptacles in St. Michaels.
At St. Michael’s there is a fantastic maritime museum. We spent the past two days wandering around to all the different attractions, learning a lot about Chesapeake Bay history. This is a gigantic glass prism, made to multiply the light of oil lamps once used to power lighthouses. You can walk around this lighthouse (the Hooper Strait lighthouse) exactly how it once was, though it has been moved from its original location.
That’s all for now! And our plant is doing great!