August (?) Sailing

The weather has been incredible this summer here in Maryland – very moderate temperatures all summer. We’ve run our central air about 15% of what seems normal. Windows open most days, mornings in the 60s, sleeping with windows open. It’s been just wonderful.

So has the sailing. Breezier than normal, but not too much wind. Moderate days in the sun, instead of the usual swelter we get in July and August. Today was a perfect example. Temps in the low 80s, humidity about 45%, SW winds 10-12 knots.

I pushed out into the bay at 1630 today, thinking that I was going to need a reef when I got out there. But no – the SW breeze funneled up the creek with increased velocity, but out on the Bay there was no tunnel effect, as on the creek. Just beautiful sailing, perfectly in control with speeds ranging 4 – 5.5 knots.

There were plenty of sailboats out today, but since it was later in the afternoon on a Sunday, it seemed like most of the power boaters were already back in their slip. Consequently, the residual chop they leave was gone too. Smooth sailing. . .

Blue water on the Chesapeake Bay
Blue skies, bluer water

We crossed Herring Bay several times, imagined fake races with other sailboats — all of which would have bested me in my fat, heavy cruising boat — but mostly enjoyed the sound of water and wind, working the ship as required, keeping her in the groove for any given trim of the sails.  I didn’t even turn on the music.  The sound of sailing was perfect accompaniment for me today.

Finally I made for the channel, dropped the sails and began to motor up the creek.  Part way up the creek, before the first bend, I heard a whining noise.  When I looked back, identifying the source of the sound, I saw a red, dual-hulled speed boat blasting toward the jetty entrance.

They slowed down, but not as slow as I was going.

They approached quickly, and I saw that this was a 60- to 70-foot long, jet turbine-powered speed boat.  Perhaps they couldn’t go slow enough to keep from passing me.

They passed on the right, pushing me toward the left side of the channel.  I looked over and lifted my hands with a shrug, as if to say “what are you doing?”  One guy in-back gestured toward the waterfront restaurant on the right after the turn, and they did indeed moor there.

I passed them in turn as they slowed to park.  I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt; they couldn’t go any slower and had to pass, or bump into my transom.  Made for a nervous few minutes, though.

Alone again on the creek, we motor up to the slip and managed to back-in on the second pass.  I still have trouble calculating the effect of wind-and-current as it affects prop walk-and-momentum.

At 1900, we were tied up, turned off, covered up, and closed up.  I walked to the house.

Rick Bailey

Rick Bailey sails the Chesapeake Bay with his wife, Ruth, on a Watkins 27 coastal cruiser. Rick is retired and writes the “middlebaysailing” blog (

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