Author Topic: High Winds After Dun Cove Raftup  (Read 4763 times)

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Ed Criscuolo

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High Winds After Dun Cove Raftup
« on: June 21, 2016, 08:09:13 pm »
On June 12, the Sunday after the race, we sailed back to the Patapsco from Dun Cove on Harris Creek, behind Tilghman Island.  The winds started out light but eventually built quite high.  The NWS even issued a Gale Warning.

We left our PSA Raftup about 9:30 Sun morning and motored through Knapps Narrows without incident. Winds on the Bay were light but unfavorable, but quickly build to 20-25 from the NW, slowing our progress to a crawl. We unfurled about half our jib only, to approximate a storm jib.  This steadied the boat,  and we were able to motor sail due North at 6 - 7 knots as the winds built to over 30. Great fun!

Just before the Bay Bridge, we took a huge gust in excess of 40 that came close to a knockdown. Listening to the VHF, we were astounded to learn that the annual Bay Bridge swim was in progress!  The bridge span had just reopened to boat traffic as we arrived, so we motor-sailed through.

But past the Bay Bridge, our course lay NNW, too close to the wind to sail. We didn't want to continue sailing North and end up on the eastern shore because we would then have to pound back through the chop that would have had 15 miles of fetch to build. So we furled our jib, hugged the western shore for shelter and called on our trusty Atomic-4 engine to get us through.

The next hours were quite unpleasant (we don't have a dodger). The winds stayed at 30 with gusts much higher. We continued hugging the shore, but crossing the mouth of the Magothy lost this protection and pushed our engine close to its limits, hobby-horsing over the 3 ft rollers coming out of the river. It seemed to take forever to cross. The GPS often showed our speed-over-ground briefly slowing to 0! The A4 kept grinding on at 2800 RPM (800 above our normal cruise) for hours with no issues.

The shoreline from Gibson island up to Bodkin Point gave us good shelter, but once around Bodkin, the final slog up the Patapsco was also long and unpleasant, with a long fetch and the wind dead on the nose.

As we entered Rock Creek, sheltered from the chop, we shook our heads in disbelief at a 15ft skiff, overloaded with 7 or 8 bathing-suited teenagers, all standing up(!), headed out of the Creek!  We kept an eye on them, sure that we were going to have to go back and rescue them, but they stopped at the mouth of the Creek as their self-preservation instincts finally kicked in!

We were finally tied up at our marina by 5:30, beat but happy after our 8 hour workout.  Nothing broke, and nobody got hurt or sick!

@(^.^)@. Ed
1977 P-323 #42 "Dolce Vita"
with rebuilt Atomic-4

Bob Morrow

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Re: High Winds After Dun Cove Raftup
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2016, 12:09:42 am »
I had a similar exciting return to my home marina from the
Dun Cove race & raft up on Sunday June 12,2016. I also went through
the Knapp's Narrows channel despite my misgivings due to the horror
stories I had read about severe shoaling. I felt better about it though,
since Jordan Snyder on "Base Camp" had gone through in the opposite
direction the day before and said he had no problems. Just make sure,
if you try it, going west from the bridge, that you hug the greens (but don't go
on the starboard side of them, even though at least one chart shows the channel
gong on the starboard side of the G-3) and don't go ANYWHERE NEAR the reds.
They have helpfully deployed several white spar bouys to show where the deepest
water is, so if you go between them and the greens, you should be ok, at least with
a draft of 4' 8" or less.

Coming out of the channel, the winds weren't in an ideal direction, but my boat points
pretty well, so I put up full main and jib and sailed as close to the rhumb line to the
Bay Bridge as I could. The winds kept building, so I dedcided to partially furl
the jib and put a reef in the main.  We got a little beat up by the strong winds on Sunday. I was enjoying the excitement of sailing with one reef, something I rarely do with my stiff sailing boat, and then two reefs, almost never on my boat, but my crew had never sailed in conditions like that, and it wasn't long before he lost his breakfast over the side. Then somehow the sliding car pounded the stopper off the end of the track for my self-tending jib, and the car followed, scattering ball bearings all over the deck. Not being able to use the jib, I motor sailed with two reefs in the main. My crew was ready to soldier through his discomfort so we could get home, but then as we were motoring towards the Bay Bridge, we were stopped by the USCG Aux. telling us that we would have to wait for at least an hour for the Bay Swim (which I somehow hadn't realized was being held that day) to be over. I knew my crew wouldn't be comfortable circling for an hour in those conditions, so I detoured to Cantler's Riverside Inn, where we got ice tea to help with dehydration (not a good time for any type of alcohol) and snacks. By then my crew was feeling better, but not looking forward to going back to bash against the waves, and he had to be at work early Monday morning, so he called and got an Uber car ride to my marina, to pick up his car. I asked Cantler's for permission to hang on their dock overnight and started home the next morning, still with strong winds, but not a gale."
Bob