Monday, June 20, 2016

Magothy River

On June 9 we set out early in the morning for a week-long cruise. Our plan was to sail 70 nautical miles to the Sassafras River in one long day. The winds were predicted to be in the teens so it should have been possible. The winds were less than 10 kn when we started down the Choptank so we were under full sail. After about 5 nm the winds had increased into the mid-teens and we started to think about adding a reef. There is one particularly narrow spot near Oxford that often has much stronger winds than anywhere else on the Choptank. We decided to go ahead and add a reef. I took the helm and George lowered the main halyard. As he was winching the reef line it seemed to be caught on something. We were both trying to sort out where it was hung up. Just as George noticed that it was wrapped around the block at the mast, the main sail came flopping down to the deck and lines seemed to be flying everywhere. I said "what the heck happened?" George said "the lazy jack lines broke." (The lazy jack lines are attached the the main sail cover and guide the main into the cover when it is lowered). Apparently the partially lowered main sail had put pressure on the starboard side lazy jack lines causing them to break. We eventually got the main sail sorted out and the lines pulled into the boat. We both agreed that we should pull into Broad Creek to repair the lazy jack lines before proceeding on.

George used sail ties to secure the main sail until the lazy jack lines could be fixed.
Broken lazy jack lines
George during one of four times he went up the mast.


We anchored in Boby Owl Cove well before noon. George spent several hours and 4 trips up and down the mast making repairs. Three trips to repair the starboard lines and one trip to repair the lines on the port aside after they broke, too! We believe that the lines got chafed during our Delmarva trip when we lost the pins that hold the main sail cars to the mast. Both lines broke near a point where a loose main sail car was located and also near a point on the mast that had been scratched.

By the time the repairs were finished it was too late to proceed on and George was exhausted. We spent the night at Boby Owl and set our alarm to get up early the next day.

The winds were near 20 kn the next day so we started out sailing with just a reefed main and no jib. Even with just a reefed main we were traveling at 7 kn. The winds dropped as the day went on. It looked as if we weren't going to make it to the Sassafras this trip after all. In addition to the lighter winds causing us to motor much of the way, winds of 20-30 kn from the west were predicted in two days and we wanted to be sure we had a secure and/or well-protected place to ride out the blow. The Sassafras runs east/west and didn't seem to have very many good options for protection from a west wind. In the end we decided to spend one night in Selby Bay just south of Annapolis and then two nights on a mooring ball in Annapolis harbor.

Selby Bay was a convenient, peaceful place to spend the night.

Sunset on Selby Bay.


We arrived in Annapolis by mid-morning the next day and passed several sailboats of all sizes heading out to the Chesapeake. We chose a mooring ball on the outer edge of the mooring field, right between the naval academy and Eastport Yacht Club.

We had so much fun watching all of the boats coming and going. There were too many to watch. There was a regatta going on out in the bay and it was craziness when the boats returned after the regatta. Sailboats, power boats, tour boats, stand-up paddle boarders, kayakers all criss-crossing in front of each other. It was amazing that there were no collisions. Late in the afternoon we took the water taxi to shore and walked around town. I took photos of some the the full enclosures on other sailboats. We ate dinner in Eastport and then crossed over the bridge for ice cream before returning to Breeze On.

Annapolis Harbor. A group of young children in tiny Optimist boats heading out for a race.
The Woodwind raised their sails right in the mooring field.


The next day the winds were consistently in the 20's, gusting Into the 30's. We were grateful to be securely tied to a mooring instead of anchored. We opted not to go ashore for ice cream due to the wind. It was a challenge getting on and off the water taxi even in calm conditions. We didn't want to risk it in all of that wind.

The next morning the winds had calmed down. We weighed anchor and set sail north on the bay. We sailed under the Chesapeake Bay bridge and into the Magothy River. Our first anchorage overlooked a horse farm. What a beautiful location!

Horse farm


After one night there we went further up the Magothy and anchored around the corner from what is known as the "Glass House". It is indeed a large house with walls of glass. As we first approached it we thought it looked like a corporate building. There were 2 nesting pairs of ospreys and one blue heron in our anchorage. The ospreys and the heron did not get along at all. The heron harassed an osprey who was trying to pick up a rather large fish it had caught. Later on, one pair of ospreys dive-bombed the heron and then the other pair of ospreys did the same. The harassed blue heron made a very large squawking noise that sounded like a cat who was being murdered.

The winds were very light the next day so we motored most of the way home. The winds picked up by the time we were near the Tred Avon River so we raised the sails and sailed the rest of the way home. Of course, we had the highest winds of the day (a crosswind!) by the time we pulled into the slip so it was a bit of a challenge getting in. Fortunately, the bow thruster made it possible to straighten the boat out before we went completely sideways.

Although we didn't make it to the Sassafras River this time and had a great week and look forward to visiting the Sassafras another time.l


Morning on the Magothy River.