2013 Sailing Chesapeake

After a pleasant time in Portsmouth with Jack Tar and Eye Candy I sailed north past rows and rows of naval ships including three aircraft carriers all secured to the docks either undergoing a refit or some other maintenance.  Then out into the open waters of the Chesapeake Bay but first I had to negotiate the  channel that passed over Highway 64 then turn left into York River but first a short haul at Cobbs Marina which was east along the coast at a naval harbour.

Short Haul

All through the ICW I was struggling to keep up with Jack Tar and Eye Candy because of the growth on the bottom of the hull.  I had tried to clean it on a number of occasions but it soon grew back again and I lost almost a knot in speed.  It was time to do a short haul onto the hard to clean off the weed and apply a fresh coat of antifoul but the cost to stay on the hard in this area is just too high. 
I found a marina who would haul me out on one day and drop me back in the water the next so I left Norfolk and Portsmouth after lunch and steamed down the channel flanked by more and more US warships even the nuclear powered aircraft carrier Enterprise.  The amount of hardware in this area is just amazing.  I don't know if all are operational but they must keep many people occupied and on the payroll.

I approached Little Creek entrance to be confronted by a boom, flashing red lights and a vessel with a machine gun on the bow.  Keep out, this is the harbour of some extra landing or amphibious force's vessels.  I turned to starboard and found Cobbs Marina. Be careful of the shallow spot going into the slips but I backed out and tied to the end of the jetty.
The next day I went to the office to sign in and wait to be hauled which took place just after 10.  The evidence of Malua's slowness was there to see. Thick green growth with many patches of barnacles.  I used the scraper while the power wash did its magic.  By the time Malua was blocked I had removed all the dark blue antifouling which seemed to come off far to easily.  I gave the hull a good scrape and a hand sand - it was ready to paint but I still had to remove the dark stain of the water of the ICW.  I had been told of this product The Works from the 1 dollar shop.  Let me tell you it works wonders with just one wipe on a soft cloth. I had the topsides clean and washed to meet my deadline of 4pm giving me 3 hours before dark to apply the Micron Extra dark blue.

One gallon and 2 1/2 hours latter I had completed all but one side of the keel.  I had a spare tin of the French antifoul so I was able to complete the job before it got cold and dark.  The autoprop was the next task.  I cleaned that down to the bronze with wet and dry paper.  I gave it a good grease in the bearings.  That was all I could complete in one day.  A hot shower, some food and off to bed.
Next morning I covered the prop with my Aussie lanolin but the 220 volt heat gun hardly gave out any heat so the lanolin only just melted to form a coating.  I was in the office at 9:30 when they opened.  The total cost was $700 which included the $300 for the gallon of antifouling - normal cost $240 but that is the price one pays for them to get it at such short notice.  I was in the slings and back in the water by 10:00 - a 24 hour turnaround for a complete antifoul and clean topside...not bad.
I exited this navy harbour of Little Creek and turned towards Yorktown River only to find JT and EC had the same idea. I anchored behind them south of the bridge and we planned to visist the town and take a bus to Williamburg.

I find the history of America as presented by them is well at executed venues well documents and always one-sided but it fills the day. Yorktown has a significant battlefield memorial and the town has a small town historic charm. It has a memorial to mark the defeat of the British forces under Cromwell by the French and Americans and as a celebration of their independence from the colonial rule. The impressive column overlooks the York River. We took the free bus to Williansburg the next day to the visitor centre at the historic village which entered via the back door thus escaping the $41.50 adult entrance fee which after the visit we all agreed was not good value. I will give it a miss next time. Our fleet decided to move north the next day and we set off northwards in the famous Chesapeake Bay. The wind came up at about noon and we had a good sail north having to dodge a few boats and buoys. We dropped anchor at the Solomans which was next to a military airfield but thankfully no take-off or landing this evening. I passed Deltaville where I had arranged to put Malua at the end of the season. Annapolis I arrived at the famous yachting site of Annapolis in the afternoon of Saturday their main race day as yachts of all shapes and sizes started many different races from a number of locations. It was a great sight to see as was their return after the race because I was anchored off the grass field of the Naval Academy right in front of the entrance to the many upmarket yacht clubs. There was not much swing room with the other vessels anchored but everybody was quite considerate. I went ashore but did not feel safe leaving the dinghy at the end of the car park and open space. At the yacht club/bar they charged you so I did not frequent that but found a more secluded Irish style pub with great atmosphere and a good selection of beer many with nautical names. It rained and rained with only a few hours of sun to walk the streets of this old town.
I planned to take a bus to Washington DC but proved quite a task. Firstly walking to the bus station to be taken the first bus out of town at 5:00 am and the last at 7:30 am to the interstate terminal. Find a place to purchase a ticket and seat then get on the bus which was frequented by not the most savoury of people and then the long ride into the Capital of the USA. As anyone knows this is not an easy town to get around so I took a big bus hop on hop off and saw most of the sites such as Capital, White House (Obama was out of town) and Arlington Cemetery. The Korean War Memorial with the soldiers standing a fields with their ponchos plus the Vietnam wall were the most memorable. Smithsonian was closed! - Once seen, never forgotten. The trip home was full of uncertainties as to when and if the bus was going to arrive because I seemed to be the only one travelling in that direction. I had missed my scheduled bus and had to stop another departing bus which the bus diver informed me would not stop at the local bus interchange. I jumped on and took a chance. It stopped on the edge of town and I had to walk back to the waterfront stopping on the way at my Irish pub for a few and wait for the thunderstorm to pass. I left with the rain still coming down but wanted to get back to Malua and dry off. The rain continued through the night and next day. The visit to DC had done that but not enjoyed the day, more time would have helped.
On Saturday there was a market on the foreshore; fruit, veg meat and other things. I purchased a very large “aged steak” Aged it was because after cooking it that night my stomachs was upset. Not a good situation to be in with a small head! It was time to keep going so I upped anchor and set off north up the Chesapeake City at the top of the bay and the C&D Canal which joins the two bays of Chesapeake and Delaware. I dropped anchor in a bay outside the City and had a restful night I had to get the tide right and find a spot to stop for the night in the middle of the canal which I did just through a very high bridge at the Delaware City Branch Channel Anchorage Basin. The next morning the race was on to get through the rest of the canal and south through the Deleware Bay to Cape May. I chose to follow two other yachts through a well marked system of buoys missing the many shoals. The mouth is full of these shallow spots but I took a cautious approach and stuck to the shipping channel, a safer but much longer route to the harbour of Cape May which was entered via a narrow break wall with the tide running quite strongly. I made it into the small bay and dropped anchor offshore of the Coast Guard Training Facility. The Tropical Storm Andrea was about to hit so the soft mud and sand would be a help during the storm. Follow here...
A magical moment on Malua.
Here are a few photos of Annapolis and Washingston DC

Malua Annapolis Bridge
Annapolis Bridge

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