Sometimes You Just Have to Believe

Time 0900 local
Lat N 38° 12.9
Lon W 73° 26.7′
135 miles Northeast of the entrance to Chesapeake Bay

The weather forecasts and sailing models all agreed: Hold your course, stay offshore, it will change. Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened. On schedule even.

Since we left Buzzards Bay the wind had been pretty steady out of the southwest. We have stayed close hauled for two days. This has taken us on a course more or less due south. While this is generally the direction we want to go, we were on a course the would have us over 200 miles off shore by the time we got to the latitude of Newport News, VA.

Last night exactly as predicted, the wind clocked to the west, and then the northwest, leaving us on a fast easy beam reach for the final approach to the bay.

We plan to head up the bay to Annapolis. As a major yachting hub, we can find supplies and services gathered together there that we either need, or might need as we tackle various maintenance projects. We called ahead to a sailmaker for an appointment to have their loft go over our sails, restitching seams, and fixing a few minor problems. A chance to have them looked over in detail. So… under the caption of “that figures” just as we are setting sail we get a small tear in the mainsail. We sailed down with just the jib and mizzen, which actually works quite well.

As I was writing the above paragraph, a shackle broke on the mizzen outhaul car leaving us without the use of the mizzen sail too! Fortunately, on this point of sail we can use the mizzen staysail and keep our speed up. I think I have the part to make this repair onboard.

Yesterday we encountered a large containership sailing out of New York. As we maneuvered to stay out of his way, I found my planned course change wasn’t working as I expected. Then I realized he had stopped. Very strange to see a 1200 foot long commercial ship hove to. Then Karen asked the critical question: Where is he headed? As soon as we noted the answer (Charleston) we knew what was up. He made his scheduled departure from NY, but didn’t want to be in Charleston as Hurricane Irma threatened.

Today we see the first signs of the distant storm on the water as a very long period swell from the south passes under us. A subtle, but powerful reminder of what’s happening a thousand miles to the south.

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