Since we are not in a rush to get to the end of the Chesapeake Bay, we have been anchoring at night instead of sailing on in the cold darkness. We had another beautiful sail today. Not quite as fast or exciting as yesterday, but sunny and a bit warmer. We made good time for most of the day, and ended up in the picturesque town of Reedville.
Based on the forecast for tomorrow, our run of perfect winds is going to change, and we’ll have to work our way against a headwind down to Norfolk. With a cold front passing over the next few days, it looks like November 3 will be our day to jump out into the ocean for the passage south.
Whenever we are talking to local sailors about our plans to move south for the winter, they always ask some version of the following question, “Inside? Or Outside?” They are asking if we will be following the Intracoastal Waterway (the ICW), or going out into the ocean.
The ICW is a connected chain of bodies of water which–in theory–allow a boat to travel from Manasquan, New Jersey all the way to Galveston, Texas without ever venturing into the open ocean. Many boats use it. For us it is not a realistic option. The standard height for bridges on the the ICW is 65 feet. Our mast is over 67 feet high. Even worse, we need at least 6 and a half feet of water to float. Many parts of the ICW are much shallower than that. Somehow taking a boat like Harmonie “down the ditch” just doesn’t seem quite right. Like taking a F1 race car to the corner store to pick up a gallon of milk!
For us, and our boat, the ocean is the far better option. With reasonable care watching the weather, we feel completely safe offshore where there are few other boats to dodge, and no shallows or rocks to run up on. Out in the ocean we get to relax–a bit–while sailing. Whenever we are near the “hard stuff” we have to pay constant attention.
Besides, out in the middle of the ocean is where the big fish live!!