Saturday dawned bright and sunny, our oil leak had been fixed (we hoped!) so we were free and clear to get off the dock and head down to St Michael’s for the weekend, in company with “Mischief” and “Huckleberry”, two yachts from our marina. St Michaels is approximately 25 NM south-east of Annapolis, a nice easy 3-4 hr trip if the wind gods weren’t on coffee break.
But they were, and Murphy was in charge in their absence. You guessed it – light winds (5-7kts) and right on the nose. Undeterred, we raised the main (a little easier this time with the battens backed off), unfurled the genoa and hoped we could get this girl sailing. As many of you would know, catamarans don’t point into the wind nearly as well as monohulls, meaning you need to sail bigger angles. Ok, no problem. Except we were now heading north towards the Bay Bridge and Baltimore. Right-o, better practice putting a tack in then – again, not a strong point for cats when the wind’s light. We did manage it without stalling the boat, but the jib didn’t want to play nice, getting caught around the upper spreaders. Hmm, not our prettiest tack but at least we were heading vaguely in the right direction. At this point Bruce was all for starting the engine but I was desperate for a sail. So for the next 20 minutes I stubbornly helmed us…. almost back where we started, still in the main bay outside Annapolis. Result? Two very frustrated monohull sailors!! Ok Bruce, you win – start the iron sail. So we motor-sailed the rest of the way, accepting that this is the lot of catamaran sailors in these kinds of conditions. It’s going to take a bit of mental adjustment! And after all our faffing around, we were STILL the last boat into the anchorage! It was commonplace when we owned our 18-ton monohull “Illusion”, but this time it was a bit harder for the egos to swallow. Never mind, Sunday’s forecast was for SW winds, a nice beam reach to get us home fast…
We anchored in a very quiet and pretty inlet called Long Haul Creek just around the corner from St Michaels, thanks to local knowledge from Rod on “Huckleberry”. Our new ground tackle system seemed to work smoothly and it felt great to be on the hook again. After the obligatory sundowners on our back deck with Peter & Pam from “Mischief” and Rod and Lesley from “Huckleberry” we dinghied into town for a great burger dinner at the Carpenter Street Saloon.
St Michaels is a popular tourist destination and historic town, known as ‘the town that fooled the British’. According to legend, the residents foiled a British attack in 1813 by dousing the town lights and putting lanterns in the trees on the hillside, fooling the British into firing their cannons at the wrong targets. It was also a major shipbuilding town, and oyster and crab fishing industry and there’s a great maritime museum that we visited last time we were here in July. Sadly the oyster and crab industry is no more, having been fished out of existence.
After a delightful dinner and great company, we dinghied back to the boat in the dark (with our all-round white light on, of course!), doing a fair lick as it was open water around the point to our anchorage. Suddenly there was a whooshing sound, and then a flapping sound in the bottom of the dinghy. What the?? We’d just landed a fish, a big fish!! (oh, OK it wasn’t THAT big, but it was big enough for a meal, looked like the equivalent of a bream). Like us, this fishy was having some directional issues! Luckily for him we’d had dinner, so he got to live another day…and we got to tell a good fishy tale!
Sunday dawned overcast and foggy. And guess what, the wind was from the North. Seems the forecasters here are no better than the Aussie ones. ‘Sigh’. So this time we resigned ourselves to motoring back and giving the engines a good run to test whether the repair to the oil leak had worked. It had, and we motored quite comfortably at 6 knots. On the way back in to Annapolis we encountered the wooden boat regatta – some very pretty boats on display.
It may not have been the sailing weekend we wanted, but we got to test a few more systems including our new Inreach tracker, and confirmed that our AIS is indeed transmitting as well as receiving. Most of all, it was a great social weekend, and we were off the dock!