Friday’s forecast was for NW winds 10-15kts, gusting to 25kts. Perfect for a fast sail south, but boy was it cold! Rugged up in our Icebreaker gear we dropped our mooring lines at 8.30 am, with the help of Peter, Phil and Gayle who’d come to farewell us off the dock. Hard to believe we were actually leaving after all this time, but there was Joe waving to us as we passed through the Spa Creek drawbridge, and there was Rod on the other side of bridge with a cheery wave goodbye. Goodbye Annapolis, we were on our way!

IMG_1058 IMG_1057

After fuelling up, we headed out into the bay, put a reef in the main then pointed the bows south. This was going to be our ‘shake down’ cruise to Hampton, approximately 140NM down the bay.

the famous Thomas Point Lighthouse on Chesapeake Bay
the famous Thomas Point Lighthouse on Chesapeake Bay

Chesapeake Bay is a busy commercial waterway and there’s numerous crab pots and fish traps to catch unwary players, so day-sailing is definitely the go. As Toucan started to show us what she could do, we started grinning from ear to ear. 10.3 kts SOG (speed over ground) was our record that first day, on a flat and stable platform. Being able to stand in the galley and make a cup of tea without spilling a drop is a joy indeed!

the skipper's happy!
the skipper’s happy!

Our first night we anchored in Solomon’s, a pretty little place with many anchoring hidey-holes. We didn’t need to go ashore so we anchored a way up the creek and enjoyed being back on the hook again.

Sunset at Solomon's
Sunset at Solomon’s

Saturday the wind was lighter so we motor-sailed much of the day under clear sunny skies and spent Saturday night in Reedville, a small fishing town just inside the Virginia border.

Reedville anchorage
Reedville anchorage


Like the geese flying south overhead, there’s a veritable migration of boats heading the same way as us, all different shapes and sizes but quite a large contingent of catamarans. We found a quiet spot up Cockerill Creek to anchor on Saturday night, but within an hour we were surrounded by another 4 boats. It always puzzles me (and yes, annoys me) why people feel the need to anchor right on top of you when there’s so much other space?? We discovered we’d made our snubber bridle too long (particularly for this shallow water) so it wasn’t doing the job it was supposed to, namely keeping the tension off the anchor chain. So I had a rather restless night listening to the chain grind on the roller as the boat swung this way and that in the wind, worrying whether the anchor would hold. Bruce of course, slept like a baby!

The wind picked up again overnight, and so we got an early start hoping to make Hampton by Sunday night, approximately 60 NM away. Except the port motor wouldn’t start. We figure there must be a problem with the battery charging connections as the starter battery was flat (it’s a new battery). Luckily after running the starboard engine for a while it charged the port battery enough to get it going. After cleaning off the mess of thick, gluey, stinky mud from the anchor and chain we were on our way again. And what a day of sailing we had! The wind was again mostly from the NW and up around the 17-20kt mark for most of the day. With two reefs and half the genoa out we were flying down the bay. This time Bruce got the highest SOG of 11.7kts (not that we’re competitive at all!) Woohoo! Talk about fun!IMG_1078

Having a little rest after all that reefing!
Having a little rest after all that reefing!

Bruce got a lot of practice reefing and un-reefing until his shoulders were about to drop off, but we arrived in Hampton at 4.30pm, tired but very impressed with the boat. We’d made a booking at the Bluewater marina for Wednesay onwards, so we motored past looking for a spot to anchor in the Hampton river. Not an easy task with so many boats here gathering for the rally, and very few anchoring options. We eventually squeezed ourselves in next to another cat, almost at the furthermost navigable point (for us), right near town centre and the highway.

The view from the front porch - downtown Hampton
The view from the front porch – downtown Hampton


It’s a bit noisy with the traffic, but we don’t care – we made it to Hampton without too many dramas! Tomorrow we’ll start the ‘to do’ list again, checking the battery situation, shortening the snubber, replacing the rope clutches on the mast which both slip, plus get into the swing of all the Salty Dawg rally events. It’s going to be another busy week!



15 Replies to “Southbound”

  1. Hey Guys, Having fun living vicariously thru your progress. Looks like you are inside the 5 yard line. I’m sure you may have a good story to tell from passage.

  2. Glad to hear Toucan and crew are safe and sound in Hampton! Stay warm and dry – let us know when your weather window opens!

    1. Thanks Rod – weather window opening tomorrow (mon), hope to be off the dock around midday. Will be good to get south, it’s freezing here, must be even colder in Naptown!

  3. Has you son arrived yet in Hampton yet? If I remember right, today was the day, was it not?

    All of us here in Annapolis of thinking of you (and we are just a little bit jealous). Forecast in Naptown this weekend is for clouds, rain, big breezes and temps in the 40s. Good time to head south!

    Sail safe, sail fast, and stay in touch!

    Peter & Pam

    1. Hi Peter & Pam, yes Rob & Alley arrived on Thurs – so wonderful to see them! We put him straight to work helping install the new house batteries (more on that in the next blog). Estimated day for departure looking like Monday at this stage. It’s going to be cold here too this weekend (Brrr!) with a very nasty storm so glad we’ll be tucked up in the marina. Take care you guys & thanks for the good wishes!

  4. Go guys, that all sounds awesome . Your own personal physio is coming complete with some Pilates exercises and massage oil !! Let the adventure begin xxxxxxx

    1. Thanks for all the well wishes everyone! Mia, that sounds wonderful we’re in dire need! And Linda I’m going to be doing my best to beat Bruce’s PB, don’t you worry about that! xx

  5. How wonderful to be actually on your way after all that prep!!
    Very exciting times and GOOD speeds!! (I expect to see 11.8 kts in your next stint, Di!)
    I am really enjoying your posts!

      1. 11.7 wow I’m impressed. just a little bit quicker than Illusion! AIS says you are still tucked up in Hampton. Have fun.

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