20 August, 2008

Night Sail

Location: Drum Point, Wye River, MD
Position: 38 53.075 N 076 10.867 W

Diva and Barefootin (two boats we met and became fast friends with in the Bahamas) are anchored in Quarter Creek on the Wye River East. We’ve been talking about meeting up with them for the last month or so but haven’t yet managed it. We leave the dock on the Coan River at 3:00 pm – it’s about 80 miles, so an overnight sail works well into our plans. It’s Diva Debbie’s birthday tomorrow, and we decide a surprise arrival in the morning will be great fun.

We hoist the sails at the mouth of the Coan River and head off. By our calculations, we only need to maintain a speed of 4.5 knots to arrive there at around 8 or 9 tomorrow morning. We’re right on schedule as we round Point Lookout at the mouth of the Potomac River. The wind dies.

Oh well. We’ll just motor, if we have to – after all, it’s Debbie’s birthday tomorrow and she’s worth it. Five minutes later the wind picks back up so we kill the motor and sail again. For about a minute. The wind dies again, so we start the engine, resigned to a noisy, expensive trip.

After a couple of hours, the wind picks up. We unfurl the big headsail and kill the engine again. As the sun sets, the full moon rises. It’s clear, cloudless, the wind and waves are gentle, and we’re sailing along right at our target speed. Rachel is very happy to be out sailing rather than sitting at the dock and so are we. It’s what we are all meant to do and we really enjoy doing it together. We know we’ve said it before, but it really doesn’t get any better than this.

We see little commercial traffic, and what we do see is so illuminated by moonlight that we’re easily able to identify it and know we’re fine.

We take our watches, our catnaps, our meals, our duties in turn, falling easily into our offshore routine. We recall our first overnight from Deltaville to Solomon’s a couple of years ago – how nervous we were, how new it all was, how wonderful and exciting and a bit scary. We agree that it continues to be new, wonderful and exciting, and are relieved to find how much easier it is for us these days than it was that first time.

We’ve come a long way.