Sails UP for Memorial Day Weekend in Annapolis


Day 1 – Baltimore to Annapolis
With a full day of scrubbing the inside port hull (mold removal) and stocking up on fruit and salad fixin’s – we were ready to depart for a 3-day sailing weekend with daughter unit Emma and newbie-sailor Mike. This trip would be Mike’s first time out on the water, and we had convinced him that he would not feel any motion sickness on a catamaran. No crew or visitor had ever gotten sick while sailing on Cat Maudy (on our watch).

We secured the “Farm” to the port stern rail. 12 plants including tomatoes, green peppa’s and basil housed in a topsy-turvy would be traveling with us. I taught Emma and Mike a few line handling skills while still at dock, and by 11AM, we had departed our port – for destination Annapolis. The winds were 10-15knots from the south – not ideal for the direction we were headed, but we had the full day ahead of us – so tacking a lot was not an issue. OK, physically, it was an issue. My wimpy arms felt like they were going to fall off from all of the winching of the gib sail. For Mike, heave-ho brought on new meaning. Mike spent the rest of the day trying to win the battle over motion sickness.

We arrived into the port of Annapolis to a scene of hundreds of sailboats seemingly engaged in a sailing race. Avoiding them was a challenge. In addition, it was commencement weekend at the Annapolis Naval Academy. This meant, that the normally busy Annapolis port – had morphed into complete human madness.

Without access to a mooring ball, we were forced to test out the new windlass. I think all of the talk from Captain Pat (during windlass installation) about the solenoid exploding when using the windlass made me a bit nervous on first time operation. Ok, technically this doesn’t occur (the Captain tells me now)…

Anyway, the new windlass likes to pump the chain out as if you are in a dire emergency to get anchored. In other words, all 140′ of our chain could be hauled overboard within seconds — if the windlass is not tightened “just so”. Emma and I carefully read my pre-printed instructions for lowering the anchor. The moment I hit the DOWN button, the chain started flying out! Between the two of us, we managed to re-tighten the mechanism and stop the chain free-fall. Success – we’re anchored!

Mike resembled raw dough at this point. Motion sickness was not getting any better by bouncing around, anchored in the busy Annapolis harbor. Emma took Mike to shore via the local water taxi – to see if land would help. A slice of pizza, an overdose of Dramamine and a couple hours on shore seemed to do the trick.

Day 2- Anchored in Annapolis
Despite winds at 25 knots, we decided to remain anchored for the day in Annapolis. This had the added benefit of allowing Emma and I to go for a run, Mike to get to shore, and Pat some solo time to work on his invention – handHELM(tm).

By 10:30AM, we hailed a water taxi to the City Docks. Humans everywhere. Graduation weekend at the Naval Academy proved to be a popular spot. We grabbed our drivers licenses…and made our way into the Naval Academy. Once our ID’s were inspected – Emma and I departed for a 5 mile run – in 80plus degree heat. Emma barely broke a sweat, while I agonized, and slowed our pace to a crawl. I stared longingly at every bench and shady spot that we passed, hoping Emma might say something like – “hey let’s take a break”… but no. She’s an EverReady bunny, and was determined to get in a decent run.

As we returned back into the Naval Academy grounds…we had to whip out our ID’s for inspection again. A lovely guard from Spain, asked us many questions about running in the metro DC-Annapolis area. Emma spent a good 5 minutes explaining all about the Montgomery County Road Runners Club….and I was secretly thrilled to be taking a running break.

Despite my sloooow pace, we finished our run…grabbed a quick shower at the City Docks…and walked thru the crowds in search of food. Eventually, Captain Pat made it to shore as well – and we walked around downtown Annapolis window shopping and taking pictures. This is when I discovered my drivers license was missing. Aiiii. We retraced steps to restaurants, and anywhere I may have opened the zipper on my fitness belt….to no success. The license was gone. I presumed some underage teen was enjoying drinks while using my AARP drivers license.

Day 3 – Annapolis to Baltimore
We departed at 7:30AM from Annapolis in hopes of catching the strongest southerly winds. Later in the day, the winds would subside – so it was best to depart early.

By now, Mike was doing quite well with his sea legs, and hopelessly addicted to Dramamine. His dough-boy look was history now. We had a terrific sail up the bay, into the Patapsco…and nearly to our dock space at the Anchorage Marina.

We arrived at the dock to steamy temperatures….and What’s that smell? The harbor reeks of dead fish. It’s either nasty pollution or an algae bloom. The water is a chocolate brown, with bubbles at the surface. Dead fish appear. Emma and Mike waste no time packing up their gear – and getting away from the new aromas. Can’t say that I blame them!

Addendum: A few days later, I received my drivers license in the mail. Found by the US Naval Academy Police. Many thanks…and GO NAVY!

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