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Screeching down the Bay

Winds 15-20 from the NW, with gusts to 25 is Captain Paddy’s ideal world. Only one foil heading our way…rains and gale force winds to kick and could we sail to Reedville VA before the weather intensifies?

Departing Annapolis harbor by 8AM, and we wasted no time raising the main sail, and turning off the diesel engines. Haven’t even unfurled the jib sail – and we are already doing over 8 knots. As we get closer to the mouth of the Severn, the full force of the winds are felt. For an hour or more, we sail with just the main.

It doesn’t take long to see that the weather is “changing” and the skies are getting darker. We need to make better time. Thus, we unfurl the jib sail…reefed. Cat Maudy easily hits 9-10 knots, for a very smooth sail with winds off our stern quarter. Somewhere near the mouth of the ChopTank River…a huge freighter called the “Northern Juvenile”, traveling at 21 knots makes a sudden turn directly at us. WOAH!! After a brief “holy sh#$” moment…Captain Paddy headed up and Cat Maudy INHALED the wind….getting us out of the path of the “Juvenile” in the nick of time. NOTE TO SELF: Big freighters make their own rules as to where the channels are in the bay…

Generally, when I get a call from shore (my brother) giving me weather updates — this usually means the weather is going south faster than predicted. Sure enough, BRO reports heavy weather in Solomons, MD by noon. We are 11 miles to Cove Point – near the Pawtuxent River. The winds gusts are now increasing, and Cat Maudy tops out at 13.2 knots. Sweet.

The skies are dark, and the rains have started. We are 2 miles from the entrance to the Patuxent River – and decide to abandon the notion of finishing todays trip in Reedville VA. Instead, we’ll take cover in Solomons, MD. Our 50 mile trip to Solomons took just over 5 hours of sail time…. Needless to say – Captain Paddy is in a very happy place!

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