Sunday, September 30, 2012

September Sailing

Something magical happens on the Chesapeake after Labor Day. All the kids are back in school, vacations are over and the power boaters begin winterizing their boats; yet the winds start picking up after the August doldrums, the water is still warm enough for swimming and your favorite anchorages remind you of why they became your favorites in the first place. Simply put, September is a wonderful time to be a sailor on the Bay!

Although Phoenix’s interior is by no means finished, we have more than the basic essentials at this point to enjoy some time on the hook. So when my parents decided to come out for a week to celebrate Mom’s birthday, we decided the perfect birthday treat would be a September sail. The past few weeks were a bit cooler and wetter than we had hoped, but we were able to get some sailing in and to share one of our favorite anchorages with them.

We set off on a Sunday afternoon with NW winds at 10-15 knots (generally 10 with some puffs to 15).  We motored out of the creek for a bit to top off the batteries, and with the new MaxProp we installed in August, Phoenix motors like a champ! Once we raised the sails, we sailed on a beam reach for several hours to our chosen destination, hitting mostly 6s and 7s the entire trip. This was one of our first trips with the clean bottom and new prop, and we were much happier with her performance.

Phoenix under sail in light air

We arrived just in time for happy hour, and once the anchor was set, Mom and Bill headed down below to prep the cocktails and appetizers.

Mom and Bill getting ready for happy hour
September’s magic was in full effect and we were the only boat in the anchorage – just us and the bald eagles, blue herons, ospreys and sea gulls. We were treated to a gorgeous sunset, but it was too chilly to stay up top for dinner, so we retired to the main cabin for the rest of the evening’s festivities.

An anchorage to ourselves!

Serenity at its finest!

Our time at anchor was packed with activities: walks on the beach, dinghy rides, swimming, and of course, lots of fun!

Mom and Dad exploring the beach

Ahoy matey!

Pick Me, Squeeze Me, Make Me Wine for more sailing!

Dad hamming it up in the dinghy!

Perfect morning for a swim

Mom checking the anchor
We couldn’t have asked for a better time, though a predicted change in weather (40+ knot winds with a cold front approaching) made us decide to cut the trip short and head back home. We motored most of the way home through some decent chop with 20-25 knot winds (some gusts to 30) on the nose pretty much the entire trip. Despite the headwinds we were still doing 6.5/7 over the bottom at only 1,600 rpm. Like I said the new MaxProp rocks!

On our way back home

Man of War Shoals
Regardless of the weather, we made the most of the trip and are glad we were able to share the memories with Mom and Dad. If only they lived closer; they could experience more of the wonders on the Bay.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing interesting information on September Sails.