Dymer Creek: 37°40.281N 076°21.201W

Labor Day weekend. The weather on the Chesapeake is (potentially) delightful.

We had — well — a bit of weather. Technically, it was more sea state than we like. The wind was tolerable. The waves? Not so much.

For much of the summer, we’ve been working (steadily) on refinishing the brightwork. Once you’ve put a layer of Epifanes on the wood, you’re sort of stuck for 3 hours until it hardens enough to be stowed.

The container says 24 hours between coats, 3 hours to set up before you can touch it without making mess. To get your second coat on around 13:00-ish on Sunday means you have to get the first coat on by 13:00-ish on Saturday. That’s the weekend.

With a three-day weekend we could pile on plenty of Epifanes. Or we could go sailing. 

Saturday Plans

My idea was to go up to Reedville, VA, then come back down to Dymer Creek, then to Deltaville. Some sailing and some overnighting in quiet creeks.

The weather was predicted to die off on Sunday leaving us with near flat calm on Monday. Perfect! A spanking sail up and a dawdling sail back. Maybe a motor sail on Monday.

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We set out at 13:30 — as the sailors say — bound for Reedville. We’re not going there; we’re bound for there, we could end up anywhere.

It’s a little hard to judge from the photo, but Red Ranger’s bow is pointed way up into the air. We’re about to slap down hard with water spraying up over the bowsprit, white water on the dodger, and a bit of green water rolling down the deck and gurgling through the scuppers. 

It might look cool on video. But we could not break out the GoPro Hero 3. Indeed, we couldn’t do anything more than steer and hope we didn’t hurl up our lunches. The WindFinder app said 5’ seas. We don’t disagree. 

The Chesapeake waves are tightly spaced. Generally about 7 seconds. Not like the ocean.

Winds were 15 to 20, gusting higher, from 070 (ENE). This is the rhumb line from Stingray point to Windmill point lighthouse. So we bashed directly into wind and waves. Directly. Into. The. Waves.

Decisions

Once past the lighthouse, we could fall of the wind. Speed went from 3 knots in bashing mode to 7 knots in rolling mode. ETA close to 18:00. 

We thought we had prepped for sailing. A few things had come loose and were slamming around below decks. CA was too sea-sick to go below. Indeed, she was too sea-sick to steer while I went below.

Bonus. The fuel-water alarm started buzzing because of crap in the fuel filter. Sigh.

CA called it about 15:00 — “Find someplace sheltered. Now.” We’d been to Dymer creek before. It’s exposed from the E, but this was wind from NE, and we’d have some cover. 

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At 17:00 we had the Rocna anchor down in 12’ of water with 80’ or so of chain. 

The creek is wide with plenty of room to swing. It’s not much used, so it’s very, very quiet. There’s a bend a quarter mile further in that offers a bit more shelter, but you have to anchor mid channel, something CA doesn’t like to do.

Sunday Morning

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Dawn was spectacular. A day of mostly-cloudy is rolling in. Sunday’s forecast is 13g15 (13 knots gusting to 15). When the tide turns, the seas will drop to just 3’. Better. But far from our preference of “flat”. 

Our revised plan was to have a leisurely morning. An early lunch, and then scoot back around Windmill Point and run up the Rappahannock to Yopp’s Cove and spend Sunday night there.

If the weather’s like today, we’ll at least be sideways to the wind, and then running from the wind. We’ll see what tomorrow holds.

  © Steven Lott 2016