As long as nothing breaks, today might work out well. After being beaten down by weather yesterday, we find our plans are quite humble.
The forecast was for 13g15 (13 knots gusting to 15). When the tide turns, the seas will drop from over 3’ to just 3’. This can be still be rolly and uncomfortable. Since we’re weekenders, and we have to get back on schedule, well… we just have to deal. Yesterday was bad, today can’t be that much worse. Can it?
We didn’t have too far to go, so we waited for the wind to moderate a bit. We watched the speeds and sea state on the WindFinder app. We had a hearty lunch at 11:00 and we were pulling up the anchor at 11:40.
There’s a long motor out of Dymer Creek to the bay. It was gray and mostly cloudy but wasn’t threatening rain.
We listened for the buzzing of the water-in-fuel alarm. It was quiet today. That gave us some confidence. When we get back, we’ll change the fuel filters.
Once past the day board that marks the north extent of the shoal, conditions in the bay matched the predictions: 3’ seas 13 kt winds.
These are great conditions for yankee, stays’l, and mizzen. It an easy combination to set and — if conditions get worse — it’s easy to douse. If conditions get lighter, we can hoist the main.
The steady winds and flatter seas allowed us a glorious beam reach down Windmill point. CA put Red Ranger on a track that gave us 5-6 knots of boat speed in 12 knots of wind. Under sail, the motion is much nicer than under power.
We had a controlled gybe, and an epic broad reach right up the Rappahannock River. The wind slowly died away, but we were able to squeeze consistently good boat speed out of it. At about 16:00, we reached Yopp’s Cove and had to drop sails. Something we did reluctantly.
Other than getting the flag halyard hopelessly entangled with the mizzen spreader, we had a perfect sail. Perfect. The wind was steady, the seas relatively calm. WindFinder claims waves were 4½’. We think it was 3’ at most.
There were two other boats in Yopp’s Cove. A Hunter 44 and a huge green ketch.
Just to make us feel extra salty, we rigged the mast steps for the mizzen mast. Our climbing hardnesses are in our apartment, so we used an offshore PFD with it’s big D-ring as a safety harness.
Getting up the mizzen is similar to many V1 bouldering routes: there’s a bad hand-hold and a couple of bad places to put your feet to get up to the mizzen boom gooseneck. In the rock gym, you’d just jump back down. Here, I had to climb the rest of the way to the spreader and disentangle Old Glory.
Nothing serious broken. We had perfect weather and a perfect sail. I logged 20 nm from Dymer Creek to Yopp’s Cove in 5 hours from end to amazing end.
Tomorrow, if conditions continue to flatten, we’ll have a long motor to Jackson Creek.