2013-07-11 What we learned on our passage to Reedsville

That list is really long, but lets start from the beginning. We departed Galesville, MD early on Monday (8 July) and had a surprisingly nice sail to Solomon’s Island on the Patuxent River. The passage was planned for 42 miles and the winds stayed more west than south so we made a good 35 of those miles on a single tack enjoying music and a fine lunch. I do think the Admiral might have snuck in a little nap in the afternoon. There is a Navy Airbase at PAX, so though the Blue Angels have been ‘sequestered’, we were still entertained by a number of aircraft.  We even saw one Osprey, the plane not the bird, though we saw many of the live ones too! We have been to Solomon’s on a couple previous trips, so the area was familiar and offered an overnight stop with a swim and nice barbeque at the anchorage.

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Tuesday we awoke to the excitement of a new destination. We were headed to Reedville which offered unknown anchorage and port entrances we have never been to before. The second becoming important quickly! We had a very pleasant sail out of Solomon’s again being blessed with favorable winds that again were not predicted.

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We crossed the mouth of the Potomac in 3-4 ft swells, but with Magnolia’s weight and the reduced sail we were quit comfortable. As the winds became less favorable and reports of thunderstorms coming in we decided a swift entrance into Reedville would be prudent.  As we motored along the engine began to sputter a little which happens seldom, but understood to be a dirty fuel filter. This is a common enough occurrence that we have a second filter plumbed in and swapped in/out with the other with a simple valve adjustment. No problem. Swap complete and we were running….for a few minutes when that one clogged as well…crap. Swapping out Racor filters is not a very big issue, easy in port, but in rolling boat less than ideal. So as Annette managed the cockpit and kept Magnolia safe I retired to the engine room. The filter swap out went as planned, but in the end did not solve the problem. It seems the clog was actually between the tank and the filter where sadly we have no redundancy. 

#1 The Admiral can indeed tack the boat by herself in 20+ knots of wind. Perhaps I might be a little bias but I never doubted her ability, it just has not been tested and now she knows too!

After about 1 1/2 hours I reported to the Admiral that I ran out of ideas in the engine room. With the expected thunderstorms approaching and the winds now steady in the 20’s it was time to get safe.

#2 Know when its time to quit troubleshooting and get the boat to safety.

While I was busy in the engine room the Admiral had been assessing our options and so when I reported out setback she simply stated we would sail her in. I am the first to admit that this is a sailboat the engine is referred to as the Auxiliary Engine we general don’t sail into port, particularly ones we have never visited.

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#3 Never ever forget you are on a SAIL boat!

The Admiral’s assessment was if we could get off shore some we could end up on a nice run right into Reedville. When you are sailing hard on the wind as we were there is a lot of noise and a little rough as Magnolia fought her way forward. The moment the wind came onto the down wind run to take us into the bay a deafening silence and calmness came over the boat. It was a fabulous 3 minutes! Why only 3, well usually we get weather info on the radio weather channel. This time though, the on coming was of significance that the Coast Guard themselves came up on the radio and said it was going to be a doosey! Great!

#4 God loves angels and idiots alike.

We continued the run right into a well-protected cove next to the menhaden fish oil plant where we dropped the sail and drifted to an excellent (i.e. first safe cove we could easily get to – it turned out to be smelly from the menhaden fish oil plant) place to drop the anchor. We got the anchor down literally with 10 minutes to spare before the storm. The Admiral permitted me one Stella beer to watch the storm from the cockpit. We quickly saw 30+ knot winds and just as quickly they abated.

First thing on Wednesday we were up and with our trusty tire pump (Thanks to my friend and mentor Greg) we blew all the fuels lines and were quickly back in business.  We stayed in port here at Reedville to rest and wait for better weather expected tomorrow. We will make a 25 mile run down to Jackson Creek near Deltaville tomorrow and on into Little Creek in Norfolk on Saturday.

#5 The Crazy Crab in Reedville has some really good Rock Fish and hoping Chit Chat Ice Cream (this afternoon) is as good!

Like I said, we learned a lot and we are better for it! See you soon A**2

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