A while back, YouTube had a video of a family of ducks making it safely across a busy multi-lane freeway. After today I have a better sense of what it was like to be the ducks.
Riding a second day of southwest winds, we reached Annapolis, Maryland: almost the top of Chesapeake Bay. We will be spending a few days in Annapolis, exploring the “Sailing Capitol of the United States”. Our next challenges will be the Chesapeake-Delaware Canal, Delaware Bay, and the New Jersey Coastline.
Mark and Becky, childhood friends from Minnesota, now living west of DC, picked us up for dinner and are taking us to visit their huge family for the next two days. These two could supply crews for a whole fleet of race boats with their children and grandchildren.
Interesting bit of trivia: Endeavor was built 1/3 mile from the marina we sit in tonight. Geminis are now built in Florida, but our boat started here in 1999.
Yesterday’s trip found us dodging hundreds of crab pots. Today we decided to run up the center of the bay. No crab pots out there, but dozens of charter fishing boats out making clients seasick in the relentless waves. Also a couple of freighters, but they are easier to avoid than the fishermen, who seemed to enjoy turning into our path.
This first gauntlet required a watchful eye and occasional tweaking of the autopilot heading.
The second gauntlet came up just as a rainstorm veered across the bay. In the shower we could make out dozens of sailboats racing. The race course covered a wide swath of bay, including the path we needed to follow to reach Annapolis. I made contact with the committee boat via radio and was instructed to proceed through. Thus, we ducklings proceeded across the freeway. Fortunately the boats were widely spread and, with both of us watching for traffic, we zigged through the pack of speeding boats.
The rainstorm blew past, revealing a second, more populated gauntlet, er, race. This race had boats flying downwind, left to right, under spinnaker, and boats tacking upwind, right to left, just past. We slowed down, sped up, veered, had a few tense moments, and saw a few beautiful race boats REALLY close up. Having a pack of spinnaker flying racers bearing down on you really gets the heart rate up. I trusted most of the skippers but did not want to be shish kabobbed by the bow of a J-Boat.
Then we saw the ultimate gauntlet. A solid wall of racers on the horizon.
Then we turned left and waddled toward Annapolis, avoiding them completely.
What a relief.