the Weekly Whiffle
Wayfarer news that's crossed Uncle Al's desk this week
Monday, April 28th, 2003
Subject: more Nughes from the Chesapeake Bay
----- Original Message ----- 
From: Adrienne Faherty 
To: Sue Hughes ; ...
Sent: Tuesday, April 22, 2003 7:56 PM
Subject: Hughes Nughes 22

Hughes Nughes 22

Hi folks, 

Are you reading Al Schonborn's Weekly Whiffle on the Canadian Wayfarer website? He's the lovely guy that takes these bulletins and posts them on the website and illustrates them with maps and pics... It's much easier to see what's happening if you have Al's maps to follow.

Well, thank you, too - to Al, Rod, Roger and Jeff for advice on how to deal with those nasty short steep following seas. They haven't reappeared yet, but signs of their potential pop up every time I have a following sea. The waves move faster and appear taller than the wind speed seems to account for. I guess that's just how it is. It's not all due to the shallow water because it's about 30 feet deep and to be honest, 98% of the Florida Keys is less than half that depth and I never got these waves in 20 knot winds down there. Ah well.

So what's new? Well, I've left Crisfield and have sailed north up Tangier Sound and then east up one of the Wicomico Rivers (there are three of that name in the Bay) to the small city of Salisbury (pop 25,000 odd). I'm doing two things at the moment - waiting out the next three days of 20-knot Nor-westers that would make sailing up the Bay a pretty tedious thing, and also taking a much needed proper sailing break. 

Until now all my breaks have been the result of being stuck somewhere by the weather and have seen me stopping in towns of lesser or greater appeal. All of the towns are small and have not a lot to do, except trudge out to the strip malls on the highways to buy groceries. This time though, I made a well-planned dash for a city that is 30 miles off the beaten track and which will give me a chance to do stuff ashore. It has a university, hospital and a bunch of big city stuff not usually found in a small place. And it has nice architecture and a cheap central marina. The hell with anchoring out - I'm living it up now with 3 nights tied up on top of 4 nights tied up in Crisfield. This is nearly equal to the entire amount of time I have previously been docked in the preceding 4 months. 

Anyway, it was a beautiful sail in pleasant but occasionally challenging conditions (in a nice way) 20 miles up the Wicomico River yesterday afternoon.  The river here is lovely - wide enough to tack back and forth in but sheltered from a lot of wind and with a few houses for anti-lonesomeness but not too many, and tons of geese and grass meadows and tall trees. Gorgeous.

It was a long day though. I awoke at 4.00 am to listen to the weather forecast. Got up at 5.00 am and was sailing at 6.00 am flat out to get up Tangier Sound before the southerly wind kicked up. That worked and when the wind rose in mid-morning, I was already in the Wicomico River and it was gentler there but still plenty to waft me up to Salisbury. 

I'd tried this the previous day (Sunday), but it didn't work then, because my progress to the north against a moderate NE wind and more of those short steep waves was just too slow. I'd have finished the day still sailing in the middle of nowhere. So at 10.00 am, I turned and came back to Crisfield for another day. That depressed me because I was worried that I'd be stuck in Crisfield - nice enough folks but essentially, it's a town like Greymouth - you've done it all before lunchtime and this was my fourth day there. I tried to make the best of that day by hauling Wanderer up a slip and turning her over and re-antifouling her. I'd felt there was a need for this ever since I sanded so much paint off her when I beached her on Little Cumberland Island during a blow in Georgia.

I unloaded her of lots of gear and then rigged the mainsheet and blocks to haul her up. I got her out of the water but couldn't get her onto flat ground. I was afraid I'd bust the mainsheet blocks by pulling hundreds of pounds of weight on them, so I settled for inspecting the bottom. Turned out I hadn't sanded the paint off much at all. A couple of bare spots where I must have bumped rocks, but no weed or anything. Plus the shops were shut (Easter Sunday) and I couldn't have bought antifoul anyway so I re-loaded her and sailed back to the dock. 

As if to mock me, the wind then dropped from a NE at 10-15 knots, to a flat calm all afternoon and night. Bastard. But it did mean that when I set off in the dark the next day the sea was flat, so I guess it all worked out for the best.

Now that I'm here, the city has a zoo (free) and the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art which might not sound interesting to you, but is to me. I wanted the Chesapeake to be a highlight of the trip and I wanted to see the sorts of things James Michener wrote about (and the duck shooting chapter was the best part of Chesapeake) but instead the Bay was turning into a worrying slog straight up the centre. So going up sideways up the river (even though it's a diversion) was the right idea. Now I can see what I hoped to, and shelter from crappy weather as well. I fully intend to enjoy showers, coffee ashore and touristy stuff. The boat will only provide a bed at night. 

After four months on Wanderer, I have a bit of cabin fever and this should provide a temporary cure. Also, for the first time ever the Bank of NZ didn't come up with any more credit for me (probably a good thing, but that won't stop me from complaining about them) so I got hold of my agent and he whizzed off to see Random House (NZ) Ltd about an advance for a book entitled The Biggest Boat I Could Afford. We're waiting for an answer now but if they come to the party, then I should be well equipped to sail on to Maine at a more leisurely pace. 

One of the reasons I've hard a tough time with weather lately is that I'm a month ahead of the good cruising days. I've always said I wanted to sail in that window between the end of the snow and the start of the bug season, but lately I've got too close to the snow and would be quite charmed to be swatting bugs. That hasn't meant much before now, because I was far enough south that the 'snow window' was just a rain window, but now, with the temp forecast to hit the 30's at night, the snow is a possibility. And even the days are sometimes cold. I rug up by day quite warmly but I'd rather sail in shorts than 
in wet weather gear. So I shall laze my way up Bay and into the Chesapeake-Delaware canal and then down the Delaware Bay to New Jersey. After that, it's a short haul up the NJ coast behind some barrier islands (a bit like the ICW) before reaching Sandy Hook. And across the bay from that is ...Noo Yoik, Noo Yoik.

But the slow speed requires quick money, so I'm hoping Random House will remit funds ASAP. Of course some of you will ask "Why didn't he sew up the book deal before leaving NZ and get the advance first - that would save wear and tear on his fragile credit card wouldn't it?"

And you'd be right except for two things:
1.  If I had the money at the start I'd a probably spended her by now, and
2.  If I'd a took the money at the start, this would have become a job not a holiday.

And that's all the trivial news from me but here's the major world headlines in case you missed them:

Headline # 1:  Auckland are top of the Super 12. The more perceptive readers amongst you will realise that this means that Canterbury are not. Which proves there is indeed a Great Pumpkin and he has a box at Eden Park, too.

Headline # 2:  A bunch of stuff continues to happen in Iraq.



PS. Stan and Mad - how's Leroy? Please say hi to him for me. What's happening on the ranch? Are you getting any sleep or are you still flat out with calving?