the Chesapeake Bay Wayfarer Cruise 2008
Friday 30 May
: Tangier to Smith Island - 3
photos by Uncle Al, Gary & Jeremy Hirsch

Mary and Tony off the southern reaches of Smith Island
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Getting near the western approaches to Smith Island's little town of Ewell
- for full-size pic, click here
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Ewell
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Dick has entered the western approaches to Ewell. The fun will begin when ...
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... we have to luff up about 90° to a SSE course that will be somewhat of a beat.
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Dick as seen from Solje. He has just made that 90° turn. The open look of the water is deceptive, since outside of the narrow marked channel that is often not even 100' wide, the water shoals rapidly to a depth of two or three feet. The good news is that the bottom is soft - mostly sand, with the occasional muddy stretch.
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View from The Nutshell: We are still sailing ENE as are we near the end of the first part of the channel.
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This is the easy part and we ...
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... enjoy it while we may.
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The last stretch in to the Smith Island Marina can be seen above behind the barge. It looks deceptively benign here. As we were beating in, the winds - coming across land - were shifty and gusty. Using our centreboard as the depth sounder once again worked very well - the trick being to be ready to tack the instant the board touched. Our routine was that when the board touched, Hans would raise it a modest amount and I would put the helm alee as quickly as my reaction time allowed. Any time wasted would result in slowing down and drift into ever shallower waters. No danger of any kind but lots of windward distance wasted. Our system did in fact work as planned and we were pretty certain that even the most critical eye ashore should have been impressed with the competence of our approach to the Marina - until we reached the barge above. In retrospect, we should have gone for a temporary mooring on the far side of this barge. But at the time, we had a good lot of breeze, and decided to overlay the end of the barge on starboard tack, come in at full speed, cut the stern of the barge as close as Al dared (pretty daring!) and shoot through the prop wash at full speed. Everything went perfectly until we hit ...
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... the prop wash. That promptly shot us sideways at an amazing rate, right into very shallow water of the type that can be seen being depth-tested by the strolling gulls above. We made it through the wash all right but were suddenly in less than one foot of water! Ever the efficient optimists, we immediately let the rudder blade flip up, raised most of the board and regained speed in a nice gust. The intent was to do a crash tack in the five feet or so of space still left between our bow and  ...
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... the lobster pots platform (see photo above taken later) that had been nicely off to leeward but was now directly in our path after we had been catapulted sideways by the very powerful prop wash. But with the rudder mostly out of the water, we didn't turn fast enough and ended up draping ourselves all over the platform. With Hans fending off maniacally, we got off there soon enough, but we did feel a bit sheepish as we finally reached the marina docks. Luckily, no one - that we could see - had been watching. I do hate to "entertain the fans" in such a way!!
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By the time the others sailed in, the barge guys must have turned off the engine or something.
Certainly, none of the other three boats got hung up like we did.
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