Wolf Trap II 2020

June 27th, 2020

Today was forecast to be 90º with 10 mph wind and I thought it would be a great opportunity to attempt to round Wolf Trap light again. A few months ago I made it to within about 350 yards, but I turned back because the wind really picked up and it didn’t feel entirely prudent. I talked my wife into coming with the promise that we’d stop at the sand bar on the way home. We went 19.8 miles in 4:22 with an average speed of 4.5 mph. Our max was 8.8 mph which is the best yet! I think the extra weight of two people and gear might have helped keep her flat.

Rigging the sail in the parking lot which wasn’t nearly as packed as it was the last time we launched, although we did arrive a bit earlier. I managed to get launched in just under 30 minutes which is a record too. I’ve got a few ideas to make rigging simpler that I’d like to experiment with.

I’m pretty pleased with the name I painted a few days ago.

Setting off from the ramp and heading down Milford Haven close hauled. We had to make one tack to get angled right to make it through the channel which leads into the bay. How was this photo taken?

By my lovely wife risking life and limb!

Out into the Chesapeake with the lighthouse just a tiny spec on the horizon six miles away. It’s incredible how calm things are compared to the last time I was out here.

Starboard!

Getting closer to the lighthouse. We were making good progress towards the light, but the wind shifted and we had to bear off out into the bay a little further. Then I tacked too soon and we missed the light, so we tacked again to work our way back.

But eventually we got there and rounded it.

Coming around the southern side.

Somehow I doubt the uh… facilities… were a particularly comfortable place in the dead of winter with the wind howling up the bay.

Heading back towards Gwynn’s Island.

My wife got feeling a little seasick while we were going downwind, so she retreated to the starboard settee in the salon. The waves were probably 2′ or so and produced a rolling motion which thankfully has never been a problem for me, although after a long day I do feel like I’m still rolling when I go to bed.

Coming back through the hole in the wall we made a right and found an empty spot on the sandbar.

The wind had picked up a bit, so I brailed up the main sail and we came in with the jib only in an effort to keep our speed down. However, that didn’t really help as we were still going 5 mph downwind towards the shore. I tossed my homemade anchor out, payed out some line, and it immediately brought us to a screeching halt. I’m impressed with how well it works.

Anchored on a lee shore in ~15 mph wind. I felt around the anchor with my foot and the shank had dug in completely. I paced off back to the boat and found we had about 7:1 scope. Probably hard to mess up with that much line out, plus the bottom was sandy.

Hanging out on the beach for the afternoon. The point was packed with boats and one guy was busy trying out a kiteboard. A few times our tent threatened to join him.

We found some washed up cedar trees and erosion on the other side of the sandbar. It’s always a little depressing seeing stuff erode way. Growing up I sailed my Sunfish to Grog Island once, but it’s completely gone now.

Eventually we decided to head back to the ramp and disaster struck. Trying to sail off the anchor on a shallow lee shore with no practice in gusty wind with someone with little experience with other boats anchored around is not a good combination. Eventually we made it, but not before briefly putting the rail under and losing the anchor in the process. My wife looked traumatized, so I decided to just leave it and come back tomorrow. Plus it’s a prototype and I’ve got some ideas for improvements.

After hauling out and heading home I saw this knucklehead on the bridge. Three slack tires and one completely off the rim. I ran up to his window to let him know but he said it was ok because he wasn’t going far.

June 26th, 2020

The next day we decided we’d make our ship sail against wind and current by lighting a bonfire under her deck. Yes, this is a British Seagull 40 Plus a friend gave me and it turns dinosaur squeezings into noise and vibration. As a side benefit you even get some forward thrust! Not great for the environment, but I figure with biodegradable oil and a 25:1 conversion it’s not too bad for how little I use it.

We motored out to our spot from yesterday at 5.5-6 mph, but the anchor was gone. I guess I have too much faith in humanity to have hoped someone would leave it coiled up on the beach. I improved the tiller with a piece of cedar driftwood whittled to wedge inside the handle.

We sat on the beach for a little while before the daily afternoon thunderstorm showed up so we headed back.

Puttering back to the ramp while everyone else passed us in a much quicker and quieter fashion. Sitting on the bow improved our speed by about .2 mph to just over 6mph.

Close to the ramp it started to rain, but we made it back in one piece! For some strange reason my wife says she is done with boating adventures for a while.

 

2 thoughts on “Wolf Trap II 2020

  1. Thanks for posting. I’m currently building a First Mate and your blog has been like a building manual for me. And your trip reports are motivation for me to finish soon.
    One question: How do you secure the front of your boat to the trailer?

    • I’m glad my site is helpful and you like my trip reports! You’re making good progress and I enjoyed looking through your pictures. It brought back some building memories that I tried to forget haha.

      I used “The Glob” method by Mo ‘Poxy. (https://seascull.blogspot.com/2014/02/bow-loop-transom-and-frames.html)
      Basically I built up a big glob of epoxy and chopped up fiberglass strands at the stem and drilled a hole through it. I located mine right about where the four panels come together and then spliced a loop of line through it. I just hook onto that loop with the winch and pull the bow up to the chock.

      I’ll be looking forward to seeing yours completed!

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