Camping Experiments 2023

After making a better boom tent for a potential overnight trip this summer I took it out near my house twice to test. It’s difficult with a 13 month old to take the time to go on long daysails like I’m used to, but quick overnight camping seems to work ok and still gets me out in nature. At least my wife isn’t stuck watching our kid all day while I’m gone and that goes a long way in the marital bliss department.

My first spot was in the mouth of a small cove. The wind was forecast to be out of the north, but it ended up being a dead calm. The second night I anchored in the lee of Berkley Island with a bit of a breeze. This time there was another sailboat anchored off the western tip of the island.

Sunday 5/21/23

Sunday evening I had my wife drop me off at the local boat ramp after supper and I motored over to a small cove and dropped anchor. Everything went surprisingly well and I had the tent up in less than 20 minutes. The bungee cord loops weren’t too hard to get under the hull and I found it easiest to hook one side on the carlin and inchworm my way along. The sprit down the centerline was a bit in the way and required some acrobatics to get the tent hooked onto the bungee cords up at the forward end though.

I had a nice secluded cove all to myself and I watched the sunset through the trees. Later I watched the 5% crescent moon and Venus follow the sun down and even later I saw a meteor sputtering across the sky before it broke up. Honking geese and ospreys eventually gave way to the constant hum of crickets, katydids, and the occasional fish splash.

It was a flat calm the entire night and the next morning I woke up to a low mist and pretty sunrise. The tent did well, it was wet from the dew but everything inside was dry. It definitely won’t work in rain though since water will funnel in by the mast and I doubt the end doors will do much.

Berkley Island came into view as I swung around.

After opening the doors a bunch of noseeums came in so I figured it was time to get going and I motored back to my dock in time for breakfast. So far I’m pleased with the tent, although I wish there was a bit of a breeze to see how it did. I may also try to add some way to attach mesh netting to keep the bugs out. Not totally sure how that would work though. Also I need a wider sleeping platform and my sleeping pad I last used on a 2006 canoe trip down the Noire River in Quebec no longer inflates.

One last look at the cove. It’s pretty cool having a slice of nature all to yourself.

Thursday 5/25/23

Bad weather was forecast to arrive over the weekend, so Thursday I decided to haul my boat out. After supper I motored back over towards the ramp and set up camp in the lee of Berkley Island right at sunset. Along the way a lady on her dock asked me about the boat so I stopped to chat with her. Credit to Ross, everyone loves the lines of the First Mate.

Earlier in the week I noticed this guy had anchored and he was still here when I arrived. Never heard a sound from him and I hope he can say the same about me. There were some rather loud sounding bumps while I was getting the tent assembled.

I anchor in shallow enough water that I doubt anyone will run into me, but I do run a camping lantern up the halyard just to be safe. I left the tops of the boom crutch a bit long so I can cleat it off to keep the light from smacking against the mast in the night.

I woke up about 5am with the rising sun and chirping songbirds. Later a deadrise came by working a line of crab pots and if the droning diesel didn’t wake me up, his wake definitely would have.

I had the tent down and camping stuff put away by 7:30am and my wife arrived at the boat ramp to pull me out at 8. Funnily enough, I later learned the Old Bay Club had anchored here just a few days before. Small world!

For the second test I made a quick and dirty sleeping platform plank from a scrap of 3/4″ ply and 2x stiffener glued and screwed to the underside. This really increased the comfort as I gained an extra 16″. It’s not terribly practical to carry and I really should get around to making my side benches two layers that hinge open. I also borrowed a buddy’s Thermarest camping pad which was amazingly comfortable compared to my old Coleman. So big improvements on that front.

My homemade three piece anchor worked great with no dragging that I could tell at either spot. I left the stock hollow with the intention of filling it with lead and capping it off if need be and I think I’ll do that. Even though I don’t think it needs the weight, the hollow pipe does come up full of sand and mud which is inconvenient.




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