And then there were two…
This year’s Spring Cruise to the Chester River began with the expectation of five participating boats. Shortly after the list was compiled I learned that Tom Stoner would not be able to make the trip as he would be vacationing in England with his wife Jan. Tony and Mary Stajkowski were plagued by mechanical and electrical problems on their boat, and then, just days before the trip, we learned that Donna Ferron, our trip leader, could not make it because her partner and crew, John Pittman, would not be home in time from a business trip. To make matters worse, Michele and I were so preoccupied with planning and organizing a trip to California in early June that we forgot to make kennel reservations for our dog. With no one to watch our dog that left Michele home to be the dog-sitter. The silver lining of the trip was that with Tom in England, his usual crew, Henry Borneman, was now available to crew for me. So on the morning of Saturday, June 15 Henry and I, along with Mike and Kristel Adair, headed south for Long Cove.
After picking up our launch permits a short distance from the ramp, our boats were in the water by 11:30 AM. The wind was light, but enough to make for pleasant upwind sailing, with sailboat races all around us. The course markers were large and obvious, and we did our best to avoid the course while taking time to view the battles for position on the water. The sail to Lankford Marina was downwind and the going was much slower. Naturally, just when it was time to take down the sails the wind piped up and made an otherwise easy task a bit more challenging. After calling the marina on the radio we found our slips, side-by-side, and helped each other secure our dock lines. The first big surprise after docking was to learn the shuttle we had been promised to take us to dinner in Rock Hall had no driver. The driver was on vacation and decided at the last minute he didn’t want to come home. Apparently, he was having too much fun to come back to work. The marina owners promised to get us to the restaurant, but later informed us they had a commitment that evening and weren’t sure how they could get us there. While they were working on a solution we headed to the pool for a very enjoyable swim. A short time later the owners announced a solution: they were giving us the keys to their daughter’s brand new Chevy Malibu with just 5,000 miles on the odometer! Now that’s customer service extraordinaire! So with Mike driving and me navigating with my iPhone’s GPS, we found Waterman’s in time for our 7 PM reservations. We were given outdoor seats against the railing overlooking the harbor for a very pleasant view to enhance our experience. The food, drink, and conversation were good, adding to the day’s enjoyment.
On the way back, I made a navigating error and ended up taking us to the ramp where we launched instead of the marina, just a short distance away. It was a good mistake, so we thought, as it gave Mike an opportunity to move his truck and trailer to a better parking spot and allowed me to discover that I had not placed my parking permit on the dash where it could be seen. Unfortunately, when Mike and Kristel installed their sun shade their permit got moved to the passenger side of the dash and was not seen by the local law enforcement officer who gave them a nasty ticket. Geez…isn’t putting it on the dash good enough?
After a good night’s sleep on our boats we awoke just before 7 AM and I got coffee brewing on the alcohol stove. Henry slept so well on our boat’s new cushions he suggested parking our boat in his garage, since he slept better on-board than in his own bed! While coffee was brewing I took a look at the weather on my phone and learned small craft advisories had been posted starting at 10 AM. Uh-oh! We better get moving. We hastily got ourselves ready and launched by 9:15. We originally planned to head straight for the ramp so we could tear down and get on the road before the storms hit. Out on the water, however, the weather was actually nice; it was partly cloudy, but not threatening. And the wind was good, about 8-10 knots off our beams. So we sailed the area until noon and then headed in. Docking, trailering, and tearing down went reasonably well and we were on the road before any rain arrived. We stopped for an early dinner at Baker’s Restaurant and I was surprised to learn of such a nice place to eat along the way home. Approximately 4 PM the rain finally began during the middle of our trip home, but it was a light rain which didn’t cause us any problems. We arrived back home around 6 PM and called the weekend a success.