Category Archives: Cruising

2013 Fall Cruisers Enjoy Beautiful Weather


Our Fall Cruise this year seemed to be a rerun of the Spring Cruise with the final participation winding up with only two boats.  The cruise was held October 4-6 and while the winds could have been a little heavier they were not bad and the weather was near perfect for a cruise.  Tony and Mary Stajkowski on Coventina and me with Ron Hrabak as crew on Babe made up the “fleet” that caravanned to Sandy Point to begin our cruise.

Our first leg was to Selby bay in the South River a distance of 10 miles.  I actually sailed for three hours against a slight current and then finished the day off motoring- a total of about 4.5 hours.  It was a pleasant day on the water without much boat traffic.  We rafted together for cocktails and had a pot of chili for dinner.  Coventina split off and we had a restful night as the night was calm.

Saturday morning we took our time getting started as we only had to leave the South River and go into the West River a short sail of 7 miles.  However the wind was light and the tide slightly unfavorable.  So after floating around for much of the day the motors came on and in we went to Pirates Cove.  Our slips were together and a stone’s throw from the outside dining area.  A nice hot shower made us whole again.  After cocktails we had dinner overlooking our little boats sitting quietly in their slips.  A few drinks, pleasant conversation, and music coming from the bar area every time the door opened sped the evening along.  Sleep came easily that night!

On Sunday we decided to forego breakfast at the marina for a lighter one onboard in order to get a quicker start.  A good following wind virtually all day made for a nice ride back to Sandy Point 12.5 miles away.  I elected to make a long tack off the wind which made the trip longer but still arrived back in 5.5 hours.  The trip was made even more enjoyable as we watched the races off Annapolis and I saw more spinnakers than I have for many years.  An uneventful drive home topped off a most enjoyable cruise.  I’m already looking forward to the next one!  Tom Stoner

Spring Cruise 2013

Dinner at Waterman's

Dinner at Waterman’s

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.

Fall Cruise to Annapolis 2012

On October 5 two cruisers from Havre de Grace and Rock Hall set sail for Annapolis while three trailerables launched from Sandy Point. Just as Tom Stoner, Joe Rutolo, and Tony Stajkowski arrived at Sandy Point we learned that Tony’s trailer blew a wheel bearing and he was unable to launch. Several phone calls later BoatUS came to the rescue and Tony was back in business.

It was a beautiful sail to Annapolis. The wind was perfect, the sun warm and the sky blue. After a little confusion finding our respective slips we settled in and were treated to a wonderful beef stew dinner by our Fleet Captain and host, Donna Ferron. There were drinks, appetizers, singing, laughing, and good fun among the eleven of us who gathered on Donna’s boat.

On Saturday we took the water taxi to the boat show and split up into smaller groups to make navigating the crowded show a little easier. There was much to see and we spent the afternoon climbing around on our favorite dream boats and perusing the many stands selling every imaginable boating product. We met for dinner at Castlebay Irish Pub, which was a great choice with good food, good drinks and none of the crowds found at the mainstream restaurants closer to the Boat Show. The water taxi took us back to our boats in the dark and we battened the hatches in anticipation of the predicted heavy rain.

The rain didn’t come until morning and we were able to get underway while there was just a drizzle coming down. We put up our bimini in time for the heavier rain. As we turned north toward the Bay Bridge we found ourselves sailing nose into the wind. It was getting cold and our progress was very slow. Finally, as we approached the bridge, we took down the sails and cranked up the motor. Tony wisely motored the whole way back and as expected, Tom kept sailing until the last minute. The rain stopped in time for de-rigging and lunch, and it was an uneventful trip back on the road.

In spite of the rain on Sunday the trip was a sound success and another opportunity to sail to a great destination with our best friends.

Joe Rutolo

Op Sail 2012 Photos from Neil Hoffman

The Spring Cruise – Op Sail 2012

Our Spring Cruise to Baltimore was awesome!  Many thanks to Donna Ferron for putting this one together.  The first nine photos are by Joe and Michele.   Inner Harbor photos are from Conrad Vanino.

BVI 2012 by Captain Borneman

The British Virgin Islands 2012

During the week of April 21-28, 2012 thirty-five members of BMSA chartered seven boats from Sunsail Headquarters in Road Town, Tortola and set sail for a wonderful week of exploration.  Many thanks to Mike and Kristel Adair for planning and organizing a most awesome trip to one of the world’s most beautiful places and for picking what may have been the best week of the year to do it.  The weather was perfect and the experience was amazing.  Photos by Joe and Michele.


BMSA Spring Cruise 2011

Relaxing at Drum Point aboard Obbligato


The Boats

Neil Hoffman and Judith Kraines, Obbligato (Sabre 30)

Joe Rutolo and Conrad Vanino, Allegro (Precision 21)

Tom Stoner and Henry Borneman, Babe (O’Day Mariner 19)

John Pittman and Donna Ferron, Halcyon (Catalina 30)




The Cruise

Day One: 18 June 2011

This should have been day two for Halcyon but engine trouble kept her in her slip in Rock Hall until Friday morning, thus she made the approximately 40 NM trip in one day. Allegro and Babe put in at Shipping Creek boat ramp. Obbligato braved the Small Craft Advisory on Thursday and the notorious shoaling north of Kent Island Narrows. Allegro, Babe and Obbligato arrived at the Drum Point anchorage with plenty of time for a sundowner raft up.

Meanwhile, Halcyon tacked through a southerly wind and 2- to 3-foot seas on the outside of Kent Island until storms threatened from two directions. Halcyon’s crew dropped the sails, closed the hatches, donned life jackets, stowed the mother below and turned on the motor. The southern edge of one storm fortunately only produced a light rain until Bloody Point, the deepest part of the Bay, was rounded. The mother was let out of the cabin and Halcyon valiantly motored as fast as her 11 HP diesel could take her towards Drum Point to meet up with the other boats. To the south another more violent storm approached from Alexandria, VA.

Halcyon motored through Eastern Bay with the sun setting on her transom. She passed uneventfully by Rich Neck and Tilghman Creek where the crew would have anchored the night before. Upon reaching the mouth of the Wye River, the radio broadcasted a severe thunderstorm alert warning of strong winds, hail and cloud-to-ground lightning. By now it was dusk. The sun set behind the clouds in the west. To starboard the crew watched the dramatic dark clouds and impressive lightning display as the broadcasted storm moved towards St. Michaels. Thunder rumbled. They decided to head towards Shaw Bay instead of pushing on to Drum Point, which might have taken another hour in unfamiliar water in the dark. The anchor was dropped, the storm passed, and the crew set about making dinner. Obbligato radioed with the news that the Drum Point anchorage (chosen in part because it was new to everyone) was wonderful. Great. Wish we were there, especially since Halcyon’s crew had planned this trip. The hosts missed the first day of the party.

Shaw Bay is the first cove on the right after entering the Wye East River. This was Halcyon’s first time in Shaw Bay and it was Halcyon’s first time anchoring without being part of a raft. A few homes lined the shore and that night only three other boats shared the anchorage. It was absolutely quiet. The storm had passed to the south over St. Michaels but did not reach Shaw Bay. There were no sounds of cars or civilization other than the occasional airplane. Every few minutes a fish jumped and broke the silence as Halcyon’s crew watched the clouds pass in front of a big orange moon that rose over the water.

The mother was content. Life was good.

Day Two: Sail to St. Michaels 19 June 2011

Halcyon’s crew awakened at 0630 to a sunny morning and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast while watching a few small fishing boats going about their work. A cow-nosed ray splashed around the boat. Around 0900 all the BMSA boats made radio contact and began the sail to St. Michaels.

Allegro and Babe were first out of the gate. About an hour later Halcyon left Shaw Bay followed by Obbligato. The day was sunny with a wind that promised a good sail. The crew took in the scenery they had missed the night before and looked forward to sailing to St. Michaels. Halcyon  raised her sails at the mouth of the Wye only to hang in limp company with those of Allegro and Babe who tried to gain distance with each stingy puff. At one point Babe seemed to be drifting backwards into Prospect Bay.

Finally, a wind blew that was strong enough to get the three boats into the Miles River. Allegro and Babe, with the advantage of being able to tack outside of the channel made progress while Halcyon was left inside the channel at the mercy of the power boat wakes. Surely each and every one of them had an emergency to attend to given their speed and total disregard to their wakes. Halcyon finally lowered the sails and motored through the narrow channel to where the river opened up near St. Michael’s harbor. There she once again raised her sails and tried to find some wind while waiting for check in time at the marina. Behind her Babe and Allegro continued their sail up the Miles River, happily tacking in tandem and seemingly inured to the larger power boats around them. Obbligato was seen motoring into the harbor.

Once settled at St. Michaels Harbour Marina the other crews hit the pool while Halcyon’s crew walked into town for lunch. While contentedly eating a delicious lunch at a saloon, they witnessed a seemingly miner fender bender in front of their window. This miner incident brought out the police, an ambulance, two fire trucks and the fire chief all importantly clogging up the small main street. The waitress informed the crew that nothing much happened in St. Michaels that these honorable public servants could respond to so an accident, even one this small, was almost an event.

Dinner that night was at St. Michaels Crab and Steakhouse. Babe’s crew had a fascinating philosophical discussion over each other’s menu choices. After dinner Halcyon’s crew was lost and then found in the bar and one of Babe’s crew went missing after being given firm instructions to wait by a tree while the rest went to locate Halcyon’s crew. BMSA members know how to make a simple dinner into an adventure.

Back at the marina several members retired to Halcyon for lively post-dinner conversation and Babe’s missing crew member finally appeared. The mother, who had not joined the other members for dinner gave a report on the antics of other boaters entering the marina. A glass of wine and a cockpit facing in the right direction is better than New Jersey Housewives on TV.

Day Three: 20 June 2011

The crews (all present and accounted for) ate breakfast at the marina and then prepared for departure. Obbligato left first to catch the high tide through Kent Narrows, Babe and Allegro then headed back to Shipping Creek.

Halcyon faced another long trip around the outside of Kent Island, so planned to anchor that night in Claiborne Inlet in Tilghman Creek and continue the trip home in the morning. They arrived at Claiborne around noon, dropped anchor and settled in to listen to the Phillies game over lunch. The crew experimented with a method for repelling flies given at breakfast by one of Babe’s crew and finally decided that he was laughing all the way across Prospect Bay. (See the Tips column)

Tilghman Creek has a tricky entrance and it is not advised to attempt entering for the first time without plotting a course on a paper chart and following it closely or having an electronic chart plotter to guide you. Once inside, Claiborne is a very small cove to starboard that is extremely tranquil with plenty of wildlife to watch. Halcyon swung at anchor much more than in Shaw Bay but held just fine.

Day four: 21 June 2011

The next morning Halcyon’s crew awakened to a moderate rain and a crab boat closely circling their boat. One crew member said good morning, the crab boat was that close, but received no response. Departure was delayed a few hours due to the rain and the man in the crab boat periodically circled and checked his lines. As soon as the rain subsided to a drizzle the crew discussed a strategy for weighing anchor without running over the crab pot markers. There was little room for error because of the depth and how close the markers were to the boat. As they made their preparations to weigh anchor the man circled one more time and when it was time to leave it was discovered that he had pulled up his crab pots on that last pass. He must have watched for signs that Halcyon was leaving.

The return trip to Rock Hall was uneventful with almost no wind and the water near the Bay Bridge and Rock Hall almost like glass. It was the exact opposite of the beginning of the trip days earlier. By 1800 Halcyon’s crew sat in Harbor Shack restaurant in Rock Hall eating hot wings.

The Appeal

BMSA plans races, day sails and cruises for all members. It is a great opportunity for new members and members without boats to get on the water. Multi-day cruises give members who trailer their boats but who may only have experience sailing in local lakes the chance to sail their boats on the Bay with members who also trailer and are experienced obtaining ramp permits, dealing with the Bay tides and the often unpredictable weather. At times, there is space available for extra crew.

The next overnight trip is planned for 13 August when we will sail to a marina in the Eastport section of Annapolis on Back Creek, have dinner, putz around Annapolis and return the next day. At least two experienced trailer boats will be going and Halcyon has room for (comfortably) up to two people.

We have a great time and so far have started and ended each trip with the same number of people and boats. What better incentive do you need?

Donna Ferron

Spring Cruise 2011

This year’s Spring Cruise to the Wye River on the Chesapeake Bay is scheduled for the weekend of June 17-19.

Trailered boats will launch at Shipping Creek boat ramp on Kent Island. All boats will anchor out on the Wye Friday night.  Some of the group decided to anchor out both nights and some have elected to take a slip at Harbour Inn Marina in St. Michaels, MD on Saturday, June 18.  There is always plenty to see and do in St. Michaels.

So far five boats are committed and two more are interested.

Individual boats must make their own marina reservations: 410-745-9001 or  800-955-9001

If you’d like to participate contact Fleet Captain Donna Ferron.