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Events


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Questions


I've had several people ask me if I liked my 28 ft. Cape Dory and would I recommend others to buy one. Here's my answer.

I have had my Cape Dory 28 for 6 years and have been very happy with it. They made the 28 from about 1975-1983. I have a 1983 hull # 358. They did a few design changes over the years so the 1980's may be considered a little better bet. There are lots of bargains out in the boat market today. I kept the original rig - a club footed working jib for brisk to heavy winds and a 140% genoa for light winds. The hanked on sails are a little work ( vs a furling headsail) but they really sail very well. The working jib is a single sheet which make short tacking easy. If you're not up to the work you may want to get a boat that has been converted to a self furling head sail. The Cape Dory 28 is a very sweet sailor -9000# displacement with a Carl Alberg design hull makes for a comfortable ride in various weather conditions.She may not be the fastest but she's a cruiser that points well and is easy to sail.I even have a tri-radial spinaker on mine. The compromise is the 9 ft beam means a modest interior with about 6 ft headroom. My boat is powered by a Volvo MD 7B diesel (18 hp) which is a great work horse but a little loud and slightly smokey.I would consider buying a larger sailboat but I like the one I have too much.

Tips


Small Volvo Diesel Owners Tip

I knew that NAPA carried fuel and oil filters for my MD7B but I just found out they also have water pump repair kits, thermostats, and other small repair parts at great prices compared to Volvo.

Wash Your Lines

Ever have a line get wet with saltwater? How many times has your anchor line been wet with saltwater and then dried? The point is that salt build-up on lines is going to happen. The salt crystals can cut away at your line's fibers making them weak and old before their time. So, get out a large garbage can and the garden hose and clean those lines. I like to start by soaking them in just plain water for a day. Then rinse and rinse until most of the salt is out. I finish with a wash with Joy dish detergent and another rinse. I lay the wet line out to dry and now I'm ready for the season with (almost) salt-free lines.

Change Lines Ends

Well, I'm certain all of you washed out your lines after my last tip. Now that your ready to put them back aboard - reverse ends. This is a great way to change the location of your line's high wear points. I know my anchor line never gets but halfway out normally but when I do use the full length I would like not to have half of it wornout and half of it like new. This may require adding a thimble and eye splice to the other end - no big deal - do it. If you are looking for motivation checkout the replacement cost of your lines and divide by 2. Is it worth it?

More Storage Space

My Cape Dory has twin 30 gallon water tanks placed under the main cabin berths. This large water capacity would be great if I were planning a long distance cruise but since I normally weekend cruise around the Chesapeake Bay the water usually gets stale before use. It is an easy job with a screwdriver to remove a tank to gain this additional storage space. Before removing your extra tank consider your boat balance. My choice was to remove the tank on the same side of the boat as my fuel tank. Additional hatches may be required to access this new space. Don't modify anything to prevent you from reinstalling the tank. You never can tell that Bermuda trip you alwayed dreamed of may come true.

Docking

I know this tip may seem obvious but I tried many ways to dock (mostly single handed) before learning this simple approach.

Before arriving at the dock determine the wind and current direction. If possible plan to be heading into the current and/or wind. Slow down and aim for about a 45 degree angle course to the closest corner of the dock. If the dock has lines available fine, if not prepare one for the first available piling. When you are about 1 to 1 Ĺ boat lengths away slowly swing your boat parallel to the dock while reducing speed. All this is pretty normal stuff. The trick is to get one stern quarter line secured as your boat coast to a stop. The location of this line should be approximately half way between your boatís mid-section and the stern cleat. On my boat the genoa sheet winch works well. If properly positioned the boat can be held against the dock with a slight thrust from the engine. If the line is too far back- the bow will hit the dock hard and if too far forward- then the stern may swing out away from the dock. After establishing the stern quarter line proceed with your remaining lines. Everyoneís boat and differing conditions may require adjustments but this arrangement has worked for me- most of the time.

Dinghy Towing

To be safe and sure when towing an inflatable dinghy use two separate lines led to your two stern cleats. Once I tried using one line in a bridal arrangement to make things easier. This arrangement may work fine in normal conditions but it is not good if there is strong wind and waves. I started out solo one day with a normal stiff breeze which picked up to about 20 -22 kts. with 3 - 4 ft waves. During a gust the dinghy became airborne and flipped. An upside down dinghy acts like a good sea anchor making it impossible to pull in and turn over without stopping. After hoving-to I was able to right the dinghy and add the additional tow line. With the dual arrangement you can shorten the lines making it impossible for the dinghy to flip. It only took me one experience with a flipped dinghy to stick with dual towing lines.
TWO LINES ARE BETTER THAN ONE.

Sounding Pole

I don't know about your depth finder but mine is not great with depths less than 5 feet and soft bottoms. There are also those times when I run aground and would like to know which side of the boat has the deep water. To handle these situations I have made a simple sounding pole. The pole is made from 1/2" CPVC pipe with end caps. Add a small amount of sand to the pipe before cementing the end caps on to give the pole some ballast. The pole can be marked in feet using paint. The nice thing about this pole is that it works well but is flexible enough to be tied to my lifelines following the curve of my boat.

Small Outboard Motor Care


Some of us will know what we should be doing for small outboard motor care BUT we donít do it. Hopefully after reading this tip those of us who know and ignore will start to perform these simple steps.
First things first is to know your small outboard. Completely read the owners manual cover to cover. I know I have never done this until a problem has occurred but I do know that after reading the manual I always find out something new. Fuel mixture ratio with the correct oil is very important for 2 cycle engines. In my case I luck out since I have a 4 cycle Honda. The age and condition of your fuel is also major factor in preventing problems. A small amount of water in your fuel or a full summer of aging in the sun can make the best engine run poorly. The most critical operation required to prevent motor problems is to run all the gas out of the unit before letting it sit idle for more than a couple of days. Allowing gas to evaporator in the carburetor into a gummy gel is the number one problem of small outboards. After ensuring that youíre doing the right stuff for your fuel system, make certain that your water pump impeller is changed at least every other year and that the plugs are in good shape. Running the outboard in fresh water once a year can help eliminate salt build up in the small water passages. A small repair kit with a replacement shear pin and emergency pull cord is a good idea to have with your small outboard. For a more detailed winter storage routine checkout http://www.omc-online.com/DockTalk/maintenance.html


Prepare for a Hurricane


With all the excitement with Bertha I thought it would be timely you go over some of the things you can do to prepare your boat for an approaching hurricane. The first decision is where to put your boat.

1. Leave it in its slip.
2. Move it on shore.
3. Take it to a mooring in a " hurricane hole" anchorage.
4. Go to sea.

While all the above have their advantages and disadvantage, I'm going to assume you are leaving your boat in its slip.

The object first is to reduce the windage of your boat. Remove dodges, biminis, awnings,sailbags, and other objects that may cause problems in high wind. You may choose to remove your main sail but if you don't be certain to add lashing to the outside of the sailcover. This prevents the sail from coming loose and destroying itself in the wind. If you have a furling head sail have it furled tightly and secured. You may want to remove your topping lift and secure the boom end on deck. It also makes sense to remove any electronics or other valuables from the boat that might become damaged by water. The rail mounted outboard should be removed and taken off the boat.

Next look at your boat and imagine it floating 4-6 ft above the normal high tide. Loosen all bow and stern lines leaving lots of slack. The position of the boat in the slip should be maintained with plenty of long springlines. Place fenders along the pilings or the dock where the boat may end up in case of line failure. Test the movement of the boat in all directions.

The last word of advice is to have your boat properly insured. You cannot get a policy enforced a day or two before the hurricane hits. If you want insurance get it now.

Take all warnings seriously. I know recently that many hurricane warnings have resulted in little to no storm damage giving everyone the feeling that all this preparation work is needless. No one can predict exactly where hurricanes will hit so accept the fact it could hit your area. Preparation for a hurricane- Just Do It!

Getting Off The Bottom


If you cruise in the Chesapeake Bay this tip should come in handy. Much of the bay is shallow and sometimes when you least expect it - bump - youíve run aground. Fortunately the type of bottom most commonly found is sand or mud which is generally harmless.

The first suggestion is prevention but I admit that I have had my fair share of groundings. Sometimes itís accidental but other times Iím just pushing my luck to explore that special location.

The first thing to do when you feel your boat first touch is to make a quick decision. Do you know where the deep water is and can you get to it? Many times a slight brush with the bottom simply means quickly changing course and sailing or motoring out to the deeper water. If that is not the case then first take the time to survey the depth around your boat to determine which direction is the best way out. Check to see if the tide is rising or falling. If it is rising take your time and the tide may just float you off. On a falling tide one must work quickly. Try moving the crew out on the rail or the boom to get your boat to heel. On smaller boats rocking the boat with crew movement may help. If the water is warm have the largest crew members go swimming to lighten the boat and have them nudge the bow in the correct direction. When all else fails use the mast as a long lever to heel your boat over. You can put out an anchor perpendicular to your boat and then attached it to the halyard and winch your boat over. If you get assistance from a motor boat have him heel you over with a line attached to a halyard. Most boats draw very little water when heeling over with their rail is in the water but beware- this could cause trouble with wing keel designs.

If all else fails then set out your anchors to maintain position and wait for high tide. Iíve found some of my most enjoyable anchorages stuck to the bottom. Cruising is fun - so keep it that way. If youíre aground waiting for a tide change then go swimming, read a book, fix a meal, play a game or any of the other things you love to do. Donít let it ruin your day.



Staying Onboard


Do you have a safety harness and a proper fixture to secure it to on your boat? Well as the water temperatures start to drop so do your chance of survival if you happen to go over the side. A life preserver is good but that still means that the boat has to come back and find you. This is very unlikely if you solo sail like I do.

On my boat I have permanent jacklines made of 1/4Ē rigging wire which run from bow to stern on both sides. They are stretched fairly tight so that I donít trip over them. Other types of jacklines are made of heavy harness strap material but those are usually removable since the sunís UV exposure will weaken them. Even a spare line run from the bow cleat to the stern cleat will do in a pinch. The object is to avoid attaching to the convenient location of lifelines or their bases. Lifelines are generally not constructed to take the forces generated by your safety tether and they also do not allow you to travel very far before having to be detached.

If you donít have a safety harness please get a quality one that fits. This is not the piece of equipment to cut corners on cost. Cheap one are cheap - A good one will cost $80 -100 at a discount store. Fancier models are available which have built-in flotation and other horns and whistles. Get one - Wear It - Use it properly -It could save your life.

Feedback from a reader

From: Allender- NZ
Subject: jack stays
Gidday Jim
Just had a quick look at your pages and noticed your thoughts on jackstays and you said you keep them fairly taut. This it not a good idea as the force that is exerted on them should one fall is far greater than if they are kept as loose as practical. If you imagine a tight rope walker on a taut rope and one on a very loose one that sags down say 45 deg you will find the force on the fixing points differs greatly. No doubt the mathematicians amongst us could say but I suspect around 10 times eg I'm 80 kgs which means nearly a ton if my lines are tight. I sail a 26 foot keeler Ron Holland designed built in timber around 1977 sloop rigged with a lot of seaworthyness and a lot of fun. Going back to your site now. Rick Allender

I agree with your comments. The forces are very high on the vector analysis of the taut line with a deflection perpendicular to the line. The point you make is a good one and that is the reason I use 1/4" stay wire with backed up thru deck U bolts for end fittings. The same analysis is true for those who use lifelines and it is the reason you can't depend on them. My choice is based on the fact that I can use the jackstays easily and have oversized them for the forces. My suggestion to use line in a pinch may not be great but better than nothing. If you are interested I'm an engineer and the math is quite simple. The angle with force applied = about 8 degrees.( from pulling on actual stay) For the force let's use 400#.( The person doesn't weigh that much but allows for momentum) You have two sides supporting the load so the force on one side is 200#. The line tension = 200/ sin 8 deg. = 1437 # (your guess of 1 ton was close)This does not account for the hanging up on lifelines, sheets or other stuff but it does allow you to play with the numbers. The fact that the wire stretches makes a big difference because if the line remained at a 1 degree angle the forces would be 11,460 # WOW! Slack lines have less force but may cause tripping or tangling. Taut lines (or better -less slack lines) allow easier use with much high forces. Thanks for the feedback Rick

Cooking with Gas


Onboard "Entropy II" I have an old fashion pressurized alcohol stove. Iíve learn to operate it properly and it works fine for low to moderate cooking temperatures but it really is slow when boiling a quantity of water. For my pressure cooker or pan frying a steak it just doesnít produce enough heat. If I had a larger boat Iíd certainly consider installing a built-in propane stove but the requirements for proper installation is really not practical on a 28 ft. boat.

My solution is my single burner sea stove and I love it. This stove uses a single one pound propane cylinder and has a gimbal mount on a detachable bracket. I have one bracket located next to my alcohol stove and one outside on the stern rail. For normal cooking I always use the sea stove first. While it is working I still have available the 2 alcohol burners which serve fine for the simpler task like warming up vegetables. During the hot summer I put the sea stove out on the stern rail and prepare "one pot" specials in my pressure cooker. With the propane as my main burner I find that I can go 7 to 10 meals on one cylinder. Refilling my alcohol stove tank has been more than cut in half.

Propane gas is heavier than air so please take the proper precautions. Do not store the propane cylinders in the cabin or in the lockers. I have a bag attached to my stern pulpit which holds three cylinders. After cooking I always return the propane tank to its storage bag. It may not be fancy but Iím cooking with gas.

Cabin Top Traveler Installation

Russ Campbell modified his Cape Dory 28 from the standard end boom main sheet arrangement to a mid-boom with a cabin top traveler. I am interested in doing the same to my boat. Here's how he did it.

The installation wasn't hard at all. The hard part was buying 8" stainless steel bolts to go through the teak blocks and through the cabin top. No I didn't reinforce the cabin top. After drilling through it I found out its like 3/4" thick and I put big backing plates under the bolts. I cut holes in the head liner to access the nuts and covered them over with thin blocks of teak. I used a 5 to 1 mainsheet system and led the sheet up to the gooseneck and then back to the cabin top winch which seems to be more than adequate to sheet it in. I haven't really found the sheeting force to be that big a deal. It only takes a couple of wraps around the winch and I can crank the sheet in 30+ knots of wind with no trouble at all. Also we used a 4 to1 system on the control lines and even with the main fully loaded in the worst wind even my wife could pull the car up to center line and beyond. The real bonus as you mention is the gain in cockpit space and the fact that you don't have those sheets dragging through the cockpit every time you tack ( or especially jibe). The sail also handles much better and you can control the main better. You can take some of the heel out ( which my wife is appreciative of) with the traveler. It was kind of expensive mostly because I also put in a new mainsheet system using Harken blocks (1540) the price for everything was around $1000.

Rub Rail Upgrade

For many years I lived with the bare teak toe/rub rails on my Cape Dory. While the teak rail is very pretty, it is totally useless as a rub rail. Whenever arriving at dock I was constantly avoiding any contact with the rail to protect them. When tying up along side of a dock I had to use many fenders to ensure nothing would touch the soft teak railing. Hence, I called them my rubless rails.After too long of a delay I finally added the required metal rub strip.

My decision was to go with stainless steel. If I was going to add the strip to protect the teak I didn't want to go cheap and use aluminum and worry about it getting damaged. I got my rails from West Marine (model 408278) in 12 foot lenghts and predrilled on 6" centers.I started at the stern and worked my way around the boat fastening with #8 screws. I also used a little silicon sealant to bed the strip.For the ends at the bow I used tapered rub rail ends (model#202390).The total material cost was under $200 and it took about 2 hours for the job. My only regret was "Why didn't I do this sooner?".


Chart Symbols and Terms Manual

This tip of the week came by way of a Christmas gift from one of my fellow workers. We exchange names at the office and give each other gifts during our Christmas party. My standard is to pick something like a peanut gift box which is easy to find and certain to be consumed by the receiver. This year I received a sailing calendar and the Nautical Chart -Symbols, Abbreviations and Terms Manual. This manual is great and the topic of my tip.

The Nautical Chart -Symbols, Abbreviations and Terms Manual is prepared jointly by the Dept. of Commerce (NOAA) and Dept. of Defense (DMA). It has all the keys,symbols,notes,and terms to explain everything found on NOAA charts. I had the actual Chart #1 (a training chart of somewhere in New England) which on the back gives most of the key information but it was never handy when I needed it. This manual is laid out well by listing items in groups as well as alphabetically in the index. I can't find my chart #1 to compare it to the manual but I know I like the manual better and will keep it close to my navigation station on my boat. My suggestion is to buy the book for yourself and also keep it in mind for a great gift for that fellow sailor.

Once is Not Enough

How many reefs can you take in your main sail? If the answer is one, plan this winter to get your sail to a sail loft to have an additional reef added. If your answer is two, then could you use another? I had a very high third reef sewn in my Cape Dory sail soon after I purchased the boat. I can probably count the number times I used the third reef on one hand but when I need it , it was great to have. Does your boat have roller furling on the headsail? Is your headsail very large? You may want to consider a jiffy reefing for your genoa. I had a hanked on 140% genoa and an 85% jib, which created a large hole in my sail area range. I know it's a little unconventional but I had a reef added to my genoa to reduce it down to about 110%. No, it isn't as easy as roller furling but it works. The reefed 110% sets well and has allowed me to keep my genoa up much longer than before. Reefing is much easier than changing headsails. Before adding the reef there had been numerous time that I had taken down the genoa and hoisted the jib only to find it necessary to put the genoa back up one hour later. So get with your trusted sailmaker now that business is slow and talk about adding an extra reef. Next cruising season you'll be glad you did.

Know your Knots

For this week's tip I'm going to break away from my usual format and send you out to another link. I have avoided doing this up to this point since I hate the number of pages on the web with little content and only links. However, I was impressed with this site and I think you will enjoy it. It shows you a variety of simple knots and explains how to tie and use them. Besides I can't think of a better way to spend that cold winter's night than with a short piece of cord practicing tying your knots.

Ropers Knots Page


Cruises


Unique Tangier

If you are looking for a place that is unique Tangier is the place. This small island is located right in the middle of the lower Chesapeake Bay. The only public transportation is a ferry run from Crisfield,Md. During summertime an additional ferry for tourist is run from Reedville. This little fishing village is an example of tradition and culture unsurpassed anywhere. The main industry is the shedding of hard crabs into its delicate softshell state. Tangier watermen do this better than anyone else. While their watermen put in long hard hours of work, tourism now supplements the island's economy.

To get to Tangier get out your charts- hopefully recent ones. Both the east or west entrances are O.K. but do watch out for the target ships if entering from the east. If arriving at night don't mistake the airport beacon for a navigation aid or you will end up on a large rock breakwall. If entering the east at night watch out for the black can buoy SE of the east channel entrance. The only sensible place to tie up for the night is Park's Marina, located on the east end of the island. Before backing into a slip be prepared for a strong current which runs through the channel.


What to Do?
1.Relax
2.Eat a softcrab.
3.Walk to the far south end of the island.(Most people don't walk that far- standing on this lone beach spit is awesome!)
4.Eat breakfast at the Chesapeake House
5.Learn about the history. (Very interesting during the War of 1812)
6.Meditate (I find the rushing sound of water from the crab shedding operations very peaceful.)
What not to do?
1.Buy alcohol.(none on the island for sale)
2.Trespass- stay off private property unless invited.
3.Irritate the locals-It's their island-respect them.

Tangier Update


I know I already covered Tangier Island in one of my past cruises but after my recent trip I thought an update would be timely.

First, I discovered a new anchorage this summer at Cod Harbor.( X marks the spot) The water depth is 8 ft. almost right up to the beach to the south. This location does not offer any protection from an east wind but is O.K. in good weather. The openness of this place is what gives it its beauty. You get the feeling that you are right in the middle of the Bay- and you are! A small channel through the north marsh is a short dinghy ride to town. I caught several fish right at anchor. I don't expect this to be a winter stop but keep this in mind for those hot summer nights.

While Tangier is in full swing through the tourist season for getting something to eat, you may now find that the larger restaurants are closed. Not a problem. Head to Lorraine's Sandwich Shop located down the alley from the Corner Restaurant.(Ask if you can't find it.) This place is a charm. Serving mostly locals you'll find this the best deal in town. I had the oyster sandwich and my son Mike had a pan pizza with ice cream for dessert. My sandwich was delicious and there were no complaints from Mike. The variety is great, the service fast, and the company pleasing. Go and enjoy it!

Finally for you rock fishermen - this is where they were two weeks ago. The rock were schooling and breaking the surface around the wrecks to the west of the island. Fortunately for me in a sailboat the completion with other fishing boats was light so each boat had its own group of gulls to chase. I would coast into the pack and cast out a bucktail and caught a fish about every third cast. The sizes would vary from 15" (too small - legal is 18") to about 22". It was great fun.


Calm and Quiet
The Occohannock Cruise

This is a special location which I cruise to often. The Occohannock Creek is where I grew up and where my parents live. I avoid the hustle and bustle of traffic crossing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel by zipping across the bay from the Piankatank River to the Occohannock and dock my boat at one of my parentís neighborís dock. The Occohannoch Creek is not for anyone drawing over 6 feet of water. The small channel leading into the creek shoals to around 5 ft at low tide around the "5" daymark. The key is to go slow and on a rising tide. (1.8 ft.is is normal tidal range) Once inside the "6" daymark youíll find plenty of water assuming you have a current chart and use it. The channel can be followed all the way up to Shieldís Bridge but I suggest you drop anchor around Pons Pt. (Northeast of "R16"). Supplies can be found a little futher up at Davis Wharf. For the real adventurous folk there is a public landing at Morleyís Wharf which leads 5 miles to the town of Exmore. If you like to fish or crab donít forget to bring your pole or chicken necks. Get out your dinghy and use it to explore the coves and headwaters.


Kiptopeke and the Concrete Ships

If you have never visited the concrete ships at Kiptopeke you are in for a real treat. This location has an attractive and unusual view with a beach park on shore. The concrete ship bulkhead was built after World War II to provide protection for the ferries which used to cross the bay. They offer an overnight anchorage right in the Bay itself. A few years ago the State of Virginia bought the land at Kiptopeke from a private campground and made it into a state park. They have added on to the existing facilities and currently have campsites, a fishing pier, protected beach with lifeguard, and decks over the beach dunes.

The one thing tricky about Kiptopeke is finding the best anchorage spot. First a strong current runs parallel to the shore here and changes direction with the tide. If the wind is out of the southwest there is usually an ocean swell which builds as you near shore. In this case it is usually best to stay out in the deeper water near the ships. If the wind is from the north your best bet is to anchor just south of the fishing pier. In either case you may want to consider laying out two anchors if the wind and the current are playing tug-a-war with your boat.

Things to do;
1. Check in with the park rangers to learn the rules.
2. Swim - ocean like water
3. Fishing - One of the best spots on the bay
4. Explore the park and have a picnic

Things not to do;
1.No marina facilities- have your fuel tank full and your head tank empty
2.Have poor ground tackle - This place demands good equipment and anchoring knowledge.
3.Forget your dinghy - going ashore is a must

In Search of Pirate's Treasure
A Trip to Grog Island

Last weekend my six years old son Mike and I went out for our first overnight cruise without the rest of the family. We had a ball! The wind was just right for a nice bay cruise so I left the Piankatank and headed for Grog Island, just around the bend from Windmill Point. I knew the island would offer us plenty of fun after anchoring and I wasnít disappointed. We explored the island looking for pirateís treasure, swam, fished, and crabbed. Later that afternoon the strong south breeze was making our anchorage a little bumpy so I opted to head up Dymer Creek for Georgeís Cove. This is a very snug area with plenty of water depth and good protection. After a restful night sleep, Mike convinced me to visit Grog Island again the next morning before heading back home.

Grog Island is located on the north side of the mouth of Dymer Creek. There is a deep channel leading to the north point of the island. An easy approach is to start from the "7" daymark and head north. Once clearing the entrance shoals youíll find 8 -10 ft. of water in the protected basin. This is an unusual place where (if you dare) you can beach the bow of your sailboat on the tip of the north beach and still have 5 ft at your keel. The steep drop off around the north point of the island offers an ideal place to fish from the beach. For crabbing or wading the east shore has a shallow shelf. The island does have a little wooded area but beware - It is full of poison ivy! The protection from the weather is good from all direction except the south. If in my case the wind is brisk from the south, then head up Dymer for either Georgeís Cove or Ashleyís Cove. One warning, Grog Island is a very popular place so expect to share this gem with several other boats on a busy summer weekend.


Quick and Easy - A Stop on Mill Creek

When heading north up the bay I find myself searching for a place to tuck into for the night before making the stretch between Smith Point and the Patuxent River. What I am looking for is a place not too far from the bay but with good protection and a nice setting. Mill Creek is one of my favorite choices.

There are many different Mill Creeks on the Chesapeake Bay. This cruise is to the one located near the mouth of the Great Wicomico River. To begin your approach head SW from the Great Wicomico Light. Use your charts and be certain to pick up the correct ď2Ē daymarker - not the one WSW of the light. Once inside the creek continue to follow the daymarkers until passing the ď5Ē. For the next one-half mile upstream just about anywhere will offer a good anchorage.

While youíre there, break out the dinghy and go exploring. This creek has some interesting coves and headwaters. The lovely surroundings begs to be enjoyed. If you happen to meet up with a swan -Beware! I was first greeted and then attacked by a swan on one of my site seeing rides.

Mill Creek is a great place just to be lazy. It is quiet with very little boat traffic. If the weather looks threatening donít worry, the shelter offered in Mill Creek is more than adequate. Iíve sat out some major thunderstorms there with relative comfort. Chart of Mill Creek

Mid-Bay Cruising

This Cruise of the WEB comes from one of my readers Jimbo. He has the following suggestions for mid-bay cruising.I had asked him about Taylor Island Marina and other mid bay spots.Thanks -

Hi Jim,
OK, Taylor Island Marina is a different marina; rustic and laid back. One of the best things is the fee. Regardless of the size of your boat, the fee is $30. If you go there (back in Slaughter Creek), you MUST go over to the village store/resturant/bar for 2 crab cakes, french fries & cole slaw...all for $9.95...goodddd! Yes, you can go there by either bicycle or dinghy as you can see this place from the marina in the distance...we always go by dinghy. You can also choose to eat an evening meal at a 'bed and breakfast' located right at the marina. The USCG has a crew there. They use to have a station there, but reduced it to only a patrol boat about 2 years ago. If you go there and can not reach owner via VHF while coming in, just tie up on T-dock/end of pier and make yourself at home. Forget combo for head...ask 'Coasties"...or, just try to get in as most of the time the door does not lock ...pay in morning.

Yes, we have been in 'back door' to St. Mikes many times over the years...all the way back to the last 'Y' and then to the right leg, towards the waterman dock, about 100-200 yards and drop anchor...I'm 5ft. draft. Oxford - we always anchor back in Town Creek across from Crockett Bros. Marina and water tower...dinghy in to Crockett Bros. dinghy dock..you are welcome there. We were there last spring when store burnt.

Cambridge Municipal Marina is fairly cheap place ($1/ft.) and your bicycle will come in handle...I bike also.

Another favorite in that area is Saw Mill Cove, up La Trappe Creek...depending your draft how far back in you can go. Sept. 1983, a bad storm/cold front pushed us back in there (we then had a Rhodes Continential 22ft. then) just by luck. We went from shorts that morning after leaving Oxford for Cambridge and by the time the front went thru, we were in long pants, sweaters and jackets. We liked it so much that we stayed remainder of afternoon and evening as ducks and geese came down in water out from the small cove we were anchored in. Another favourite in the big Chop Tank is Dunn Cove, up Harris Creek, to port after coming thru Knapps Narrows. Have been going all of these places in big Chop Tank since 1983...Dunn Cove is pretty open unless you go back in toward the farm (stay away from point w/woods coming in as shoal comes wayyy out before turning back into farm cove), however, we have rode out many bad storms there...one Sept., on way to Crisfield, we had the worse storm w/hail like marbles...no problem...visibility was down to zero during that storm. This is always our 'kick off point' when heading for Solomons. Also up Broad River, off of Chop Tank, are many place to anchor. Last year (July 4, 1995) we went back in Grace Creek almost to the crab processing plant, dropped anchor and I dinhgied in with bicycle and ask if I could tie up someplace out of the way...guy said, "Sure". That is in the village of Bozman...from there I rode down to Neavitt dock where watermen come in and back to Bozman..~ 12 miles believe.

Also up off Broad is a Calk Creek, which we went there last year for first time, quiet and peaceful, beautiful sun set that evening which we could watch until down all the way.

I mentioned a couple of these places in trans that I lost to you sometime ago...never had that happen before or since.

Oh yes, if you go into Solomons, we like to go all the way up past Spring Cove Marina (best fuel prices there) another mile maybe to a little cove with brick home on point and a boat barn back in cove...another quiet and peaceful, well protected...only brick home near, woods on other side. St. Leonard Creek on up Patuxent is an interesting creek if you have never been there...we went there 3 years ago to Vera's Marina/Resturant...very different, but kind of expensive food, marina cheap...once so we can say we were there.
from JimBo aboard "MI AMOUR"


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