Annapolis – A Yachting Capital

8 Jun

We thoroughly enjoyed Solomon’s Island, it was a terrific place but now the mooring race was on! Our strategy was to get up even earlier to set off for Annapolis. We let the lines go at 0615. The winds were fairly light and quite on the nose but before long we got our jib and mizzen up, then eventually the winds died. Our water pump was being cranky so we had to slow down and coddle it. Sailing on the Chesapeake is much different than on the ICW as there is no intense navigating with buoys farther apart and depths Much more generous. We haven’t quite figured out the current, Reeds tide book isn’t making sense at the moment. As we approached Annapolis, more and more sails appeared, honing in like locusts on a bumper crop, then five little navy training vessels came out tooting their horns like cheeky ducks. It was a beautiful day on the Chesapeake. We picked up a mooring in Annapolis harbour at 1545, settled with the Harbour Master and went ashore to explore – what a charming town. We walked abut to get a feel for it with plans to be serious tourists tomorrow. Back on the boat we settled in with our prime seats on deck to watch the Wednesday night races – more boats on a weekday night race than Chester Race Week! And the finish was quite the scene – they started and raced outside and finished up at the top of the inner harbour by the opening bridge in a piece of water about 100 yards wide! A turning mark at the green nav buoy just in front of us funnelled them into the inner harbour. There was a fleet of about twenty J105s (Sean and Carla), as well as J35s (Thane), J30s, J24s, J70s, J120s (Phil), J22s, Etchells, H20s, Farr 30s, Hereshoff 12 1/2s (my dreamboat!), A handicap, C handicap, two lovely schooners and even a remote control sailboat tooting about. What a sight. There were race committee boats, photo boats, and spectators lined up on the bridge – and then we joined the fray, jumping into our dinghy to go check it all out. What a day.
Mother Natures rules again. Tropical Storm Andrea has just made her presence known so we were here for another day or so – and as well waiting for a spare water pump as ours is misbehaving. We are on a city mooring which is helix style (literally screw into solid ground beneath the water) so we’re good! In Annapolis there is a dinghy dock at the end of almost every street, marinas everywhere and hundreds of boats. Annapolis is great – we walked and walked, and also saw a bit of West Annapolis and Eastport – and battened down for the coming weather. The water activity here is wonderful and a constant source of entertainment. We dinghied back to the boat for dinner and the rains began.
Wet, wet, wet today. The badness is that more leaks reappeared (suspected culprits: hatches, eyebrows, windows). The good is that by 1940, still no real heavy air, just some big gusts. We are feeling quite soggy. We spent the morning touring the Naval Academy which was pretty awesome. Through their four years they are known as plebs, then youngsters, then juniors and finally, firsties. It is a rigorous training – leadership, academics, and sports. Even getting accepted is a big achievement. One huge “dormitory” houses all 4400 midshipmen – today 23% are women. We visited the model ship room as well as their history museum – who knew, they won the War of 1812! The grounds are beautiful. It is a fascinating world indeed. We were soaked by the end of it all. Then we dinghied over to Eastport to pick up the new water pump… Then dinghied back in to showers and wifi (Starbucks). Thoroughly sodden we made our way back to Gypsy to steam up the windows!

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