Tuesday, August 16, 2011


While there are many practical reasons to single hand--the crew may be injured or sick, it forces you to understand the rigging and procedures better, and it frees you from the schedules of others--there is a more selfish reason. A few times each year I go on a short cruise, just for me.

Day one. No pictures. I forgot the camera. In fact I didn't plan much at all. I threw some food in a cooler--not carefully planned since there is always non-perishable stuff on the boat and I fish--and hit the road. I didn't pick a destination until on the water.

The course? A beam to broad reach was easy and pointed me toward good cruising grounds. I picked a small creek when I felt I'd sailed enough, one not in the cruising guide and relatively secluded. I fished, swam, did a little sewing and splicing, and polished some windows, all at a lazy pace. If I don't do something, I just eat and drink.

Cooler. Wind around 10 knots. The sun annoys me when it get's too low for the hard top, but I hang towels from the edge and that works. I read. I slept in a bit; 10 PM is late for me and a 9 AM start is late for me.

Day two. I headed home earlier than I had hoped, but worthwhile as it avoided the violent thunderstorms that swept through later. I love single handing, but I'm not fond of it when it's crazy.

The purpose? None, really. Perhaps a mid-life crisis sort of thing, hoping to puzzle out where I go from here, but only deciding it doesn't matter so much. I've accomplished what needed accomplished and proven what needed proven. It's fine to wonder, but perhaps on a fool needs answers.


Note: the creek described above is un-named on the Chesapeake Bay Chart Kit and not mentioned in the guides. It's just south of Cummings Creek, off Harris Creek, off the Choptank River, at about 38 46.5N / 76 18W. Enter towards the south, just south of the flasher and blind, and you will find 6-9 feet well up inside, though the holding ground was questionable.

Instead of being surrounded by multi-million dollar mansions, as is every other Harris creek cove, it is framed only by marsh, corn fields, a working class farm house at the head of the cove, and a larger house (very well screen by trees) on the north side. An old skiff, one I saw tied up at a simple and tired dock by the house at the head of of the cove during my explorations the day before. gently woke me in the morning, as he began working his trot lines. The rumble of work boats, their engines just above idle, is the classic Chesapeake Bay alarm clock.


  1. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
    Mark Twain

  2. Given my history of rock and ice climbing, bike racing, taking long trips with my daughter, and loving my wife, my list of regrets should be short. But I'm checking the list, lest something important be forgotten.

    Time occupied by nothing special is on the list.