Return of Euro Trash Girl, Part 3
Charleston SC to Annapolis MD – April 19-24, 2015
Wednesday, April 22nd we were blessed with a beautiful spring day. Not sure of the exact temperatures but the smell of suntan lotion was in the air as we enjoyed the warmth of the sun on our pale skin that had been covered up all winter. The morning hours to about lunch time consisted of minimal winds requiring the always reliable diesel to be fired up. Again, no big deal since our batteries and fridge needed to charge and the drivers could kick back and relax a little. Not sure if I mentioned that Euro Trash Girl is not equipped with auto pilot technology, thus requiring the driver to remain completely focused during their 1 hour stint at the wheel.
During our slow periods there were always odd jobs to be done, boat inspections were constant, cleaning
the head top to bottom was dreaded but routine, dishes needed to be washed, logs needed updating, food and drinks were prepared, and keeping track of water consumption were just a few of the things that kept us busy during our watch. Obviously we would rather be sailing under full sails but motoring at a consistent 6-6.5 knots proved to be the optimum speed to attract FISH!
Charlie, Kent and I were having a great watch with all of this fishing activity going on! At some point we noticed traffic in the area via AIS and had to adjusted our course a couple degrees. It was nice to finally see another vessel in the deep
blue sea. Watching the horizon we spotted a tug towing a barge so we put him well to portside. You can see in one of these photos that the barge is pretty far behind the tug, I understand that the distance between tug and barge can be much further so I prefer to pass them in the daylight hours!
Once the coast was clear we continued with our fishing and lounging. Someone spotted an object not too far from the boat and realized it was an old sea turtle who surfaced to take a look at us! Then Charlie noticed some activity to his left and another pod of playful dolphins decided to thankfully avoid my lure and head for our bow to show off for Kent!
It wasn’t long before noon would arrive and the next shift would stir from their bunks and come up top to hear our tales of the big one that didn’t get away! We actually only kept one bonito and the rest were caught and released avoiding the skillet that awaits their compadre! The winds would gradually pick up to a 10K from the S-SW with 2-4 foot seas so we raised the sails. Capt Tony would soon asked me, “OK skipper, with the current conditions what’s your recommendation regarding sails?” I said….”Uh, our speeds are still relatively low and I would continue to motor sail a while?” he said “that’s fine, but what other sail options with the current conditions might be appropriate?”…….”Uh…SPINNAKER!” Now I’m not a racer, but I was surrounded by racers so it was fun to watch everyone do what they obviously knew how to do! All I needed to do was voice the command to prepare to fly the kite and the rest came naturally to this experienced crew.
I thoroughly enjoyed trimming the spinnaker, Kent is a great coach! I really need to take advantage of JWorld’s Thursday night races out of East Port and ask to crew for Kent! The afternoon consisted of great sailing around Cape Hatteras and what made it better was that we decided to prepare the tuna since everyone was awake. We had limited spices onboard and would have to be creative, why did I forget soy and wasabi?! Kent and I looked around and found salt, pepper, hot sauce, a bottle of some kind of teriyaki marinade and we had some oranges left, perfect! We had 4 large filets, so we prepared the first 3 filets differently, pan searing in a really hot pan until each piece was perhaps medium rare. After a vote the final filet was prepared with our favorite spice concoction, outstanding!
Perfect sailing days much ultimately come to an end. As nighttime fell weather conditions began to change. The unpredictable winds would once again begin to swirl and the seas would get rougher as we approached the Chesapeake Bay. Sometime before midnight I would awake in my midship bunk to sounds of activity on the deck. Still in my role as skipper I meandered over to the stairs and looked into the cockpit, it was getting rough out there! Heeled over Kent advised that we needed to set a second reef and this was well done in the darkness. Charlie, Tony and I were soon on our watch and these rough conditions continued. Our course was 017 magnetic heading towards the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel and we prepared to pass under a section of the tunnel. We were still a couple miles away and our speeds were roughly 7.5-9 knots. We were hailed on the radio by the harbor master who advised that we were heading towards an ongoing dredging operation at the bridge and that a tanker was approaching us on our
stern, we advised we would keep the dredge to port and he was satisfied. Not seeing either yet we stayed the course. Soon the dredging operation was in sight and we kept them to port. Once past the dredge we could see the navigational aids at the bridge. We had planned to fire up the diesel before crossing under the bridge, but unfortunately the winds began to diminish well prior to that and the sails began to luff. As we began to furl the jib it became crossed and was not cooperating. With a serious chop in the water Tony secured his safely line and made his way to the bow. It seemed like an eternity in these rough conditions for him to finally release the jib as I was able to properly furl. Once safely through the bridge we continued to motor sail, main only with 2 reefs. The tide of the bay was heading out and the ride was extremely rough, we were probably making 4 knots. It seemed like at every 3 waves ETG would drop into a trough with a spine tingling thud. This crazy rodeo ride would continue for several hours. As daylight appeared the oncoming watch would be well aware of the current conditions as they tried to gracefully jump into their foul weather gear.
Once on deck the wide eyed crew moved forward to drop and secure the main sail which was of no use to us at this point.Hugging the outer right side of the channel to provide the many passing large tankers their rightful space we proceeded up the Chesapeake Bay. With the continuing rhythmic pounding of the boat I can’t tell you how happy I was to see the sun rising. I don’t know who had the gumption to grab my camera this morning, but they thankfully captured a beautiful mackerel sky above us that I admired through tired eyes. To be continued… (read part 4, the conclusion, here)