Back In Time- Smith lsland

“Got to be true to myself”. That is hard to do in today’s frenetic paced life. Sailing wipes away those distractions and allows one to focus on what is important, here, and now. Such was last week’s sail with the motley crew of Mike, Kevin 1, Barry, Pete, and Kevin 2. Light winds greeted us at Janes Island near Crisfield, MD. Two Marsh Cats, one Haven 12 1/2, a Welsford Navigator, and UNA made up the mid-week fleet. All boats were in by 13:30 where we motored or sailed down to Back Creek. Winds and tide were contrary. Kevin B. in Slip Jig offered UNA a tow. We accepted. Are you still a sail and oar boat if you are assisted?

Tow from Slip Jig

1/2 mile on, we reached the mouth of Back Creek (looks more like a small bay) we raised sail and the chase began after the other boats. UNA traded tacks with Slip Jig several times before she got her footing and took after Jack-A-Roo and Little T. What was a fresh breeze took a lull as UNA and Miss T crossed the shallows of the southern lip of the Annemessex River southeast of Crisfield. We passed my iconic dream house. I wonder how long it will hold out.

Nearly a 1 house island.

Drawing up the centerboard and rudder, we skirted over grasses. Miss T saw turtles. We missed them. The breeze languished, but we had enough to push on.

Peter’s beer. Sorry pal.


Sneaking up on Little T

I find if you set the sails right, UNA will know what to do afterwards. I was hardly moving the tiller at this point. I’m so proud of this boat. After tacking 30+ times up Tylers Ditch toward Tylerton, we gave up fighting the current and headed back to a spoils area near G1. The breeze kept the bugs at bay as we 5 boats raft for dinner and cocktails. The wake from the ferry caught us as masts between Slip Jig and UNA clattered. Rookie mistake. Masts should not be abeam.  As the breeze piped up we left Miss T’s anchor and huddled closer to shore. There must have been 1,000 seagulls on the spoils. They didn’t appreciate our presence and let us know it … all night. Pete started an earplug business. Rentals for $10 a night. Setting up the tent still needs fine tuning. Leaving the main mast up was a dramatic difference from use as a ride beam and centerboard lowered. The gunwale loops proved too smart by 1. Snaps may be better served. Driveway tests only go so far. Otherwise, the night was restful. A wool blanket over the new air mattress is a great improvement.  I may have to sissy out and bring a legit pillow next time.

Dawn was welcomed. The first ferry out of Tylerton rocked the fleet around 0630. The sunrise was spectacular.

early passing ferry



Breakfast was cut oats and coffee. Good on a cool morning.

Storing the tent and goods, we set chase for Jack-A-Roo to complete the beat up Tyler Ditch to Tylerton.

photo by Barry Long
Jack-A-Roo and Mike

This time we beat the current and slipped into Tylerton to view from the water. Generally these islands are clinging on. Sad really. There are too many causes, but the small communities are still charming and picturesque, representing simpler lifestyle. One fellow we met later in Newell over lunch blamed TV. I found it hard to argue. How much of our life have we wasted watching the boob tube?



Kevin “2” and Slip Jig, a Welsford Navigator. Pretty.

From Tylerton we turned west and sailed along Rhodes Point. There is a stark beauty here.

As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls- Pat Metheney

This is a video from an old Canon Sure Shot. Not too crisp, but the flavor is there.


Sailing along Rhodes was slow and easy, allowing us to take it all in. Rounding up to Newell, Mike in Jack had hid rudder unship and decided to motor back to Janes. The rest of us ate at the only place open with the season early. The famed crab cakes from Rukes will have to be another trip. Since the weather was predicted to get worse, we headed back to Janes. Pete and Barry gave us a tow into the thoroughfare east as the wind had quit. Shortly afterward the breeze grew and I decided to put in a reef. It was 15 steady and gusting to 20. It was a fighting beat up the Thoroughfare back into Tangier Sound. Great fun, but I think my centerboard is shorter after using it repeatedly as a depth sounder.
Once out, it was a close reach all the way home. Some great sailing was had.
It was a long day, but satisfying. Mike shared his camp site. I made chicken, rice and eggs using my brothers special chipotle sauce.


Sunset was brilliant. I pitched a tent and was out. Didn’t even hear cars pulling into the camp later on. Next thing I knew it was 0600 and raining. Mike and I checked out the water from Crisfield after McD’s. A rough and wet day was observed so, I packed up, said good-bye, and went on to Oxford to meet up with someone to sail another boat the following day. The rest of the crew stayed 2 more days. Beautiful weather did return. It always does.
Beating through the Thoroughfare. Credit: Kevin Brennan.

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