Choptank Chomp and Romp

About a month ago I got an invitation to go sailing. I said, “Yes”. Had I known the conditions would be cold, wet and blowing, I may have reconsidered. I’m glad I had only suspicions as the time. Romping along the Eastern Shore’s Choptank was a blast. We sailed on my buddy Kevin’s Catalina Capri 22 “Big T”, a nice design and good sail-er. We met up meet up with Phil, Doug and his Cornish Shrimper “Tidings”. The sheltered harbor had pleasure and work boats that caught our eye. The mix provides the town with a nice feel.

the schooner “Adventure”
Adventure again
Skipjack
Harbor mural

Outside the breakwater entrance, winds were a steady 20-24 mph with gusts near 30. The sail was lively.  Anxioous to see how Big T sailed, I hogged the tiller all the way into the Tred Avon where Tidings tried to overtake us under full motor, but alas Big T turned her head and rolled on ahead and turned the corner past Oxford’s Strand to visit Cutts and Case Boatyard up the creek there. One of the Cutts brothers, Ronnie, loaned us his truck to shop for track slides that had blown out earlier in the day. We took our time studying the many beautiful old wooden boats there.

A Ralph Wiley design
the piers
Fine catboat with inboard rudder

Heading back out the creek, we passed the motorboat Tidings again and sailed up the Tred Avon to Easton. Big T reached along.

motorboat “Tidings”
workboat at speed

We rafted up for a good dinner by Chef Doug. An after dinner snoot warmed us enough to shove off and anchor for the night. It was still blowing good. The next morning we found ourselves aground 100-150 yards downwind. Motoring failed to release the bottom, so we raised sail, hung from the shrouds and with a buff had enough healing moment to slip away. Breakfast was back rafted. Hot coffee was welcomed. A decision was to sail over to the Little Choptank. That was the last we saw of Doug, ship and crew.

Over canvassed with the only reef in the main and a small jib we bashed into the Choptank. Soon we dropped the jib to carry on. With those 30 mph blows, we still had too much sail.

Choptank bashing

After a couple hours of wet and wild, we cracked off to head into San Domingo Creek. Since we never saw Doug and Phil venture out, we figured they had abandoned the plan early. Later Kevin was phoned that the journey had been made. We’ve yet to be given proof. It was a subject that kept Kevin awake throughout the night. I half thought he was ready to raise sail and go verify.

Back of St. Michaels
Workboats there
Good scenes

We touched bottom a couple times before settling on an anchorage. The sunset was quick and the cold dropped on us. I can’t recall what we had for dinner other than pumpkin pie. We retreated to sleeping bags and were likely out by 20:00. We did awake around midnight to have another taste of pie and yacked for maybe an hour. The likelihood of Doug and Phil getting to the Little Choptank without our noticing was of course revisited. Two deserts in one night is a good deal and aided in crashing until sunrise.

Early morn

Hot coffee and biscuits the next morning started us off as we had a wonderful early morning beat back down the creek into the Choptank and rolled home on a reach.

Cap’n Kevin

It was some exhilarating sailing, some fun conversations, and good pie! A great few days. Thanks Kevin!

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