Memorial Day cruise on Chesapeake Bay

By Steve Vollers

Matt, Erin & I returned home Tuesday night from our Memorial Day cruise 2002 on Chesapeake Bay in our MacGregor 25. (Cindy had decided to sit this trip out as she was still getting over a flu bug so we e-mailed her digital photos as the trip progressed.) After a 4 hour drive, we launched the Little Rascal at Oxford, Md. Friday afternoon. We spent each night on the hook and covered 100 miles of water.

Erin at 9AM                          Matt at 9 AM

Erin and Steve enjoying morning coffee

Our destinations: head of the Tred-Avon River, "back-door" to St. Michaels (off Broad Creek),and Trinity Church on Church Creek off the Little Choptank River.

"back-door" to St. Michaels                           Sailing the Little Choptank River

We enjoyed our trip very much and did a lot of laughing. We met some interesting people, ate well, and appreciated the environment. We saw lots of wildlife: osprey, ducks, swans, big fish (at least the splashes at night seemed big), and of course turtles

One of the turtles we found

Playing Canasta was a big event on this cruise

but we also watched some DVD movies on the laptop which was a nice diversion. Weather for our whole trip was perfect with lots of sun. We used # 30 sun-screen but got burnt anyway. There weren't many bugs but we put the screens up each night just in case. Both Erin and Matt learned a lot and I feel very confident in their abilities to handle a sailboat.

Matt in the Dingy                           2 Great Kids

Also, Erin became an excellent navigator and Matt was the best cook aboard!

Matt Cooking

Our improvements to the Rascal last season really made this trip better: refrigeration, auto-pilot, 45 amp alternator on outboard,sailing bimini,

Alternator                           Matt under the bimini

depth sounder, whisker pole, barbeque, gps/laptop navigation and a re-built trailer. We once achieved a max speed under sail of 7.2 knots over the bottom (neutral current), 7 knots a couple of times and a 4.5 - 6 knot average most of the time. We "raced" and "beat" boats larger than ourselves and the entire crew was up on the weather rail "hiking -out" on one occasion when we were charging up the Choptank river on a close-haul running neck-and-neck with a 30+ sloop on the same course. "Iron-Mike" our autopilot handled all but the most challenging steering tasks (running down-wind in quartering seas) and has changed the "feel" of our little sailboat. Sailing her is now much less stressful and we are able to experiment with sail settings for best speed very easily.

Perfect Homework Environment

Our hunger for adventure is satisfied for now, but we are hoping to plan another cruise sometime later this summer.