September 18, 2006

Sailing South

We're now enjoying Cartagena, Colombia, after several months of cruising in Panama. Our current trip began in September 2005. Our new, to us, Finnsailer 38 motorsailer was launched at the beginning of September. 

We sailed to Westport, Massachusetts, stocked up the boat, sold our cars, and headed south after working at the Newport boat show. The first leg was a motorslog to Block Island against wind and a nasty chop. I've never been a great fan of Block in the summer--too crowded and no room to anchor safely. But, in the fall it is much more laid back and we enjoyed a brief visit.

A typical fall cold front whistled through and provided us with strong (single reef) winds that sped us southward to Cape May, New Jersey. Offshore we had an odd argument with a cruise ship that insisted we should be showing a red over green masthead light at night, which is only required on very large sailboats.

The weather turned to the south at Cape May so we raced up Delaware Bay in time to catch a favorable tide through the C&D Canal, which allowed us to anchor in the head of Chesapeake Bay just after dark. Then another front came through and we had a wonderful swift sail down to Annapolis. We've never had such a fast and easy trip to Annapolis--basically four days from Block Island.

I worked the Annapolis boat show for Ocean Navigator, while the rain tried to sink our dinghy--day after wet day. We thought we'd never use our full canvas cockpit enclosure, but we sure enjoyed having it with all the rain and cold. In fact, we've found that we can roll up the sides, leaving the upper canvas to protect us from the sun here in the tropics. It is a bit of a pain as the main sheet comes down into the cockpit and therefore we have to tack the canvas if we tack the main, but we still love having that sun protection.