Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hampton - at the city docks

There's even anchorage right off the Hampton City Marina
Our slip at the Fishing Bay Yacht Club was difficult to get into. We had an end dock we approached on our starboard side but there were four pilings on our port side, like you were funneled into the slip, very narrow for our 13 ft beam. We made it in last night without touching since it was relatively calm but this morning was a different story.

The way forward was blocked by a rope, don't know why - so you had to back out, always interesting in a sailboat - especially when the backing lane is so narrow between the pilings. We thought about it, planned and then casting off the lines, we started backing - only to drift much too much to port and towards one of those outside pilings! In an attempt to get away from that piling, we had the wheel hard to starboard ( to get the aft end to go in that direction - we were backing) but the boat was not responding. To avoid hitting the piling looming up on our aft end, I put the engine in forward and saw the end then swing over hard to port which was the opposite of what I wanted to do -at first - but then saw that we started to head between two of the outside pilings towards open water! With that revelation, I then put it in reverse to continue the escape and was successful. To a disinterested observer it may have appeared that we had planned the whole maneuver, boy would they be wrong! Let it be said that in the future we'll think about such a maneuver a little more!

The finger docks are half-length at Hampton City Marina
We had 42 miles to cover so we motor sailed south. If we weren't concerned about worsening conditions, we could have sailed more but we wanted to get into port before the afternoon. We are not impressed with the fall sailing conditions in the Chesapeake Bay. This is the second year where it's been a trudge and not enjoyable - always waiting for a weather window to head south. There were a bunch of us piled up at Solomons Islands for days - waiting. Now we're out of the Chesapeake and headed down the ICW on Friday. We'll take advantage of the "pay for two days, get the third day free" offer of the city marina and rest up. It works out to only $0.83/ft per day and Hampton is an enjoyable town to explore and the crew at the marina are the best anywhere in helpfulness. They even brought out a step for us to use in getting off the boat.