Friday, May 11, 2012

Chesapeake City - At anchor

Calm now - had 25 kt winds at first
The Coast Guard had a small craft advisory out for today but we looked at the forecast and decided that it was fine for our boat so we headed out anyway. We did get an early start knowing that the higher winds usually come in the afternoon. In the direction of the Chesapeake - Delaware Canal, the bay narrows as you proceed northward so any high winds have less of an effect on the wave action. Regardless, as we approached the entrance to the canal, the winds piped up to over 20 kts, topping out at 24 kts! With that we took the mainsail in and entered under bare poles.

Main street Chesapeake City
Chesapeake City has a large anchorage area for visiting boaters, free of charge. In fact they also have three free docks too but we prefer to anchor when possible. Being the first ones in the anchorage, we had the choice of the best spots but there was plenty of room for others. That brings up one of the boating rules. Recall that Rule 1 was  "Wind is always on the nose", Rule 2 was "Phone calls are always when docking". Now comes Rule 3, "When first in an anchorage, all later boats will anchor right next to you" - Even when there's plenty of room elsewhere. It's like a herding instinct for boaters. I've noticed the phenomena all up and down the ICW. Tonight we were the first in and boat number two thought the second best spot was right off our bow and boat number three liked our port side, real close. Meanwhile, the rest of the spacious anchorage as well as the free dock was empty, go figure.

New range finders for the approach to the canal
Both boats did provide some entertainment in anchoring. Boat number 2 tried our port side but couldn't get his anchor to set and finally settled on our starboard side after a few tries. Boat number 3 tried at least four times to set their anchor which included circling us three times in the process. I guess they figured that I had found a spot that held an anchor and they wanted to share in the security of a good set. There is no secret here, all you need is a modern anchor (Spade or Rocna, for example) and chain. There are lots of opinions on chain but I use 60 ft of 3/8 inch BBB chain for weight to form a good catenary. I entered the harbor, Ann headed into the wind, stopped the boat, I dropped the anchor as she backed, laying the chain on the harbor floor in a line (not piled up!), snubbed the anchor, causing the boat to stop. No rev'ing in reverse! The backward motion of the boat is enough to set the anchor. It will continue to get a better bite with the back and forth motion of the boat and increase holding power thereby. The entire procedure took less than 5 minutes and we're done for the night, no sweat - easy.

We're headed to the Cohansey River Saturday for an anchorage and then on the Cape May the next day, hopefully.