► National Offshore Grand Prix: October 4, 2014

SATURDAY 4 OCTOBER 2014

Journey: Triple L Estate – Patuxent River – Triple L Estate – Tiki Bar, Solomons Island – Island Getaway, Solomons Island – Anglers, Solomons – Triple L Estate

0652 high tideThis morning we had an incredibly high tide. With over 2 ½ hours before high tide water had already begun to cover the pier! The odd thing, we haven’t had any major storms, or even rain, to justify and explain such an excessive tide. As the water quickly overtook the pier I prepared for living in a waterworld. I paddled my stand-up paddleboard to the shore as well as tie down both the jet ski and the row boat in the hopes of keeping them in place.

Sam, Kathy, and I planned on leaving at around 11:00 in the morning to go out and watch the National Offshore Grand Prix races at Solomons. With water already over the pier by 9:30, and high tide scheduled for almost 11, I thought we wouldn’t be able to get to the boat. I considered trying to find a neighboring pier that stayed above water – but that was not going to be an option. All piers were going under.

I called Sam to let him know the situation. He said he was ok with walking through water since he planned on wearing flip flops. Knowing he was game, I lowered the boat into the water and then turned off the electricity running down to the pier. When Sam and Kathy showed up, the water was still well over the pier. They took off their shoes, hitched up their pants, and waded through about a foot and a half of water to get to the boat.

0653 coast guardI had printed out the race information which included a map showing the race course and the spectator area. I knew that Coast Guard would be patrolling both ends of the race course. As we approached the bridge I slowed down to almost a crawl to allow the Coast Guard to easily approach. We yelled over to the vessel, as it approached, that we were aware of the race course, the spectator, and the rules of the restricted area. I let them know we had the map and planned to anchor as designated. After this they let us pass un-boarded.

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The original spot I wanted was in fairly deep water. Even with 75 feet of chain I could not get the anchor to set. A neighboring boat said they had paid out 130 feet for anchoring. With the high winds and rough water we could not get set. Instead, we moved to an alternate location that had an underwater point which stretched out offering shallower water in which to set the anchor.

Shortly after getting ourselves set, Paul showed up on his jet ski. I offered to have in come aboard but he stayed out on the ski. The high winds made for a VERY chilly day, especially in the shade. Fortunately, the pilot house offered significant relief from the nip in the air. Between the first and second race Lori arrived, in full wet suit, on the stand-up jet ski. We tied her off and let the jet ski drift off the stern. Fortunately, I had thrown a few towels on board so she could dry off a bit, warm up, and throw on a jacket we keep on the boat. She is now the first person to board our boat by water.

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At one point, while socializing, Lori asked, “Do you see the rope going through the ski’s nose?” Nope … as the ski continued to drift further away. Lori quickly donned her wetsuit gear and life vest then dove into the water to swim after the free floating ski. She returned, doing a much better job of making sure the ski was securely tied.

1145 stephani rickShe watched most of the second race before deciding to zip over to the Beach. Shortly after she left, Rick and Stephanie showed up with a couple of friends. I threw them a line so they could tie off and drift behind. Only Rick same on board, our second boarding by water. They had never seen our boat, but found us because they recognized Sam’s shirt from Kathy’s earlier posting. I’m impressed they found us.

1177 bridgeThroughout the day clouds covered the sky, then disappeared only to reappear again. During one reappearance the wind also picked up, significantly. All the ladies drifting in Rick’s boat donned sweatshirts and pants. I told them they could come aboard – pointing out the pilot house – but they remained on their boat.

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I sent a message to the Beach so they could inform Lori that Rick and Stephanie had arrived. When she left the Beach she did again cruise by the boat. By this time the wind, and race wake, had churned up fairly significant rough water. As she cruised by she called out … slurred out … “I’ve had quite a bit to drink.” With that she headed towards home. At the end of the final race we pulled anchor and headed for home. I had already received a message from Lori that she had made it safely home so I didn’t worry about looking for her along the way.

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1503 parade bye herThe new neighbors were moving into their new house today and had a large number of people helping. As we entered the cove Lori heard one of the neighbor kids call out, “BIG BOAT.” I wonder if the kids are impressed to see the big boat belongs to the house next door.

1516 parade punisherAt around 5 pm Lori and I again took off on the boat for Solomons Island. I wanted to go to the Offshore Grand Prix Boat Parade. Buzz and Carol had already said we could raft up to them, or one of their kids, all of which would be at the Tiki Bar. When we arrived someone had 1526 parade tug italready rafted up to Lance so we pulled alongside Krissy and Patrick’s boat. Without question we threw them lines and they tied us off to their boat. I then informed Patrick, “Your parents-in-law gave us permission to raft up with you.” He was fine with that, obviously. We had 1536 parade chug itbarely finished our tie up before Patrick and his buddy climbed onto our boat to check it out.

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We stayed to eat at Island Hideaway, my first time to visit this restaurant, Lori’s second visit. Afterwards we offered to meet them at Anglers, if there was dock space available. When I turned on our navigation lights the red light came on, but quickly went out. Drat. We arrived at Angler’s to see it PACKED. With the wind, and with it being dark, we did not want to bother with finding a slip on the interior where we’d have to worry about navigating in close quarters. Instead, we turned around and headed for home – a smart decision.

On the way home we encountered significant wind and waves coming directly at us. Rough water at dark proved a bit nerve racking since you couldn’t really see the waves in advance, although we saw plenty of white caps all around us! Harsh wind tore through our cove as we approached our pier. The wind caught our boat so dramatically as I tried to enter our slip I had to abort my first effort and try again. During our second try the wind again caught us and started to push us around. Unbeknownst to me, Lori grabbed the “brake” and pulled it tight at midship. Doing this caused a pivot point for the boat which swung it around so drastically we were almost diagonal in the slip. With a great deal of effort we finally completed what is now the ugliest docking I have ever done.

Time: 11:15 am – 4:25 pm; 5:00 pm – 8:50 pm
Engine Hrs: 50.4 – 51.5; 51.5 – 52.8
Conditions: cool, quite windy, choppy water; cold 58 degrees when sun went down
Vessel: Beneteau Barracuda 9

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