So many projects had been completed over the summer and now it was time to really see how well I could handle this classic boat on my own.
Days were getting shorter and nights more chilly and so, with October drawing to a close, I knew I had to get S/V SeaSprite pointed in a more southerly direction. The first stage of what is likely to be a very protracted journey with many long breaks was a three day sail from Herrington Harbour South on Herring Bay to Regent Point Marina on the Rappahannock River.
Leaving early morning on Friday 25 October I headed for Solomon's Island. With the exception of my pre-reefed mainsail coming "unreefed" when I hoisted the sail, the first day was just pure fun. Sailing south on a very broad reach there was lots of surfing as S/V SeaSprite made great time averaging over 6 knots for the 40 nm leg. At Solomons Island I tied up to a floating dock at Calvert Marina. While not a "resort marina" I found it to be very cruiser friendly. The floating docks are very nice and the "Bistro on the Bay" is a first class restaurant just steps away from the slips. The sunset was absolutely amazing!
The next day was characterized by very light wind. I was able to make about 4 knots under sail for the first three hours before the wind died completely. After motoring for another two hours I reached the mouth of the Potomac River where I was greeted by a nice breeze. Unfurling the genoa again S/V SeaSprite was soon coasting along at 5.5 knots. The entrance to the Great Wicomico River was simple and I was soon docked at the Crazy Crab Restaurant & Marina.
The most challenging conditions of the trip occurred on the final day's cruise from Reedville to Regent Point. The wind was blowing a very stiff 22-25 Knots out of the NW which made for a relatively easy and very fast run under double reefed main and single reefed genoa South from Reedville but once I made the turn to the West at Windmill Point I was confronted by a very disorganized sea state created by the confluence of wind and outgoing tide from the Rappahannock. For about an hour or two S/V SeaSprite really got a bone in her teeth, laid her rail down in the brine and demonstrated her strength of character as we cut across the chaos. Once in the lee of Windmill Point the rest of the trip up the river was a joy ride.
S/V SeaSprite has now reached what is likely to be her winter home. There is a chance I will get an opportunity to keep heading South over the Christmas holidays but I suspect the weather will be prohibitive. For now, she is safe in her slip at Regent Point Marina and I continue to work on refit projects and look for opportunities for short day sails on Rappahannock.