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I have noticed a trend. In much the same way that boat chores always take twice as long to finish as I think they will, it always takes twice as long to get somewhere as I think it will. The trip from Monday’s Solomons Island anchorage to last night’s St. Marys River anchorage in the Potomac River = 9 hours! Now, that was 9 hours of awesome sailing, with a portion of the time under reefed main sail, in winds up to 20 knots. We were tired but I can’t think of too many things we would rather have been doing. 🙂

Today was the forth day in a row of sailing with a Small Craft Advisory in effect. For the non-mariners that means winds in excess of 20 knots (I think). Sailing like that can be exhilarating but it does take some work. Shortly after exiting the St. Mary’s River this morning, we decided that we had had enough of taking waves in the face and thus it was time to reinstall our dodger. Doing this in 20 knots of wind and big waves was a tad tricky. We decided to try our hand at Heaving To to see if it would make it any easier. To heave to one simply needs to tack the boat without releasing the sheet on the headsail. There’s only one problem… we had our self-tacking jib rigged. To make this work I needed to go forward and secure it so that it wouldn’t tack. Believe me, I definitely had my harness clipped on to the jacklines while doing this. I enjoy living way too much to risk falling overboard in those conditions.

The excitement behind us, we are now anchored in the lee of a small spit of land in St. Clement’s Bay (with free Wi-Fi). At this rate I don’t think we’ll make it to Washington until Friday.

WTF is this? I’m glad they didn’t try to pull us over!

Note the area I listed as Crazy Corner, also shown on the chartplotter pic below. We were pointing as high as we could trying to get around that corner’s shallow section, while taking big waves on the beam. The breakers to our starboard didn’t make it any less exciting. Once we turned the corner and began sailing downwind, it was a cakewalk.

Today, just like yesterday, we were able to sail right into our anchorage. Now we just need to work on anchoring under sail.

It’s all worthwhile. 🙂


  1. That looks like a (the) M 80 Stiletto to me. You can be sure that they are not with the Chamber of Commerce.

  2. Why don’t you guys do shorter trips…like 4-6 hours, stop, sniff and smell the roses

  3. Hi Guys, glad to see you made is safely to St. Clements….its a great anchorage. I was wondering how you are able to get WiFi so easily….do you have a high power antennae and if so what is the brand? I’ll be out sailing tomorrow off of Cobb Island, so I’ll keep a lookout for you!

    • We do have a Wi-Fi amp. It is a N3. I think if you search that on this blog you’ll find some info on it. If not, just search n3 wifi on google.

  4. Personally, I think Tex has been holding out on us, and that’s his new boat! 🙂 Self-tacking jibs are wonderful, until you want to heave to, which is usually in the kind of weather during which you had hoped NOT to go forward to deal with the jib, which is why you have a self-tacking jib! However, all ended well, another beautiful anchorage. And why in the world would you be in a hurry to get to DC? Most of us try to avoid it! At least, when the cherry trees aren’t in bloom.

  5. Ah, that’s American tax dollars at work. At least it’s manned. They are testing another one at Pax River that is unmanned and likes to bump into cruisers.

  6. The M80 Stiletto was developed for high-speed military missions in shallow, littoral and near-shore waters. The vessel aims to realize Vice Admiral Arthur Cebrowski’s vision of a ‘brown-water navy’ for expeditionary combat in the 21st century.

    I doubt they would have pulled you over. More likely they would have blown you out of the water…lol.

    You are getting nearer the largest Naval base in the world in Norfolk, VA. You should start seeing some cool looking Navy ships soon.

    • It was certainly a surprise for us to see it. They had another boat trailing it (quickly!) so it was either just stolen and being pursued or they were putting it through its paces.

  7. What a bad looking power boat! Looks like something out of James Bond movie. Love your last picture … how tranquil.

  8. Hi guys, I think what you are doing is just awesome.
    We are planning to buy a catamaran and retire in the next 8 years. My wife and I (Kath, who is a huge fan of your site and introduced me to your adventure) are heading off to the Annapolis boat show for the Thanksgiving Weekend to look at all the catamarans, and gain further knowledge of what is available for offshore cruising in this type of boat.
    In your last email, you mentioned that you were noticing rust. I share your pain…new boat, , putting it through its paces. Banging around in the sea has a habit of dislodging bits and pieces, iron filings, washers etc, usually shows up in the bilges, and/or certainly shows which stainless fixtures on the boat that are low in nickel. Its all good though, because you can see it, and fix it before it becomes a problem..We look forward to reading your new adventures and gaining further knowledge about your PDQ and how it handles in different sea conditions.
    Wish you both well, and fair sailing…

    • Hi Ronald and Kathy

      Thanks for the comment. We love our PDQ even though we sometimes lust over the space of the larger cats that we see. Our boat is definitely getting put through her paces, that’s for sure.

      Perhaps we’ll see you at the boat show!

  9. Actually, the definition of “small craft advisory” is variable, depending on the season, the area, and the judgment of the local authority.

    On the Bay, in general that means sustained winds over 15 knots or frequent gust over 20 knots, except that in the winter the threshold changes to sustained winds over 20 knots or frequent gust over 25 knots.

    I take it to mean “when the sailing is good down wind and tiresome up wind.”

    • Opps. Actually 18-33 knots on Chesapeake.

      From NOAA, Chesapeake and Tidal Potomac River
      Small Craft Advisory

      Small Craft Advisories are issued for the Tidal Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay when one or both of the following conditions is expected to begin within 36 hours:

      1) sustained winds of 18 knots to 33 knots, or frequent gusts between 18 knots and 33 knots.


      2) waves of 4 feet or higher

      To be honest, these deffinitions change with time.

  10. You were sailing right by where I grew up (Piney Point and St. George’s Island). Very cool!

  11. That strange vessel was moored at National Harbor for a while. I wish I knew what the heck it is.

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