Sailing The Chesapeake

The sailing adventures on Aeolus II of West River with friends and family

Joe McCary
Aeolus II,  Catalina 27 #4795
West River, MD USA
38 50 25.54N, 76 31 52.20W
The Chesapeake Bay


Photo by Don Wagner

Thomas Point under sail.

To quote Mark Twain: "Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you did not do than by the things you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore.... Dream....Discover." 
Following this spirit, in 2007 Mary and I purchased the "new" boat, our '81 Catalina 27, Aeolus II.

"A sailor is an artist whose medium is the wind."
Webb Chiles

Sailing: "The fine art of getting wet and being sick while slowly going nowhere"-Albert Einstein

"The Chesapeake does not impress those who know it best as the grandest or most of anything. For all its size and gross statistics, it is an intimate place where land and water intertwine in infinite verities of mood and pattern. William W. Warner "Beautiful Swimmers"

When my  nephew, Ryan, came for a day's sail, I thought it might be fun to fly a pirate flag. Here, I am adding a pirate quote.

"What a ship is, you know, it's not just a keel and a hull and a deck and sails, that's what a ship needs.  But what a ship is,... really is, is freedom."

  -Johnny Depp, as Captain Jack Sparrow

Pirates of the Caribbean-

So finding freedom and intimate beauty is what Aeolus II is about, freedom to escape our daily grind, even if just for a few precious moments. This website is about all of those days, both the good and the bad. And about how we paint our canvass, The Chesapeake Bay.  Read below to follow  the sailings of Aeolus II and the friends and family who sail on her. Fair winds and following seas to all.

The 2011 Sailing Season

June 29th, 2011
75f, 5-10 knots W

We finsihed the week with the grand daughters visiting from New  England.  We didn't get to take them sailing but we did have fun.

Then on Wednesday evening the 29th the temps were down there was a gentle breeze so we decided to go for an evening sail. It was glorious! Cool and gentle, We left the dock just as the race boats were coming in, then we sailed till about 11pm.

We spent the first leg dodging the returning race boats and while I don't race I do give way so as not to hinder them. We were rewarded by a beautiful sunset (see above)

June 20 & 22, 2011
85f, <7 knots NW

The next phase of out of town guests  Was an old high school classmate, Candy and her grandson Sky from Sarasota Florida. Both Candy and Sky had been sailing so the light summer breeze was not welcomed.  We talked and drifted, drifted and talked.  Then when we couldn't take any more we retreated to dinner gathering of more friends at Mike's Crab House on South River. The day was a big success, even if the sailing was light.  Sky enjoyed it though and we arranged for him to crew on a friend's Melges 24 in Wednesday Night's Beer can Races,



June 14, 2011
75f, <7 knots NW

June is the month for out of town guests. We started with Mary's cousin and her husband visiting from Natchez MS. Billy Ray had never been to DC so when on Sunday the weather on The Bay was just too threatening we opted for a quick visit to the DC Monuments.  We did the US Capitol, the Einstein Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial before retreating home.  Monday was the sailing day BUT, the weather wasn't cooperating so we went Harpers Ferry with a short side trip to Burketsville.  We all had a grand time climbing up to Jefferson's Rock, but the most fun was the hill we coasted up in Burketsville.  Neither Billy Ray or Liz had been on a sailboat before so this was an entirely new experience.  We received a gallon of fresly picked Mississippi Blueberries, and we are sure we got the better deal.

May 21, 2011
70f, 7-10 knots SSE

No End in Sight!

It was widely posted in all forms of news media that the world was to come to an end on the 21st of May at 6pm local time... so what better time to go sailing. Mary and I spent "our last day" on The Bay just sailing around. We didn't need a destination, we needed to enjoy ourselves on the last day. And enjoy we did, lunch was a Italian sub from Lido's in Edgewater, and after filling a spare gas tank we shoved off into a nice 7 know SSE breeze.   It was glorious. At 5 pm with the end just an hour away we turned back.  Just as the magic hour passed we made our last turn toward the slip. I noted on Facebook that either it was a jinx or we were in heaven. BUT, No end of the world today.  We buttoned up the boat and we off to a nice dinner at Deep Creek.  We survived to sail another day.  Next weekend is THE wedding in NJ for our nephew, David and his bride Ariel.  Our granddaughter, Claire will be a flower girl, perhaps a picture.  To the rest of our sailing friends, ENJOY the Memorial Day weekend.

May 12, 2011
64f, 10-14 knots S

Weather predictions for the weekend is rain, plus I have to work Saturday morning at The Shakespeare Theatre in DC, so today looked like a great day to go sailing. We thought of going yesterday but the wind was VERY light <5 knots.  So today was to be the day! I finished up a few work loose ends this morning and then we drove down to the boat. We had a nice lunch at Ledos Pizza in Edgewater and then to the boat.  We found a very high tide with the water just under the dock, but after some gymnastics we made it onto the boat and left the slip.  We sailed out into the river and out into The Bay. It was glorious, making 5.5 to 6.5 knots most of the afternoon.  The GPS continues to work great and the iPad even proved to be fun to have on board.  I ran the iNav app and it was pretty good comparing it to the GPS.  Then I turned the iPad to the camera mode and shot some images followed by some videos. 

We returned to the dock by a bit after 6pm and then after buttoning up the boat we went to dinner at the Edgewater Green Turtle. It was a glorious Spring day, Mary and I had a great time just the 2 of us sailing.  Sometimes it is better not to share, today was one of those days.

April 30, 2011
65f, 0-15 knots N

Strange day on The Bay.  After several days of rain and bad storms in the area, even some tornados, the wind was forecast to be 10-12 knots N and temps about 70.  So, we asked my brother, Mike and his wife Barbara to go for the day.  After a nice breakfast near home, we left for the boat.  We stopped and picked up some sandwiches for lunch.  We pulled out of the slip about 1pm.  We motored out of West River and raised sails just past the Red #4.  The wind was about 10 knots and we tacked out of the river.  A short while later the wind died to 0 and we sat bobbing around for about 10 minutes.  When it returned it was blowing about  18 knots and we heeled over, rail down.  We decided to sail into Rhode River.  We bumped bottom near Camp Letts and turned around and sailed back out to West River.  As we neared the mouth of Rhode we decided to put a reef in the main.  That was a good decision as we sailed out into about 15-18 knots. Around 5pm we turned for the slip and sailed wing & wing until we turned into the channel.  After cleaning up the boat we headed to Deep Creek restaurant for a great dinner.

April 14, 2011
First Sailing Day
63f, 5-9 knots NE

Finally a sailing day!  Long time High School friend, Steve Ellis from Arizona, was in town and the sun was out, so it seemed like the perfect day for a sail.  Mary and I stopped and picked up some lunch on the way to the boat and we applied the new stickers then when Steve arrived a little before noon. We shoved off and got underway by 1pm.

Our new Garmin GPS worked well, although we had to take a few minutes to get the heading line and compass rose to show.  The AIS worked well, although I learned we have to select a target ship to see the projected route and speed.  My next GPS exercise will be to create routes and waypoints.

We returned to the slip just after 5pm and by the time we buttoned up the boat it was almost 6.  After catching up on some friends with my slip landlord the three of us were off to Pirates Cove for dinner.  Steve is from Arizona and doesn't get much chance for Maryland crab cakes so that was the order of the day.

Above is today's track and on the right is the new GPS, easily visible in bright sun, quite an improvement.


April 3, 2011
Not a Sailing Day
55f, 5-9 knots NE

Today was a fun day.  I had ordered a new GPS and a new VHF. Today was the day to install them.  To make the project complete I had also ordered a swing mount from West Marine in Annapolis.  It was their large Ram-Mount. When I took the Garmin 740s our of the box I realized it was too wide for the Ram-Mount, so I also bought a small teak plank to mount it on and off set to fit in the companionway.  After several hours of drilling and cutting and mounting the new Standard Horizon GX-2100 (VHF with AIS) and the Garmin 740s were installed.   New problem, the VHF has an internal GPS and a AIS receiver.  But the radio is mounted in the cabin and its internal GPS struggles for signal. BUT, when connected to Garmin Chartplotter I receive AIS positions perfectly. All that remains is to mount the Sonar transducer.  That pleasure is saved for another day.  I will shoot some pictures the next time I am down and report back.

March 27, 2011
Not a Sailing Day
36f, 9 knots NE

Yesterday was the first chance I have had to visit the boat in several weeks.  We picked up "The Old Barracuda" AKA, my mother-in-law and went first to lunch at the Boatyard Bar & Grill in Eastport.   Mary and & I each had a delightful Grilled Grouper Sandwich. Then it was off to find a swing arm for the new GPS. I stopped at Fawcetts  and was disappointed to learn they do not carry in stock any electronics.  Next stop was West Marine and I ordered a swing arm from them, which should be in on Tuesday.  I had ordered a new VHF from West Marine, a Standard Horizon with AIS to help the new GPS.  I am excited.  The GPS arrived while we were in Florida, a new Garmin 740s. I also have picked up a in-hull transponder and the new G2 Vision chip.  I am hoping to get the units installed in the next couple weeks.  And I will do a review in after a month or so of use.

At the boat, the bilge was dry (always a good sign) and everything looked fine. I lowered the engine and started her up with no problem.  She ran for almost a half an hour.  I have the new registration stickers and a new Bay Fishing stamp.  I think it is time to schedule a haul out to have the bottom painted, so another spring chore.

I also noted the end of the year totals from Cluster Map for the website, for the past year the total hits are: 29 Mar 2010 to 9 Feb 2011: 1,340 visits. Not too bad for a small boat website.  Almost as impressive is the world map of visitors.

Each red dot marks the location of one of our readers and the list below shows 23 countries.


So here is Aeolus II (on right). at her slip on West River. 


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