A report on the Tartan 34C Class Association Chesapeake Bay Region rendezvous in Solomon’s Island, Maryland.
(Note: To download Tim's report, which includes photos, click here.)
Regional Captain Tim Dull filed this report while embarked on his annual solo cruise of the Bay.
Friday 25 September, Spring Cove Marina.
Well, today we'll see who else makes it down here through the winds and waves on the Bay. Keenan Jones and Eric in Temujin tied up at the Tiki Bar docks last evening so I know they made it. I expect them into Spring Cove later today. I heard from Dave Watson on Priority and Mark McIver on Tamarind that they were both on their way down the Bay this morning and I hope to see them here this afternoon. It has been partially cloudy here instead of rainy, and a bit warmer than predicted but we will take it. David and Mary Ina Bourdon just drove in early this afternoon, having left their boat at Tides Inn on the Rappahannock due to high winds on the lower Bay. Well, there are high winds on the upper Bay too, but running with the Bay chop and seas is way easier than motor-sailing into it for hours on end.
By mid-afternoon Tamarind and Priority came busting down the Bay and slid into their slips on B dock. Priority had suffered a defect in their engine exhaust on getting
underway but came down in spite of it, hoping for good winds on Sunday to get back up north. Temujin came over shortly after, so Lee Werth on Fayth was the last one out
With Priority and Tamarind and Temujin crews in, we caravanned over to the Ruddy Duck Bar and Grill for a great meal and some in-house brewed beers. We got there a little early, and the rowdy crowd hadn't filled in yet so we could actually hold some decent conversations over our supper meals. A fine evening indeed. Spring Cove Marina provided part of the transportation in their van so with Dave Bourdon's borrowed truck we were easily delivered to and fro. As many had been out most of the day on the Bay rocking it (or up partying at the Tiki Bar the nigh before), we all turned in early.
Unknown to the rest of us, Lee Werth brought Fayth in to the fuel dock much later that evening with aid from the Coast Guard. He had boom-stopped his forehead lowering his sail on the way in and needed a guide to get in through the channel single-handed at
night. Man, some of these Tartan folks are hard core!
26-27 September, Spring Cove Marina.
Saturday was a varied day of exploring the nearby Calvert Marine Museum or just crawling about the boats and picking up good ideas for the next project; or ideas on how to finish the current ones. Mark McIver was more than eager to help the Temujin
crew string up their centerboard mechanism so they would have it for use into the wind heading home. Mark had just finished it on his boat after three tries so he knew all the
tricks, and I could tell they were disappointed when the job was done so quickly. Another curious thing we all found was half the boats had their upper and lower shrouds rigged one way and the rest the other with respect to the chainplates. All were scratching our heads to determine “which way is correct?” It was so handy to have all of us on B dock, and right in front of the picnic area and a short hop to the pool,
bar & grill, and lounge.
Later Saturday afternoon we were joined by another couple visiting by land: Adam
Clapsaddle and PJ, who are working on hull #246 on the hard in Solomon’s. This made our total contingent 12 sailors across 7 boats. At 1700 we all joined up for an awesome barbecue picnic catered by Sam (Samantha) at Spring Cove Marina from their Bar & Grill. Drinks were priced nicely just for their patrons so we had no need to drag coolers around or truck ice or purchase beer and sodas. The breeze from the on-going Nor'easter was on the cool side but we were tucked under an overhang of the marina building and had a perfect time. Sam even trucked our deserts up to the second deck lounge for the evening's presentation on Solomon Island history & related industries by the Museum’s Maritime History Curator, Richard Dodds. It was a perfect setting for all.
Some turned in for the night, but a number of us assembled in Tamarind’s ample cockpit and whiled away a large portion of the night, swapping sea stories and Tartan fixit ideas from teak finishes to staysail rigs. Some Dark & Stormies were also consumed in the process.
Sunday morning saw Temujin and Priority off to head up the Bay, hoping for the Easterlies to hold but at the same time not be too strong with the then resulting high seas. Having seen them underway, I was too awake to crawl back into my bunk so was
instead staring at my shrouds. Low and behold, from dock level, with the extra high tide generated by the week-long Nor'easter, I could easily see the shrouds needed to be reversed; the lowers should be on the outside and the uppers on the inside set of
chainplates. The plates were appropriately aiming that direction! The result is an additional 3 inches of deck space outside of the shrouds and about 3 more degrees of sheeting angle. Neat!
Having discovered that “truth”, some of us wandered up to the Spring Cove Pool Bar & Grill for Sunday brunch, which they open early for their patrons each Sunday. The Maple Syrup Bacon and Cheese sandwich was lovely! I offered to the Marina staff they could finish off the more than ample desserts remaining in the lounge.
Mark and Hala from Tamarind ventured over to a nearby boat yard to see how Adam and PJ's work was progressing and to lend some moral support to their efforts. I swapped my shrouds on Skymark in the morning, and planned to tune the rig on the next good day
of sailing I get. Later in the day Tamarind took off for more adventures south, as Mark and Hala had another week or so of cruising to get in. Temujin and Priority were in port by midafternoon, having had a full day of close-hauled sailing all the way
back to Annapolis. That evening Lee and I found ourselves at the nearby Anglers Restaurant and exchanged single-handed ideas through supper, and then retired to his Fayth for the rest of the evening. We compared centerboard aspects and discovered his had the same mod of board-in-the-bilge to prevent the arm from sliding off the shaft that I had worked out for Skymark. As she still has tiller steering, it was interesting to see his hook-up for the autopilot. Also interesting was his modification to the starboard cockpit for engine control access for security at sea. I guess a few
knock-downs at sea will make you extra careful for limiting the need to go into those large openings while off-shore. Makes it handy for Bay sailing also.
So in the end, despite the ominous forecast, the 2015 iteration of the Tartan 34C Classic Association Chesapeake Rendezvous was a complete success. It was a great opportunity to get to know our fellow boat owners and swap stories of what works and what doesn’t on these great old boats. The specific date has not been set yet, but our plan is to return again next Fall to Spring Cove Marina in Solomon’s Island and we look forward to even more boats joining us at that time.