We are in that hot and still, late-summer mode here at the bottom of the Bay, waiting for the weather to break into the fall pattern. Our big event, Norfolk HarborFest, has come and gone as I write this.
The launch Vedette is bouncing across the water at 17 knots, en route to the container ship LOA, when the driver advises the pilot, who is soon to guide the 878-foot freighter out of Baltimore harbor: “Gusts this afternoon of 40 knots, Cap.”
The northbound migration is in full swing at Mile Zero as I write this, the light-colored boats sporting brown mustaches from the tannin-rich waters of the blackwater rivers and swamps to the south.
Erewhon’s topsides needed painting this year but this time the reason was too important for a quickie DIY make-over. Boatyard pros had to handle this delicate assignment, which unfortunately did not turn out as well as expected (more about that in a bit), although the purpose of the painting exceeded all expectations.
Sometime in murky August, a maritime apparition reminiscent of a Chesapeake past will materialize through the summer haze — a vessel to be noticed and admired sailing out of Annapolis. Look for three sails set on a ketch rig, slightly raked aluminum spars and an extra-long bowsprit with rails.
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Jack has been cruising Chesapeake Bay and writing about the region for more than 25 years. His critically acclaimed book, "Maryland's Vanishing Lives," was published by Baltimore's Johns Hopkins University Press and is now in its second printing. Before joining Soundings, Jack was a feature writer at the Washington (D.C.) Star for nearly 20 years and a senior editor at Chesapeake Bay magazine from 1995 to 1998. His monthly Bay Tripper column focuses on the Chesapeake.