I follow one self-imposed “rule” in my singularly unimportant recreational life when it comes to the first cruise of the season, usually to the St. Michaels area or Oxford on Maryland’s middle Eastern Shore. It says an outbound cruise must begin under sail, and if the wind fails after two hours of trying to sail I’ll give it up to avoid hours of motoring and stay home waiting for a local breeze.
RRR — rescue, resurrect and restore — is a term that boatbuilder Charley Morgan uses when he’s referring to rehabs of down-and-out Morgan sailboats. The sturdy, traditional vessels, which he designed and built at his Morgan Yacht Corp. in Florida in the 1960s and ’70s, still lure sailors looking for boatyard bargains (sometimes free) to rejuvenate and fulfill illusory sailing dreams.
My idea of a good time last winter was working on my older sailboat at her slip. But when it got too cold for that I'd pack up and head over to Sarles Boatyard & Marina in the Eastport section of Annapolis, just around the corner from my boat. I'd warm up at the old pot belly wood stove, inhaling the aroma of freshly sawn wood, and look for Dave Hannam.
Local sailors like me have their own way of dealing with Chesapeake Bay and staying fit and active. The toy I use as an older single-hander on this large inland sea of a playground is my 1962 Sailmaster 22C. I make whatever changes I feel are necessary while paying attention to safety and the wind and weather in general. Maintaining this fiberglass boat - for the last 27 years - also keeps me busy in the offseason.
A decade has passed since I last toured the U.S. Naval Academy's Gallery of Ships, once housed in a somewhat spooky, antiquated museum setting. Priceless, centuries-old scale miniatures of Royal Navy warships from the 17th and 18th centuries loomed ghostly in a dim, shadowy interior where visitors could marvel at remarkable masterpieces of exacting craftsmanship. Today, longer visits are in order, since the redesigned gallery reopened in a modern, interpretive setting in old Preble Hall.
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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.