Preparing to face some hot, light-air cruising during the dog days of August required some adjustments to my regular Chesapeake Bay sailing routine of seeking out and following the wind. This meant accepting the cruel fate of motoring more than absolutely necessary and making it boring, rather than interesting and challenging.
I had a traumatic experience in early June when a large panel of my UV-degraded reefed mainsail split from leech to luff while homeward-bound. The sail had to come off for a quickie temporary repair that I learned would cost some $300, a replacement panel for about $600 or a new sail for $1,000-plus. I visited a few sail lofts, even Bacon’s Used Sails, in desperation for almost anything that would fit and not interrupt my summer pleasures on the water.
My first cruise of the season was like many others before it in one respect, the destination, but totally different in another because there was wind — and plenty of it. I set off May 25 from Annapolis under sail, bound for Oxford once again.
Matt Rutherford was already a tested trans-Atlantic single-hander before he became the first solo sailor to circumnavigate North America and South America non-stop via the Northwest Passage.
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