The Joke's on Me

Nov 22, 2008
Endeavour 32 Portland, Maine
It’s been an April Fool’s kind of day. I woke up in a beautiful little creek just outside of Reedville with remains of the night’s gale just evident in the nearby treetops and occasional jerks on the mast head. Jonathan, my dinner guest of the night before and fellow I frequently encounter on the waterway, had already weighed anchor and disappeared.

I’ve always wanted to see what was up the Great Wicomico River and trip up and back, with an oil change anchored in the shelter of the bight up near the bridge, seemed like it would use up just the amount of time the wind would need to die down to tolerable conditions. I was running up the river in wind gusts string enough to put my decision in a favorable light. Jonathan called on the radio and said he was turning back.

The tour was worth the time and fuel. I changed the oil, had lunch, and headed back down the river and out into the bay. The conditions were clearly improving so I called Jonathan who followed me out a couple miles behind.

If improving, departure was clearly just a bit premature. I was just settling down to a couple hours hard slogging when the engine began to stumble. It cleared and I continued on. Then, it nearly quite and I turned back. I called Jonathan and told him that I was aborting. I returned to the same anchorage where, after changing all the filters, I discovered that my primary fuel pump is dead. Well, the filters needed changing anyway.

I have two fuel tanks and the fuel pump is only strictly necessary for the one in the keel that will not gravity feed the engine. I generally leave the pump on for both tanks as the gravity feed alone will occasionally cause mild RPM drops at higher power settings than normal cruise. So, it was just a matter of transferring fuel (a sub function of my on board polishing system and I was back in business.

I ended the day by running three and a half miles around to the Sandy Point anchorage (ironically the place where I had my first major engine breakdown a couple years before). The engine ran flawlessly at maximum cruise RPM so I should be good to go in the morning. Strong SW winds developing kate tomorrow so I’m going to try for a pre-dawn departure.

I’d arrived in Reedsville two nights before on my second out of Hampton alone again with Dreameagle back in New York giving her annual workshops. I’d left a message for Jenning’s Boatyard the night before asking for a short haul out to replace zincs so I anchored right in front. I rowed ashore at 0730 and the upshot was Strider pulling away from the float with new zinc’s installed and the bottom given a quick scrape by 0930. It’s my second time doing it at this yard with such efficiency and for less than most divers charge.

It was an incredibly beautiful day. Absent modern weather forecasting, I would have been headed for Solomons. Instead, I headed up into the cove and was surprised to see Jonathan coming around the point to anchor. He had been in the creek on the other side of town and just saw me come in.

We visited and talked about how crazy it seemed for an honest Gale to be coming in a couple hours out of such a sky.

Rowed the dinghies ashore for lunch at Cockrell Creek Seafood and talked more about how we both believed the weather report despite how improbable it appeared. Afterwards, I rowed around both creeks that join to make the cove on what seemed like a beautiful spring day. Then I landed on the beach and walked across fields and up and back to both ends of the road. Out of the protection of the cove, the wind whipping across the fields and the trees tossing gave a good idea what the bay must be like.

Shortly after Jonathan arrived for dinner, the sky began to darken and it came on fast. By the time a quick meal had been cooked and eaten, the sky went from full sun to raining. I looked at the weather after he took advantage of a break in the rain to return to his boat and decided to use the same break to shift my anchor to the other side of the cove. By the time I finished that maneuver, I was glad I took the trouble. It began to blow hard and start veering the 120 degees it would during the night.

I went to sleep expecting to be listening to the wind all night but fell into deep sleep and woke to beautiful calm at the beginning of this post.


Jul 7, 2010
Beneteau 37 Cranes Creek, VA
Roger, glad to read that you had (or having?) a comfortable stay on Cockrell Creek and the GW river, my home stomping grounds. I'm on Cranes Creek just off Ingram Bay. Its been really breezy all week and I see warnings are going up again today. And yes, Jennings is one of the best kept secrets around.
Oct 24, 2010
Hunter 30 Everett, WA
You fooled me too. I see you are from Portland Maine. It seemed a bit cold up there this time of year, but now I google Reedville and understand. It sounds like an excellent way to spend a blustery day. We haven't been overnight on the boat since last fall and need to get our fix in.