Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Rain, Thunder, Lightning - and wanting to do it again

Last year our most highly publicized event - and certainly the most daring - was our open boat row/sail across Chesapeake Bay and back using only historical navigation techniques. I've been assailed with questions about this year's program - if we're going to do it, when etc. - all of which come gift wrapped in a lot of enthusiasm. So, after a long time thinking and not wanting to do all the lead-in leg work, I've decided to just do it. Thanks Mike!

HA! I got you - its a commercial!

So, what are we doing and when? This year, we're dead set on making the trip without a chase boat, and extending it. Yes, that's right. This year, I'd like to go from Naval Station Norfolk to Cape Charles proper - the city itself. Well - that's not quite right. To the beach west of the City of Cape Charles, from which it is a quick hoof to Kelly's Gingernut Pub. OK, there it is. Why did NHS cross the bay? To get a good drink at the pub. Don't judge.

The trip is about 26 nautical miles as the crow flies, or almost nine hours in the boat assuming a straight-line speed of advance of three knots. We'll almost certainly be moving faster than that, but won't likely be able to make it in a straight shot - but more on that later. So assume 3kts/9hrs - probably a safe bet. It'll be a one-way trip, trailering the boat back to Norfolk.

Such a long trip in a small boat will require some flexibility, so we're blocking off the weekend of April 29 - May 1. We may depart at any time in that window, using winds, currents and tides in our favor. In extremely adverse conditions, we'll roll up to Cape Charles and begin there, sailing south to Norfolk and probably ending at one of the Colley Ave restaurants on the Lafayette River. We'll work on the contingency as we go.

The boat will be outfitted with all of her standard safety gear - everything from lifejackets, thermal blankets and survival gear to a SART - search and rescue transponder. We'll communicate by hand-held VHF and cell phone (when in range) when necessary. Unlike last year, we'll carry tents and camping gear so we can beach cruise if necessary - stop and recharge the crew if needed. Rations for three days will be carried, along with spares of everything to make repairs on the fly. The crew size will likely be reduced from 10 to 7 or 8 to give extra room and lighten the boat.

A logistics team will be needed to coordinate movement of the trailer and extra transportation to meet the boat and crew - to bring them home. Two or three people driving vans or SUVs and one towing the trailer should be fine, and not too difficult to get together.

I've already put out word to last year's crew, but we'll be accepting new applicants. So if you're interested give me a shout and we'll see when we can get you out for training.



ChuckSteele said...

Any chance you might postpone your cross bay adventure to coincide with the 2011 North American Society of Oceanic History conference in Norfolk (May 12-15)? Just a thought. Cheers, Chuck

NHS Dockyard said...

Good idea - let's see what the crew is up to that weekend. Let's talk offline.