July 4th Raft-up

The middle of the week, a day off, and it was a hot one.  But!  We had a 15 knot breeze from the SE which made for a perfect day of sailing around the Bay.  That breeze was completely not forecasted and I couldn't have been happier.  We even got a nice SW 5-10 knot breeze by the time the fireworks started around 2100.  It all almost went completely wrong...

After our sail and dropping off our guests, we motored over to raft-up with Bob and his party on Schematic late in the afternoon.  We had several fenders out and the lines tied well.  The problem was rather large waves coming from the motor boats that were zipping up and down the main channel from the Severn River to and from the Bay.  Nothing we could do about it.  Everything was fine for about 15 minutes until I heard and saw the rigging of CALIX and Schematic clang together as our boats rocked very precariously against each other.  I was mostly worried about someone getting injured on Schematic, which was full of guests.

I called immediately to Brad and Bob who were below on CALIX, to help.  After the bigger waves had passed, Brad suggested that we de-raft.  I took a few minutes to see if there was another way, but there wasn't.  It wasn't just the rigging that was the problem, but also the fact that Schematic's deck height off the water, also known as freeboard, is less than CALIX's so when a wave went by, Schematic would bounce against the fenders hard and nearly crush them and push up and into CALIX.  Thank goodness we had a lot of fenders because otherwise, CALIX would be scrapped up pretty badly in that area.

With Brad ill at ease, I finally said it was time to go.  Brad was not happy with me for taking so long to decide and ultimately he was right, we should have de-rafted as soon as we saw it wasn't going to work quite right and have avoided the rigging banging.  We were all very lucky to not have any damage on either boat.  So off we motored now that the breeze had pretty much trailed off and we hailed our afternoon guests who were now in their own boat.  They were headed to the harbor entrance to anchor and watch the fireworks just like everyone else.

We met up with our friends on their Hula Girl, and managed to raft-up a lot better with their motor boat having a higher freeboard and of course no rig!  The waves were at a dull minimum now that most every boat had found their spot for the next 30 minutes or so.  We watched the festivities and enjoyed a very nice show right off of the Naval Academy seawall.  

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After the show, we waited a bit for the crowd to disperse until we got one of those really big waves and we quickly de-rafted and parted ways.  Our short little motor back to the marina was uneventful except that it was the first time ever helming CALIX in the dark.  I've steered other boats at night, but not my own.  Even with knowledge of the area, it's still confusing with so many lights.  You really have to get a handle on the channel lights, and the boat lights and try to keep the shore lights out of your focus.

All in all it was a good day.  I learned something about sailboats rafting up and we successfully rafted and de-rafted twice in a busy environment.  Next challenge!

Sorry the picture is blurry from all the wave motion, but every point of light is an anchor light.  That's a lot of boats!!  The Naval Academy usually has super bright lights on, but had just turned them off for the show.

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