To Sotterley Creek

 video, the sail to Sotterley Creek

Back at the beach Kevin B, freshly escaped from civilization and its discontents, was prepping Slip Jig. The Navigator was quickly launched, in the water and ready to go. That left Mike and his Haven 12 1/2, saved for last to eke out every inch of the rising tide.

It’s crazy that he can haul this boat behind a little Subaru Forrester. The boat looks bigger than the car, but it works. A tongue extension on the trailer helps get to deepish water, and six of us are able to shoulder it off pretty easily. Everybody’s in.

Kevin started studying maps and charts months ago, and the most intriguing anchorage for the first night happened to be the closest: Sotterley Creek. Ideal for such a late start, only a couple of miles down river and across the Patuxent. From the beach, we could just see the entrance in the hazy blue distance. The wind had risen gradually throughout the day to a gentle but steady breeze out of the southwest. It would be an easy reach.

On the map you can see the gps track – my noodling around off Broomes Island, then our easy glide down the river.

total distance 4.7 nautical miles, max speed 5 knots 


Long shadows and warm evening light make a beautiful time for sailing. Seven boats slide quietly across the water under clear skies, the sun trailing gold sequins across the surface, sails glowing in the backlight. Hard to beat the sight. Circling each other to savor the view, smiles exchanged in silence as though speaking would break the spell. I could hear Mike singing. I don’t think he could help himself.

The sprinters were quickly out of range, but the lollygaggers made great camera fodder. Kevin B got some great photos, too. Some really fine ones of Aeon, the first I’ve ever seen with the tops’l up while under way, and very much appreciated.


 Pete’s Marsh Cat – Obadiah 



Navigator – Slip Jig



Navigator – Slip Jig



Melonseed with topsail – Aeon, by Kevin Brennan



Mike’s Haven 12 1/2 – Jackaroo



Kevin in Slip Jig 



Aeon, by Kevin Brennan



 Melonseed with topsail, by Kevin Brennan



Topsail Flying by Kevin Brennan




 Jackaroo – Mike’s Haven 12 1/2


Wind faded in the lee of the land just as the sun went down. Still enough left to ghost into the mouth of the creek. We rafted up, made simple meals, shared drinks and stories.

One of the nice things about this arrangement is you get to visit other boats. Kevin and I wobbled over to Jackaroo to harass Mike a bit, stopping to critique Pete’s cooking. Who brings chopsticks to stir leftover chinese on a camping trip? Well, Pete does.

All the 12 1/2s have a low centerboard trunk that rises to just above the waterline. It leaves more room in the cockpit than a full case would. But loaded with four days of camping gear, Mike, then me and Kevin standing on the forward deck, we managed to push that to below the waterline. At which point Mike discovered where the mysterious supply of water was finding its way into the bilge. A small geyser erupted from the trunk cap. Harassed indeed. It would be fine for this trip, but Mike will undoubtedly reseal it, maybe even raise it a few inches. No shortage of opinions on it, to be sure.










































What made Sotterley Creek so interesting is it nestles up against it’s namesake, Sotterley Plantation. It’s a small, quiet cove, yes, surrounded by woods and not much else. Just the sort of place we always look for. Check. But Kevin noticed on the map there’s also a small wharf at the end of a sand road, and the road leads to Sotterley. We thought we might tie up there and take a walk in the morning.







I rowed back into the head of the creek for the night, and succeeded in making myself bug bait. There was a gap in the netting I only discovered after swatting no-see-ums unti 2am. Too late to debuggify, I slept with a shirt over my head. The other guys slept out in the open, out where there was a breeze, and had no problems with me drawing all the fire. Rookie mistake.

A beautiful night, though, with all sorts of critters moving along the shoreline until dawn.

“The Butterfly. Kid on the Mountain” by Sláinte (

“Flicker” by Origamibiro

“Eileen” by Lee Rosevere




4 Replies to “To Sotterley Creek”

  1. Capn Barry, you really captured the Float in a beautiful way. Verry enjoyable to view your gift with the camera. Thanks. Fair winds, Capn Pete

  2. I know this one is a few years old now, but I’m enjoying going through all of your videos. Now I’m down to finding the ones YouTube hasn’t been spoon feeding me. I found “Evening Sail to Sotterley Creek” very special. Good sailing shots, sprinkled with candid and sincere personal moments. Thank you.

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