Chickahominy River ~ Evening Light


Kevin M. in his Marsh Cat little t 


A light breeze, little more than a breath, carries us off the beach and out into the river. A few hug the shore, others tack over and out into open water, looking for clear air.


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Chickahominy River ~ Fossils & History

Lunch break on a beach 


Inside a broad cove there’s a sand beach, out of the wind beneath a bluff. Cypress knees serve well for docking cleats.

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Chickahominy River ~ Wildlife


A wide, quiet bend in the river is a good place to pull into an eddy and wait for the others, let wet socks dry out, and do a little birdwatching. 



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Chickahominy River ~ Sea of Glass

Dennis ghosting into the river. 


It’s damp and quiet at the small private marina, the sun still low and weak. The other boats are rigged up and waiting, but with no wind no one is in a hurry. We mill around in sweatshirts with hands warming in pockets as the mist burns off. In a few minutes I’ve launched and we’re off.


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Janes Island ~ Bright Sun, Big Downwind

 Harris with a tailwind in Mabu


It’s now gusting over 20 knots, and waves are building quickly. With the second reef tied in, and the chicken jibe out of the way, we have the wind and waves spanking us in the backside. Essentially this is now a five boat drag race across the river, all running for the mouth of the canal.

We’re way out ahead because we started first, but the other boats are coming really fast. It’s not a dead downwind run, which is no fun, but a very broad reach. Still, the Caledonia is amazingly well-behaved. This is probably the biggest wind Harris has had the boat in so far, and I can tell he’s both nervous about how she’ll handle and pleased with the results. Whitecaps are starting to break around us, charging in from the Sound.


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Janes Island ~ Bright Sun, Big Wind Video


direct Youtube Link 

This is video from the morning and early afternoon, up to just before the wind really kicked up and we decided to tie in another reef.

Great sailing. Here’s the whole track:



The next post and video will pick up where this leaves off.


Janes Island ~ Bright Sun, Big Wind

Harris at the tiller of Mabu 


Unlike last time we were here, there is no argument over which direction we’ll go today: North. The wind will continue out of the Northwest – sensible in the morning but build steadily throughout the day to something very unsensible. I’ve always heard old sailors say the wind is strongest on the backside of a cold front. This prediction bears that out.

Based on the forecast, I plan to explore the marshes inside Janes Island in the Melonseed, staying clear of big water, but Harris suggests I ride with him. He has a sparkling new Caledonia Yawl, Mabu, bulit by Geoff Kerr of Two Daughters Boatworks in Maine. Sounds good to both of us. I’ll be free to take photos again, and he might like two sets of hands when the wind pipes up, especially in a new ride. Continue reading “Janes Island ~ Bright Sun, Big Wind”