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Geezers Chartering on Chesapeake the

by Jack Grenard

##For this week, the friends stuck to a theme: short runs only. No day and night powering... Plenty of free time on the anchor or tied to a dock

72 April 2014 SpinSheet


t’s dusk on Swan Creek, just north of Rock Hall on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. I whisper to Bud, “If there’s any voyeur left in you, take a look at that powerboat off the starboard beam.” Bud peeks out the open port. “He’s naked,” I say. “You can tell because of his white ass where his shorts protected from the sun.” “I can see the woman’s bare boobies,” reports Bud. And so it went, a week in late August and early September aboard the same 28-foot Tartan sloop Bud and I’d chartered about four times previously. Short But Sweet is a sweet-sailing boat we enjoy returning to, just right for two sailors who enjoy seeing the world from a moving platform. With a Scheel keel, a patented design that puts weight at the bottom, she draws just four feet, perfect for the thin waters of Chesapeake Bay and its many rivers. The beauty of this week aboard came about largely because of Bud’s superior planning. Way back in 1957, when we both served aboard the heavy cruiser USS Salem in the Mediterranean, Bud wrote about ports in advance of the ship’s visits so the crew would know what they were seeing. It wasn’t always boobies. For this week, Bud stuck to a theme: short runs only. No day and night powering into the tannin-laced waves of the Chesapeake. Plenty of free time on the anchor or tied to a dock. Only one dinner aboard. No masses of dishes to wash: Bud chose paper bowls. Result: a rested crew of geezers, him 76, me 80. Age was catching up, though, just over the horizon. I fell once when a powerboat wave caught me. Luckily, I was below and hit the deck without injury. Bud, to his surprise, fell twice, the shock of it on his face when he tripped over a line up forward, and another time, off the bow as we approached a dock. He got his Keen sandals wet and scuff marks on his legs. Still, we swam in the rivers and creeks of the Chesapeake almost every day, rinsing off sun-induced sweat. I committed the sin of losing Bud’s 40-year-old bar of saltwater soap overboard, down into the deep brown water for fish to ponder. Because we sailed in the northern half of the big Bay where the water is less salty, we saw and felt few jellyfish and their nasty stinging cells. On our first trip over the rail, though, in an anchorage just south of Kent Island Narrows, Bud came aboard in a big hurry after getting stung on his leg. I plunged in and got stung, too. The irritations disappeared overnight. My delight on the voyage was the gulping, chewing, tasting that gem of seafood, Callinectes sapidus, the Bay’s blue crab. I had it any way I could get it: crab imperial, lump crab sandwich, crab soup Maryland style, which means vegetable soup with a little crabmeat hidden in it. Sapidus means savory. They sure are.

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SpinSheet April 2014  

Chesapeake Bay Sailing

SpinSheet April 2014  

Chesapeake Bay Sailing

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