It finally happened. Shortly after 1pm on Sept. 12, Binary (my 1964 C-24) entered Swan Creek followed by Rooach Tov (Harvey Kabran's 1973 C-26 Mk II) and rafted up with Chasseur (Charlie & Sharon Sorrentino's 1979 C-10.7). We were soon joined by Sea Lyon (Chad & Marion Joyce's 1978 C-8.3) and Escape and Evasion (Jeff Martin's 1977 C-26 Mk II).
Also in attendance were my brother, Dave; Harvey's daughter's boyfriend, Matt; and Jeff's SO, Kim;
Missing was Sunward (Charles "Fitz" Fitzsimmons' 1969 C-26 Mk II). I knew he was supposed to be about two hours behind, but I had been unable to hail him on my handheld VHF. Finally, a call on the radio located him at Swan Creek Marina. Somehow he missed us in Swan Creek, so he secured a slip.
The trip up to Swan Creek from Galesville started out slowly to say the least. Because we were looking at a nominal 23 mile trip, we planned to leave mid-day on Friday, go about half way, and anchor for the night. Then Saturday morning we were to hook up with Harvey and sail the rest of the way to Swan Creek.
Binary's slip is a little shallow. Once in a while I have a little trouble getting her in or out at low, low tide. Friday was the lowest tide I had ever seen in Galesville. Binary was on the bottom and listing, and the tide wasn't even all the way out yet! We readied her for sea and waited.
Finally about 7pm, the tide came in enough to float Binary and we headed out. Because it was almost dark, we just motored over to High Island on the Rhode River and anchored for the night. So much for getting a head start.
We were up early Saturday morning and began sailing slowly out of the Rhode. Harvey called just as we were reaching the Bay. We explained what happened and we agreed to meet just north of the Bay Bridge. Out on the Bay the wind was blowing nicely. Binary kicked up her heels and headed north.
We finally caught Harvey just north of the bridge where he was sailing back and forth waiting for us. The wind had built even more and we flew towards Swan Creek, with Binary leading the way. Harvey and Rooach Tov had trouble keeping up, but Binary had an unfair advantage - she was being pushed by that little boat.
We made our way over the bar (Hey Harvey, what does your boat draw?) into Swan Creek. Charlie and Sharon Sorrentino were already waiting for us on Chasseur. We had a great afternoon visiting and meeting the others as they rolled in. (L to R, Charlie, Harvey, Eric)
Having the largest boat on the outside of the raft-up, Chad agreed to ferry us into Rock Hall. This doesn't sound like much, until you consider that he faced driving a boat full of captains and negotiating one of the trickiest harbors on the Bay at night. Not only was Chad up to the task - he put on a minor clinic on docking and maneuvering while barely able to see past the crowd of people on deck. Luckily, Charlie was familiar with Rock Hall and was the official navigator.
We picked up Fitz on the way into Rock Hall. Fitz reported that he had been found by another Columbia owner who had driven in from out of town, but he didn't get his name. The other owner had a long drive home and had already left.
We had a fine meal at the Watermen's Crabhouse and returned to our anchorage. The next day, the boats departed by ones and twos. Harvey and Matt left with Fitz and headed down the Bay towards the Severn and South Rivers, respectively. Jeff and Kim headed back across the Bay towards Baltimore and Chad and Marion set sail for Rosehaven, on Herring Bay. Dave and I bid adieu to Charlie and Sharon, cast off, and headed into Rock Hall for ice and supplies. As we approached the entrance through the breakwall, we saw a Columbia 36 heading out. It was Downbeat, Tim & Lori Grovac's boat. I realized too late that we had forgotton to check the marina in Rock Hall for other Columbia owners.
So there you have a short account of the first Columbia overnight rendezvous on the Chesapeake in who knows how many years. We learned a bit about organizing such an event, and we had a great time meeting other owners and comparing boats and notes. More pictures here.