After an overnight shakedown cruise to Edenton in late April, the Osprey Yacht Club (OYC) Cruisers set their sights on a two-week cruise to Chesapeake Bay in May. The flotilla of four very different boats got underway from Albemarle Plantation Marina on May 8th. The flotilla consisted of Moor Fun, a 34-foot catamaran owned by Steve and Rudi Harris; Carillon, a 40-foot yawl owned by Paul and Kathy Hotz; Slack Time, a 30-foot Grady White owned by Charlie and Lois Pencinger; and Bluegrass, a 42-foot Grand Banks trawler owned by Buzz and Barba-ra Savage.
The Cruisers followed a standard agenda each day: the two sailboats would get underway around 0800, making 6-7 knots; Bluegrass would follow an hour or so later making 8 knots; and Slack Time would follow an-other hour later making 25-30 knots. Slack Time always arrived at the next marina ahead of the other boats, so Charlie would call on the VHF radio or send a text message with slip infor-mation and then help the others with dock lines. Most days the crews would get together for Happy Hour on one of the boats, followed by a group dinner aboard a boat or at a local restaurant.
The cruise started out well enough, with the first night seeing us safely tucked in at Coinjock Marina and having a yummy prime rib dinner at their restaurant. The second day we managed to get to Ocean Yacht Ma-rina in Portsmouth after a long day of swing, lift, and draw bridges and the Great Bridge lock. The Portsmouth shipyard activity on a huge Na-vy helicopter carrier across from the marina kept several of us awake that night.
The third night we cruised up into Hampton Roads past the Naval Station and into the Chesapeake Bay, and arrived at Cape Charles town harbor in mid-afternoon. We planned to spend two nights in Cape
Charles, but actually ended up staying there four nights because of high winds and rough seas. This delay caused us to cancel planned stopovers at Smith Island and St. Mary’s River. We became regular customers at the Shanty bar and grill next to the marina. We finally left Cape Charles on Sunday, May 14, and spent two nights in Onancock, then crossed the Chesapeake over to Deltaville. Charlie and Lois took Slack Time to Tangier Island for lunch en route to Deltaville, and told us there was not much there.
The highlight of the cruise was the two days in Yorktown at Riverwalk Landing. We got to see all the Revolutionary War battlefields and museums and en-joyed the local cuisine and shops. There is also a tall ship, the Alliance, that conducts historic river cruises on the York River.
As we traversed Hampton Roads on Friday, May 19, we watched the nuclear aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) come in from sea and tie up at the Norfolk Naval Station. The Navy gunboat escorting the IKE came on the radio and told all vessels to stay at least 500 yards away from the car-rier. We counted three other carriers at the Navy piers and a fifth one at Norfolk Naval Shipyard. That was half of the entire U.S. carrier fleet in one port!
We re-traced our steps through Portsmouth and Coinjock, returning home on Sunday, May 21. Our last night out in Portsmouth we ate at the German Biergarten. This was just one of the many fond memories we have of our cruise. Our only regret was not anchoring out, which we had planned to do in St. Mary’s River. There’s always the next cruise!