What started out as a “Will anybody come?  What will we do?” when planning the 2009 Chesapeake Rendezvous turned out to be a good time for everyone.  Since it’s difficult (and expensive) to find a marina to host the event, we decided to try a raft-up this year.  And, true-to-form, Friday turned out to be a rough weather day.  Shades of the 2008 rendezvous!

Jimmy and Cynthia Quast (s/v Odyssey, 32) were coming off of a 2-week vacation and ended up in Rock Hall, MD a day early.  Dave and Wendy Kall (s/v Elysium, 42) had been in the Caribbean and had come up from Norfolk were on a mooring on Friday just outside of Annapolis, in unfamiliar territory.  Pat Thompson (s/v Melissa Claire, 42) discovered dinghy motor problems and being one of the “dinghy ferries”, he ran around trying to find a new motor.  And Mike and Jenny McDiarmid (s/v Namida) are just plain stubborn.  (“It’s my day off from work, so we’re going!)  They tackled the 20 knot winds from the North when they were headed directly North.  Tell me -- why does it take 5 hours to get to the Bay Bridge from the West River???  Then another 4 hours to get to Rock Hall????

So Bud says, “if you have two boats and a six-pack of beer, you have a rendezvous.”  

And darn if we didn’t have a rendezvous Friday night!  The beer and the second boat had arrived.  So after both of the 32s were anchored in Swan Creek on the back side of Rock Hall, they had their own ceremonial raising of the Westsail burgees.  Mike and Jenny unwound and probably talked off Jimmy and Cynthia’s ears about the trip to Swan Creek (and Jenny’s nausea).  Jimmy and Cynthia got a few words in edgewise to tell us how their last couple of weeks had been (rainy, it seems) on Odyssey.  So it was fitting that we start off the rendezvous with rough weather. 

OnSaturday morning, we were hanging out on the decks and saw another 42 coming into the creek.  In the meantime, Pat had called and said he was on his way.  (Unfortunately Missy had last-minute family business to attend to and was unable to sail with him.)  Dave and Wendy circled us and we told them Pat would be there soon and to hang tight.  They did, and we in turn, looked at the beautiful 42 from afar.  Pat arrived not even 10 minutes later and being the only one truly familiar with the area (okay, since it didn’t exist we know we need a new chart book) picked our anchorage.  Melissa Claire and Elysium set their anchors and the 32s then flanked them.  It was a big Westsail sandwich! 




We made introductions and as soon as we heard from Bud Taplin we picked him up on shore. 

But, Bud had met up with Marty Mayfield (s/v Bravura) on shore, so we had two new attendees to the rendezvous!  More introductions and another phone call and Abel and Doris Dominguez (s/v Manana) were waiting for a dinghy ride.  While the dinghy was on the way to pick them up, Jeff Jarvis also called and the second dinghy taxi took off to pick him up.  Now we had everyone introduced and on board. We have to note that Jeff was a wannabe and we welcomed him with open arms.  We hope we didn’t scare him away because he and Bud had an appointment to take a look at Morningside (W32) on Sunday.  So Jeff, what was the decision??? 

Are you going to make next year’s rendezvous on a Westsail 32? 

Because the Friday night potluck was usurped by weather events, we pulled out food for lunch and had an impromptu lunch for everyone on the flotilla.

Everyone was chatting with everyone else, and then began to tour the boats with their cameras.  Unfortunately, Melissa Claire had a leakage problem in his bilge, but soon found the cause and was able to pump the waste and take it to shore.  We toured boats we had seen and boats we hadn’t seen.  Everyone pointed out what improvements they had made and what they were proud of, and everyone told stories.  It’s always fun to hear what others have gone through so you don’t feel alone in these ventures. 

There’s always something to tell about the history of a boat.  For instance, Odyssey was severely damaged years ago from a hurricane when Jimmy and Cynthia were living on St. John, and they re-built her with love.  Elysium’s interior was rebuilt for full-timing, also with much love and attention to detail (look at these wood plugs).

And the finger joints! 

They even removed all the interior slats to re-finish them!  Pat has been working on Melissa Claire for about 30 years.  The interior is beautiful and the exterior has also had some improvements like a roller furling boom for the mainsail.  Namida had many corrections to her rigging, had the cap rails re-finished and is getting a new interior varnish.  Oh and Friday night she needed a new joker valve installed on the head Friday night at 11:00 p.m..  A fitting end to a fitting day!

Then someone had the bright idea that we should get a picture of the boats from the top of Elysium’s mast.  She had steps to the spreader but the rest of the way was a ride in the chair.  Well, the rum hadn’t come out yet, but they had a volunteer.  Jenny had never been up the mast (Mike climbs all the time, so she gladly defers to him in the harness).  So she decided to brave it.  Hey, with all the strong men below and 4 boats anchored, it couldn’t sway that much at 60+ feet, could it?  So up she went. 

Sure enough, she had the best view of the field and was able to snap a few pictures with two of the cameras. 

Had Dave’s brain not been on vacation, she could have also run a halyard for them.  But that required another trip, since the lines and the chair were almost all put away when the brain kicked in.  (Sorry Dave.)

Then it was about time for happy hour.  More snacks and rum!  What’s a happy hour without Dark ‘n Stormies?  Then, more dinghy rides to drop off people on shore for cruising the town and for showers and off to dinner at the Waterman’s restaurant. 

While we were there taking pictures and talking and enjoying each other’s company, we saw a boat come into a very small dock area under sail.  Wow, either those people really are good or just really are …

Luckily it wasn’t gusty that night as it had been the night before.

The next morning we munched out on the croissants and gooey croissants (yum!) that Pat had brought, as well as lots of coffee.  The wind had now turned 180º (of course) and Odyssey needed to get back, since they had the farthest to go.  With the winds from the South now, they had to head South down the Bay, around Bloody Pt. and East up Eastern Bay to get back to Oxford.  So they were first to take off.  Then Namida left to head to its home in the West River.  Oh what a beautiful sail they had – close-hauled from NE of Thomas Pt. Lighthouse to the mouth of the West River, then to a reach and ride all the way up the river to the bend.  One tack -- it sure made up for Friday!  Then Melissa Claire and Elysium took off.  Pat had his sails up and I’m sure made it home in record time, and Elysium, having torn the foot earlier, was forced to motor under the Bay Bridge to their temporary home at Annapolis Landing in Spa Creek.

Even on a short weekend we made new friends and cavorted with like comrades for a wonderful time.  We do have some items to note for next year, however:  (1) a raft-up turned out to be a lot of fun and hopefully will draw more people another time, (2) cut waaaaay back on the soda purchase and provide waaaay more beer than soda and (3) pick a nice weekend, please?????

Fair winds and calm seas …

Members of the Westsail Owners Association in the Chesapeake