ARC DelMarVa Start in T-Minus 2 Hours!

21 June 2015

The skies were threatening last night at Chesapeake Sailmakers during the 2015 ARC DelMarVa Skipper’s Briefing, and rumors were flying about a delayed start. The remnants of Tropical Storm ‘Bill’ were marching across the mountains of West Virginia, and the thunder was rumbling. But at the briefing, the beer was flowing and the rally participants were excited!

There was a last-minute change of venue for last night’s briefing. For the previous two years, J/World Annapolis, official training partner of World Cruising Club USA, had hosted the event at their dockside sailing facility in Eastport. This year, however, ‘Eastport-A-Rockin’ had practically closed down the small neighborhood. The annual rock-and-roll street festival takes over town and would have made it impossible to park, or even hold a conversation. So the venue was switched back to the Chesapeake sail loft on the opposite side of Back Creek, a familiar location to the ralliers who were here in April for the one-day seminar.

Last night’s briefing began in earnest after an hour or so of mingling and enjoying a few cold beers. The sailing directions were gone over in detail, including bail-out points along the Bay, refueling stops, tides and of course the weather, which everyone’s been talking about (as usual). Last year, Leg 1 was sailed down the Bay in near-chaos, as an unforecast southerly blew up. It took most of the fleet nearly two days to make Portsmouth, delaying the schedule almost before it started. But despite ‘Bill’, this year looks to be one of redemption, at least for Leg 1, with a forecast westerly as the storm moves off to the east, making for reaching conditions all the way to Portsmouth. And we’ve got a fair tide at the start to boot!

‘Bill’ didn’t actually make its arrival until after the party last night, dumping heavy rain on Annapolis and providing a spectacular lightning show over the waters of Back Creek. But by dawn this morning, the worst of the storm had blown over, and we awakened to partly cloudy skies and a steady breeze from the west.

With two hours to go before the start, crews are up and about having coffee and breakfast and taking one last marina shower before the gun goes of at 1000 in Annapolis Harbor. Twenty boats are taking part, and Leg 1 should take most of them between 20-24 hours to make it down the Bay.

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