You know, it always amazes us how many folks pull their boats when September hits here on the Chesapeake. Every sailor around here knows that the fall and early winter makes up the absolute best in boating weather hereabouts (hurricanes being excepted of course). Even, predictable winds, mild temperatures, good fishing. . . .what's not to like?
Another thing TO like is that, as of the beginning of fall, a lot of the boaters that turn the Bay into a weekend amateur hour have pulled their vessels The guy with his Carver's trim tabs set to "gouge" has gone away, resulting in fewer wake incidents, less congestion, fewer floating beercans and, at least on my part, a lot lower blood pressure.
|Some of the fall sunsets on the Chesapeake are glorious. This from last year.|
The better weather and fewer crowds, that and being rather housebound from the whole Pandemic thing, gives us a yen to travel. Already (having dodged a tropical storm) we're making ready for some fall journeys. We've rebuilt the carb and fuel pump on our redoubtable Atomic 4 made some rigging repairs and adjustments, and, in general, gotten prepped for sea. "So where do you want to go?" is one of our most frequent conversations of late, so I thought I'd pass some of those ideas along to you.
First of all, don't pass up the opportunity to revisit places you've loved. Favorite anchorages and waterfront towns just off-season are a whole different experience than when flocks of (occasionally reckless) tourists are about, and with the whole Covid-19 thing, they'll be happy to see you (as long as you're careful and keep people safe). I grew up in a tourist trap in Florida and I've always loved tourist towns off season, while the galleries and shops are still open but the places aren't mobbed.
Second, don't forget that fall is harvest season, and the farmer's markets, many of them in walking distance from the water, are in full swing. Think taking a short walk ashore on a fine fall day and returning to the boat with bags of fresh corn, tomatoes, and squash for a sunset dinner.
|Fall harvests can make for some really spectacular dinners aboard.|
Fall is also a time of festivals, many of them either staged down or hurting because of the pandemic. Check out the calendars of the places you'll be cruising near. You may discover some gems you've never even dreamed of attending.
|Nothing like a local wine festival to introduce you to some things you've never tried.|
I will put one thing out there as a caveat though: The Pandemic is real. We know--personally--people who have become ill and some who have had family members die of it. I only just completed the Covid-19 Contact Tracer training through Johns Hopkins, and I know just how virulent this thing can be. At sea, you're about as socially isolated as you can be. Once you step ashore, don't get casual. Your life and the lives of others may depend on you're paying attention and being responsible.
The fall and early winter are, for my money, the absolute best times for cruising and gunkholing on the Chesapeake. Do some planning, load up the larder, and head out. It's our time