Category Archives: Stew’s Log

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Running off the Interloper

Evasive action!

Bouncing across  chop, the scow fleet encircled the Pride of Baltimore II and let fly with all manner of invective.  How dare this privateer ply the Potomac!  Every scallywag with half a halyard knows the British merchant marine is already claimed by Whistlebritches, Chalupa and the soon-to-be-named Melges.

The bow guns rolled to the ports but no fuse was lit as the Melges slid under the sprit of the hulking, wooden sirenia.

Continue reading Running off the Interloper

Stoking Competitive Instincts

Making a run past the Old Town Alexandria waterfront

“Is that a J-24 there?”  “I think its a J-32”  “No, that’s a 24”  “Yeah, Yeah”  “They’ve got some good wind.”  “Should we go after them?”  “Yeah, but I want to get upwind of them and stay in that good wind.”  “Definitely…do you think you can point above them.”  “Are you kidding, these boards are toed in…we can get  ’em” Continue reading Stoking Competitive Instincts

Willing Co-Conspirators

Aboard Chalupa: Quinn, Maggie and Karen
Aboard Chalupa: Quinn, Maggie and Karen

It’s in their marrow.  Sailors are sailors. So we always knew Maggie would get in a scow and not want to get out.  The only surprise is that she hornswaggled most her family and a good friend into this escapade.  Power of persuasion.

Maggie and her son Quinn joined Karen in the M16 “Chalupa” on May 18 for a waltz in gentle east winds that took them quickly down the boat channel and out into the Potomac.   Up river they scooted with a good twist on the main.  Quinn was plane spotting.  WOOSH…”That was a Boeing!”  ZOOM  “There goes another.”  He arranged the tiller extensions straight out, so they were like wings on the Chalupa.  When you are on a smooth planing scow, there is an airborne quality.   And certainly this evening, there was  a lot to enjoy out on the river, especially for a young lad who never closes his eyes to wonder.

Jeremy, Evaline and I heeled up Whistlebritches and chased down the Chalupa. At between 12 and 17 degrees of heel, the waterline on a scow becomes a canoe and the boat settles into a dynamic harmony.   Hard to comprehend all the forces at play as the wind stiffens the bilgeboard against the slot, and the scow begins to lean over.  But the result is undeniable as we felt Whistlebritches skim over the water.

Maggie showed us some tactical tricks as we drew near, blocking our wind and heading us as we tried to overtake her.  A savvy sailor, with a crew of co-conspirators.  The sun was low as we headed in.  Boats covered and put away by sunset.   Perfect evening.




More of a drifter than a race, but we did okay

Nesting in the boat channel

Our first race with the Potomac River Sailboat Association was light with shifting winds when there were any.We joined the Catamarans, which gave us a spanking.But there was reason to celebrate:  Race one saw us first across the start line, exactly in the the right position.  Race two we were calmed and overtaken by the lightnings, but we managed to catch their wind and pinged a few of them going around the mark.

Continue reading More of a drifter than a race, but we did okay