Stuart FL to Rock Hall MD

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It is very difficult to blog and post while moving the boat 10-14 hours a day, every day, 1,000 nm.  Twelve days after departing FL, we finally are getting a chance to catch up on photos and blog postings. We have had a fantastic run from Stuart, going offshore direct 525 nm in 3 days to Cape Lookout, NC. There we entered the ICW, Intracoastal Waterway, and worked our way north to the Chesapeake Bay. Once in the Bay, we blasted north in 2 days. We never did that before, running the bay in 2 days. We count home waters as Annapolis to Rock Hall, Maryland, with the Bay Bridge as our defining landmark signifying we are home.

This 2017-18 cruising season has been an unusual one, starting in Puerto Rico with a damaged mast from hurricane Maria. We shipped the boat to Florida and had it repaired by Mack Sails. We tested the rebuild out by sailing a loop around the Abacos and the Berrys. With it being so late in the season, we decided to sail for home where we could use our boat for the summer and wait out the next hurricane season. We will sail back to the Caribbean next season and resume our adventures there. For now, we will enjoy the boat here on the Bay for the summer of 2018.

Here is a graphic of our season.

We departed Stuart on Monday, noon, May 21

Heading out the inlet in a near squall that caught up with us about 3 miles offshore, we were out and heading north. There was a nice 3 to 4-day weather window with forecasted southeast winds of 15-20 knots and no threat of thunderstorms. We liked the forecast so, even with the squall, we left. It was a bit exciting, but we kept telling ourselves the forecast was great. Let’s keep going. Well, we took a beating for about 4-5 hours out of the inlet and we actually thought about turning around, but we pushed offshore to the Gulfstream.

The calm after the squall

Our passage was great

We had it all, broad reaching full sails, all three, we reefed 4 times, had 3 squalls, lightning and rain, and even 4 hours of code zero offshore. The sailing was really wonderful for days. We both commented many times how amazing the sailing was. Endless sailing. This trip was the longest offshore trip we have made. 60 hours 525 nm. We had two days of 200 nm which was due to the 3-4 knots of the Gulfstream. Making a 200nm day is a great day on any sailboat, let alone a little 35 footer. We were pleased with our speed and the push of the Stream.

On our second  day, we were 400 nm from St. Lucie Inlet, near Stuart
Here we are 24 hrs from our last 24 hr point, it was 200.1 nm

The days rolled on and we enjoyed the passage. Radeen and I are not always thrilled about ocean passages, but we do them when we can to cover longer distances. For us, we would rather anchor and rest at night, but sometimes you just have to go to sea and do shifts and keep running 24/7. This was a great time to go offshore, to go north, and we are very glad we did it. Here are the photos from offshore…

Code Zero sailing for about 4 hours
Radeen keeps our logbook up to date
This is the coolest sail, so easy to use. We use it when winds are under 15 knots.
Sunset on the port side, heading north
Full mainsail, we reefed down 4 times.
Sunset at sea, Day 2
Radeen keeping the sun off her face
Calm seas 100 nm offshore
Hayden hooked in and on watch

Arriving Cape Lookout at 0400

We arrived Cape Lookout before daybreak in a thunderstorm. Our new radar went out the afternoon of the second day so we were running blind all night, a very uncomfortable situation. After making the Cape straightaway, we decided to not go into the harbour until daybreak because it was so dark. With no moonlight, no radar and one lighted buoy missing, it was best to wait. We simply put away the jib and, with a reefed main, we sailed along the shore until 0530 when it was light enough to go in and drop the anchor. We slept until 0800 and then headed out using our code zero for the Beaufort Inlet and into the ICW in beautiful conditions.

Arriving at 0400, we waited until 0530 to go in and anchor

Up the ICW, Cape Lookout to the Chesapeake Bay

This is always an easy and interesting section of the ICW. We have run this 10+ times and know the route well. We also know the stops and the anchorages. We have stopped before at Oriental, River Dunes, Manteo,  Edenton, Elizabeth City, Dismal Swamp, Norfolk, etc. but this time we were on a delivery running for home. So, we followed our dear friend Reuben’s route into Coinjock. There we made reservations for a prime rib dinner and a dock. What a treat that was after days at sea and on the hook. Coinjock was a welcome relief and we may always go this way from now on. It also saves one day of travel so that was another reason we went this way. Very fun stop. Thank you, Reuben.

The Coinjock Restaurant
Date night since we did not kill each other offshore 🙂

The next stop PORTSMOUTH, VA

We never ever miss this stop at the Portsmouth, VA ferry basins. We dock  along the waterfront and walk into town on High Street, taking in the Bier Garten, the Commodore Movie Theater, and the local coffee shop. What a great stop to see the new Star Wars movie, “Solo.” So much fun for sure.

South Ferry Basin, Portsmouth VA, our 11th stop here!
Thank you to the US NAVY and all who serve!

Photos of the ICW…

Shrimp boat, NC
The clear brown waters of the Pungo River-Alligator River Canal
22 nm long canal, the Pungo River-Alligator River Canal
Water stained tea colored from the cypress trees
Biting flies are numerous and massively large  in NC
Beautiful trees in the swamps
One lone tree as we turn into the canal

We reach the Chesapeake Bay….HOME waters

These are our home waters! When we reach the Bay, we feel at ease and safe. Starting our sailing here in 1986, we have anchored in nearly every creek and cove. First stop, Annapolis, the state capital of Maryland. and one of our favorites. It was an unexpected pleasure to have dinner with Mary Ann and Ron of IP380 CAVU and Sharon and Greg of IP40 Dreamcatcher, but we have no photo of the fun to share.

We love to sail past Thomas Point Lighthouse
HOME, Thomas Point Lighthouse

Annapolis Maryland

Our HAPPY PLACE, St. Mary’s cove under the Spa Creek Bridge
Our favorite alley in Annapolis where we always take a photo with the Maryland State House

Chesapeake Bay Bridge, NOW we are HOME

We have not been north of the Bay Bridge by boat since 2015. We stored our boat in Stuart FL two years ago to prep for sailing to the Caribbean Sea. Then last season, we stored in Puerto Rico. Now we have returned and it was a fun run to cross under the Bay Bridge again. We always cut the corner and that presents these great photo shots looking back into the center span of the bridge with the perspective vanishing point. Very cool photo.

Looking east into the center spans from in between the bridges

Rock Hall, MD tower

From the center span of the Bay Bridge, we ran for the Rock Hall tower which is a range marker pointed to the main ship channel. Once we reached this, we were home. We motored into Swan Creek and around the creek to Spring Cove Marina. We have been at this marina since 1991. It is the special place where we built all our sailing and cruising dreams. We spent many summers planning and dreaming of going off cruising. For now, we will base here and enjoy our boat.

The Rock Hall tower and the way into our creek
Docked at Spring Cove Marina, sun setting over our bow

CHEERS, it is a great life cruising on a sailboat

A little tired after all these miles, but we were happy to pop the bubbly…CHEERS

We celebrated our arrival at The Harbour Shack with great friends, Sharon and Jeff of IP35 Lucille and Ray of IP 27 Wye’s Guy. Again, no photo of the fun.

Thank you all for following along. Your comments arrive in our email box and we love to hear from you.


OUR MAP. Where we have been and where we are now. If our boat moves, this map updates. How fun.

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3 Replies to “Stuart FL to Rock Hall MD”

  1. Glad you’re home safe and sound. Sounds like it was quite the adventure! It was great to see you in Florida. Loretta and Jim s/v Plan Sea

  2. Great to see you made it home safely. “What a long strange trip it has been” as the ‘Dead’ would say.

    Hope there is a fall Rock hall rendezvous so that we can meet you guys again up here.
    Dan Tyska
    Land Yacht Sailor

  3. Having fun following your adventures!
    My wife and I are dreaming of cruising on an IP yacht someday.
    Now, we sail from Pittsburgh via Annapolis, on a Sailtime boat, one weekend a month.
    Love to chat with y’all some time

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