Rappahannock River Yacht Club

Cruiser Shakedown, April 28-30


Shake-down Cruise 2019 :  Sunday, April 28-Tuesday, April 30   By Cheryl Wicks 

As with all cruises, one has to remain flexible. The plan was to go to Urbanna and Jackson Creek, with which one we would do first dependent on the wind and weather. 

Well, despite the wind blowing on our nose Sunday morning, we headed up the Rappahannock to Urbanna to the beautifully maintained and friendly Bridge Marinas. Why? Because Colonial Pizza was open Sunday night and closed Mondays along with the restaurant “Something Different”. (We have our priorities, and as a new Cruise Commander, I couldn’t risk a mutiny so early into our cruising schedule.) 

It was a gorgeous day with mild temperatures on the water, winds of 10 to 15 knots with only occasional gusts of twenty to keep it interesting. All who participated left from either Carter Creek or the Corrotoman, so we didn’t have far to go. Terry and Coleman Brydon on Inspiration tossed off their double lines and came out to play with us on the river before returning to their dock and later dropping by the Bridge Marinas on their way home to Richmond. Steve and Sheila Zukor on Wetted Bliss tacked up the river with Tom and me on Eminence. Ian Ormesher and Judy Fay left the dock later on Galeneia and tacked up the river in time to meet us for dinner after anchoring and launching their dinghy. We were all greeted by David Hutchison who keeps his boat Menabilly at the Bridge Marinas and who also joined us for dinner and breakfast. 

Both the Wicks and Zukors managed to dock gracefully (with the help of a least three people on land). I observed that you knew it was a good day sailing when you found all the pillows on the floor from heeling. However, it was warm in Urbanna, so we got to test out our boat air conditioning. It worked! After dinner, however, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped. We got to try out our heat, too! 

The rest of the evening was a true shake down. Despite protected waters, we shook, rattled, and rolled all night long regardless if you were at anchor or on the dock. We all heard boat noises we never heard before. Bleary eyed, we gathered at 0800 for breakfast as Marshalls—a drugstore with a 50’s-style breakfast/lunch counter.   

Well fed, we looked at the weather and decided to beat our way into the wind to anchor out in the beautiful Corrotoman rather than go all the way down the river and around to Jackson Creek. Ian and Judy had to get back to their slip at RRYC, but the Wicks and Zukors tested out their anchoring gear in the “10-foot hole” off the “sandy point” not far from Hills Creek which is home port for the Zukors.  

Once anchored, it was so calm, quiet, and peaceful, that I promptly took a two-hour nap while Tom took our dog Matey to the pretty shoreline where they were welcomed by the local muskrat. Happy hour was on the Zukor’s boat. Dinner was aboard our respective boats checking out our stoves. The next morning, the Zukors could have rowed to their dock, but Tom and I sailed the three and one-half hours to our dock on Indian Creek. It was just great to be on the water again and to have our boat back to our dock after its being on the hard all winter. 

Did we all discover things that needed attention? Without exception. How about things we forgot to bring? Yup. But we also learned what was working and still in good shape. It was a successful Shake-down Cruise in that we can now be much better prepared for our May and June cruises. Hope to see you out there!