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Memorial Day Cruise: Cruise Report

West River Sailing Club Memorial Day Cruise

May 28 – 30, 2022

Cruise Leaders – Erick and Maggie Chiang

Did it seem that Memorial Day week-end was suddenly here? It did to me especially having to skip the Early Bird Cruise two weeks prior to due to a cranky engine. Nevertheless, the week-end was welcome more so as the temperatures moderated and the sunshine was abundant.

The initial plan was to depart Friday the 27th, overnight at Boby Owl creek off of Broad Creek, then meet at Safe Harbor, Oxford, MD Saturday the 28th, then proceed to Cambridge on Sunday the 29th. Friday’s plans were scratched due to high winds and a wet forecast, so we, that is the Chiang’s aboard au Lapin Agile II, the Casey’s aboard Otter, the Sutherlands aboard Outward, and the Dawson’s aboard Festina Lente proceeded directly to Oxford via Knapps Narrows. Otter stayed outside and rounded Black Walnut Point enroute to Oxford and enjoyed an excellent view of the spinnaker-rigged vessels participating in the Annapolis to Miles River Race.

Oxford now showcases “Safe Harbor” (the former Mears). Safe Harbor is one of many marinas of the same name having taken over many older marinas in the Chesapeake Bay. The contrast between the old Mears and Safe Harbor is a very pleasing upgrade to the old facilities. Floating docks have replaced the old, a bright and roomy Clubhouse welcomes all tenants and visitors to Safe Harbor with new, clean and roomy bathrooms and showers. Behind the clubhouse are BBQ’s complete with propane, and sheltered picnic tables for outdoor dining. Safe Harbor has also taken ownership of the Oxford Boatyard, and presumably will upgrade the facilities and amenities to the quality enjoyed at Safe Harbor. As is the mark of our cruises, cocktails and pot-luck hors d’oeuvres are offered. On this

occasion it was aboard Festina Lente. After several hours of catching up and enjoying the snacks and drinks, we all retired for the evening.

Sunday morning dawned bright and we convened at the Clubhouse for Dave Dawson’s traditional cooked to order omelets. The porch of the clubhouse with its picnic tables provided the perfect venue to showcase Dave’s skills. It wasn’t too long before we had eaten our fill and prepared for the short voyage to Cambridge. Cambridge is about 10 nm from Oxford, and we all (except Festina Lente who chose to stay in Oxford) docked side-by-side along the walkway in the Cambridge Yacht Basin. Very much like a small town, the Basin manager recognized us and our boats from our previous visits. Pre-pandemic Cambridge boasted a revival of its old town with highly rated restaurants and restored historic structures. The pandemic however dealt the city a bit of a set-back. The grand mansions and B&Bs that lined the main street into town were still there, however for a long holiday week-end the number of visitors walking the streets of the city were few. Many of the restaurants were closed for the

weekend. Nevertheless, we were able to dine at Ava’s (of the same style and named restaurant in St. Michael’s. While the city had been dealt a blow because of the pandemic, the store fronts retain their shine and hopes for better days were apparent. It will be worth a re-visit to see the city’s restoration.

Monday arrived too quickly and we made our preparations for the voyage back to Annapolis and Galesville. Maggie and I took our daily walk before our departure and instead of walking through the old town streets, we chose the streets that boarded the Little Choptank and here was part of the reason for the optimism for the city’s recovery, because here were the grand and stately homes that one notices entering the Little Choptank. All that we met along our walk were welcoming and friendly. I don’t doubt that these residents will continue with the restoration of an historic city.


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