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The Early Bird Cruise (Land and Sea)

The history of the Early Bird Cruise says there must be a Plan B, and perhaps more than

one Plan B, and so it was for the cruise this year. READ ON FOR ALL THE DETAILS...

Chesapeake Bay Sailboat Cruising Group, West River Maryland. West River Sailing Club
Left to right first group: Finn, Althea, Ainsley, Joe, Rhys, (back row) Ev, Bernie, Kathy, Paul, Al, Ned, Jim, Jennifer, Stoney, (kneeling) Erick, Maggie, Liz, Rachel, Susan, (last group standing in front row) Cyrena, Grant, Jim, Diane, Jack, Jody, Dave.

The plan was to arrive at St. Michaels on the 28th of April, stay the weekend and return to our homeports on Sunday the 30th. For many, the cruise is an opportunity for skippers to shake-down their boat’s systems and then relax for the weekend at Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum with restaurants and shops nearby. Unfortunately, as the weekend approached, the weather forecast showed heavy rain and winds throughout the weekend. It became clear that it wasn’t going to get any better, so we cancelled the cruise.



Chesapeake Bay Sailboat Cruising Group, West River Maryland. West River Sailing Club
The WRSC Cruising Vessels at the Dock

Traditionally, at the destination, boat crews are invited to gather for a cocktail party. It is a fact that WRSC Cruiser cocktails hour(s) are showcases for hors d’oeuvres and appetizers and there is a no better way to open a new season. Rain or no rain a Plan B was created, and the Sutherlands generously offered to host a potluck get together. The culinary skills of those that attended did not disappoint! Then surprise, surprise – the rain abated, and the sun came out and we could enjoy the outdoors. Some twenty members; those who planned on cruising, members from sister WRSC fleets, and members that we had the opportunity to meet for the first time attended.



Chesapeake Bay Sailboat Cruising Group, West River Maryland. West River Sailing Club
Saturday Evening Cocktail Hour Under The Shelter Of The CBMM’s Exhibition Center

As the evening continued, the thought of getting on the water remained fixed in many minds, thus Plan C was hatched. It was a rhetorical question – “Why don’t we reschedule the Early Bird Cruise two weeks hence?” A chorus of “Why Nots” followed, thus Plan C was named Early Bird Redux scheduled for Mother’s Day weekend. Josh the CBMM harbormaster knows the WRSC well. He quickly revised the dates for those that had cancelled and placed the club boats close together. This time the forecast was for sunshine and light winds for the weekend.


Friday, the 12th dawned as forecast – sunshine, moderate temperature and light winds.

“Oter” crewed by Joe and Pat Casey had arrived Thursday. “Outward” crewed by Al and Liz

Sutherland arrived early Friday along with “Festina Lente” crewed by Dave and Rachel Dawson and their dog Honey. “au Lapin Agile II” crewed by Erick and Maggie Chiang arrived late afternoon, and Friday night arrivals concluded with the arrival of “Valinor II” with a full crew of Jim and Althea Hodson and their kids Finn, Ainsley, and Rhys. Saturday’s arrival of Bluewater Girl” crewed by Carol McCullough and Greg Niedenthal, Ryan, and Jody Gibson completed the WRSC complement.


Saturday was cloudy with evening rains predicted, but that did not stop plans to walk St. Mike’s Wilderness Trail, and to find a venue for our cocktail hour.



Chesapeake Bay Sailboat Cruising Group, West River Maryland. West River Sailing Club
Valinor II Heading Home

A few other notes: A new restaurant “Fool’s Lantern” should not be missed. In addition to small tapas like entrees, the wine and beer service is a new experience. It can only be described as an automated self-serve. To try to explain further would only have me tongue-tied. Check it out. Free pizza? Saturday was a wedding reception on Naval Point. Guests were offered free, freshly baked pizzas as they left the reception. While we were not formal guests, we were in essence guests of CBMM, so the owners of the kiosk included us among those for whom they baked pizza!


Chesapeake Bay Sailboat Cruising Group, West River Maryland. West River Sailing Club
Bluewater Girl Heading Home

We all cruised home Sunday and after concluding less than traditional plans, we close this season’s Early Bird Cruise. The history of this cruise has for what seems like a decade, been subject to weather cancellations and schedule changes. Indeed, one year, we chartered boats in the BVIs to insure good weather, only to fall victim to a COVID caused cancellation. So next year look for a new name: perhaps “No Name Cruise,” or “Cross Your Fingers and Hope Cruise,” or an announcement of a cruise after we have received the forecast.


Looking forward to seeing WRSC Cruisers and Big Boat Racers joining the Memorial Day Cruise to Wye River. Check the Notice of Cruise for specifics.

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