SMSA Cruise Update (June 7-14, Smith Island - Siesseger)

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Smith Island Cruise (June 7-14, 2008) 

On Saturday, June 7, SMSA cruisers will sail from Solomons on a beam reach in a brisk 10-15 knot breeze to Smith Island (38 00.03 N, 75 02.00 W).    VHF channel 9 will be monitored and used by the cruise leader, Fred Siesseger on Kalypso, to hail all boats at 11AM and 1PM..  Approaching the western entrance of Smith Island after an invigorating four hour sail under a sunny sky, cruisers will motor down the tight but adequate channel on a rising tide, predicted to peak at  4:57 PM/ 1.7 ft.).    Following the marks to a sharp turn to starboard about midway, they will soon have a clear view of the Smith Island marina sign to starboard, just beyond the dock for the Crisfield ferry in Ewell.   Having contacted Pauli Eades or her husband, Captain Steve, the proprietors of Smith Island Marina (410-425-4220; www. several weeks earlier to make slip reservations, cruisers will approach the docks confident in their security of tenure for Saturday night.  (The marina has a very limited number of slips at $1/ft. and there is no anchorage).  Dock lines will be thrown to welcoming crew of at least two other SMSA boats who plan to arrive a day early to explore the island.

Of course, happy hour will commence as soon as boat fenders drop and cruisers plop into lawn chairs in front of the boat house, overlooking the beautiful heron rookery across the channel. As the sun and sailing stories fade, Pauli will serve an outdoor crab feast to all cruisers who made reservations and received confirmations at least two weeks earlier by contacting Fred Siesseger  (703-851-1838 ; rapidefred  Since some crew may be concerned about callinectes sapidus (savory beautiful swimmer) becoming an endangered specie, their captains will ask Fred to arrange an alternative entrée – the Eastern Shore’s official flightless bird.   Pauli’s delectable Iowa-style potato salad will also be featured.  The dessert course will be the famous multi-layered “Smith Island cake”, recently featured in the “Washington Post” food section.

Always sensitive to local customs, cruisers know that Smith Island is officially “dry”, and their bottles of finely aged wine will be kept discretely cool under the picnic tables.   Perhaps the convivial minister will again drop by at happy hour on his skiff named “The Methodist” to tell us the latest news about his island’s flock.  Following dinner, some cruisers will chat with Pauli about her paintings of local scenes and studio classes for aspiring artists,   (She is a former artist with the Smithsonian, etc.). 

On Sunday morning, June 8, some cruisers will, unfortunately, have to return to Solomons and their employment, while others will listen to the favorable VHF weather forecast and convene leisurely over croissant and coffee to decide on the next great destination.  Crew of deep draft boats may rise a bit early since high tide on Sunday is predicted for 5:22 AM and low tide is at 12:12 PM.

There will be no prior organization of the rest of the cruise, although Fred will make every effort to assure proper advance arrangements for destinations agreed by the group.   The governing principle for the week-long sailing sojourn will be to go “where the wind blows” -- maximizing sailing and minimizing motoring.   Of course, ports with the amenities appreciated most by SMSA cruisers, such as fine restaurants, friendly folks, and secure anchorages, will be favored in reaching a consensus decision each day.    To help prepare for the fun, Fred will mail a small information packet on prospective destinations to members who contact him about the cruise at least two weeks in advance.    

Fred Siesseger