Saturday, September 19, 2009

St. Michaels and the Log Canoe Race and the broken computer - the adventure stumbles along.

Well, if you've read the previous blog, you've gotten through the hard part.  From here on in it's just photos and a few comments.  As a matter of fact, you don't even need to read the sentence you just read.

We sailed to St. Michaels for the famous Log Canoe Races. And to visit St. Michaels.  And here, as promised are the photos.

These boats are amazing.  The hulls are made of  five logs, fastened together and formed and faired, and planking is added to the sides.  The design is adapted originally from the Indian log canoes and the sails were added to work the Chesapeake Bay, carrying fish and oysters back to market.  The speed of the boat was essential to get the product back quickly before it spoiled.

There were originally thousands of these craft on the Bay, they are now fewer than 20.

Very exciting to watch them race, they have so much sail area that the crew has to crawl out on hiking boards to keep them upright.  When they come about (that is, turn the boat so the wind is on the other side of the sails) the crew scrambles down the boards, pulls the boards in and sets them on the other side and then scrambles back out to the end to keep them from tipping over.  Which they do on occasion.  And the crew gets to go for a swim.  The masts are hinged at the base and are laid down parallel to the hull and a chase boat comes and tows them back to shore.  

In this view, taken directly from the front, you can see why it is such a tender craft.  Lengthwise, they are pencil thin compared to...

the broad and tall sail area.

Notice here in the back of the boat a crew member sits on a hinged plank so that she (usually) can see and relay information to the helmsman whose vision is severely restricted by the size of the sails.

Many of them fly "Battle Flags" hoisted on "pig sticks" which extend above the mast.

The boats here are gathered before the start line waiting for the gunshot which signals the start.

And they're on their way!

But that doesn't stop a crabber from plying his trade, totally oblivious of the exciting race going on next to him.  He's seen it all.


But St. Michaels is more than just a town that has sailboat races.  It also has a history.  The story goes that the British attacked the town at night.  But the clever people of St. Michaels extinguished all the lights in the buildings and hoisted latterns high into the trees fooling the Brittish into firing their cannons over the tops of the homes.  Heh, heh, heh.  Stupid British.  Many of the old buildings are still there and Suzi and I took a walk through the town to photograph a few.





There's a Bar or two in town, too.  That's where you'll find Captain Larry.

And the Crab Claw Restaurant on the Waterfront is very popular.

But our favorite place in town is the Marine Museum, which brings us back almost every Father's Day for the wooded boat show, which features classic wooden boats dating back many decades.  This is the Hooper Strait Lighthouse originally a lot further out on the Bay.  Probably on Hooper Strait - I don't know where that is, but you can look it up if you want and let me know.

Elf, built originally in 1888 has been lovingly restored and was at the St. Michaels Maritime Museum when we were there.  (learn more here)

We had a lot more pictures to choose from, but after downloading them to our computer, the hard drive decided that it was a good time to succumb to a worm thoughtfully provided access by Windows Vista, which turned off our anti-virus program, thinking it was a virus, and we went unprotected for about 10 days.

Which is why we went back to Weems Creek, borrowed a car and ended up purchasing a new computer.  Which, again, thanks to Windows Vista (64 bit) does not work with our chart plotter program because it won't recognize the GPS input.  (Windows Vista 64 bit has no provision for serial input, even when translated to USB)  Do I sound bitter?  But Windows 7 is coming out soon and it promises to be better and we have a coupon for an upgrade.  Always nice to have something to look forward to.