A Cruiser’s Review of Annapolis

Annapolis bills itself as the sailing capital of the world with good reason. Regattas, junior sailing, and Wednesday night races, not to mention the regular cruising and day-tripping traffic, crowd hundreds of boats into Spa Creek, which is very much both the town’s center and its main thoroughfare. There are also at least five yacht clubs in the city along with dozens of businesses catering to sailors, numerous marinas, the National Sailing Hall of Fame, and the United States Naval Academy. It seems that everyone in town is a sailor, and locals and visitors alike come down to the waterfront to eat lunch, take a short break, and just while away the time looking at boats.
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Foam Update – Open Cell Dry-Fast Foam – Part I

I have had a few requests to post more information about the Open Cell Dry-Fast Foam order that I placed with Foam Factory (www.foambymail.com).  I am happy to report that the foam arrived on schedule, five days after I placed the order.  Each piece came wrapped in plastic, in vacuum-sealed bags, which allowed the foam to be shipped in much more compact packages.

foam 1

The foam has arrived!

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PSP ’14 – Annapolis/Eastport

PSP10

PSP 13 coozie

While we knew we would not be in Peoria for the summer, we also knew that we did not want to let the PSP tradition die.   So, we decided to rent a house in Annapolis and invite our friends to join us for our annual weekend of debauchery. We found a great place on VRBO.com that would accommodate all of our guests and was conveniently located two blocks from Spa Creek, where we planned to grab a mooring ball for a couple of weeks.  Our guests could even hop on a water taxi to get out to S/V Bear or over to downtown Annapolis.
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Annapolis with the Rents

Last night, Margaret and I were discussing how we had not shared much of the last month that she was on Bear this summer, from our time in Annapolis to arriving in Norfolk. With lots of fabulous adventures – chasing rays in the dinghy, crashing two different regatta parties, getting personal with some Chesapeake Bay log canoes, etc. – in some cool towns – St. Mary’s, Solomons, and Crisfield to name a few – we realized we had a lot of stories to tell, places to review, and pictures to share. So, we decided we would make a concerted effort over the next couple weeks to document that part of our voyage, starting with our time in Annapolis.
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Historical Views of Annapolis

This morning, I was looking up old USGS quads for a few areas around Peoria, tracking some of the landscape changes over the past 120 years since the Geological Survey produced their first maps of the area. I always enjoy examining older maps and images of places, seeing how the built and natural environment transform over time. As a historian, using these images is probably my favorite way to investigate the past, and I can get lost in them for hours.

Finding such great stuff for Peoria – and procrastinating a bit – I decided to take a look at maps of Annapolis. And, as I proceeded down that rabbit hole, I thought that others might find these nautical charts, Sanborn insurance maps, and other images of Annapolis through the years interesting as well. These various maps and charts show how the Severn River and Spa (spelled Spaw in at least one of the old charts) Creek coastlines and the city and its waterfront has transformed, along with giving some sense of the changing way mapmakers and everyday Americans used and thought about their environment. I hope you enjoy these even half as much as I do.
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The Winter To-Do List – At Home Items

As you may have gathered from Margaret’s recent posts on purchasing a Sailrite sewing machine and selecting foam for the cockpit cushions, we are beginning the work that we need to accomplish on Bear before next season. Along these lines, one of the first things we did was to compile a comprehensive list of tasks that need to be completed. Then, we divided the list into things we can do now in Peoria, those that have to actually be taken care of on the boat, and those that we need measurements, gear, or part numbers from the boat so that we can buy parts, contemplate our options, or build and sew items at home.
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Researching Cushion Foam

I had big plans this week to unpack our new Sailrite sewing machine and make a video about the set up, but unfortunately, I was waylaid by illness.  After being down and out for five days, I am finally starting to feel like myself again, and today I started to research and order materials for some of the sewing projects I hope to complete before we put S/V Bear back in the water in the Spring.
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Freedom on the Seas: Sailing, Liberty, and American Slavery – Part Three

Slaves gained freedom on and from the water in a variety of ways, not just stealing themselves away on sailing vessels. For instance, we have already seen how Frederick Douglass disguised himself as a sailor to escape to the North. But slaves claimed and enjoyed additional liberties working on board ships, even when they did not free themselves from the institution of slavery itself. Serving their masters on board boats, many slaves found that the way of the ship offered them opportunities to enjoy freedoms, even the possibility of temporarily lording over whites, that they may not have had on land. Of course, enslaved black seamen, no matter how many liberties they enjoyed at sea, were still not only chattel, but also subject to acts of racism and, like other white sailors, the capriciousness of the ship’s officers.
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Freedom on the Seas: Sailing, Liberty, and American Slavery – Part Two

While Frederick Douglass disguised himself as a sailor to make his way to the North, other slaves gained their freedom from the water in more direct ways. Though sailing gives me a sense of freedom today, these runaways were gaining far more than just a feeling of liberty; they were literally stealing themselves away, realizing their personal liberation. These slaves escaped by commandeering craft, stowing away, and simply jumping ship when the opportunity arose.
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Freedom on the Seas: Sailing, Liberty, and American Slavery – Part One

For a lot of people, myself included, being on the water, especially on a sailboat, represents freedom. Powered by the wind, you have the ability to go anywhere, whether it be across the bay or across an ocean. Moreover, while there are rules on the water, the restrictions are fewer than on land and most relate obviously and directly to the safety and well-being of yourself and others. And there are so many other ways that people gain a sense of freedom by being out on the water, beholden to little more than the breeze.
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