Cruising the Chesapeake
in an Ultimate 20

by Andrea Rand

Frequent Flyer moored next to a J/29 at Annapolis. Note the capitol dome in the background

For our first trailer/cruise Ultimate 20 experience, we made plans to go to the Chesapeake from our home in Falmouth, Maine. This family trip was to take place during the Spring school vacation of our six year old son, Cory.

During the long winter prior to our trip, while "cruising" on Compuserve's Sailing Forum we met Al Golden from Kent Narrows, Maryland. Kent Narrows is on the eastern shore across from Annapolis. Al invited us to launch our U20 from a ramp near his marine insurance office and graciously took our trailer to his house for safe keeping during our cruise.

This April vacation started out exceptionally cool even for us Northerners. I had cruised the Chesapeake as a child in April and remembered it as being a whole lot warmer. After loading and launching the U20, we slept peacefully on board in spite of the cold rain that fell the first night. The next morning we woke up to a breezy gray northwesterly, so we set our course downwind toward St. Micheal. En route, we read about the Miles River Yacht Club in our Waterway Guide, where we were warmly greeted, assisted to a slip and welcomed to all the facilities at their fine club. Saturday, we were given tickets to the Chesapeake Bay Museum which we thoroughly enjoyed. Easter Sunday morning we hid Easter treats on board for Cory, then sailed across the Bay to Deale. We tied up at one of the many large marinas and ate Easter dinner ashore.

Monday was sunny and still; after two breezy sails, we were surprised to have a day so calm. That evening in Annapolis, the dockmaster commented that he would not make much money off us as we paid for our 20 feet of dock space and filled our 2.5 gallon gas tank. Annapolis is a fun city. We especially liked watching the America's Cup trials at Marmaduke’s, a true sailor's watering hole.
Deale, Maryland. Cory and Teddy Rand show off Frequent Flyer's jib sheet hammock

We had the most idyllic sail under the Bay Bridge reaching to Rock Hall. As we sailed this popular bay on this gorgeous day, we were happy to have it all to ourselves during their early season. In spite of the sunny warmth, we still had hot soup from our camp-type stove. At Rock Hall, we stayed at the Sailing Emporium, a large sailboat charter/sailing center. Even after looking over their charter brochures, I was still happy to be sailing our pocket rocket cruiser.

After staying in many large marinas, we were worried about the lack of dock space and facilities as we entered Queensland. Queensland is a small fishing town at the mouth of the Chester River. A fisherman invited us to tie up to the only public dock. We walked up to the highway that we had driven to Kent Narrows. There was a road stop where we had dinner and inquired about shore accommodations, but there were none in that rural area. For a family that doesn't even go camping, we enjoyed the simplicity of this setting and our last night on board our Ultimate 20. From Queensland, it was a short sail back to Kent Narrows. Once we had Frequent Flyer road-ready we spoiled ourselves by staying in a suite with a jacuzzi ... and dreamed of our next cruise.