Despite the weather forecast for incoming storms from the remnants of Hurricane Laura, Troop 242 and our subject matter experts gathered at the kayak beach at Fort Monroe at 9 AM with the intention to complete the Kayaking Merit Badge. Twenty-eight scouts from T242B and T242G came ready to have some fun. Instruction provided by our older Sea Scouts, a couple of whom are also members of the troop. Three round-robin groups were introduced to safety, first aid, essential equipment, and construction in 15-minute sessions. Then everyone gathered for demonstration of paddling skills and a safety brief before launching. Scouts practiced the basic strokes and demonstrated their ability to recover from a capsize. After lunch, the whole group walked to Firehouse for some ice cream. This was a wonderful event and the weather was excellent.
Originally planned as a city park campout the weekend prior, the torrential rain and thunderstorms resulted in a postponement. The silver lining to this postponement was a modification to the plan - instead of paying for campsites and canoeing in murky lake water, we camped on our boats in the marina and expanded our ambitions. Not simply satisfied with canoeing, we now included kayaking, all before lunch. In the afternoon, swimming at the YMCA completed the aquatics trifecta. The swimming started with swim tests for everyone and even included completing the majority of the Lifesaving for Able advancement. Hobo meals for dinner filled the hungry stomachs followed by a deserved deep sleep for the weary scouts.
This race had an unusual start. Boat start times were staggered at 2 minute intervals. Planned start was 10am, but was postponed 30 minutes waiting for more wind. Quo Vadis started at 1034, and Aventura started at 1038. This was a simple clockwise circle around Hampton bar. With 7 kts E wind, we were able to maintain 4 kts COG on the first down wind leg. But as usual, we were much slower than the others. By the time we had come around the course, it was almost 2 pm, and we were now working against a 2 kt current in front of Ft Wool. After 4 tacks, we had only made about 1/4 mile progress, so at 2:30 we retired; more than hour behind the leaders. But everyone had a great time. Afterward we watched a canoeing video, planned our campout menu, and had ice cream.
Since we've never tried to fly the symmetrical spinnaker before, we were waiting for perfect light air conditions to practice. Today we had 7 kts directly from the East, which made perfect conditions for a down wind run from Old Point Comfort to the Middle Ground light. So 10 shipmates pushed off from "A" dock and made way for Hampton Roads. After passing G1, we turned right and raised sails. After getting steady under main and jib, we setup the pole and lines for the spinnaker. Since we only have one headsail halyard, we had to lower the jib before raising the spinnaker. The first hoist was not particularly graceful, but the helm did a great job keeping the boat under the kite. When we ran out of room, we lowered the spinnaker and raised the jib again and headed for the center of the channel. Once we got in better position, we lowered the jib and hoisted the spinnaker again. Such a satisfying sound to hear the kite pop into place. We continued until we had to tack and avoid a large barge. We headed back to the barn in 3 tacks, close hauled, and making 5.5 kts.