CHESSS Challenge Meeting Minutes

The Challenge planning meeting was held on April 2nd as scheduled. This is an exciting time as CHESSS grows and diversifies.

If racing isn't your bag, but you're looking for a solo or doublehanded challenge, CHESSS Challenges may be for you!

Meeting minutes follow:

Attendees & interested Parties:

Joe Gillis

Matt Alsobrock

Garner Bennett

Paul&Dawn Miller

Wayne Steeves

Joe Mullee

Chuck Scheaffer

Mike Jones Did not attend

Jim Eaton Did not attend

Rich Acuti Did not attend

The Attendees’ locations range from Baltimore Harbor to Herrington Harbor which can create coordination issues. After much discussion, the group decided to create Challenge Rendezvous’ and distance goals. Also we agreed that all Challenges are Single or Double handed.

Challenge Rendezvous’ are to build Comradery and SS skills. We decide to meet at a particular location, overnight, then move on the next day either to our home ports or head to another location for another night out. This will allow each captain to practice solo skills while also enjoying company, discussion, food, and drink for the evening. Leaving and returning to our slips, setting sail, navigation, setting and weighing anchor, dealing with weather as it comes, cooking, dealing with the unexpected while solo. We will plan both single and two night events to different parts of the middle and upper bay.

May 7-8 - 1st Challenge Rendezvous is to coincide with the 1st CHESSS Race in the West River We would meet at the finish, attend the after race, then sail to Rhode River for an overnight.

June 24-26 – CHESS Two Nighter. Friday night anchor behind St Helena's Island which is on the Severn River west of the Rt 50 bridge. On Saturday we sail to St Michaels. Some captains to leave in the pre-dawn hours to get practice sailing at night. Anchor out, dinghy in to St Michael's to enjoy the day and evening. Sunday we sail to our home ports.St Helena’s Island then Night Sail to St Michael’s (roughly 30 nmi) This date is close to summer solstice, which may be better for night sailing.

August 27-28 – CHESSS to the Chester River. Details to follow.

October 15-16 – CHESSS to Magothy River (behind Dobbins Island)

Long distance and overnight events. Several of the captains want to gain experience solo sailing longer distances that would require additional skill sets such as navigating at night, managing sleep while solo and underway, cooking and eating while underway, prepping the boat for solo long distance sails, etc. Refer to the Great Lakes Singlehanded Society (GLSS) ( and the San Francisco Bay Singlehanded Sailing Society (SFBAYSSS) ( We decided on two events with a goal toward a BIG event in the spring of 2017.

July 29-31: CHESS Annapolis to St Mary's. Sail the Governors Cup route leaving Annapolis on Friday mid afternoon (possibly later) on a direct course for St Mary's, MD off the Potomac River. This is an overnight sail of approximately 70 miles and will give us practice sailing at night in company of our fellow CHESS members. Each captain can then make up their minds to anchor out and rest up on Saturday in St Mary's or start their return heading back with possible anchorages near, Solomon's Island, off the Choptank River, etc.

September 15-17: A "CHESS Down The Bay" event. Leave our home ports and meet in Hampton or other such location. Each captain determines if they want to go straight thru or make the voyage in hops.

June, 2017: "The CHESS DELMARVA Summer Solstice" (approx 450 miles). As we use 2016 to build both our skills and confidence we will aim towards a DELMARVA solo circumnavigation in 2017. Or another long distance a possibility is a "CHESS Bridge to Bridge" (approx 240 miles) event leaving from the northern Bay Bridge, heading down the bay and rounding the southern Bay Bridge/Tunnel and returning to Annapolis.

Individual Distance Challenges: Since this is all about learning to confidently sail solo we will set up distance benchmarks that can be completed at anytime and in any direction that suits the captain. We will have three initial "non-stop" distances to attempt: 25 mile, 50 mile, and 100 mile. All a captain has to do is keep a log to include starting time and location, finish time and location, with other pertinent log info and present it to the group. We will post names, distance, and dates upon completion. The Great Lakes group REQUIRES a minimum 100 mile solo non-stop sail before being allowed to enter any of their ultimate challenges of over 200 miles.

Individual Distance Challenges have no set schedule. They are more individualized but may be done in groups.:

1) Bay Bridge South to Solomons Island and back (roughly 40nmi x2)

Or Bay Bridge North to Chesapeake City and back (roughly 40nmi x2)

3) Bay Bridge to St Mary’s and back (roughly 60 nmi x2)

4) Bay Bridge to Norfolk Bridge and Back (roughly 120 nmi x2)

Some in attendance suggested that there could be a skill for each rendezvous that we could each work on. Other's said that there should be very little rules as long as each was operating solo. It seemed to be agreed that just getting out solo and sailing would allow each captain the opportunity to work on the skills that were important to them. Camaraderie and discussion would then naturally occur.

We also spoke briefly about mentoring. There are some very experienced solo sailors among us. Two in particular have experience in the San Francisco group. Take advantage of these people and ask away.

Medallion: Both the Great Lakes Group and the San Francisco group have a very nice piece of memorabilia for completing their most arduous solo sailing events. The Great Lakes Group present a bronze medallion to any finisher of one of their long distance events (fewer than 300 awarded since 1978) while the San Francisco group has a very nice and very stylish belt buckle. These pieces must be earned by utilizing skills that are not ordinary to most sailors.

Next up: Form some committees to keep the ball rolling.

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