very things that make Annapolis the principal yachting center on the Chesapeake
Bay are the same things that make this the least attractive part of the bay to
me. It's not that this is not a great sailing and cruising area, it's just
that there are too many G_d D__n boats.
I started sailing in the
Annapolis area in the
early 1970s, and at that time I was used to the water way congestion
that existed between the Bay Bridge and the West River. I hadn't
sailed in any other conditions. I left this
area for a few years in the mid 1970s to work on a DOD contract in the Panama
Canal Zone. When I returned in 1976 I moved my
HR25 sailboat to
Solomons, MD in anticipation
of buying a new sailboat, which turned out to be the
Columbia 8.7 I named Vela
Llena. I have returned only infrequently to this area over the intervening
years. Normally the Choptank River is the northern limit of my weekend
Every time I sail to the Annapolis area I end up wishing I
had selected a different destination. Since the bay offers
almost limitless alternatives there is no reason for me to
suffer these congested waterways and crowded anchorages. Of course this is just my prejudice,
others regards this area as a prime destination.
Annapolis is certainly
the sailing center of the Chesapeake Bay if not the entire East Coast (I'm
sure Newport, and more than one city on Long Island Sound would argue with
the later assertion). I took my first formal sailing lessons at the
Annapolis Sailing School in Eastport in 1971. I first learned to
appreciate Bouillabaisse at the Dockside Restaurant and the Charley Bird
Trio at the King of France Tavern about the same time. When I
purchased my first sailboat in 1972 I kept it on the South River, about 10
miles from the Annapolis water front. I may not qualify as one of the
old guard of this city, but I certainly have more history with it than most
of the people you might encounter around the waterfront today.
Here are a few old pictures of the Annapolis water front
from the early to mid 1970s. These pictures were taken on
35mm slides and have been stored in slide trays for more than 25
years. I just now (2002) scanned them into JPEG files.
Looks like I was few years too late to preserve the quality of
the original slides, but I think they will still be of interest
to people familiar with Annapolis today and how it has changed in that
quarter of century.