News From the CPA Coordinator – Bill Smith


The POB has new pirate co-captains, Jean Wunder, Suzanne Farace, and Bob Shakeshaft. This news is great for POB, which has been leaderless since Ed Cogswell stepped down. Please thank Jean, Suzanne, and Bob when you see them, or better yet, join them on a Pirates of Baltimore excursion.


After 18 years as pirate captain, Dick Rock stepped down and passed the eye patch to two new co-captains, Bob Maynes and John Gibbs. I do hope we still see Dick on the water from time to time and wish him the best of luck. I know Bob and John will do a great job and continue the tradition of the POP. Local piracies and the weekday opportunities they offer are an important piece of CPA’s overall program. At all the active locations, CPA greatly appreciate paddlers willing accept the responsibilities of leadership. Our thanks to Jean, Suzanne, Bob, and John. Without the commitment and efforts of all our volunteers, CPA would cease to exist.


Anyone interested in serving as captain of the Pirates of Sugarloaf or Pirates of the Eastern Shore or in starting a new Piracy should contact the Steering Committee at


CPA recently ran their annual kayak navigation class at the Cult Classic Brewery with Paula Hubbard, an excellent teacher on this subject. I have taken the class a few previous times, so it should be routine for me, but that is not what I find. Being from the mid-west where tides are nonexistent, I had a hard time learning the concept of tides and currents. I always assumed that at high tide the current stops flowing in, but that is not the case. I always wondered why tides and currents were mentioned when I assumed they were one and the same or interchangeable.

During this year’s class I had one of those “Ah-hah” moments when I learned that unless you are at the top of the tidal run, the water level will not rise any higher at high tide but the current will continue to flow inward to reach the top of the waterway which continues to create a current, so at high tide you are no longer fighting the incoming tide but you are still fighting the incoming current which is running below the surface. Therefore, when planning a trip where tides are a factor, I need to consider the tide charts and also the current charts to determine ideal launch time and direction. Currents are a little more difficult to determine because tide stations are more plentiful than current buoys. Some assumptions must be made since locations are not coordinated with each other. Reading the current

charts takes some getting used to. Below are two links for tides and currents in the Chesapeake Bay


Calling all swim support volunteers. As the calendar moves toward summer, organizers of open water swim events need the support of kayakers as safety boaters. This year I have committed to help with the June 9th Chesapeake Bay Swim, something I have always wanted to do and decided this is the year. With about 1000 swimmers expected, clearly that equates to a lot of kayakers needed to help with the event. The Bay Swim is one of the biggest swim events in the country, so swimmers from several states and countries are expected. The event offers two separate courses, a one-mile swim involving about 400 swimmers near the Kent Island shore and the better-known 4.4-mile cross bay swim of about 600 swimmers. With so many swimmers, a minimum of 50-60 kayaks are necessary. Proceeds from this event support different Chesapeake Bay environmental groups and the March of Dimes, so it is not only a great cause but a badge of honor to participate.

Organizers of the June 2nd Potomac River Swim across the 7.5-mile mouth expect 40 or more registered swimmers. Though powerboats form a box around the swimmers, the field spreads out enough that a kayak with each swimmer is necessary. The upright kayaker marks the location and progress of each swimmer. At the same time the boater also supports the swimmer by carrying snacks and water for their rest breaks and helping to hold a good course line across that expanse of water to the distant Maryland shoreline, which is impossible for the swimmer to eye. Swimmers, event organizers, and the environmental groups who benefit from the proceeds all thank the volunteer kayakers repeatedly and treat them to two nights of camping at Pt Lookout SP along with Friday evening dinner and Saturday buffet lunch on the beach. It is a good feeling to assist the swimmers and contribute to such an ambitious endeavor.

July 13th the 5-mile Chester River Swim for Life is another event that depends on kayakers for help.

If you are interested in helping in any of the swim events, check the CPA calendar and Meetup for more details and links.

~ Bill Smith

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