Captain Pete Chambliss
USCG 50-ton Master
I have been around boats all my life. My first boat ride was on my grandfather's 28-foot sloop in Round Bay on the Severn River, not far from where my wife, Janie, and I live now. I have held my Coast Guard captain's license for more than 25 years, but I never really used it until eight years ago, when I started operating water-taxis for Watermark in Annapolis. I currently have a 50-ton master's license for inland waters, with an endorsement for auxiliary sail.
I bought my first boat, a Morgan 34 named Dreamchaser, at the first U.S. Sailboat Show. Not having the money to buy a finished boat, I boat a kit from Morgan Yachts, and it has turned out to be a never-ending project. I still have the Morgan today, and she is known for two unique features: First, she does not have any portholes, and, second, she has won fame as "The Angel" in the Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade held every December.
My biggest challenge—or should we say adventure?—came a few years ago when we prepared our catamaran, Dream Weave, a 43-foot-long Fountaine Pajot with a 23-foot beam, for a trip to Annapolis after having leased her as a charter-boat in the Caribbean for five years. The challenge was that we were starting out on 1,500-mile trip with almost nothing on board—life-raft, blankets, pots, pans, silverware, etc.—so our first stopover naturally was at St. Thomas for a three-day provisioning spree. Equipment was plentiful there, and the prices were much cheaper.
The trip was an exercise in contrasts—at once exciting and boring, challenging, and a super learning experience. We blew out the spinnaker three days out of St. Thomas, and the clew on the jib tore out when we were 60 miles off Beaufort, North Carolina, in 40-knot winds and heavy seas. Our tension abated almost instantly, however, when we passed the Chesapeake Bay bridge-tunnel and were safely back in Mother Chesapeake.
I took on the assignment as CAPCA's continuing education director because I enjoy putting together an instructional program of this size and makeup. And I'm open to suggestions for other classes that we might want to consider.