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Bjorn Arp and Nancy Eyl of Washington, D.C., knew they needed to make sure their 40-foot sailboat was securely anchored last month when they arrived offshore from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and they report that it held fast in place when a violent storm arrived.

The precaution on their part couldn’t prevent, however, a collision with another boat anchored upwind and farther out, they said after the June 29 mishap, which led to a rescue and left Eyl recuperating from multiple injuries.

Arp, an international consultant born in Germany, and his wife bought the Rendezvous, a 1977 William Garden-design cruising ketch, in 2007 in Mystic, Conn., and they sailed it to Boston and other seaside locations before taking it to Maryland’s Galesville community, where the couple embark on shorter trips mostly in and around the Chesapeake Bay. They headed out last month on a cruise to Solomons and eventually up the Potomac and St. Mary’s rivers to the college. They arrived the day before the season premiere of the River Concert Series, and decided to stay to hear the music.

The Friday evening performance was over and the couple were back on board that night when they saw and heard the storm coming.

“It was very quick that this developed,” Arp said last week. “You could see the lightning from quite far away, ... on the horizon. This puts you on notice. When you start hearing the thunder, then you know it’s really close. The wind started to pick up.”

Arp and Eyl were familiar with the bay’s soft bottom and the challenges that creates for making sure an anchor will hold a boat in place amid moving waters and, in this case, 65 mph winds.

“We started to rock very hard on the anchor, [but] the boat was being held. It was not dragging” away from its position 100 yards from a dock, Arp said. “The boat was rocking very hard,” he said, “but I was sitting firm.”

Arp said he later found out that his anchor had become entwined with an old anchor chain. That had helped hold the boat in place against the wind, but not enough to withstand the impact of a crash.

The collision took place with another 40-foot boat that had been anchored upwind from the couple and about 500 yards out, Arp said.

“It broke a huge piece of teak from the [Rendezvous’] bowsprit, and two chain plates have been broken from the mast when the boat was washed on shore,” Arp said. “I picked up a lot of speed and crashed on [the sandy] shore. There was not a whole lot that I could do.”

Arp said his wife had been trying to alert the people in the other boat before the crash, and that she called the U.S. Coast Guard after the collision. The college’s public safety officers came to the couple’s aid on the beach, along with firefighters and rescue volunteers.

With a dinghy to ride in, Arp said, “We had a lifeline span between our boat and the shore. We pulled along the line to shore, ... with the help of the firefighters and the college police. They did a very good job. They helped us a lot, very professionally and very efficient. We never feared for our lives. We always knew that there were people helping us.”

Arp was not injured, but his wife went in an ambulance to MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital in Leonardtown before she returned, and the college provided overnight lodging for the couple in a dormitory.

“I tore a ligament and hurt my wrist,” Eyl said. “Basically, I’m immobile because of this.”

They were offered help the next day from a property owner along a nearby creek, and they motored their boat over to his pier.

Arp said the vast majority of the other boaters caught in the storm offshore from the college that he talked to afterward told him that their anchors had been dragging because of the fierce winds, and that they adjusted by moving farther away from shore.

“It’s so important to be careful on the Chesapeake,” Arp said. “It’s muddy. It’s sandy. If you drag anchor, you have to cope with the consequences.”

Sotterley 1812 talks continue Saturday

Sotterley Plantation in Hollywood will present its second War of 1812 Living History event, “The Choice,” at 11 a.m., noon, 2 and 3 p.m. this Saturday, July 14, to tell of the war with Great Britain that brought hardship to the plantation but a chance at freedom for the enslaved. The event is free to the public, but space is limited. Advance reservations can be made by calling 301-373-2280.

Crime Solvers to benefit from July 17 pizza sales

St. Mary’s Crime Solvers program will receive a portion of the proceeds from food purchases made from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. next Tuesday, July 17, at Ledo Pizza in Charlotte Hall. The nonprofit Crime Solvers program provides rewards for information leading to arrests in criminal cases investigated by law officers in St. Mary’s.

Driver safety offered for education workers

The American Association of Retired Persons is offering a driver safety program open to any employee of any educational system, including home schooling personnel, at a special rate of $5 per participant.

The course is four hours long in a classroom setting, with no age limit for participants, and they each will receive a certificate of completion. The refresher course covers age-related changes that drivers experience, with reminders on things they might have forgotten over time.

The classes are scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. next Thursday, July 19, with a noon lunch, at the public library in Charlotte Hall, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 21, also with a noon lunch, at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital’s Health Connections in Leonardtown.

To register for the class at the library, call 301-884-8549. To register for the class at the hospital, call 301-475-6019.

Eat steak, shrimp on July 20 in Avenue

American Legion Post No. 221 at 21690 Colton Point Road in Avenue will hold its monthly steak and shrimp dinner from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, July 20, featuring New York strip steak, steamed shrimp and burgers. Platters and sandwiches both will be available, for eat-in or carryout service. For more information, call Everett Cooper at 301-769-2220, or at 301-769-4346 on the day of the event.

Sheriff’s canines visit campers

The St. Mary's sheriff’s office’s K-9 unit of trained dogs and their handlers recently provided a presentation to a Muscular Dystrophy Association Camp held at Camp Maria in Leonardtown.

The unit is comprised of five deputies and seven canines. More than 50 campers participated in the camp. The presentation on June 20 included demonstrations of the dogs’ obedience techniques; how the dogs react to an individual who is resisting the verbal commands of their handler; and how the dogs search and retrieve property and evidence which may be discarded during the commission of a crime.

The campers were also shown how K-9 Mike, a 7-year-old golden retriever, was trained in explosive detection and can sniff out hidden explosives. In addition, the campers were able to pet and interact with K-9 Cooper, the sheriff’s office bloodhound, who is trained to track and locate missing persons.

Greenwell adds new August camps

Greenwell State Park’s Nature Time Camp sessions in July and early August have filled up at the Hollywood facility, but registration now is open for additional sessions to be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 7; Wednesday, Aug. 8; and Thursday, Aug. 9.

Nature Time Camp is based at Greenwell’s air-conditioned Nature Center. From there, campers will embark on outdoor adventures and discover their natural world through games, crafts, short hikes and exploration.

Each session is limited to 10 campers age 4 years old, at the time camp begins, and 5 years old, who have not yet attended kindergarten.

Nature Time Camp will introduce children to summer camp, through a shorter day and a shorter week than Greenwell’s traditional camp offerings. With only 10 children per session, each child will have lots of hands-on opportunities to make new friends, interact with nature and their environment, and receive focused attention from the Nature Time Camp counselors.

For more information and to register for Nature Time Camp, go online to

Hospital offers teen wellness program

Teenagers can get a jump start on the road to wellness this summer through the TeenFit program offered by The Grace Anne Dorney Pulmonary & Cardiac Rehabilitation Center at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital.

TeenFit is an educational health and wellness program to aid in learning about exercise and physical activity in order to promote a healthy lifestyle.

A certified fitness professional will create an individualized exercise program for each teenager, and educate participants on the health benefits and the importance of being physically active.

For more information, call The Grace Anne Dorney Center at 240-434-7143.

Learn on July 25 how to sell farmland

Southern Maryland Association of Realtors, in cooperation with the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission, is offering “A Guide to Selling Farmland” presentation from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on July 25, at The Real Estate Academy located at 8440 Old Leonardtown Road, Suite 211, in Hughesville.

Selling farmland requires an adequate understanding of land preservation techniques and zoning. The class will also cover how to guide potential purchasers to land appropriate to their farming needs.

Many farms in Southern Maryland have recorded covenants or easements that occasionally are not known of by the current owner. Some purchasers of farmland are interested in a particular type of farming and may ask questions during the program to help them determine if the proposed use is allowed by zoning.

Greg Bowen, former director of the Calvert County Department of Planning and Zoning and now a member of the SMADC FarmLINK team, will cover an array of topics and discuss how Maryland FarmLINK, a free service, can help Realtors handle the issues in the sale of farmland. To register for the class, go online to

Watch conservation film at Sotterley

The film “A Place in the Land” will be shown as part of the 2012 Speaker Series at Sotterley Plantation at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 27, in the historic barn at the Hollywood landmark. The movie tells the story of George Perkins Marsh, Frederick Billings and Laurance S. Rockefeller, three seminal figures in the history of the conservation movement in America. For more information, call 301-373-2280 or 800-681-0850.

Auction planned for July 28 at church

An auction will preview at 11 a.m. and kick off at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 28, 2012, at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church of Laurel Grove, at 27108 Mt. Zion Church Road in Mechanicsville. To make a donation to the auction, call Tom Keller at 301-481-6388. All donations are tax deductible.

Sign up by July 31 for ‘cash bash’ extra

The St. Michael’s School Cash Bash in November will start off with an “early bird” $15,000 drawing for people purchasing their tickets by July 31 for the event where $300,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded. Proceeds from the Nov. 3 event at the St. Mary’s fairgrounds will benefit the parochial school in Ridge. For more information, call 240-587-7111.

Sotterley offers audio tours

Sotterley Plantation in Hollywood offers audio tours to visitors as a new way to experience the history of the site. The audio tours are based on an interpretive tour launched in 2011. The 1703 Plantation House Audio Tour is available on Fridays only, with interpreter-led guided tours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. A self-guided audio tour of Sotterley’s grounds is available every day, except Mondays. There will be no additional fees for the new tour options.

Additionally, a new 15-minute introductory video can be viewed at the Visitor Center, which sets the stage for the many visitors who come to hear more about Sotterley and its 300-year history. For more information, call 301-373-2280.

Sotterley plans auditions for ghosts

Sotterley Plantation in Hollywood will hold open auditions for its upcoming Ghosts of Sotterley and Sotterley Holiday Candlelight events for actors, technicians and makeup artists on Aug. 4, 7, 21 and 25 at the Sotterley Warehouse. For more information, contact Linda Tucker Jones, event manager, by sending email to or calling 301-373-2280.