"Top Gun" Cruiser Lands in Annapolis

Pilot-turned cruiser takes a historic viewpoint of Chesapeake passage

Cruising Posts: Zep Tepi

In late May, Rusty and Kay Allman set out from the west coast of Florida aboard their Endeavorcat 44, Zep Tepi, for an extended cruise up the East Coast. For Rusty, a former "Top Gun" Navy fighter pilot, the voyage gives him the chance to visit many of the places he has only viewed from above. "I have traded seven miles a minute for seven miles an hour," said Rusty on his blog before leaving. "And I'm happy for it."

Along the way, the Allmans have been taking in the local history of the region, and Rusty has been taking constant inspiration from his fictional hero, Horatio Hornblower. In this post from September, Rusty gives a history-infused account of sailing into Annapolis, Maryland:

"We finally made it. Couldn't have asked for a better day to sail to Annapolis. A gentle breeze, warm sun, and smooth water all the way from Solomon's Island.

"When we arrived there were sails everywhere, from old Chesapeake wooden ketches, to little Sabots with fledgling sailors at the helm. J boats and Volvo 70s sailed past as we pulled into the Eastport Yacht Club, just across Spa Creek from the Naval Academy.

"We had a great dinner with Billy and Donna Phillips, who had crewed ZT from Charleston to Norfolk, then repaired to the ship to watch one of the Hornblower movies.

"For today's history lesson I learned about the last battle of the Revolutionary War called 'The Battle of the Barges' It seems that a bunch of Eastern Shore Virginians got tired of the harassing British fleet and pulled a bunch of barges out into one of the narrow parts of the bay. They took on the remains of the British fleet on the very day that the Treaty of Paris was signed ending the war. It didn't turn out too well for the Americans-they lost over 50 men. But 'The Battle of the Barges' did help drive the Brits out of the bay.

"So much has transpired in these waters and on this ground. History whispers at you with every step down cobbled streets. It is a wonderful place to sit and think about where this country has been and where it must go to survive. I hope to have the time to do that over the next two months as we sail in and out of these historic ports."

To read the Allmans' blog, click here.