Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Another sunny morning, no fog. We've been following the progress of hurricane Hanna for the last several days and were dismayed to see that the latest track has her headed directly over the top of our hurricane refuge at Sandwich, MA on the east end of the Cape Cod Canal. She's not predicted (ha!) to be a hurricane by that time but she will still pack winds in excess of 30 mph when she pays us a visit. We will arrive at Sandwich Friday around noon and have reservations until Monday morning when we'll head to Cuttyhunk if all goes to plan. We've been comparing the Morning Lies to Ugrib predictions and found that Ugrib has been more accurate in wind speed along the path we've taken (since you can pin point your location better with Ugrib than "coastal areas out to 25 NM...." as in the area forecasts) Now that I'm in internet range the rest of the trip, we find ourselves checking the status of the hurricanes several times a day directly at the National Hurricane Center website.

As we exited the harbor at Portsmouth, we found an easterly swell coming in of 3 to 5 feet on top of the waves produced by the overnight north wind. It made for an interesting ride with the two wave fronts intersecting. We went up and then we went down! It's interesting when the top of the wave coming at you from the port side is level with your eye. As it passes under the boat, it's like you're on a giant elevator that can't make up it's mind whether to go up or down. We continued on in this mode for the next 30 miles motoring all the way. As we came to the characteristic twin lighthouses at Gloucester, the seas roughened and the waves got a little steeper but we ploughed on okay.

Turning the corner to head along the point towards the harbor, the swells were behind us and we started to surf on the waves, reaching over 9 kts at one point. Just to make things more interesting, a few lobster pots were thrown in the mix which were hidden temporarily as the 6 foot swells passed under the boat. As they popped into view, one had to be careful to miss them, you could hear the surf crashing on the nearby rocks. Nearing the harbor entrance itself where you had to pass between a closely spaced green and red buoy pair were placed for, the visiting yachtsman's enjoyment, a gaggle of lobster pots swaying in all directions on their long lines in the waves and partially buried by the 1 to 2 kt current. Such fun you just don't want to miss!
Well, we made it and the harbor was a great relief, dead calm. We picked up the mooring we had reserved the previous night and had the rest of Leathem's chili that was left over from their cruise with us in August, it was good. We didn't go ashore, we didn't go anywhere, early to bed tonight. I did take a photo of the a windjammer being refitted. Tomorrow we head out for Scituate and then Sandwich the next day. Should be an interesting ride again tomorrow.