Monday, September 10, 2007

Poughkeepsie Yacht Club - Home After 10 Weeks!

Our goal of getting our topping lift repaired was not to be fulfilled. Despite having two weeks' warning, Samalot Marine only acted on the morning of our arrival to try to find a fix and couldn't locate a wire halyard (their fix to preventing chaft at the mast head) of the proper size. Since we didn't want to hang around for several days, we headed north to PYC.

For the first half of the trip it was warm but when we passed under the Newburg-Beacon bridge, the wind suddenly turned from out of the south at 8 to 10 kts to out of the north at 18 kts! That started some wave action rather rapidly and we took to the sides of the channel to avoid the worst of the wind and waves, arriving at PYC around 5:30 pm, docking with much appreciated help from Richie and Frank Niet.

Reflecting back upon the two month cruise, we took a vote on the best places:

Best Anchorage: Opechee Island. It was surrounded by small, uninhabited islands you could visit and the protection was great.

Anchorage Honorable Mention: Round Island in Merchants Row. It also had uninhabited islands to explore. Honorable Mention also goes to Mackarel Cove in Swans Island where you could sit in the cockpit and have a great view of Mt Desert.

Best Harbor: No contest, Boothbay Harbor. For $25/night, you had a mooring in the middle of town with about 100 shops and restaurants to sample. There was also a free shuttle that included passage to a Stop and Shop for reprovisioning and an aquarium to see.

Best Restaurant: Again, no contest, Lenny's at Branford. We sampled seafood up and down the coast and although some was pretty good, the clams were not as sweet nor as juicy as at Lenny's.

Best Sail: Many in this category. the sail from Cape Cod Canal to Provincetown was wing on wing all the way. The sails in Maine were good with the constant wind (no gusts) and the scenery could not be beat. The last three days in Long Island Sound were fabulous when a south wind came up for three straight days at 10 to 15 kts where we sailed from Port Jefferson to Manhasset.

Most Challenging: Those Maine lobster pots! After awhile, you learned to not to just look 50 ft ahead of you for the next bouy but to look further ahead to "see" a fairway. There was always a path through them if you looked carefully enough. It certainly wasn't planned by the lobstermen but with enough randomness in the placement of the pots, there always seemed to be a path if you could see it quickly enough. Some areas were denser than others, especially around Tenants Harbor and in sections of the Deer Island Thorofare. Upper Penobscot Bay practically had no pots.

Most Fog: Of course, that's Maine which made the lobster pots all that more difficult to avoid. Despite our best efforts, we still managed to snag two but both slid off without fouling the prop.

Most Fun: Matthew was definitely a joy to have on-board. There's nothing like an infusion of youth to get the spirits up and get you going! I think he'll be joining us next year too. Now, if he could just tell us his secret in how he swam in 61 degree water for hours at a time without freezing.....

We will definitely be returning to Maine in 2008 and at some point in time, continue on south through the ICW. It's been great fun and I hope you will all join us on our cruise next year.

Sincerely, Bob and Ann Sherer
Thanks for following the blog and hope to see you again next year!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Haverstraw, NY - At Anchor off Croton Point

The current didn't turn in our favor until 9:15 (sailboats have to worry about such things) so we left around 8:00 towards Hell Gate and the Hudson River. We passed several tugboats pushing barges and finally came upon Hell Gate (see photo) at slack water so it was an easy passage. We passed by the United Nations building and on to the Hudson River heading north to Haverstraw. When the UN is in session and the President is in attendance, we can't even pass through the East River, it's closed! That happened to us a couple of years ago but today it was fine. As it was, the Coast Guard announced that the lower harbor (south of the Verrazano Narrows bridge) was closed from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm due to off-shore powerboat races. The main NY harbor was fine. It pays to check the website for Notice to Mariners for New York City (good advice but I didn't do it, I forgot!)

On Monday we'll pay a visit to Samalot Marine to get our topping lift fixed and then head home later that day if the fix is quick (good luck on that....) or, more likely, head home on Tuesday morning.

Follow our progress at Return Trip.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Manhasset Bay - Another Great Sail Day

We weighed anchor around 10:00 from Northport and found a good 10 kt wind out of the south which was perfect for a sail to Manhasset. In fact, it was perfect for racing too. We saw one fleet of boats, must have been at least 50 boats, off our starboard side which was a great sight until they started to turn in our direction! There wasn't a Dacron sail in the entire bunch! They all had the Mylar translucent shade of brown on display, both the main and the jib. They started to catch up but I trimmed the jib and pulled ahead :)

For the first time since we've been coming to Long Island Sound, we sailed through Execution Rocks. In fact, we sailed all the way from Northport into Manhasset Bay anchorage. Great wind, great sun, no waves - did I say great - maybe fabulous is a better word.

We grilled a sirloin on the grill and used the rub from BBQ USA and watched the sun go down. Tomorrow we have to leave around 7:15 to make the current change at Hell Gate and then head up the river to Haverstraw for the topping lift repair on Monday. Hopefully we'll avoid the predicted showers.
Some have requested the recipe for the rub we use:
2 tbsp ground corlander
2 tbsp sweet paprika
2 tbsp coarse salt
4 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
The rub is from Steven Raichlen's BBQ USA book. The rub came in first in the competition at his BBQ University school.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Oyster Bay - Another 5 hour sail

The morning dawned with a blue sky and warm weather. I went forward to raise the anchor as Ann tended the wheel. As usual there was a lot of mud to be washed off with the anchor washdown pump. As we headed out, we saw many of the characteristic clam boats that inhabit Northport. The man in the boat will pull and push furiously on a long pole up to 30 feet in length to harvest clams. It sure looks like hard work!

We sailed all the way from Northport into Oyster Bay, great day for a sailboat! There was a forecast of 20 kt gusts the tonight so we anchored close to a south shore in Oyster Bay in about 7 feet of water. With 120 feet out, that's a lot of scope so we should be secure for the night.

I called Samalot to schedule a visit on Monday to replace my topping lift jury rig with a proper replacement so we'll be headed up river on Sunday. I expect Monday will be taken up with the topping lift repair and then we'll head for PYC on Tuesday, arriving early afternoon. Tomorrow we'll aiming for Manhasset to position ourselves for a trip through the East River, always a "fun" ride.
Follow our progress at Return Trip.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Northport at Anchor

I looked at the GPS this morning at Port Jefferson and we had circumnavigated our anchor! The plot of the GPS was a neat circle with the anchor in the middle. Raising the anchor with the windlass was slow as I had to stop every few feet to use the washdown pump to rinse off the mud in the links of chain. Anchoring can be messy.

Leaving the harbor we found a 10 kt south wind so we put up sail and headed west. It is hard to describe the pleasure of sailing. To non-sailors it makes little sense to go a few kts towards your destination with a lot of work. However, to sailors it's a dream. To be on the same tack as we were today for 5 hours, varying the sail trim as the wind increased and slackened, to have the boat respond to the helm, to feel the wind, the sun... I took a photo of Ann at the helm which better explains all this than I can. Sailing is a great pleasure that's hard to describe, we both love it. We were able to sail all the way into the anchorage.

The Northport anchorage is a turn to the north once past the end of the sand spit. One reason we like it is that there's a place for Lance to run free. We look for such anchorages when Lance is with us. We're watching a storm around North Carolina develop but so far there's not much predicted for New York in the way of precipitation. We'll keep an eye on it.

Follow our progress at Return Trip.

PS. some have asked how to download the photos. First, left click on the photo in the blog. You will then see a larger photo appear in your browser (the full resolution photo). Then right click with your cursor somewhere over the photo and choose "copy" from the list of choices (by left clicking on "copy"). Then you can paste the photo in your favorite photo editing program for storage or printing.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Port Jefferson - We Reprovision

The weather has been just great: warm, sunny and no rain. So today we just took it easy, did some teak and after lunch headed into town to reprovision since our refrigeration is working again. We looked on the map and found a Stop and Shop about 1/2 mile from the end of Setautek Harbor which is the next harbor to the west of Port Jefferson harbor. There's a marina at the end as well as a pubic landing for dinghies. We chose the marina and bought a bag of ice as a dinghy fee. They brought out a sun umbrella for Ann! I went to find the Stop and Shop but ran into a meat market and a fish market first about 10 minutes into my walk down 25A (west). It was the first fish market I found that had fresh tuna so I bought a pound, I grilled it for dinner! Next door I stocked up on enough meat for a week. If nothing else, we'll eat well on our trip home! There was also a deli and a well stocked hardware store along the way. Much better shopping than in downtown Port Jefferson. Tomorrow we'll head for Northport and anchor, hoping for a good south wind!

Follow our progress at Return Trip.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Port Jefferson - At Anchor (to starboard as you come in)

It started out as a great sail with winds 15 to 17 kts behind us, pushing us to Port Jefferson. However, about 1/2 way there, the winds died and we had to motor the rest of the way. Still, the winds were warm and the sun was out, nice day. About in the middle of Long Island Sound we ran into flies. I don't know where they came from but they came in the 100's. There were none on shore, just out in the middle. The only thing I can think of is the the passing of a garbage barge.

Once in Port Jefferson we anchored far from other boats. However, just as we were sitting down to eat, a catamaran anchored about 30 feet off our starboard side! Sure enough, as the tide changed, we got close enough to touch! That convinced him to haul anchor and move. We settled down to eat and enjoy a great sunset.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Milford - The Return of the Refrigerator Repairman

We left the dock at Branford and headed over to the fuel dock. We had to back out with a strong wind pushing us into our dock. Tying the dinghy up short, I neglected to shorted the painter enough and I heard a strange grinding sound as we back up. Yep, I had sliced through the painter, luckily the line parted instead of wrapping itself around the prop. I guess there's something to be said for cheap line, I bought it at Home Depot for $10 for 100 feet. We had a few moments of fun retrieving the dinghy with the boat hook but finally got it secured and tied off. After that I took on 21 gal of diesel.

The wind was predicted to be 15 to 20 kts out of the southwest which put Port Jefferson out of the question as far as we were concerned (PJ was dead SW). So instead we motored over to Milford, only 10 miles west. We still saw 15 to 20 kts true wind and the typical Long Island Sound chop (short, steep waves). We were making about 7 kts with water over the bow at times but the powerboats were not doing much better, 8 to 9 at most. It was a wild ride but a short ride. Approaching Milford, we saw one small powerboat come out, turn around and head back in.

Milford is one town that has its act together. They have an attractive marina at good rates ($2.50/ft) and within a short walk of the center of town. The marina is like a flower garden with all the plantings. They have improved the boat launch ramps across from the marina to provide entertainment for us, no end of fun watching boats being launched (you wouldn't believe how some people launch boats!) Coming down the fairway, we almost collided with a small powerboat. He decided to come to a dead stop about 10 feet in front of us and Ann had to put Fleetwing in reverse suddenly to avoid another insurance claim.

Several discounts at local restaurants are part of the dockage at the Milford Town Landing so we took advantage of a 10% discount at Cancun's Charlies, a Mexican restaurant that's pretty good. They also provide free coffee and a paper in the morning, not a bad deal.

Now, to the refrigerator. Our old friend, Jerry (we're on a first name basis) paid us another visit since the freezer section didn't get below 32F overnight. He fed in some more refrigerant (409A) and spent about 2 hours with us before he was satisfied it was working okay. Right now the freezer is reading -1F and we're in the process of freezing our first set of ice trays with the new compressor. With that I think I can call the repair a success. We have a 2 year warranty on the new compressor and associated electronics. On to Port Jefferson in the morning with a promised northwest wind!
Follow our progress at Return Trip.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Branford - Refrigerator Repair Day

After evacuating the coils overnight, the technician returned this afternoon to recharge the unit with new refrigerant. We're waiting to see if the freezer section reaches 10F or so like the old unit did. It's currently sitting at 40F, not a good sign after five hours of cooling. We'll see in the morning.

Meanwhile, Philip and family returned for a visit with the intention of going to Lenny's for dinner but that was a dream. They didn't arrive until 7:00 pm and you can forget getting a table at Lenny's at that hour, they were out in the parking lot waiting for a table. So Philip ordered pizza and we all ate on the boat.

We're headed for Milford tomorrow with winds predicted to be right on the nose, oh well.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Branford - Great Sail and Lenny's

We had a full moon tide running down river this morning with the boat reaching 9 kts at some points! We had a strange incident at the bascule bridge. As we rounded the bend in the river, we saw that it was up, hurray! But as we approached we saw it start to descend, darn (and a few other words...) However, after it came about 3/4 down, it stopped and after a bit started to go up again! We called the bridge on channel 13 to find out what was happening (would it start to go down again as we crossed under the bridge?) but we never got a reply. Regardless, we barreled on through without incident and never found out the reason for the strange behavior.

Wind, wind, glorious wind!! 25 miles of glorious wind to Branford! We had a beam reach all the way and even with a reef in the jib and main we were routinely reaching 8 kts (8.3 max) over water (9.3 over land per the GPS). With the wind coming off the land, there were little in the way of waves, nice smooth water and lots of wind.

At Branford we were met on the dock by our refrigerator repairman. We've known him for three years and he came out to meet us so he could start work right away. He found that indeed the compressor was the problem. He said he works on 50 or so boats a year and the compressor is usually the most dependable part of the refrigeration system, lucky us. He will be installing a new compressor (cost of one boat unit) and tonight we will be serenaded with the sounds of the vacuum pump evacuating the coils in preparation for adding cooling fluid tomorrow. So if all goes well, by tomorrow at this time we will be back in business with an operating freezer/refrigerator.

Naturally, when we're in Branford we eat at Lenny's. They have the best fried seafood of anywhere I've eaten. We sampled up and down the coast from Maine to Florida and Lenny's is simply the best. Lest someone think I'm free with my praise, here's what the New York Times had to say about Lenny's in their 8/29/07 edition:

"Putting together the experience from the trip, I decided to try my hand at customizing my meal at Lenny’s Indian Head Inn in Branford, Conn.... What was placed in front of me 10 minutes later was a platter with clams nearly as large as those at the Clam Box. They had a light golden almost tempuralike coating. And the bellies? They were briny, sweet and so juicy a lobster bib wouldn’t have been out of the question."

Here's a link to the complete review, click on NYT, the review of Lenny's is in the last paragraph on page 2. We'll be here one more day and we'll have to put up with going to Lenny's again - tough work! Follow our progress at Return Trip.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Essex - Matthew Leaves for School

John McKinney left this morning at 6:00 am bound for Port Jefferson. He plans on returning to PYC on Labor Day, 9/3. Much later that morning we all got up to continue our more leisurely trip home. We took Lance over to the west end of the breakwater for his morning outing. We had found a tennis ball on the previous trip and we had left it in the dinghy. Lance jumped out (first out as usual) and after we was done, he headed for the dinghy with us shouting, "Don't go in, we're not leaving yet". But Lance still got back in the dinghy and immediately found the ball, jumped back out and laid the ball at Ann's feet. He was ready to play. It gives you some pause. He remembered where the ball was (out of sight when he was on land) and went to get it. I had thought that animals only thought in a "big present" with no thought of past or future but it's not true. Lance's fetch of the ball took memory and a plan for execution, neat.

We headed west around 9:00 am (three hours after John!) with a roaring current (full moon), averaging 8 to 9 kts over ground (GPS speed) all the way. We had reserved a mooring at the Essex Yacht Club ($40/night) and had a late lunch at the Black Seal. A tour of the Essex River Museum was next on the agenda, an excellent, hands on type of museum.

The sad part is that about an hour ago, Matthew left. He starts school on Tuesday and had to get back. We'll be by ourselves the rest of the way. Next stop - Branford where we hope to get the refrigeration fixed. We'll be meeting the same technician that repaired the first problem we had three years ago. We have high hopes that all will be working by the end of the day Saturday!
Follow our progress at Return Trip

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Stonington - We Meet Up With John McKinney

Hi it's me Matt. Today I slept in. Then we had break fast. I passed a Fluencies teswt for reading. Then we took off for Stonington and I put up the main sail. We went through the Watch Hill Passage and then I got to talk the main sail in. Then we picked up Mr. McKinney's mooring. Then we had tunafish melts for lunch and Mr. McKinney came and rafted to us. THE END.

We left Block Island with no wind so we motored to Stonington. The day was with bright sun, beautiful but with no wind! Upon entering the harbor we found McKinney's mooring empty so we picked it up. It was apparent it had no been used for awhile with the growth on the lines. We settled in with wine for happy hour when John arrived on his way back from Maine! It was the first time he used the mooring in a month and won't for the rest of the season. We decided to raft up since the night was predicted to be calm and we all had a nice chat about our mutual experiences. Tomorrow it's Essex where Matthew leaves the boat in time for the start of a new school year!
Follow our progress at Return Trip.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hi it's me Matt. Today I had breakfast and then I went swimming with the silversides. The silversides are small fish. Some really big fish were after them too. I got to scrub the dink too. Then Nama and I got to go to the beach. There were some big waves at the beach. Then Nana went swimming with me off the back of the boat. I also swam 86 feet around the boat. Then we had spaghetti and sausage. THE END TO Mom: People do live on the Block year long.

A nice day all around. Matthew swam off the back of the boat, at the beach, off the back of the boat, etc. - busy, busy, busy.... Block seemed to empty out some, I guess Wednesday is a slow day here. I still couldn't see any empty moorings but we're far from the main cluster so I could have missed a few. We off to Stonington tomorrow and, guess what, more swimming for Matthew.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Block Island - Some beach time for Matthew

Hi it's me Matt. Today I had breakfast on deck. Then we left New port and I got to drive. Then we anchored at the Great Salt Pond at Block Inland. We had tunafish sandwiches for lunch. After that I went swimming and Nana says that I do a good dives. Then we went to the beech. I made a sand tower and Lance ran around. Then we had stack with out stacksauce!Then we took Lane ashore.THE END OF MATT'S BLOG well for today.

Since Matthew enjoys swimming so much we decided to head for Block Island where he can not only swim off the back of the boat but also at the nearby beaches. Unfortunately, there wasn't much wind so we motored over to Block. Upon entering the Great Salt Pond, we took a turn to port after the first green buoy and anchored out. We didn't even bother looking for a mooring, anchoring is closer to the beach for Lance and more protected for Matthew's swimming with the back of the boat next to a "no anchoring" area.

After Matthew's swim, we dinked to the nearby beach and Matthew made a sandcastle while we ran around Lance. We then dinked into town and picked up the necessities of potato chips and oreos! Meanwhile, the refrigerator seems to be doing fine with block ice in the freezer and the internal fans blowing cool air to the refrigerator section. We can maintain 35 to 40 in the freezer section and 40 to 45 in the refrigerator part. We're hoping to get it fixed in Branford.

Tonight we had the most amazing moonrise. When it was dark I stepped out and tried a few handheld shots of the moon and the "city" of anchored boats, a beautiful sight!
Follow our progress at Return Trip.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Newport, RI - 25 Mile Sail!

Hi it is me Matt. Today I had breakfast and I went swimming. Then we left Cuttyhunk. The water was rough and I got seasick. It got calmer and we keep sailing all the way to Newport. Grandpa and Nana tried to find a toy store but it was closed. Then we had tacos for dinner.

On Monday morning, ice was a priority! The refrigerator is kaput! However, we still have the insulated freezer and refrigerator as well as the ice chest we took along for use when we had guests aboard so all we needed was ice. Well, Cuttyhunk doesn't wake up until around 11:00 am so we took off without the ice, hoping everything would stay cool enough until we arrived at Newport.

The winds were great today off the aft starboard quarter and we sailed the entire 25 miles to Newport. One crew member got sick (Matthew) when he paid too much attention to his Gameboy but he felt better once he used the aft swimdeck! As we neared land, the seas calmed and we glided on. We had called ahead to reserve a mooring at Jamestown but was told the cost would be $75/night - rather high! With that we headed for Newport instead and picked up a mooring for $45, still high but less high than Jamestown. The ride into town on the launch is now $6 per person roundtrip, also rather high since we have to make multiple trips with Lance. There were the typical super yachts in abundant evidence.

I first called the Newport dealer for Alder-Barbour and he said me might be able to get to me sometime next week! Big help he was! In calling the Alder-Barbour national rep later I learned that the unit I have was designed 20 years ago and is no longer made. He's to give me a call back on whether they can braze an adopter on the coil in the freezer so I can reuse that part. Otherwise, it's a custom made new unit! Oh the pleasures of boating.

Tomorrow we're headed for Block Island since Matthew likes to swim off the back of the boat about as well as anything and Block is excellent for that. We plan on anchoring out instead of getting a mooring.
Follow our progress at Return Trip.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

CuttyHunk - We Explore and Matthew Swims

Hi it is me Matt. I had a great time today. First I had pancakes and sausage for breakfast. Then I hopped off the boat. I swam for a long time.Then we went in the dink to the beach in shallow water. I made a sand castle too.Also I swam in the water. We had lunch and I SWAM 3 MORE TIMES. We went a shore and got some fish. It was good and I played my gameboy and that brings us to the end.

I think Matthew was in the water more than he was out. When he wasn't at the beach, he was swimming off the back of the boat. The cool water temperatures of low 60's didn't seem to deter him. I never got in but Ann waded in a ways at the beach.

I spent most of the morning redoing the mast tensioning and finally got it straight to my satisfaction. I bought local swordfish (fresh, never frozen) and we grilled it off the back of the boat, perfection! Shortly thereafter, we saw the most brilliant sunset I've ever seen. Everybody in the anchorage was on the bow of their boat watching the display!

While Ann and Matthew were doing dishes, they said they heard a grinding sound for a short period. I didn't think anything of it at the time. Later that night I got some ice out of the freezer and noticed that the frost had disappeared from the cooling coils, humm.... I could hear the fan running on the compressor but couldn't hear the compressor itself. I unscrewed the cover and found that the compressor was not running. It was getting electricity since the fan was okay and all the fuses were likewise in good shape. We're headed for Newport tomorrow and we'll need a new compressor I'm guessing. The grinding noise Ann heard must have been the compressor giving up the ghost! Oh well, the life of sailing is filled with adventure...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Hi It is me Matt.Dad drove me to Marion to meet Nana and Grampa.Dad left at 7:oo AM. We took off and sailed.There were some big waves.It was fun.We saw a lot of birds. After all the big waves the boom fell or with a loud noise. It was scary, but we fixed it. Then we got to Cuttyhunk Island..I also started my model of the U.S.S. Missouri. and then we had dinner. the end

As you can tell from Matthew's blog, we had an adventure today. At first the adventure was the sailing with 10 to 15 kt winds and 2 to 4 ft waves (wind against current: short, steep waves). After awhile it became obvious that we would never make Cuttyhunk at that rate since the wind was exactly out of the direction of Cuttyhunk (what else is new?) So we pulled in the head sail and turned on the iron genny. With that "sail change" we made 7 kts towards Cuttyhunk although not without occasionally taking water over the bow and some pretty good splashes. Matthew enjoyed the spray and splashes!

All was well until we neared Cuttyhunk and decided to take in the mainsail. I noticed that the roller furler was rather stiff, unusual since it's always been an easy pull in the past. Looking up I was astonished to see the boom on the coach roof, free of the mast! Seeing something so unexpected, you're a little dumbfounded for a few moments before your mind re-engages. Once it did, Ann and I went forward (engine in idle on autopilot) and Matthew stayed in the cockpit. I called for a screwdriver and Matthew went below to locate one. A couple of the lines had to be released and Matthew did that from the cockpit, he was a big help. Meanwhile, Ann and I were wrestling with the boom in the waves and wind, trying to reattached everything and finding got it cobbled together after about 20 minutes of tossing about.

Once in Cuttyhunk harbor, I reattached everything correctly and tried my hand at finding out what went wrong. It seems that the boom is held in place on the mast by a single pin with a set screw. There is a place in the pin for a cotter pin but it was missing. Either is fell out or it was never put there when the mast was replaced in June. We were lucky that the pin and associated washers stayed on deck and didn't wash overboard! Replacing that pin would be an airmail effort from Florida and today was Saturday!

Well, everything is back in place now. I put a ring cotter pin through the hole in the pin so it will not fall out again!! Meanwhile, fog has returned and we can't even see the shore and Cuttyhunk is a small anchorage! We plan on staying one more day before heading west to Newport, RI. Such an adventure is sailing...

Follow our progress at Return Trip

Friday, August 24, 2007

Marion, MA - Matthew Arrives!

We left Sandwich in a fog, factually speaking (sometimes we're in a fog when there's no fog!) I thought we had escaped the fog when we left Maine, not true! The canal is eerie when there's dense fog. However, we have AIS installed on our GPS chartplotter which showed the location, speed, direction of travel of all large ships out to 15 miles ahead. So we knew what was coming enabling us to get over on the side of the channel before it loomed out of the fog. The canal seems awfully narrow in the fog when a very large ship passes you.

We motored to Marion and found it's packed with boats! There's supposed to be an anchorage area but it's not very big if it exists at all. They had some sort of regatta planned so they were almost sold out but we got the last mooring available ($40/night). Matthew arrived shortly after 9:00 pm. We took the launch back out to the boat in a full moon, a beautiful sight, a good omen for the rest of the cruise.
Follow our progress at Return Trip.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Sandwich, MA - At the Cape Cod Canal

Today was another motoring day with a little misty rain mixed in. However, the seas were calm and we averaged 7.5 kts as we headed south to the canal. We had planned on picking up Matthew at Sandwich but instead he'll board at Marion, MA, tomorrow's destination.

We're at the Sandwich Marina ($2.00/ft) which is run by the town of Sandwich. There's no place to anchor so you have to take a dock. We ate at Seafood Sam's which was pretty good and reasonably priced. We happened to walk in right after a bus full of tourists arrived! However, the wait was relatively short, they had their act together. They had no waitresses, you ordered your own meal and then you were handed a "lobster" that lit up when your order was ready for your pick up. A clam dinner was only $8.99.

There was a visitor center that was geared to kids but also informative on the canal history and how it's run. We spent almost an hour going through it. Then it was back to the boat for some much needed cleaning to get ready for our new crew member tomorrow.

Follow our progress on Return Trip.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Scituate, MA - the Satuit Boat Club

Finally, a full day of sailing, all 25 miles of it from Gloucester to Scituate. The wind was steady from the east so we had a broad reach all the way down the coast. We had intended to stay at the Scituate Harbor Yacht Club but upon entering the harbor we were met by the boat launch from Satuit Boat Club who had a mooring available ($35/night) so we followed him in. It turns out he's a diver and he described that having 10 feet of visibility was a good day but still enjoyable in seeing what was going on below. He wore a 7 mm thick dive suit which is quite warm but needed for these cold waters. He told of diving at one spot and, wouldn't you know it - a lobster pot was about 15 feet away and the owner came roaring along in his lobster boat which annoyed the diver somewhat. The lobsterman asked if he was a professional diver to which he replied, "No, just as a hobby". The lobsterman then asked if he could dive to get a rope off his propeller! I thought lobster boats were immune to such things (cage around the prop) but I guess not. He offered to pay but our launch driver declined to accept. Then he was offered three lobsters which he could not turn down! A good day for diving.

We needed groceries so he offered to drop us off at the town dock near a grocery store and he came back to pick us up later. What a friendly club! Ann prepared a chicken dinner and we relaxed on the back of the boat.

On Thursday we plan on getting to Sandwich at the mouth of the Cape Cod Canal. Monique will meet us there with Matthew in tow. He's really looking forward to once again spending some time on the boat. He has to return by Labor Day weekend since he starts school the following Tuesday. One of his assignments from school is to restart his own blog which I'll publish each night.

Follow our progress at Return Trip

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Gloucester, MA - Where "Perfect Storm" happened

Gloucester is first and foremost a fishing village. Huge fishing vessels come and go all the time. At one point on the way in we were surrounded by six shrimp boats dragging lines. They were about a mile apart so we were okay but I steered clear of them just the same. The first thing you see coming up to Cape May where Gloucester is located was the twin lighthouses. I don't know why they have two, it would seem that one would be enough. The harbor itself is quite compact and densely populated with fishing boats. We had reserved a mooring ($25/night) since Gloucester is one of the few places that accept reservations for a mooring. By 4:00 pm all the moorings were gone. We saw one lobster boat go by that was VERY popular with the local seagulls (see photo). You had trouble seeing the boat it was so covered with gulls.

After eating out several nights, we grilled lamb chops on the back of the boat - back to basics on the food! It's been a little rich the last few days. We never tire of the sunsets since we seldom see them back home due to the high trees all around. Tomorrow we're on the move again with a good forecast, perhaps we can sail, we've motored the last two days due to light winds.
Follow our progress at Return Trip.