Tuesday, July 10, 2007

We're In Tenants Harbor!

We had planned on leaving Provincetown around 11:00 but that changed when a series of storms came through and I went to hoist the radar reflector at 1:00 pm after the storms had ended. I then noticed that we had no topping lift to keep the boom elevated! Although we could sail without a topping lift, we couldn't motor without one since the boom would then hit the bimini. The topping lift line had severed at the point where it entered the top of the mast, perhaps it was not installed right in my new mast? I had two spare halyards that were rigged for a spinnaker which I have never used but they were led forward, not aft as required for a topping lift. So the only solution was to go up the mast and see if I could reattach the topping lift or redirect one of the halyard lines around the top shroud so it had a fair lead back to the rear of the boom. I have web "stairs" that have lugs that insert into the sail track to give the ladder stability (which was not in use on my mast since I have a furling boom). As I went up mast, I had a safety line attached and held by Leathem. I'm told I attracted quite a lot of attention in the harbor which is not very calm to say the least. So with everyone watching, I went up 50 feet and redirected one of the spare halyards under the top shroud so it had a straight shot back to the rear of the boom. A couple of times I just held on while the boat swayed from a passing wake, an experience not to be missed at 50 feet! That did it, we were now back in business and we started out at 2:00 pm.

The weather maps promised a SE wind veering to S and then to SW and increasing to 15 to 20 kts. Although the wind direction was NE, a SW wind of 20 kts would not only push us well but the relative wind would be less due to the boat's direction. At first everything was fine and we even sailed for a hour or so after motoring out of the harbor. However, the wind was directly out of the east and stayed there all night with temperatures in the 50s but the cold took a toll at 15-20 kts on the person on the helm. We had intended to run four hour watches, two crew at a time staggered two hours but no one could stand the helm for more than 30 minutes. So we wound up running 30 minute shifts throughout the night with the off-shift crew catching sleep as they could between watches. It seemed to work okay. Nobody reported any trouble falling asleep. Ann cooked an excellent dinner of meatballs and spaghetti which the crew wolfed down.

With the east wind came fog. As night fell, the fog closed in even more and we motored through the night using radar and the GPS to see our way. Needless to say, we saw nothing visually, we had to depend upon the radar and GPS which, happily, worked flawlessly. It's really eerie motoring through the night in a black, moonless fog! Our running lights formed a ring of light around us, lighting up the surrounding fog. We followed an "everyone strapped in" policy at night with inflatable lifejackets as harnesses with jacklines. We passed several boats during the night that we could see on radar but never saw visually. We started to see first light around 4:30 am with visibility of 500 feet or so. We saw our first lobster buoy in 200 feet of water as we passed Monhegan Island! They must use up a lot of line. However, when we approached Tenants Harbor the numbers of lobster buoys reached another whole level! I have never seen as many lobster buoys as on the approach to Tenants Harbor! In some areas we had to veer 90 degrees for a way to go around groups of them and they seemed to form an almost solid barrier to the route in to the harbor.
We slowed to a crawl to be sure of spotting them in the fog and to give us enough time to find a route through the maze they set up. All crew was on deck for this exercise and after 19 hours of sailing and motoring from Provincetown, we were dead tired but we couldn't let up at this point. Finally we zigzagged into Tenants Harbor and called for a mooring from Cod End Marina who directed us to one of their fluorescent yellow lobster buoy pickups ($20/night). We then crashed until afternoon when we had lunch at Cod End, not bad. Tomorrow we head for Rockland.
Follow the progress of Fleetwing at Maine Cruise


mcnaughton24 said...

Wish we could have met you in Rockland! We sure do enjoy your blog though.

Happy sailing!,
Carrie, Mike & Finn