Friday, September 11, 2009

Wentworth at Portsmouth, NH

We started out in good spirits today around 7:00 am aiming to get a good start for Portsmouth. At 46 miles, it’s the longest leg of our trip home. However, today was not as good as forecasted. The waves were measured at 5 feet by the buoy recordings and I think a few were larger than that! The wind was supposed to die off in the afternoon but instead it built up to 20 kts. All this made for a very rocky ride south.

During the trip we experienced the full extent of the mysterious phenomenon of “the magnetic lobster buoy”. The boat was swinging side to side due to the heavy seas and invariably a nearby buoy would exhibit the magnetic effect. The symptom would be a sudden pull in the direction of the buoy. You could be off 20 to 30 feet and somehow the waves and the buoy would conspire to pull the boat right towards the buoy and its hanging lobster line just waiting to entangle a prop or rudder which would have been a disaster in the sea conditions we had today. I thought it was due to the autopilot which uses a magnetic compass for direction information but Ann suggested it could be due to the large anchor hanging off the bow. The effect was the same in either case, a sudden change in direction directly towards disaster! When it happened, I would lunge for the Standby button and manually pull the boat away from what something on the boat found very attracting! We did manage to avoid the lobster pots somehow, a nice feat in the 5 foot seas where the pots liked to hide behind the large waves until the last minute (there it is…!)

We finally made it into the harbor, such calmness!! I wrestled with the lines and fenders while Ann docked the boat and we made it in okay. I was going to take Ann out to dinner at the Wentworth but we found ourselves just too tired from the heavy pounding and decided to have hamburgers instead. The forecast for Saturday is not very good and we may very well spend another day here before heading for Gloucester on Sunday. The photo is of the restaurant that overlooks the harbor, a great place for an evening meal after a say of sailing.