Friday, July 27, 2012

At PYC - We make it through the storm!

Matthew on land! (it's not his...)
After the storm came through, we got a lot of rain but the air was calm and we had a restful night. It sure pays to watch the NOAA radar! We would have been caught in the middle of the river just above the Poughkeepsie bridge with no visibility!

In the morning we started out once again for PYC but only after checking the NOAA radar for any storms in the area - there were none here but there were a bunch around Albany. So we used the fender on the bow, line aft and forward thrust with the engine to get off the face dock (the aft of the boat swung out with this maneuver) and we backed out. This technique even works with 25 to 30 kts winds pinning you against the dock - we know, we've done it under those conditions (with big boats within 5 ft fore and after of you on the same face dock).

Coming into PYC we couldn't raise anyone on the VHF or phone but with the tide against us at that point it was no problem coming into the dock by ourselves. We immediately plugged in and turned on the A/C! We off-loaded and headed home, another Long Island cruise comes to a close.

Now I have to haul the boat, redo the teak, wax the hull, put on bottom paint and check the zinc. Hopefully I can get all this done in a couple of weeks so I can relaunch Fleetwing by the end of August. This is the last post of the Long Island cruise and the blog will restart 9/15 or thereabouts depending on weather for our ICW cruise to Florida - be sure to come back to follow us south!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Marlboro Yacht Club - at their dock

How's this for a view going through Hell Gate?!
There was a lot of "should we" or "shouldn't we" about moving today. The forecast wasn't very good with rain and thunderstorms in the mix. So we looked, mulled, looked again the then finally decided to go ahead and give it a try. About an hour after leaving our mooring the rains came in just as we were entering Hell Gate! The storm was not forecast as "severe" but there was lots of rain and wind anyway. It's always interesting going through the East River and Hell Gate in pouring rain. We could see on the NOAA radar that it was clear behind the rain so we pressed on.

Then the storm passed and the sun came out and it was HOT. We were headed north and the wind was out of the south so the net effect was zero breeze in the cockpit! The temperature steadily climbed and it topped out at 98 today! As we progressed north, I kept an eye on the NOAA radar and saw a line of severe thunderstorms headed our way. There was even a tornado watch in effect for parts of the leading edge of the front. I ran the NOAA radar display forward and estimated when it would arrive over the river and concluded that we would not make it to PYC before the storm line hit. Then the search started for somewhere to duck in for the night. Marlboro Yacht Club in on the Hudson just north of Newburgh and it has a face dock for easy access no matter the direction of the tide. Best of all, PYC has reciprocity for docking so it didn't cost us anything other than $5 for a 30 amp outlet.

We were helped in by a member and had no trouble docking. With a secure tie up, we watched as the storm came through. At one point you could not see across the river! Lots of lightening, winds and rain came down. We were on the west bank of the river at Marlboro with a high hill behind us and so were were even more secure since the storm came from the west.

So now we're at Marlboro and will move on to PYC in the morning during an opening in the storms. Next on the agenda is hauling Fleetwing for bottom painting, waxing and teak refinishing to ready her for the ICW trip south starting 9/15.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Manhasset at the town free moorings

Small fish formed pools of disturbed water all along our way
We started out this morning headed for Port Jefferson but then thought of making Northport but then thought again for making Manhasset. We finally settled on Manhasset and got in around 2:30 after starting at 8:00 from Milford. The best part was the north wind between 12 and 15 kts, we sailed about 2/3 of the way! There was good wind in the morning, then a lull around noon and then the wind picked up again in the afternoon. Just a great day of sailing! As a plus, the wind coming off the north shore didn't produce much wave action, nice and flat water for sailing!

There were plenty of moorings available although quite a few are now missing lines. We picked one up that still had a line attached. Otherwise you could still thread one of your lines through the chain link sticking up at the top of the mooring ball to make your own pennant. We made a couple of trips in for Hoolie but otherwise didn't go into town. It's really hot here! The temperature in the cockpit reached 92 as we sat on the mooring. It didn't start cooling off until after 5:00 and now it's down to 79 at 8:45.

Easy dinghy tie up at the town dock
Given that it's supposed to be even hotter on Thursday, we are going to try making PYC. We'll go through Hell Gate at the end of the favorable tide and when we reach the Battery, the tide will be changing to a flood. We've done this before - when the timing is right you can ride the flood all the way up the Hudson. We can usually maintain 8 to 9 kts doing that, we'll see if that holds true for Thursday.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Milford City Landing - We get new batteries

Milford Landing has a large dock area that's mostly used on the weekend
The  batteries arrived at 10:30, three 4D Interstate Deep Cycle batteries and one starter battery for the main diesel. The old ones were four years old which is okay except that for the last two years we've used them 9 months out of 12, a lot of use for a battery. They are rated for 195 amp-hours per battery so with with three we have 585 amp-hours of capacity on board. To find out how long the battery bank will last, just divide the amp-hours (585) by the amp draw by the boat and the resultant number is the hours of use you'll get. So if I draw 20 amps watching TV and a few other things, then I would expect 29.25 hours of output  before they died. However, in reality you would never draw them down that much. The usual figure is no more than 25% without damage to the batteries so the revised usage would be 7.3 hrs at the 20 amp rate which is plenty for our usage. We maybe watch 2 hours of TV at most at night. The Interstate batteries were much heavier than the ones I had, about 15 lbs heavier - which is a good sign, more lead in the storage plates!

Rain, storm, wind - gotta get the jet ski on the trailer!
We had storms come through tonight, some wind and some rain but not too bad. We watched people retrieving boats and some waited too long to start - they were drenched! We had a front row seat off the back of our boat. We've become fans of Subway sandwiches. They have many less calories than other fast food outlets and the bread is always fresh. If you want a salad, they make it for you on the spot as you point out what you want in it from the bins in front of you. There's a Subway in Milford right up the street from the marina. We'll get two meals for $12 (we eat half of the two sandwiches, saving the other half for tomorrow). Our Mexican restaurant we had always liked was bought out and we didn't care for the replacement.

On Wednesday we're headed for Northport if the weather is right, otherwise it's Port Jefferson again, weather is king when you're on a boat.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Milford City Landing - At a dock and we go for best ice cream on east coast

Just the best ice cream shop - right behind the marina!
Storms were all around us this morning and we waited for one to pass before weighing anchor and leaving for Milford. It's situations like this where the internet is really handy since you can access NOAA weather radar to see storms coming and time your exit. So we waited for an opening in the march of the storms and rev'ed up to 2300 rpm and sped north. We were able to reach the docks at Milford before any more storms hit.

At half mast...

Milford Landing has one washer and one dryer but at least on a Monday the marina was empty and the charge is only $1 per load. Not too exciting but necessary for cruisers. I went next door to see Larry from Milford Boat Works who had my order of 4D batteries ready for installation on Tuesday. They weigh 130lbs each so it's not something I can do by myself. I also picked up our new skillet, I had ordered made in Switzerland with diamonds impregnated into the non-stick coating. It's a novel approach and it's advertised to me much more durable than normal non-stick coatings. We'll give it a try since our previous non-stick skillet gave out.

After dinner, we marched over to the best ice cream shop we've found on the east coast! It's a small shop but with lots of flavors and toppings with generous servings - and best of all - the ice cream is delicious! We'll be here through Tuesday to get the new batteries installed before heading west again on Wednesday.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Port Jefferson - At anchor, very crowded!

Wow, all the boats coming in!
One more boat came in later for a total of only three in the Mattituck anchorage on a Saturday night. Although it was nice to be so uncrowded, it was entirely unexpected during the summer months. We left on a rising tide but we could have made it at dead low with nothing under 5 ft (we draw 4' 9").

Exiting the inlet we were met with no wind! Long Island Sound was glassy smooth and it was once again a motoring day. We didn't see many boats on the Sound but when we got the the Port Jefferson inlet, all that changed! There were about 15 boats all coming into PJ at the time we arrived and 10 or so making an exit, what a crowd! We got in line and motored in and headed for our usual anchorage to the west of the channel in. However, it was packed! There were two sets of boats rafted together and there was no room for us.

We always enjoy a good sunset!
We have an alternate anchorage we use at PJ to the east of the channel in by the large house on the hill south of The Sand Pit several hundred feet off shore. It's usually deserted and it was this time too. There's a sandy shore nearby perfect for Hoolie relief so it's great for us.

This was the last night when the Mehaffeys will be with us on this trip so Ann prepared hamburgers off the back of the boat with a salad, we had a great meal. On Monday it's off to Milford and new batteries.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mattituck - To the Iron Skillet for dinner

The Iron Skillet restaurant is on Love Lane in Mattituck - 5 min from the dinghy dock
Finally the high winds and rains stopped and the day dawned clear and a little cooler, 60 in the morning to be exact. After our usual run into shore for Hoolie relief, we were off for Mattituck. Unfortunately, there wasn't much wind so we motored halfway until the wind finally filled in and we sailed at a leisurely pace of 5 kts or so. Even so, it was a nice change to motoring all the time so we enjoyed the change even though we would rather have more wind.

As we closed on Mattituck, I was concerned about coming into the small anchorage on a Saturday. I feared that it would be crowded with weekenders with little space for newcomers. However, as I rounded the last bend I found the anchorage to be entirely empty! What a surprise! We chose a spot right in the middle and settled in, waiting for the Mehaffeys to arrive who were behind us.

The Iron Skillet inside - one of three tables
Leathem found a great restaurant for us and made reservations for 7:00 pm at the Iron Skillet. It's actually a private house with a host that likes to cook for small groups. There are only three tables so you get very personal service and the dishes are individually prepared by the dedicated chef. Everything we ordered was excellent and very reasonably priced, recommended. They accept only cash, no credit cards.

On Sunday we're headed for Port Jefferson and another anchorage before heading to Milford on Monday.

Friday, July 20, 2012

North Cove - A rainy day

The Mehaffeys were right behind us - hard to miss Leathem's jacket
The weather came in cloudy and rainy with high winds and a small craft advisory for the Sound. We had intended to sail for Mattituck but with the winds out of the east with 15 to 20 kt winds, we thought we would better enjoy another day in North Cove instead. Besides, the Mehaffeys were also there and we could play some bridge and have dinner together, not a bad plan.

We watched the radar from NOAA and saw nothing but a series of rain patches coming this way so we picked an opening per the radar and took Hoolie in after which it commenced to rain in earnest for the rest of the day (see side panel on iPad apps for the radar app). We then accessed grib for an update on winds for Saturday and the NOAA coastal forecast for more info and found that Saturday would be ideal for the trip across the Sound. It's really very handy having an internet connection while cruising along with the iPad and associated apps.

Nice dinner on a rainy day aboard the Fleetwing!
North Cove allows visitors to take the free moorings for up to 72 hours so we are still within their limits after two days. Being here sure beats fighting the small craft advisories on the Sound. Now it's Mattituck on Saturday.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

North Cove - On a free mooring

Nice garden right by the dinghy dock - North Cove YC is in the background
The bad storms never materialized last night but we did get some strong winds out of the north. We did a 180 on the anchor and it reset in the new direction. I have a GPS in the forward cabin which I use to keep track of where we're at relative to the anchor without having to go up on top and take sights. It's a real time saver and peace of mind. I set the anchor location on the GPS upon first anchoring and from then on can tell how far away the bow is and watch it swing as the wind direction changes. If the anchor drags, I can see it first on the GPS. So far it has not dragged.

Hunting for crabs
Raising the anchor in the morning, I discovered that there's a lot of sea grass on the bottom in Stonington. I imagine it could cause some problems with some anchors but we were okay. We finally got away around 10:00 (life is tough being retired, so demanding...) and headed west to the Connecticut River and North Cove. Ann Leathem Mehaffey left before us and we found a mooring right next to them in the cove. There's not a lot of shopping near North Cove but there is a small grocery store so I was off to provision as best we could, you learn to take advantage of every opportunity. The cove itself is calm and usually devoid of people during the week but tonight they had a regatta, lots of activity! Plus, there's always kids crabbing off the docks.

We invited Ann and Leathem over for dinner, very pleasant, and on Thursday we're headed across the Sound to Mattituck again. Hopefully it won't be too crowded on a Friday night, we'll see.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Stonington - We have dinner at The Dog Watch

Part of the commercial fleet at Stonington
The storms came today, they looked ferocious over the radar with severe thunderstorm warnings out in a solid line as they approached. However, as they drew closer, they seemed to lose strength and by the time they reached us, there was just some rain in the clouds and not much of that. We were not disappointed! We had heard reports of hail and strong winds up to 60 mph but we never saw any of that. So we did boat chores in the morning and were ready for a night out for dinner later in the day provided there was a break in the storms. So with our eyes glued to the radar over the internet, we saw an opening and headed out to meet up with the Mehaffeys at The Dog Watch restaurant at Dodsons Marina. The dinner was good, recommended.

Ann shows off her "Dark and Stormy" - note the two layered drink
We passed by the commercial dock on the way back. You can see the large boats tied up and there's a store where you can buy flash frozen fish right next to the dock that's caught locally. The blister packs are perfect for stocking your freezer for a long boat trip. Best of all, the price is right, very reasonable.

On Wednesday we're headed to North Cove on the Connecticut River, time to head west and PYC. There is rain predicted for the morning so we'll leave after that, hopefully there's a free mooring.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Stonington - At anchor

Skipper's on the deck - beautiful. It was the only restaurant that served whole lobsters in Stonington
It was a very quiet day, no crew - no swimmers off the back of the boat, no one to help haul anchor, no one to run the dinghy, no one to help with Hoolie's trips to shore and the dinner table has shrunk! Now it's just the two of us for everything - a startling adjustment after two weeks.

Now it's time to get the boat back to PYC and get ready for our ICW cruise starting 9/15. But first take a slow route west, no hurry. We had intended going out to Cuttyhunk but the weather wasn't looking so good so we returned to Stonington today and found the Mehaffeys there too. Now Ann had been hoping for a lobster dinner on this trip and that was one of the attractions of Cuttyhunk where the "Lobster Lady" resides (you pick a lobster out, she cooks it, you take it back to the boat - very fresh). With the absence of Cuttyhunk from our itinerary, we looked for a place for lobster in Stonington and found Skipper's Restaurant so we dinked over at 6:00, met Ann and Leathem Mehaffey and we had our lobster!

The wind is supposed to pipe up tonight and storms are due Wednesday as a front comes through so we'll be here another day. Our plans beyond Wednesday are not fully formed yet, it all depends on the weather - as always! We just enjoy hanging out on the boat having fun. The lifestyle may not be for everyone but for us it fits perfectly what we want to do! Can't wait for our ICW trip!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Block Island - The Crew departs, very sad

Lunch at Oars on the lawn, great view, great fun
ahoy there is me sarah! I have woked up and read a  book and have walk hoolie and we had brekfast and we are in the water i went in with out a life jacket it  was fun! we are now we had lunch at oars i love it and we are back on the fleetwing we are going to swim again and this is a short blog because i am going home today and i love sailing on the fleetwing but i have to go and i am very sad.

We were both very sad (like Sarah) to see everyone leave today. It's such great fun for all to get together on a boat. It's especially fun since everyone likes to swim and the waters of the Great Salt Pond are so inviting, not to mention the nearby ocean beach. They took the fast ferry back and now are home in what we're told are much warmer environs. Meanwhile, we're still at Block Island and will remain so for another day before heading out. We'll probably head west instead of east to Cuttyhunk since the weather looks unsettled over the next few days.

Only park where permitted - or else!
For the boat, I'm looking to replace my 4D batteries. They are now five years old and have gone way beyond their recharge cycles with their use on the ICW. We'll pull into Milford and contact Milford Boat Work for that job. The Volvo diesel needs a checkup and Brian McDonnell of McDonnell Marine will do that job - time to get the boat ready for our trip down the ICW starting 9/15!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Block Island - the kids go to the beach

A typical hotel on Block Island
Ahoy there is me sarah ! I have woked up and read a book shiloh that i told you yesterday,and now we have walked hoolie on shore i found a rock for my collection we have went back to the fleetwing. We are playing ,we are going to get donuts because sunday we have donnuts for brekfast we are geting them at the killer donut shop! We had to take the trash out first and went in the shop to get coffee and ice we went to a different spot and walked to the donuts so we are here there was a little line,we got 12 sugar donuts 1 blueberry muffin, 1 cinnamom bun and 1 bagel. We are headed back to the fleetwing we eat the donuts and going to the beach and in the water we saw a 20 dollar bill in the water then matt got it out of the water and then went to walk to the beach and i went swimming but we did not get to swimm as much because the waves were big and we jumped other then and we  went back to shore to make a wall so the water does not ruin the alligator made of sand and then matt went for a walk on shore and me and natalie  went back in the water and more jumping other the waves and me and natalie collected some rocks for my collection of shells and rocks and saw some dogs on the way back to are spot on the beach ! We went back in the water when matt came back from his walk and then came back out of the water and saw a little boy stomped ON MY ALLIGATOR i made ! and went to the shack to get lunch and we headed back to the fleetwing   we were going to swimm on the back of the boat but it started rain now had dinner and going to play farkle!

That was Sarah's last blog for awhile. The crew leaves Fleetwing on Monday until next year's summer cruise. It is possible that we may have all three grandkids from Connecticut next year although Natalie may only be for one day. It would be an empty nest for a short time for the parents!

One of the many landing beaches for dinks
The crew spent the day on the beach and reported that it was in great shape. It was real sand, not the pebbles common to Long Island beaches that they're used to. They also had real waves coming in since Block Island faces the ocean and not the Sound. Well, they used up all the sunshine and now it's come in cloudy with rain now and then. I can see more storms arriving from the west on radar so it will be a stormy night I think. Everyone's playing Farkle, a dice game for all ages with a little strategy to make things interesting. It's been fun but now we'll be by ourselves after we see the crew off on Monday. Hopefully the storms won't be too bad tonight.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Block Island - Rest of crew arrives!

Everyone's happy to see Daddy!

ahoy there is me sarah. I have woked up and  woke in a storm with rain, we have waked hoolie on shore. We  have had breakfast,we had french toast sticks they were delictous! I have read a book about a dog that gets saved by a person marty. I have made a hat, a moster hat and more bracelets!there here! there here!  my mommy, daddy and natalie  are here on the fleetwing they came on a fariy boat.we went swiming on the back of the fleetwing i did the back stroke, freestyle,pencil dive and the cannon ball! We are takeing a brake from swimming and working more on my hats and bracelets,we are swimming again and did jumping in the water!we are eating dinner that was delictous too,i felt like swimming again so i did that  was fun!we have went on a dink ride we went to throw the trash out and nataie and daddy had a detour of the OAR we are going to eat there tomorrow night. we went a little furthur and went back to the fleetwing and now going to play farkle or watch a movie!

Sarah is very intent on writing her blog every night. Little by little she's picking up on having to capitalize the first letter of a sentence and to add a space between sentences but sometimes she misses a few - but making progress. Sarah doesn't use a spell check program, she's trying to learn how to spell as she does her blog.

The Oar Restaurant - it gets its name from oars donated  by boaters from all over the world covering the walls
Meanwhile, the rest of the crew arrived on the fast ferry from New London. We now have a full boat of four adults, one teenager and two grade schoolers. With the temperature around 80 all day and 65% humidity, everyone just swam off the back of the boat. Just give kids some water and they can entertain themselves, they did so all day, never tiring.

The winds are piping up tonight with gusts to 17 kts and we saw several towboats ahead of us with flashing red lights steering a four boat raft to a new location. It appeared that nobody was aboard (gone ashore?) and the raft was dragging, endangering nearby boats which had to move to get out of the way. Why anyone would leave a raft and go ashore when high winds are predicted does damage to supposed good seamanship. The last we saw, the raft was disappearing to the opposite shore. I'd be interested in the reaction of the owners when they return in their dinghies and discover their boats missing!

 Clouds - A portent of coming high winds?
We'll be here Sunday too and will use the day to explore Block I expect but with even more swimming off the back of the boat.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Block Island - Lunch at The Oar

Sarah with Oar specialties
Ahoy there is me sarah! i have woked up and play a game, matt sleep on the sleepy side and grandpa and matt walk hoolie on shore.i set the table for brekfast,matt and grandpa came back so we can have brekfast we had cerael and bagels.i made more backlet for grandpa and natalie when she get here and my stuffed animal brody.we have swan on the back of the boat i did the cannon ball, pencil dived and the freestyle, the good thing was we did not see any jelly fish today.we have went to the OAR we had bufflo wings and claimari it was delicious. we have went back to the boat so Maheffeys and they brough chilly that was delicious too.grandpa took them back to there boat because their motor was broken and we have took hoolie a shore and matt swam there we went back to the fleetwing and now going to read a book!

As you can see, Sarah is a busy girl! We all did some boat work today with Matt polishing the stainless and Ann oiled the interior wood. We mainly just enjoyed the cool temps and sunshine. We tried the Oar for lunch and found there was a 15 minute waiting time for an outside deck table but there was no wait for the newly set out lawn picnic tables below. They didn't have them last year, it expands their serving area by almost 2x.

The dinghy dock was as crowded as ever but we shoe-horned in for lunch. More boats arrived in the anchorage and several tried to anchor just ahead of us but eventually gave up, there's just no room and moved on. I expect more will try Saturday. Ann and Leathem Mehaffey arrived today and came over for a visit and brought dinner, Leathem's famous chili! It's great to get together with friends on a boat.

The rest of the crew arrives Saturday and we'll have a full boat! I'm sure there's be lots of swimming. Matt swims to shore several times a day where we pace him with the dinghy when taking Hoolie for relief. He said he needs to stay in shape for his swim team. Maybe he'll race his dad...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Block Island - at anchor

Big hamburger - big appetite!
ahoy there is me sarah! i have waked up and stayed in bed a little and play a game then got up to set the table when nana and grandpa walked hoolie and had cereal and toast. then matt and grandpa went to go get the motor off the dink and went to go sailing there were big waves i felt sea sick the wave felt like we were going up a little hall!before i got sea sick i colored a picture and made a designs!we are in bockisland!me and matt swan on the back of the boat i did the cannon ball and the pencil dive.we did not go in the water that much because we saw 12 jellys fish . i have played a game,now going to walk hoolie, matt swam to shore when we were in the dink then he swam back to the boat and pick him up for a dink ride and went back with matt. we ate dinner we had cheeseburgers.then when nana and grandpa walked hoolie we did the dishes then nana and grandpa came back still in the dink  said to come in the dink because we were going to do a dink ride and it was longer than last time then went back to the going to watch a movie any which way you can!

We each had a hamburger but Matt had two - furthermore, he finished both of his before we had eaten half of ours - such is a teenager appetite, as we're learning once again... The trip over from Stonington was bouncier than I expected.  There were 4 to 5 ft rollers coming in off the ocean, Fleetwing went up and then it went down for the two hour trip out to Block. Sarah felt a little queasy and Matt came up to the cockpit but nobody got sick. We ran through some unexpected fog along the way but everything cleared as we approached Block.

A small sample of Block Island anchoring (out by us)
You wouldn't know there was any kind of recession by looking at Block Island. It's packed as usual but we did find a spot close to the eastern shore and we're settled in for the next few days with company coming (Phil, Monique and Natalie) due on Saturday.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Stonington - At anchor

Sarah's with us again!
ahoy there is me sarah! i am back on the boat,i have waked up and matt we started to clean the table   for brekfast when nana and grandpa walked hoolie by the shore.we set the table and when nana and grandpa were back we had brekfast,we had cereal and bagles.then went to go sailing to stoneingtin when we were going to stoneingtin i made bracelets for nana matt,he had two,and one for me.afther we anchored  we went to go get ice we docked the dink and walk through the town and tried to find ice but we could not find any so dock in a different place and got ice.when we got back grandpa made icys!then went swiming on the back of the boat i did the cannon ball and nana and grandpa walk hoolie when we did the dishes!now going to watch a movie any which way you can!

I think Sarah is having fun again! She appears recovered from her great disappointment of having to leave for a doctor visit on Monday. Well, another day of motoring! The winds were only around 5 kts, not much to sail with. It was a beautiful day with blue skies, temps around 80 and dry, just no wind. The anchorage at Stonington is marked by buoys in the corners - it's just for anchored boats, no moorings. It's a great improvement over a few years ago when you had to find space somehow in amongst the moorings or anchor far outside by the channel. Now you can anchor in a relatively protected area closer in behind the breakwater but it's still subject to rolling from passing boats in the channel, just not as bad as before.

Stonington is a working harbor with large fishing boats - still pretty 
There's a free dinghy dock courtesy of the town of Stonington which is perfect for a walk through town. After a trip for ice, we returned to the boat for dinner and a movie - it's kiddie time as Sarah cuddles with Ann and Matt's on the bench. Thursday we're headed to Block Island but we don't expect any wind then either, someday there's be wind, we hope.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

North Cove on the Connecticut River - at a free mooring

Matt up the mast! (with safety line)
Ahoy there its m Matt in the Hatt. Sarah wasn't on the boat today until dinner time so I will write the blog tonight just like last night. This morning I woke up on the late side after watching Magnum Force last night till 12. I woke with the sound of the motor purring into my ear. There is a huge downside to sleeping in the aft cabin , the motor is right next to your head. Well after that I proceeded to the unoccupied V berth. I slept a short while there then moved on to the cockpit after Fleetwing was plowing into the sound. It got extremely rough when we left and I made the mistake of going back down bellow. My stomach began to churn abit as I stormed back into the cockpit and curled up with a good book for a while. Then I fell asleep and didn't wake till after the boat was halfway across. We got a chance to sail so we took it and sailed the rest of the way. we arrived and I grabbed a moaring and tied it down to the forward cleat. I then rotted my mind somemore on the computer till mom and the girls arrived to return Sarah to the boat. We all sat awhile and had fun till it was time for mom and Natalie to go. Then a brand new thing happened to me. I had to go up the mast to the first spreader and secure the burgee line. Everything was going well till the time came to come down. Nana didn't put slack on the safety line while grandpa lowered the bowmans chair. Well lets just say I was singing in a higher note after that. Then both Sarah and I rotted our mind with computers and ipads. Dinner then was ready. We had some lovely ham, mac and cheese, and beans.  It was wonderful. after that we had some cookies and cream ice cream, with Hoolie drooling off to the side. now we all are relaxing and letting dinner set in.

We spent a calm night at Mattituck and left a couple of hours before low tide just to have a safety margin in exiting the inlet although we could have made it a low with our 4' 9" keel. There was less than 5 kts in Mattituck  but when we reached the inlet we found a confused sea with winds in the 15 kt range opposing a 1.5 kts current causing short, steep waves, very uncomfortable. We had waves breaking over the bow and water hitting the dodger - which we had closed, luckily. This was not going to be fun all the way across the Sound! However, after 2/3 of the way across, the winds and waves started to abate and we put up the sails for the rest of the way.

View Down the fairway at North Cove
North Cove is one of our favorite places to stay since it's protected from winds and waves in all directions, close to the Sound and, best of all, has free moorings. The harbor is periodically dredged by the Army Corps of Engineers and as part of the deal the residents that have moorings must allow transients to use them at no charge when they are away. The moorings with yellow ribbons are the ones available for free use. The channel into the anchorage is the shallowest part with depths mostly around 6.3 ft MLW but with one spot at 5.0 MLW for about 30 ft. It's 6 to 7 ft in the harbor along the fairway.

We are now back to a full crew after Sarah rejoined us today. Matt had his adventure up the mast so the other crew member is learning his trade. On Tuesday we're headed for Stonington  and the anchorage there by the breakwater. There's Hoolie relief nearby on the breakwater so it's perfect for us.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Mattituck - At anchor

Ahoy there its me Matt in the Hatt and today I'm going to write the blog in Sarah's place who is on shore leave because of bad stomach cramps ut don't worry she will return soon. Today started off a little slow as I woke and emerged from the aft cabin. We had breakfast of cereal, grapefruit, and the last of the glazed donuts. I unplugged the electric line and filled up the water tanks while breakfast settled in. Soon after the Fleetwing was on the move again slowly motoring out of Branford. After we left I pulled out the mainsail all on my own and then out into the sound we went. With the mainsail out we began our ride over to Mattituck. We all hoped to sail but never had the chance to with the low kt winds. I adjourned to the main cabin and proceeded to rot my mind with the hard downloaded game I acquired at Milford. I again emerged from the main cabin into the cockpit and watched as grandpa carefully set anchor in this tiny harbor. Afterwards we dinked over to shore and strolled into town while Nana walked the dog. Grandpa and I proceeded down the streets of Milford to get ice for the boat. On the way back Grandpa stopped to photograph a nice little street called Love Lane. We returned to the boat with a perfect landing from my dinking skills and we prepared for dinner. Grandpa made some wonderful hamburgers but before we ate those we savored some delicious seafood salad Grandpa picked up at the store. After dinner we had ice cream. Nana and Grandpa took Hoolie ashore for his afternoon poo while I washed the dishes with Dio blasting in the Main Cabin. I then waged war on my computer game and finally got off so I could write this. Well that was my day here on the Long Island Sound, I could stay and write an entire essay (editor: Ha, too late, you already did!) but soon the crew and captain of the Fleetwing will be watching Magnum Force.

View of the Mattituck anchorage from the dinghy dock - we're back at the far right
As you can see, Matt took over the blogging assignment from Sarah while she's getting ready to rejoin Fleetwing when we make landfall Tuesday in Connecticut. We left Branford at low tide and had only a little over 5 ft in the AA dock fairway as we left, a little thin even for us and our 4' 9" draft. What wind there was (only 5 to 6 kts) was within 2 degrees of our heading to Mattituck! It is really uncanny how the wind is always on the nose!

Interesting main street - Love Lane
We timed our arrival for a rising tide entering Mattituck inlet and saw mostly 6 to 7 ft MLW (corrected to low tide) but I did see a bump at 5 ft MLW about midway through the inlet. Once past the breakwater, the channel deepened to 8 to 9 ft MLW the rest of the way to the anchorage. There are four floats marking the corners of the rectangular anchorage area so it's easy to be sure you're inside. Tonight there are only 5 boats here but I'm told on weekends it can be as many as 12. There's plenty of room for 5 but 12 would be a challenge.

There's a dinghy dock at the end of the harbor for use of the boats in the anchorage and it's a convenient place for Hoolie relief and a walk into town. Matt and I went to the Handy Pantry for ice and minor supplies. The town has a main street called "Love Lane" with a cheese shop, chocolate store, Deli, Post Office, Several restaurants, bookstore, hardware store, pastries, etc. A very nice place to visit and for treating yourself to some goodies.

Back of the boat - nice view
We got good news on Sarah tonight, her pediatrician gave her a clean bill of health and she'll be rejoining us at South Cove on the Connecticut River on Tuesday. It'll be great to have everyone on board again! Ann took a nice sunset picture.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Branford - Ill Crew Member

There are still empty slips for the summer at Branford - but not many
ahoy there is me sarah!i have awoken and i helped mommy to walk cody our dog and saw grandpa walk hoolie .then i went to the energency room and had to get blood test,a x-ray and a ultrasound. i went there because of my stomach ache but i was fine. i went to go swim in the pool i did the back stroke, the freestyle, the jelly fish, swimed under water and the cannon ball! i went back to the boat for dinner we had pizza and going to go back home but i will come back some, i will see you later bye.

We had a problem today when Sarah developed a serious stomach ache. She went to the emergency room and after several tests it was diagnosed as probably not appendicitis which was the fear. However, she is mightily disappointed since she has to leave Fleetwing to see her family doctor Monday. If she gets the okay from her doctor, then she can rejoin Fleetwing at the Connecticut River where we'll be at on Tuesday for the cruise out to Block Island. She had been looking forward to her summer cruise all winter so she's very sad at the moment. Matt is still with us and we'll put him to work the rest of the week.

Although the marina is not 100% full, it's doing pretty well against most of the marinas we've been at recently. We'll leave Monday for Mattituck and the anchorage by the town. It's a small anchorage but it should be okay for a Monday night, we hope.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Branford - We Go to Lenny's

I think Ann is in her element - in Fleetwing's main cabin
ahoy there is me sarah! i have awoken and nana have walked hoolie and mommy ,daddy and natalie are coming to see us! they are here! we also saw cody our dog,we got ready to go swimming in the pool i showed daddy, mommy and natalie the breast stroke,the back stroke and freestyle.then went to get lunch we   had delicious sandwichs mommy made us then went back to the pool to do more swimming, but had to go back  because there was a thunder storm so we went back to the back to the boat. now were going to lenny`s to  get dinner i was stuff! we are now going to watch a movie!

The rest of the crew arrived today and the kids and Philip headed for the pool while we provisioned for the rest of the trip at the local Stop and Shop Supermarket. You can see from Sarah's blog what interests the kids. The marina has cable TV, 126 channels, which provides evening entertainment. So with a pool, TV, internet access for iPads and laptops and best of all just being together, it's a great weekend that all look forward to each year.

Lenny's - still the best
We had heard from some that Lenny's was not as good as in the past but you couldn't prove it by our experience tonight, it was as good as ever but the prices had gone up. We arrived at 5:00 and had plenty of empty tables to chose from but by 6:00, every table was taken and people were waiting in line. It's still the best fried clams we're ever had.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Branford - At a dock

What would brothers do without little sisters to tease?
ahoy there is me sarah!i have awoken and nana and grandpa walked hoolie and me and matt cleaned the boat then went to go sailing to brandford.we had to go get diseal first then docked the boat,we got ready to go swimming in the pool,i showed nana and grandpa the breast stroke, freestyle and the back stroke, the water was warm! we went back to the boat to dry off and we had dinner, i liked it! now going to watch a movie!

We actually sailed today! Heading out from Branford we found the wind to be off the starboard side and we had a good angle for Branford, at least for the first hour before the wind died. We'll take what we can get. It's still hot with the temperature topping out at 91 by the pool. On Saturday it's supposed to reach 93 but then start cooling off with temperatures only in the low 80's for Monday and the rest of the week.

Milford has nice flowers all around their marina!
The kids spent all afternoon in the pool which I'm told was very warm. The rest of the crew arrives Saturday so there'll be 7 of us on the boat Saturday and Sunday but mostly we'll be all in the pool anyway followed by a dinner at world famous Lenny's (best fried clams on the East Coast!) Saturday will also be a major, major provisioning day! We're out of everything so it's restocking day for the larder before we head off for Block Island and points beyond.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Milford City Landing - at a dock

"I was messy..."
ahoy there is me sarah!i have awoken we have walk hoolie and went back to the sand dunes and i climbed one of the highest, two times.we went back to the boat to go swimming on the back of the boat i did the breast stroke,jumped, dived and did the cannon ball! then got ready to go sailing, i did not get to steer  the boat because it was a short ride.we are now docked the boat and seeing lots of ducks, swans, geese and egrets! we have ate and now have gone to get ice creaam i was messy! yesterday we saw fireworks!

We finally got hit with rain in the early morning hours but not with any thunder or lightening. Since Milford was only 15 miles away, we took another trip to the Sand Pit since Sarah wanted to climb the dunes again! Up and down she went, giving Matthew a real test. Then it was off the back of the boat for another hour or so of swimming, diving and generally splashing around.

We finally got underway around noon and headed across the Sound. As usual, there wasn't much wind and what there was (8 kts) came exactly out of the direction we were headed (but that's no surprise..)  So we motored once again for a ways until, much to our astonishment, the wind shifted to off port and we could actually sail for awhile - will wonders never cease!

Rumor has it that Swans and Geese don't co-exist - not true in Milford!
Coming into Milford, we felt the heat starting to rise, it had been quite comfortable on the Sound. We came into our slip and immediately turned on the A/C. It's been as hotter this trip as any we've taken to the Sound. We'll be in  Branford Friday through Sunday but then we're headed to Block Island and cooler weather!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Port Jefferson at anchor - We Explore the Sand Pit

Top of the Dunes!
It was finally cooled off somewhat so we took advantage of the better weather to explore "The Sand Pit" which is an area surrounded by high sand dunes where there used to be an anchorage in the middle. It's now filled with moorings with no place to anchor, so sad. However, we had anchored outside the cove and dinghied over to explore. The anchorage is surround by tall dunes (100 ft high?) and the kids took to climbing to the top, of course! I followed along on one climb but opt'ed out on the rest. So with the kids thoroughly exercised and the dog panting, we headed back to the boat.

Getting there was half the fun1
However, that was not enough to tire out the crew so back into the water off the back of the boat was next, for about two hours! Meanwhile, Sarah is learning to steer the dinghy pretty well. Matthew can both start the motor and do the steering, now I can just sit back and rest! And now from Sarah who is very intent in keeping up with her blog!

ahoy there is me sarah!i did not get to finish last nights blog so here is some of yestardys!i went swimming  yesterday i did the back stroke,breast stroke,dived and did the cannon ball and then watch rio!  that was yesterday,here is today.i had awoken and had walked hoolie on shore with more shells.we had came  back,and had for breakfast was delicious pancakes.i went up deck and saw a swan right next to  the boat!hoolie was barking at it,it was hissing,but the swan swimmed away! we saw a horse shoe crab shell floating in the water.we are in the dink and went to a beach with really high dunex, me and matt climbed one of them and went back down and went back to the dink to go to the boat.we swam on the back of the boat and did the back stroke,breast stroke,jumped,dived and did the cannon ball!we eat dinner and going to watch a movie because we finished rio! 

A "Swimming Team" dive - for speed
You can see what's important to a 9 year old! So far all the storms have either gone east or west of us but I'm afraid that we'll eventually be hit - they look like popcorn on the radar map, all over the place. We'll head to Milford on Thursday for a stay at a dock and ice cream in the evening plus some boat chores to get ready for the rest of Matthew's family's arrival in Branford on Friday.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Port Jefferson at anchor - Hot, Hot, Hot!

Here, Sarah is steering the dinghy by herself!
ahoy there is me sarah!i have awoken we are have walked hoole and i drived  the dink and i found more shells for my collection.   we are now going to sailing on the sea while making a wind chime with magicail colors.afther that i steered the fleetwing for 25 minutes then matt took over and i kept on working on my wind chime.

It was supposed to be cooler today but it still reached 95 at Port Jefferson! We had all of 2 kts of wind along the way and zero kts when we dropped the anchor, sweltering! The kids played in the water all afternoon so they were nice and cool and Nana even got in the water some. We took Hoolie ashore and was about to turn on the genset and the A/C when a breeze suddenly came in from the southwest and cooled things off. The temperature dropped to only 85 which felt like springtime compared to earlier in the afternoon.

The kids eat well!  Steak, grilled out tonight!
So now it's 82 and very comfortable but from the radar I can see lines of thunderstorms headed out way, due to arrive after midnight, ought to be fun! In fact, thunderstorms are predicted to be around all day Wednesday so we'll probably just stay at Port Jefferson tomorrow. We have a dock reserved at Milford on Thursday which will make for a short cruise over to Branford on Friday to meet up with the rest of Sarah's and Matt's family.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sarah with Nana and Hoolie - To the Beach!
Sarah is writing a blog (just like Grandpa!) and Matthew helps some but mostly it's in her own words. Her comment at the end about getting a Fleetwing jacket is given only on the second year of a cruise (i.e., you have to earn your jacket). So far we've given two out, Matthew and Sarah but here are three more waiting in the wings that are too young for now.

ahoy there is me i went sailing from manhassett bay to north port.i steered the boat and saw  fish splashing in the sea.i went swiming in north port.i did the breast stroke,dived and had some fun and  jump in!we have anchored the boat and i turned off the boat myself.we went to walk hoolie on the beach  there were shells and sooth rocks too.we saw 3 crabs,  2 were small 1 was big tuck under a rock.also i colected some shells and some smooth rocks and matt climbed big rocks,we also saw on the baech is  horse shoe crabs on shore but they were not alive.we are at the boat going to watch rio.i almost forgot  i got my fleetwing jacket! 

Nice, Sandy Beach
We made the run from Manhasset to Northport under motor (5 kts of wind!) and was happy that the heat abated somewhat with a high today of 86 which is a big difference from 95! We took our favorite anchorage by Sand City but further north, a few hundred yards off the north spit of land out by ourselves. A visit to the nearby beach completed the day to give Hoolie and the kids some exercise.

Tuesday we're off to Port Jefferson to get a good spot for the fireworks. They are controlling access for residents only on land but not for just anchoring out, we get a better view anyway.