We had an excellent time at Block after a bit of trouble with the dinghy motor. Luckily the wind was blowing us right into the dock at Champlains. We managed to get a tow after attempting to limp back to the boat. No shame. right? That’s the great thing about Block. There are so many … Continue reading “Dutch Harbor, RI”
We had an excellent time at Block after a bit of trouble with the dinghy motor. Luckily the wind was blowing us right into the dock at Champlains. We managed to get a tow after attempting to limp back to the boat. No shame. right? After lifting the engine onto Celeste then back to the dingy about 3 or 4 times, cleaning the jets and adding sea foam additive to the tank and about giving up, it fired up and stayed fired. The beers at lunch tasted even better with some world cup semis on the tv at Paynes.
We thought about heading out towards Newport early but decided to stay an extra day which turned out to be an excellent idea. We discovered these electric peddle assist bikes. Certainly electric bikes are the future. With every peddle there’s a magical hamster wheel inside the hub that feels like about 2000 hamster power. There are a lot of hills on Block but we simply leaned back and zoomed up and through the lushness of Block island at a minimum of 20mph. Lope topped out at a screaming 31mph down one of the curvy hills. We were able to explore all the back roads that scooters weren’t allowed on presumably because of their annoying whiney sound to the local residents. The big fat tires gripped well on the off-road trails. SO MUCH FUN. We basically covered the entire island in a couple hours and stopped at all the touristy bits for our touristy photos.
Waterboy came to fill us up with water, the pumpout swung by and we were gone. The sail to Dutch Harbor was perfect. It was the shortest jaunt yet and we had a following wind the entire time. Beautiful sail. I think probably the best of the trip at least tied to the sail from Essex but this one had a total of about 10 min of engine.
When we put in to Dutch Harbor Vicky and Ken were relaxing on their beautiful 1930’s 36′ Alden sloop. They’ll be joining me on the trip up to Maine. Ken’s friend Bob offered up his vacant mooring to me for a few days which was just awesome. No worrying about anchors dragging. We dingied over for some sundowners and a delicious steak, chicken and veggie dinner. As the sun fell behind the hills I went down below into the saloon and was instantly transported through a time warp. Oil lamps glowing, warming and drying the air and teak preserved under layers of varnish. Man so cool.
7am anchor pulling with millions of tiny sea monkeys on the anchor rode collecting on the chock and all over the bow. I tried brushing them off as I pulled the 120 feet of line out of the water. They didn’t like the chain part of the rode luckily. We made our way back down the Connecticut River against current but we made good way and it was a gorgeous sunny morning. Sunscreen.
The Old Lyme Drawbridge tender let us know via vhf we had 4-5 min to make the bridge before it closed. I had the Yanmar at it’s highest rpm yet trying to make it and we had about 30 seconds to spare before it came down to let the Amtrak zoom across.
This is my first time transiting The Race. This is where the Long Island sound meets the Block Island sound through a relatively small gap. The current runs very fast so timing is crucial as usual. Thanks to a bit of luck and our stellar planning we cruised right on through under full sail and made it to Block Island in about 9 hours. Exactly one year to the day when Laura and I arrived last year.
Another no wind day but we did throw up the sails to give us a an extra half knot. 13hp is not enough for Celeste’s 10,000lbs. I assume a little more with the beer and snacks.
We decided to put in at Essex instead of pushing hard for Fishers Island. The current was not going to be in our favor and more importantly it was Monday so there were sea shanties to be sung at The Gris. Lope wanted to try out Fish Tits anyway. He lays claim to have named the dinghy which I’m pretty sure is true. Everyone at The Gris knew the shanties word for word which I thought was fascinating. Where do you learn these songs? I guess at the Gris. One of musicians told us he’s be shanti-ing for 20 years and he was one of the new guys. There’s some serious maritime history in this town. The Griswold Inn has been there since 1776.
The wind was predicted to pick up considerably so we decided to make Block Island the next day. It would be an early morning.
Lope and I departed Port Washington, NY east by north east. Penobscot, Maine being the destination for this cruise.
The weather was perfect to every one except those who use it to provide energy for motion and I guess for those at work. We resorted to leaving on the little 13hp Yanmar and motored. ALL DAY. This the furthest Celeste has motored during my ownership. It was too much motoring. The lil Yanmar ran beautifully though. The day was uneventful which is what you usually strive for when sailing from place to place but we weren’t even sailing.
Lope felt pretty rough due to the celebrations the day before so he spent a good amount of time recuperating. The sound of the engine purring sent him into hours of sleep. Today as I type he is feeling his spritely enthusiastic Lope self.
We put it in at Charles Island off the coast of Milford, Connecticut; another of the many islands that are rumored to have some of Captain Kid’s treasure. It’s a just a bird sanctuary now and they sang us to sleep sans tequila shots.
Wednesday it was 72º and sunny in Port Washington so some chores were finally performed. The cabin is in work mode now with most of the cushions shoved forward into the v-berth and tools scattered everywhere. Where’s that bolt! Mostly I’m making attempts to reduce the leaking into the bilge by re-bedding some stanchions and other hardwares. Laura promised she’d help this weekend since I need someone on top sides while I’m down below on the other end of the fastener. I’ll believe it when I see it!
Here are a few photos from a couple weeks ago. They have me in a good spot this year and I seem to be getting closer and closer to the water. Maybe next year we’ll just stay there.
The heaviest decision weighing at the moment is wether to scrape the many years of bottom paint which now form the topography of some hull shaped planet. It would not be enjoyable.
New Camera! Sony RX100 V. Now I just need to figure out how to use it.
We had a hot cloudless day with 10kts true wind from the North. We put away all of the blue sunbrella and went bare with sunscreen and hats only. Laura worked from her phone most of the time but managed to sneak a shot of me not working at all.
Next week I head to Newport to crew aboard this incredible yacht to Bermuda! And hopefully again to St Martin in November. Weather permitting…
The editing job I was supposed to start got pushed another week. Again. What to do? Go sailing of course. A favorite quote of mine though hardly was I was embarking on a voyage, “To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest”, Sterling Hayden
I grabbed enough food for a few days which included my usual pricey trip to the butcher.(best chicken salad I’ve had). 5:30am wake up grab some ice from the Stop n Shop at 6am and off I go. The wind was supposed to be strong from the SW-W so it made sense to head NE to somewhere along the Connecticut coast. I chucked the fenders in the lazarette and secured the two dock lines to the lifelines. Soon I was cruising along wing-on-wing thanks to my sweet new bright blue topping lift proudly holding up Mr. Whisker pole.
I’m usually not sure exactly where I’ll put in for the night because of the changes in wind. Towards the end of the day the wind starting blowing hard from the NW so I figured further the better! Was thinking maybe the Thimble islands again but I’ve been there a few times already and it didn’t seem all that exciting though it is a really cool spot and I highly recommend checking it out. There are no free nav apps that have Active Captain for the iPad since Skipper was discontinued (still works for iphone) so I dropped 18$ on Aquamap which has been a favorite of mine anyway. Now I have AC on a colorful palette of waterways. After reading the user reviews of every anchorage on the Conn. coast, I still had no idea.
Approaching the Thimble Islands after 12 hours of sailing I thought what the heck, it’s a nice place, maybe go find a different spot to anchor somewhere in there. I started the motor within a mile or so as I normally do and she started right up. I threw it into gear and it died. Both forward and reverse stalled her immediately. Oh crapballs. No motor. I had some issues with the gear box lately but nothing like this. Soon it seemed obvious something must have wrapped around the prop because everything looked fine from within the boat. There was an anchorage I had read about just past the Thimbles with more room for error. Of course it was blowing 20+kts as it always does when you don’t want it to. I approached Joshua Cove with a sliver of headsail out. The anchorage was protected from the NW but luckily there was still plenty windage to get to a good spot. I found one, furled in the headsail and dropped anchor.
Sitting in the cockpit later that night I noticed the dock line was not attached to its lifeline but was going straight into the water and under extreme tension. I believe it was knocked loose when I dropped the main and reefed in the headsail. Likely, the flapping genoa sheet sneakily untied it and tossed it into the water. At least I knew the problem.
It howled all night with 30+kts of wind and I didn’t sleep all that well. The danforth held strong though and I did sleep in between the big gusts. It was a cool breezy 55° morning so of course I was excited for a dive down to cut the offending dock line out of the prop which I did. A mask and snorkel liveaboard Celeste.
I sailed into the anchorage so it only made sense to sail out which is a little tricky single handed. But the anchor came up after some coaxing and I unfurled the genoa and off we went. The sail back was entirely to windward and the first half of the way was consistently 18kts gusting to 25kts. A massive amounts of racing sailboats passed me heading downwind all flying Spinnakers. The boat seemingly in second nearly broached and her spinnaker was definitely wet. The wind was angled JUST enough to get me all the way home so I kept on going only racing when someone was close to me. Every time the air would lighten or want me to tack it’d sure enough come back strong. It was my first proper night sail with Celeste and it was a great one. The Moon and Manhattan lit up the Sound for an unforgettable sail. We made it all the way to the mouth of Manhasset bay where the wind finally turned in for the night so we motored in.