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Thistle
Sailing Thistle South
Ready for New York Harbor
Sun to rain
10/15/2012, Port Washington

We left Port Jefferson at 7:00 am to catch a favorable current to Port Washington before the predicted rain. Arrived at Port Washington at 1:00, anchored , and proceeded to run many errands in town. Food shopping, drug store, wine store, west marine, radio shack, library ( for Internet and printing ). The rains did come around 5:00 pm. Very early tomorrow morning we will depart to head thru NY City and make our way thru Hell Gate and then East River on to Sandy Hook, NJ.

10/15/2012 | Norma and Barney
You had a full day...Good luck tomorrow.
10/16/2012 | Si
In my mispent youth, I spend many happy hours sailing the Sound out of City Island on the eastern edge of the Bronx, NY. Give a wave as you pass Execution Rocks lighthouse for me.
Night Sailing
Linda & Grinnell / Calm & Cool
10/13/2012, Port Jefferson

We decided to make up some distance with a long(ish) run today of 60 miles. Mind that these are "nautical" miles, which are longer than regular miles. With a strong contrary current resisting Thistle's forward progress much of the day we had the opportunity to sail into the night to make Port Jefferson. There is something really special about sailing at night. The darkness masks all non-essential visual distractions. All lights and displays get dimmed to lowest settings to allow the crew's night vision to acclimate to the darkness. Other boats are identified with red, green and white navigation lights. Cities create orange halos on the horizon. When the sun sets it sets right to the water's edge. Tonight we were sailing West and thus into the sunset.

10/15/2012 | Libby
Sounds a long haul. Did you have much wind to help against the current? And what time did you finally make it to port? I love the sound of night sailing. Would love to see some pics of the sunset!
10/18/2012 | Grinnell
Hi Libby, Sorry, but the picture above is the best you are going to get. I put the camera down and didn't catch the sun as it hit the water.
Strategic Positioning
Linda & Grinnell / Cool & Sunny
10/11/2012, Stonington

An easy 18 mile beat into 3 foot seas with 12 to 18 knot winds has Thistle positioned on the lee of the Connecticut shore for the anticipated Saturday Northerlies. We have been battling winds that are stronger than we would choose since Tuesday. Last night Grinnell added chafing gear to the mooring pennant in anticipation of predicted 30 knot gusts, which did not disappoint.

When you are on a sailboat and the wind is blowing 30 knots and above you become very aware of the force of nature. Anything loose on deck rattles. Lines and stays thrum and hum. Halyards, given the chance, will start rhythmically thwacking the mast. Slots in the rigging become whistles. Waves build and what seemed a serene harbor in the evening is rolling with whitecaps during the night. Boats heel and yaw at their moorings.

Snuggled here up harbor in Stonington, we hear the wind building again. but we're well protected from the West and North and are looking forward to a night that does not involve multiple forays on deck to check the pennants and tame the halyards. Tomorrow we plan to explore town.

10/11/2012 | Lyn
You guys are amazing.
surely ready for a lay-over day,
earth under your feet for a bit. Bon courage!

10/12/2012 | Trenchard
It’s impressive that a land and digging creature such as a Welch Corgi, Chloe, is doing so well on boat that heels, rolls, yaws, bucks, splashes, hums, and whistles. The ladder from cabin to cockpit must be too steep to climb or descend. When on deck, does she have a life vest?
10/12/2012 | paula and len
just arrived home from CT. Wanted to stop in Stonington and visit with you but we were short on time and needed to be in Port Clyde by afternoon. Have been watching you and we are enjoying your adventure.
10/13/2012 | David & Alex MacDonald
Forces of Nature are indeed incredible and can often change at a moment's notice - sure makes you appreciate those calm and serene days !! Hope to see you soon, and in the meantime travel safe and stay warm :)
10/13/2012 | Grinnell
Chloe does have a life vest but since she never ventures out of the cockpit we generally don't put it on. She does not like the heeling when it gets excessive. We tend to reef early or spill air com the sails to make the ride more comfortable.
10/13/2012 | Grinnell
The layover was good, Lyn. We appreciate all your positive energy!
10/13/2012 | Grinnell
Paula & Len, it would have been fun to see you in Stonington. Glad you're enjoying the blog.
10/14/2012 | Kate
I can hear the halyards slapping the mast in my mind's ear! So often I heard that in reality, cruising with Uncle Alex, or with my parents on a chartered boat, or on a cruise with the Cold Spring Harbor Beach Club (a misnomer - should have been CSPH YACHT Club) in my teens. Whoever is writing your blogs is making your journey vivid - great use of descriptive language! Wish I were aboard. Love, KMom
A Boisterous Ride
Linda & Grinnell
10/10/2012, Block Island

We departed Cuttyhunk Pond Tuesday morning for Block Island's Great Salt Pond. Winds from the North had increased during the night but were predicted to decrease. Instead they increased: 25, 27, 33 knots. Thistle rode a boisterous following sea under double-reefed mainsail and her crew welcomed the relative calm as we rounded the reef and entered the lee of Block Island.

It has continued to blow today and we, and several other cruising boats, are waiting for some unsettled weather to pass before venturing into Long Island Sound. One of these boats is "Midnight" and our friends (& former Thistle owners) Bruce and Linda MacNeil are aboard. Grinnell dinghied over for a visit and came back with a birthday balloon. Seems Midnight is prepared for all contingencies.

The community here on Block Island is preparing for the off season. Moorings, boats and floats are being hauled. We are seeing this scene repeated as we descend the coast. It's as though we're arriving at a party just after the guests have left and the food is being put away. But we're starting to recognize some of the boats in these lonely harbors.

10/10/2012 | M & M
We look for your entries with anticipation each evening. Most everyone was particularly impressed with the "wild" bovine.
We gather from your comments that you will be traveling through the Sound. We have a lot of fond memories from years spent at Grandma's summer place at 40 59' 8.94"N 72 37' 12.24" W. When you pass it be sure to say hello for us and also note the oil tankers offloading at an offshore platform just west.
10/11/2012 | Lyn
Bon Anniversaire! North wind clearing!
10/14/2012 | Grinnell
M, we did indeed note the oil facility and the cottages along the shore through the binocs. Too far away for a decent picture. We were passed by an overtaking tanker, who, thanks to AIS, hailed us by name and requested a slight course change. We were more than happy to oblige.
Wild Bovines
Linda & Grinnell
10/08/2012, Cuttyhunk

On our approach to Cuttyhunk Pond we spied shaggy long horned bulls roaming free range on the beach. Cuttyhunk is basically a summer island with only 20 year rounders. This place has a remote feel and these are true islands, where folks don't register their cars and zoning laws either don't exist or are more like suggestions. Basic transportation on land is by golf cart or 4 wheeler. We walked to the highest point on the island and took some beautiful 365 degree photos. Tomorrow we head for Block Island where we may meet up with Thistle's former owner, Bruce MacNeil. Having Hannah on board has been a true gift to us.

10/09/2012 | Lyn
Linda and Grinnell and Hannah -- o and dear Chloe - sure thought of you all this windy wet day, so gray, glad to see you found the shaggy bulls and a climb around the island. Happy sailing on to Block ... looks like a northerly for the morn ...
what's that lovely Irish blessing, "may the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back..."
fun to follow you!
10/10/2012 | Simon
Hi guys just checking in to see how you are doing,how far you have travel.All the best happy sailing
10/10/2012 | Chuck Will
Great time of year to be cruising the Elizabeth Islands, etc. Is Bruce MacNeil my former roommate from Lawrence Academy (now Board Chair)?
10/13/2012 | Grinnell
Yes Chuck, same Bruce. The islands are great -fond memories from my childhood.
Serendipity
Linda & Grinnell
10/07/2012, Sippican Harbor (Marion,MA)

We are still in Sippican Harbor, more commonly known as Marion, Massachusetts. Marion is an old and well established community on the northern shore of Buzzards Bay. The yacht filled harbor is lined with gracious summer homes and boats of all sizes and types come and go from dawn to dusk.

Almost from the outset our stay here has been blessed by fortuitous serendipity. In our last blog posting we relayed how within five minutes of reaching shore Grinnell was recognized by our Port Clyde friend Lyn Hoopes, who has so enriched and facilitated our stay here in many ways. From dining with us at BYC to making business introductions, to lending us a car, to opening her walking distance home for lunch, laundry and showers. Lyn has provided generous hospitality we will not soon forget.

Marion provided the perfect location for Venie Simon and his internationally diverse team of varnishers to give Thistle a fresh protective layer on her exposed woodwork. We appreciate the weekend effort.

This evening we have just returned from the Providence airport, where we were delighted, no, make that "Thrilled," to be able to pick up an experienced Thistle crew member. She has sailed on so many of our longer voyages over the past several years that she feels like family. And in fact she is family. Our daughter Hannah has signed on for working passage to warmer climes.

This morning we filled fuel and water tanks and organized our somewhat disheveled cabin. Tomorrow morning we plan to drop the mooring and set sail for the small harbor of Cuttyhunk Pond at the tip of the Elizabethan Islands. From there we're thinking Block Island or Fishers Island where we'll wait out some stronger SW winds predicted for Wednesday.

10/08/2012 | Bruce and Norma
What a wonderful surprise.
10/10/2012 | Linda More
Lyn took the photo of Thistle departing Sippican Harbor Monday morning.

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