07/06/2013, Vineyard Haven, MA
I have posted a new round of pictures in the gallery so check them out. We decided to stay at Block Island another day because of the fog and the postponed fireworks (due to the fog), and we got to take several good walks around the island. On the third and forth boats kept piling in and before we left we estimated 1500 boats all crammed into this anchorage. There were some huge sailing vessels and some of Newport's finest. At night the harbor was a forest of lights. You can imagine all the yelling and screaming as people tried to find spots to anchor. Right before dark in fog so thick you could hardly see the next boat with wind at 25 knots, someone anchored right on top of us, so we planned to leave the craziness at first light.
The next day was bright and clear and we headed out in a light southwesterly and into a sloppy sea which made for an uncomfortable ride. The autopilot was not able to hold the course so I had to hand steer all day. We sailed through Block Island Sound and into the lee of Martha's Vineyard. With the tide working against us we motor sailed up to the northwest corner and down into Vineyard Haven. This is a large bay with plenty of anchoring room, which was a nice contrast from Block Island. It's a beautiful harbor with several schooners working in the day sail trade.
Molly had a craving for clams so we hopped a bus over to Oak Bluffs and Giordono's , reported to be the best for clams. I'm happy to say the reports were correct and we had a wonderful dinner and nice walk back to the dinghy dock.
We plan to stay here a day or two and see the sites. Molly wants to drop in to say hello to Carly. From here we need to try to find some affordable fuel and shoot through Wood's Hole up to Buzzard's Bay and on to the Cape Cod Canal.
07/02/2013, Block Island
Well the mail came, I got the tank cleaned and Molly got us and Lisa all provisioned up so we headed out early into a 15 knot southerly breeze with the sky overcast and spitting rain. We hated to leave having had so much fun with Lisa, but we planned a return visit in September. We were sailing a reach with jib and jigger. For those nonsailors, that means the head sail and the mizzen sail. Allegria is rigged as a ketch which is a 2 masted boat with the front mast higher than the back and the back mast stepped forward of the rudder. If it was back of the rudder it would be a yawl. If the front mast was shorter than the back it would be a schooner. Any way we had the front sail and back sail out, which is a good configuration for Allegria on a reach (wind coming from the side of the boat). We hit the tides right and after a short bit of current on the nose the tide changed and became fair and carried us down the Long Island Sound. The combination of good breeze and tide had us flying along in flat water making 10 knots over the ground at times. When we hit the Race we were flying, I would really hate to try that bit of water against the tide especially if the wind was opposing. It would be like sailing in a washing machine. The sky was overcast and we were in and out of fog but the radar was a big help in keeping track of things. We carried the tide out of LI Sound and into Block Island Sound with the full Atlantic swell, reminding us of our previous passages. As the day wore on Block Island rose out of the mist and we marked the sea buoy at around 2:30 and were on a mooring at 3:30 in the Great Salt Pond. This place is packed and full of boats for the 4th weekend. We couldn't find a city mooring so we took a private one for the night. We plan to anchor for tomorrow, hopefully well away from the madding crowds. The fireworks show here is tomorrow night and we will enjoy that and probably plan to move to Martha's Vineyard the next day.
07/01/2013, Port Jefferson NY
I have added some pictures to the gallery of our trip through the East River and from our stay here, so check them out.
We have been anchored here now for several days and have had a great time visiting with Lisa. Port Jefferson is a neat village with a seafaring and boatbuilding history and seems to be a popular destination for the local folks on day trips. I have also successfully located and purchased the repair parts needed for the raw water strainer, thanks to brother Denny who tracked down part numbers and sources. I was able to get the new parts installed and do several other boat chores on Saturday.
We have ordered our mail here and expect it to be delivered today. I am planning to clean the port side fuel tank today, which I should have done before we left. If the mail comes and I get finished with the tank, and Molly gets the provisioning done, we plan to leave early tomorrow for Block Island.
We have to time our departure to get a favorable tide at the east end of Long Island Sound. That spot is called the Race and, as you might imagine from the name, is notorious for tremendous tidal current. So if we leave at 4 AM we get to ride the tide all the way out of the L. I. Sound and into Block Island Sound.
More next from Block Island.
|At Sea 2013||
06/27/2013, Port Jefferson, NY
We left Sandy Hook at around 4:45 and Headed across the outer New York harbor with a brisk SW breeze to help us along. Motor sailing with a reefed main and jib, we had a spectacular view of the Verrazano Bridge in the sunrise. We approached the bridge with incoming and outgoing ship traffic and the AIS was littered with targets, testament to this being one of the world's busiest harbors. We went under the bridge with Carnival Splendor (they are everywhere) and into the inner harbor. The goal was for us to be off the Battery at 2 hours past low tide to catch a fair tide through the East River. With tugs and ferries crossing from all directions as well as the city set out before us it was quite a sight.
The new Freedom Tower is close to completion and stood out like a tall sentinel in lower Manhattan.
We passed by the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and by Governors Island to the Battery. We were right on time and as we moved into the East River the tide began to carry us. Under the Brooklyn Bridge and then all the other big bridges and passed the grand buildings of Manhattan, it was a magnificent sight. Traveling this waterway has always been a dream of mine and this ride did not disappoint.
The current in the river is impressive at the tide change and we were carried along at as much as 10 knots at times. We moved passed the UN and Roosevelt Island, to a section known as Hells Gate, where the current is at its maximum. Here there are eddies and whirlpools which try to turn you this way and that as you go down river. It is impossible to think about traversing this river against the tide.
Allegria decided to make this ride even more memorable by losing power just as we arrived at Hell's Gate. I ran down to the engine room as Molly struggled to keep us in the center of the river. I quickly bled the fuel system and we fired her back up and were able to continue on. We past Riker's Island and realized how the phrase "up the river" must have come about. Under the Throg's Neck Bridge, past City Island and we were headed for Long Island Sound.
We motor sailed down the sound in light air to Port Jefferson and found a good spot to drop the hook in the harbor. We threwthe dinghy in and went in to see Lisa. She looks great and is doing very well. We are so proud of the work she is doing and will be able to spend a few days enjoying her company. I will also have to spend some time running around to find the parts I need to fix the broken strainer and do some other boat maintenance chores. We plan to stay at least until the first of the week and will then carry on to Block Island.
|At Sea 2013||
06/26/2013, Sandy Hook
We sailed on through the next day and the wind died to around 10 knots and we motorsailed over night. Atlantic City came into sight just before dark and was visible for many miles. We dodged a huge thunderstorm which eventually obscured the land, but then the weather cleared and the moon rose for a beautiful night. We past several dredges working apparently to restore the beaches damaged in Sandy. With my record with dredges, we gave them a wide berth. It was surprising to see the number of fishing boats out, the sea was lit up like a city. As day broke we approached the Sandy Hook Channel, and all of a sudden the bilge alarm rang. It's loud enough to wake the dead and Molly sprang up from sleep like the world was ending. A look into the bilge showed an impressive amount of water coming in. We turned on all the pumps and Molly began working the manual pump. I began the survey and the main strainer was the first place I looked. Sure enough, the leak was from it. We shut down the engine and closed the seacock to stop the leak. The pumps made quick work of getting rid of the water. A closer look at the strainer revealed the problem. One of the retaining bolts on the strainer cover had fractured and allowed the leak. The problem was now without the water for cooling , we couldn't run the engine. After scratching my head a few minutes, I decided to wire the lid closed with some stainless wire. I was able to get it tight enough that even though it leaked a little, we could run the engine and not flood the boat. That allowed us to motor into the channel and into the Sandy Hook anchorage. After breakfast, I reinforced the wiring job to make it more secure. We cleaned up and planned our run through NYC for tomorrow early morning to catch the right tide for the East River. Molly made a great stir fry and we hit the sack early in preparation for a 4:30 AM departure for the Big Apple
06/24/2013, Off Cape May
We came into Norfolk and down the Elizabeth River. It's quite a contrast going from such a rural environment to a major industrial and shipping complex. We passed through the Great Bridge Locks and negotiated many bridges on the way. Going by the Naval Shipyards was also mighty impressive. Once in Norfolk we decided that since it was late and we were tired that we would anchor for the night and get an early start in the morning. We anchored at Hospital Point, right across from the city. As it turns out they were having a Harbor Fest and we were serenaded with music for the evening. Early the next day we moved out of the Elizabeth River and into Hampton Roads. This path lead us by the Navy facility and all the ships in port. 2 subs, 3 carriers, and many cruisers. I was reminded of the Psalm about walking through the valley of death and fearing no evil. Made possible by being with God, but also made easier by having a big stick. We saw some of America's big sticks today. From there it was out into the lower bay and past the bridge-tunnel and we motor sailed most of the day. As night fell the wind filled in and we shut down the engine and have sailed all night. It's currently about 4:30 AM and we are off the DelMarVa peninsula and approaching Cape May NJ. We should be in Sandy Hook Tuesday AM. All is well