Well, We're Further South, Anyway
30 October 2010 | Indian Kill
This morning we put on both foresails, decided the baby stay was too loose and tightened it up again and put on the staysail again. At least the staysail is easy to work with, and for once there was almost no wind. I hooked up the line to the backstay antenna while Bud ran the reefing lines. It all took morning to do these things and clean up the boat to get it ready. It's nice to have it back as a sailboat. We don't even have the extra lumber on the decks.
We were anxious to get off so we left as soon as we were ready, even though it was already 1:40 in the afternoon. Out on the river there was a strong breeze against us (of course) and not much help from the current or tide. We were only doing about 5 knots and at times less than that. We looked for a place to stay about 20 miles down river. We wanted a marina or yacht club because it's supposed to go down to the upper 30's tonight, so we wanted power for heat. I checked our "Skipper Bob" book and found a marina with a pump out (we need to pump our holding tanks, too). They said they monitored VHF channel 16, but this time of year we're finding that's not too reliable. Happily, we have the computer and internet access, so I went below and Googled them and found the phone number. I also checked out their website and it said they could accommodate boats up to 160 feet. The man at the marina asked me to call back at 4:45, since they close at 5. I called, at 4:45 we were just about to turn into Rondout Creek and go up to the marina. Bud had noticed a bridge in the distance. I was sure it wasn't a problem because neither the guide book nor the website had mentioned any bridge clearance. I asked, the bridge clearance was 56 feet. Our mast is 63 feet off the waterline. We weren't going there!
Now it was already 5 o'clock and we had no place to stop. I asked the man there if he knew of another marina. He said there were none near-by, he thought that the closest one was already closed for the year. He said there was a good anchorage on the east side of the river behind Esopus Island.
We headed down the river. I called Poughkeepsie Yacht Club, they had just finished pulling their docks. I tried to call the Norrie Point Marina but their phone was not in use. That usually means it's a seasonal phone that has been shut off. We started to plan to anchor. We got out a length of nylon dock line to use as a snubber. That's a line that's attached to the anchor chain and led to a cleat. Then as the boat pulls, it's pulling on the cleat and not on the windlass that raises the anchor. The only problem was we weren't sure how to attach the line to the anchor chain. I checked two of our reference books, but neither helped. So Bud suggested I call Jon and Arline. Jon described a knot, and told me to look up taunt line knot for better instructions. I found instructions on how to tie it on the internet. Then Bud asked me to make sure the end of the anchor line was secure in the anchor locker. I had to move two sails, two folding boat seats, Fuzzy's unused Pup-Head and a basket of miscellaneous stuff to get at the anchor locker, but I managed it. The anchor was secured.
When I got out on deck we were approaching the area the man at the marina described. He said we'd see other boats at anchor and on mooring balls. There was nothing. There was about 16 knots of wind coming straight through with no shelter. We continued to look for a likely spot. We saw one boat that might be at anchor, but it was well past the island. Bud headed towards shore, I went out on the forepeak and got the anchor ready to drop. Suddenly Bud slowed way down and turned back out towards the river. We were almost aground! The water went from 30 to 40 feet deep to 7 or 8 feet deep in an instant! At that point I persuaded Bud to go back about a half mile to the Norrie Point Marina. We had passed it, and there were still a few boats tied up, but there was no one around that we could see and they looked like pretty small boats. The guide said they had 6 feet of water at the approach and docks. That's not much more than our draft of 5' 8". Plus with the wind blowing towards the shore Bud wasn't sure he'd be able to maneuver to a small dock. It now seemed like our best chance, so we got to try it in the dark! (Oh, yeah, it was now dark.)
Bud turned the boat in circles out in the river as I got fenders and docklines set up on both sides of the boat. Then he sent me forward with a flashlight and told me to tell him loudly if I saw a dock. We still had 16 knots of wind. Happily, as we came through the flashing red and green entrance lights I made out their gas dock. Bud headed for that. I got off and got a line around a cleat. The gas dock sits right at the entrance, so with the wind angling across the river there is no protection. However, our slip at TYC gave us lots of practice in tying off against wind. About a half hour and 8 docklines later we felt pretty secure. Best of all, there was a 30 AMP working plug on the dock, so we even have power and heat.
Bud said he would just as soon not do something like this again tomorrow; I heartily agree.
I'll post a picture of the boat at the dock tomorrow, when I can see it.