The weather was supposed to be pretty nasty - but I forced Laurie into going sailing on Saturday anyway! Fortunately for her, I had to work Saturday morning - so by the time we actually left and got to the boat, the clouds had emptied their contents and we had a relatively dry afternoon.
Wind was light so we only sailed as far as Fogland (again) - but it was interesting sailing in the light air.
We anchored at Fogland - right next to the same Island Packet that we'd anchored next to in the same spot just a couple of weeks ago. We relaxed in the cockpit and decided to drink our evening meal and not bother cooking! Marvellous!
Sleeping was a little difficult - the wind shifted (as predicted) to the North East, where there's little protection at Fogland, and we seemed to have some wind against tide type action, so sleep was not so easy, but we managed. Sometime during the night Laurie woke me up to tell me the batteries were down to 8.9V !!! Fortunately, I realized that I'd de-combined the batteries and I think we were operating solely on the little engine battery.
In the morning I got the generator going, and pumped in some needed AH into the batteries. I think all is well - but not completely sure... having difficulty working out all the systems...
We decided to head home fairly early and since there was no wind, we motored - until all of a sudden we had about 10kts! Engine off, let's have a bash! We managed to sail all the way back - up the Western edge of the Sakonnet where we'd not sailed before. Made for an interesting sail and we even made it through Stone Bridge, where the wind gave up and adverse current slowed us to less than a knot. We were back at the mooring at 1:00 and who should arrive but Jane and Mike with Bob and Gill in their dingy... want to go sailing?? Booze was promised, so we decided to see how a Bristol 45 sails!
For the second time in the weekend, we sailed down to Fogland - actually a little past. We don't know what speed we were doing because Mike's knotmeter doesn't work and he's not got the chartplotter set up, so I find myself tweaking sails according to the wind on my face - which is what all the old salts say you should do anyway! Mike is therefore an old salt in my book! Of course it would be easier to trim the sails if the helmsman would keep the boat on a reasonably constant heading - but then I guess that would take all the fun out of it!
We got to Black Point and turned around and headed for home, into the wind. Initially Jamin did quite well, but when the wind fell to about 10kts apparent, we were not able to make any headway against the current - tacking repeatedly towards the same points on either shore... so the Iron Genny was brought into service.
Although I did my level best tweak the sails all day and keep everyone on their toes, the rest of the crew were insistent on relaxing and having a good time! We consequently had a very nice relaxed sail aboard Jamin - thanks Mike & Jane!
With a lousy forecast for the weekend, we weren't planning to do much of anything at all - but in the end the rain pretty much held off (though the humidity didn't).
On Saturday morning we headed to the boat to do some boat chores, including replacing the oil in the outboard - which went reasonably well, albeit giving me a bath in warm transmission oil!
We had lunch with Neal and Laurie's parents, and afterwards took Jim and Jean sailing. I think they had a really good time of it! It could not have been better conditions - flat calm seas and about 10kts of wind - allowing us to sail at about 6 knots - even reaching 8+ at one stage! We sailed to Peter and Diane's mooring - but Elixir was not there - so we headed back. We ended up in a downwind race in dwindling wind against a J32 - we were winning(!) - then I noticed a third boat chasing us and shortly afterwards was hailed by Elixir who was bearing down on us as we slowly progressed towards Tiverton. While they certainly gained on us, we fortunately managed to keep ahead!
On Sunday I tried again (unsuccessfully) to get the AIS transponder to announce Toodle-oo! not Adagio. The trouble is getting the driver for the Serial to USB port to work. Unfortunately, we couldn't get a slip at the dock which would have allowed good internet connection while everything was hooked up to the computer. We also hung our new "Air Chairs" - and enjoyed a couple of beers while relaxing in them, before the humidity returned with a vengeance.
So, with Mike and Jane Eslinger investing in things like whisker poles to speed their vessel along, we need to do right by Toodle-oo! to ensure she maintains her competitive edge. New sails! Like adding a new engine - or so I've been told...
So we're in the market for new sails and in view of long term cruising aspirations, we'll be looking for durable cruising sails (so maybe Jamin will be OK after all), locally made, with all the right accoutrements. Steve Thurston at Quantum Sails is the current favorite to win our business and will be taking measurements in the near future - but in the meantime, I have thoughts and questions:
Jib Clew height: Both the Crealock and the Outbound have very high clews on the jibs - therefore presenting excellent visibility while heeled. All very well, but unlike the Crealock, the Outbound heels very little, so it seems like we're wasting a good amount of power potential if we maintain the high clew - and besides, when we're heeled over and going like stink, who cares who's in front of us, we'll simply mow them down! How does one decide clew height?
Main - Roach: How does one decide on the amount of roach a sail needs? Looking at ours it feels like it's got quite a lot of roach, but then looking at the picture above it looks like it has none (bearing in mind we have a reef in place). Hopefully Mr Thurston has the answer to this.
Battens: 5 full battens seems to be the order of the day for our sail... will certainly prevent it flogging too much, and while I don't think we'll be able to capture quite as much power in low wind downwind situations, I think we'll probably aim more towards a double headsail set-up rather than fly wing on wing anyway - so who cares.
Reefs: 2 deep reefs or three? Seems like the advantage of three is that you can keep the boat powered up more - but frankly we wonder if we really want to keep the boat powered up when the wind's howling! On the other hand, when returning from Maine last year, we absolutely suffered from not having the boat powered up sufficiently - ended up being a rough and very slow (long) ride. Going to three reefs would introduce more lines into the cockpit - or necessitate a visit to the mast to put in the third reef - neither one are particularly palatable!
The day after Toodle-oo!'s christening in Newport, a Dutch boat arrived - from Holland - and they had a 4 reef set-up, which was controlled by two pairs of control lines. As I understand it, the first reef control lines were used to put in the third reef and the second were used for the 4th. Does anyone know how this was arranged? I can only think they used blocks on the cringles with snap shackles (and must have had long arms to mount the blocks in the new cringle!)...
We think we're going to go the easy -KISS- route - 2 deep reefs and leave it at that...
Trysail: Here's another option - we have a separate track for a trysail, so if we owned the sail, we could think about raising that... but what worries me there is the amount of effort to get this thing rigged at a time when the wind is howling and the last thing you want to be doing is setting up a sail which requires all sorts of special lines. Beth Leonard talks about taking an hour to set a trysail - so we can figure at least 90 minutes in dangerous conditions... Maybe we'll do what we've always done, carry one and hopefully never use it. Having one does at least give us something to work with if some catastrophic failure occurs to the main or the main's track system.
Storm Jib: On the other hand we do have a storm jib, so again, current thinking is that we will forget about the trysail and opt to raise just the storm jib - which can be pretty easily set if it's hanked on and bagged, ready to go well in advance...
So, look out Mike, you may have a fancy new pole to speed you along - but Toodle-oo!'s getting a new power plant!
(Nice boxers huh?)
I returned to the boat on Saturday morning - trading spots with Sandra and we headed off to Dutch Harbor to meet up with the Tiverton crowd, Mike and Jane aboard Jamin and Peter and Diane on Elixir.
There wasn't much wind to work with down the east passage, but we made the best using the code zero. There was less going up the west passage, close hauled, directly on the nose, and after a couple of tacks, the Admiral called a halt and we motored in and anchored next to Jamin and promptly went for a swim.
Had an interesting evening, of drinks followed by dinner on Toodle-oo! and then we all walked over to the Narry in Jamestown and listened to an OKish band playing 70's and 80's stuff. After finally drinking enough, we managed a turn on the dance floor. The walk home was interesting - not a straight line in sight.
We had an unofficial race on the way home on Sunday - Jamin leaving an hour before Elixir and Toodle-oo! 15 minutes later. By the time we got to the bottom of the west passage, Elixir had flown. We did finally claw back some time and brought her back into sight before we headed up the Sakonnet, but then (as always?) the wind died and we limped up the Sakonnet, trying wing on wing with the code zero, before deciding to douse the main altogether and ride up with code zero and jib - much more effective. While we didn't catch Elixir before she headed to her mooring, we very nearly caught up to Jamin before entering the basin...
Overall, we had a pretty wet and windy week - but it was all enjoyable. New friends made, old friends enjoyed. What can be better?
We took a bus ride to Vineyard Haven in search of a replacement French Coffee press - ours got broken some strange way. We turned it into quite an enjoyable day of chores - and came away from the really good house-stuff store with not only a French Press, but a stainless steel thermos version to boot, along with various other vital kitchen utensils. We visited West Marine and got half the stuff we needed - but did get a missing boat hook - no doubt blown away in the rambunctious winds of Tuesday morning.
When we got back, Eric and Dee came over for a beverage and a look around Toodle-oo! followed by Brian - who helped me sort out some missing information about our watermaker. Later on they all came over for drinks, before we departed to the Atlantic Grill for dinner. Nope, wouldn't recommend that as a favorite restaurant. Photo above: Sandy, Dee, Laurie, Me, Eric and Brian.
The following morning we left at 9:00am to take advantage of the currents through Vineyard Sound. All was great until we got opposite Vineyard Haven when the heavens opened, the wind began to howl, the fog came down and lightening started! We got drenched and scared out of our wits!
By the time we got to the end of the sound - between Menemsha and Cutty, the rain had abated and the fog lifted and the sea turned a vivid green! We sailed wing on wing for a while, chatting with a boat we were catching, Centime, who had seen us on his newly installed AIS system. We didn't realize that our AIS transponder was even working - but unfortunately, it apparently needs some attention, since he hailed us as Adagio (previous name).
Shortly after, the wind died and we decided to motor towards our destination, Newport. At least we'd have hot water! The wind returned with a vengeance shortly before getting to Newport and we were greeted with dramatic surf breaking on Breton Reef - such that I wondered about venturing in to Newport. However, as we rounded the point, it was clear that the way in was easy - if rolly - and we arrived in Newport around 5:00pm and picked one of the last remaining moorings at Oldport Marine. Laurie would be safe on the boat tomorrow when she entertained her friend Sandra, while I attended a work function.
Labor Day dawned beautiful. Cool, blue skies, windy. Our plan was to stay in P'Town until 8pm and then head around the outside of the Cape for an overnight sail to Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard to rendezvous with the 'Blue Water' section of the Cruising Association - a long established British sailing organization. Abby had a ticket on the ferry to Boston at 11:00am...
Best laid plans are the ones you can ignore - so we did. We decided to make the most of the day, so first things first: we headed into town for a wonderful breakfast - I don't remember the name of the restaurant - I'll add a comment when I can - it's worth noting. After that I dropped Abby off for the ferry at about 10:00 and returned to the boat.
We had decided to change our plan and sail instead, upwind, through the Canal and then approach Edgartown via Woods Hole. To add further change, as soon as I returned to the boat, I realized that if we got our act together quickly, we could make use of a photo opportunity - Abby would have a wonderful vantage point from which to gain great pictures of Toodle-oo! under sail! We gathered everything and finally we able to drop the mooring just as the ferry was leaving the dock. We raced out of the harbor, raced to raise sails - into first reefed position in view of the 18 - 20kts we were experiencing and managed to get the boat into reasonable trim by the time the ferry came upon us. The results are the photos you see in the gallery - and at the top of this post!
The wind was directly from the Southwest - our destination - so it would be an interesting day, seeing how the boat handled up-wind work. Our only timeframe was to try to make the canal at 4:00pm at which point it started to flow favorably. We made excellent progress, managing between 5 and 6kts of boat speed in 13 kts of true wind and were tacking through about 80 degrees inspite of some pretty serious short-frequency chop. The old boat I am sure would have only been able to achieve 2.5 - 3 kts at best. Toodle-oo! was progressing considerably faster than the other boats we could see - and was nearly as fast as one that was motoring directly into the wind and chop - despite of having to travel so much further as we tacked back and forth.
We reached the canal at just before 5 and realized the downfall of our plan was that we would emerge at the other end with some serious chop to deal with - and a serious decision about where we should spend the evening.
By the time we reached the Onsett end of the canal, we had decided we'd make for Hadley Harbor and hoped we'd get there while there was still some light.
After surviving the chop at the exit of the canal - the new boat is soooo much better than the old, we motor sailed towards Hadley. We arrived about 8:30pm. It was overcast, so the moon was hopeless - it was pitch black. Our powerful spotlamp was useless - since it was tethered to a cigarette outlet in the cockpit, with a corroded connection which had to be held in for the lamp to illuminate. The result was that every time it was turned on it blinded all and sundry! We carefully and slowly made our way towards the narrow entrance to the harbor, and then I chickened out. No way was I going to go through that narrow entrance without reasonable light. We'd anchor outside of the outside of Hadley - yes, that basically means in the entrance to Woods Hole! I made sure we were well out of the way of the channel - too far out of the way as it happens...
We settled ourselves with dinner that Laurie had prepared during the final stages of the trip and we were done for the day - tired.
I hope I put enough scope out... I didn't sleep very well and was up often as the wind continued to blow from (thankfully) the south west where we were sheltered. However, it was forecast to turn to the north, where we would be completely exposed.
At about 6:30am, the halyards started banging so I went up on deck. Couldn't find a thing. 10 minutes later the wind was from the north at 20kts and it was raining. Full foul weather gear was called for. By the time I got on deck, the wind was sustained at 40kts, the surf was up to 4ft and I'm staring at the narrow entrance to the sanctuary of Hadley Harbor just 100 yards away. For an hour we got buffeted around while watching a Hunter within the outer harbor of Hadley Harbor dragging multiple times and having very little room to maneuver. (Maybe we were not so bad off - we did at least have plenty of room around us.)
Not so well off - our anchor started to drag and we were heading towards the rocks adjacent to the harbor entrance. We weighed anchor and motored around the spot for a while. Wet and wild. Current was very unfavorable through Woods Hole until about 12 - but we figured we'd be OK at about 10:30 - a couple hours away yet - so we decided to anchor again to rest. As we made that decision, Tow Boat US comes into view, towing a small sailboat and followed by a Coast Guard Cutter! - and they wander into just the spot I planned to anchor! However, they were soon out of the way and we got the anchor out - with plenty of scope this time and sat out the worst of it.
By the time we raised anchor at 10:30, the wind had abated to about 20kts, so we set off and beat through Woods Hole against about 2kts. We then close reached in ever improving weather (but still very grey) to Edgartown, arriving shortly after 1:00pm.
Our British Rendezvous had gotten somewhat devastated by the passage of Irene and the threatened passage of Katia. It now was down to us and two other boats. Organizers Sandy and Brian aboard Moonshadow Star, a Farr 58 and Eric and Dee Govan aboard Sirena of Oare, a Tayana 42.
We met the group for dinner aboard Windshadow - what a massive boat! - and had a lovely evening. It was certainly interesting to hear the English approach to sailing and cruising - and their thoughts about American versions :-).