Managed to get out for a mid-week sail on the pretext of work! Can't be bad!
I had Alejandro Huerta who Checon is looking to engage as a sales representative and his wife Miriam, Paul Thomsen and Steve Carter of our sales department and Jeff Gardener our Engineering manager aboard...
It was windy so we sailed quickly down to Newport to check out the Americas Cup boats practicing off Fort Adams. Our route down was rather snake like as various people tried their hand at the helm - seems it's not a Mexican strength!
The race action was difficult to assess - since the coast guard keep you at quite a distance, there's loads of spectator boats to avoid, and you have to keep moving... It's apparent through that those boats are super quick - going from a standstill to 20kts in no time flat!
We watched for maybe half an hour and then headed back via Hope Island at the bottom end of Prudence. The wind piped up to 22kts, so we put in a reef - quite fun with a bunch of folk that were willing to help but with a captain that couldn't explain fast enough! All was well though.
We headed back into NEB and once again had a very tough time docking - taking three tries to back her in... It was a good day sailing - made better because it was a work day!
As the title suggests, I now qualify to buy some of that affordable housing!
Not so brief outline of the weekend: - long 4 day weekend...
Friday went to Aidens for dinner and then on to the boat to be ready in the morning for sailing... It was HOT! It was also buggy... We gave up and went home instead to air-conditioning.
We returned in the morning and it was sultry. No wind, lots of humidity, we departed at 8:40am and motored down the bay and well out past Brenton Reef before the wind piped up to allow us to fly the kite.
We ended up making excellent time to Menemsha - yes, we decided against Shelter Island due to the direction of the "wind". Actually, the wind came up nicely and we were romping along in flat seas at between 7 and 8 kts.
We arrived in Menemsha after just 6 1/2 hours - good time - and mostly under sail.
We took a mooring ball alongside Faial, a Bristol 44 aft cockpit with John and John (and their wives) aboard. John one was from Faial - one of the Azorian islands... Interesting boat - apparently a one off design.
We enjoyed a wonderful clamboil aboard Toodle-oo! on Friday night.
Saturday dawned spectacular but we spent a good part of the day working - on our bimini. We transformed the main berth into a queen sized cutting table and Laurie set up the sewing machine in the salon and we set to. It's not complete, but by about 2:30 we had it together and mounted and it's stayed there ever since!
We took a dingy ride into the pond in the afternoon and enjoyed some white wine while sitting on the beach, both of us reading 'those books' - Laurie now onto book two...
Dinner was muscles followed by Sole - wonderful.
Sunday was another beautiful day - hotter, so I gained another wrinkle... I looked at the weather for Monday's return and I've never seen such a conclusive forecast - it was going to Thunder. Should we head back a day early? We listened to the marine forecast though and it didn't seem so bad - so we decided to stick around and enjoy our day... It was too hot to think of cycling up to Oak Bluffs so we sauntered around Menemsha and then took another dingy ride to another beach and sat and read some more.
At one point there had been boats on our mooring, but by the end of the day it was just us and Ben in his Pearson 26.
We went for a celebratory dinner at a muckety muck restuarant overlooking Menemsha - the Beach Plum Restaurant and Inn. Beautiful gardens and interesting cooking. Laurie is still a little amused about her "Farm Salad" described as greens, feta, strawberries, black pepper and balsamic vinaigrette - what arrived was two large lumps of feta, about 3 strawberries, 9 very small green leaves of some description and a drizzle of vinaigrette - that looked like the mess I leave whenever I put down my coffee cup! She reports the feta was excellent - as were the strawberries!
My muscles were done in a ginger arrangement that unfortunately hid the taste of the muscles.
Our mains were very nice and overall we had a very enjoyable and relaxing evening...
I polished off the remaining scotch in the boat on returning to Toodle-oo! - and apparently had a long discussion with Ben - he must've though me the total alchy - slurring up a fever I'm told!
Thunder was due to start around midnight - but it didn't show. So we got an early start, dropping the mooring at 7:40am after settling up with the harbormaster. The wind was blowing about 12kts and we were looking at a nice beam reach to Newport.
We made excellent time in somewhat boisterous conditions that had me heaving over the side (remnants of my alcoholic condition methinks) - and I estimated we'd be off Brenton Reef around 11:00am - but then things changed. The coast guard announced a severe storm warning and the winds were clearly building. We'd already put a first reef in and switched genoa for the jib. On hearing the forecast we put in the next reef and continued towards Newport. Not for long - it was getting nasty. Since we were right opposite, we decided to head into the Sakonnet so that we could run with the wind and it immediately paid off with a much easier ride and we flew along at 9 - 10kts.
The Sakonnet can tame anything and sure enough, a few miles up we had to turn on the engine as the wind had dropped to 5 kts.
Unfortunately, timing was not good - we arrived at the bridge at high tide - and it looked very high - so we grabbed a mooring from Pirate Cove and had some lunch. Menemsha to Pirate Cove in 5 ½ hours is pretty good going!
As soon as we passed through the bridge and into Mount Hope Bay, the wind came up again and we flew down the bay. However, as we arrived in Narragansett Bay, it all looked pretty ferocious again, so we decided to wimp out and motor the last bit home, taking the sails down in over 20kts true.
Fortunately, I managed to kick my brain into gear (at Laurie's suggestion) and called NEB for some help getting into the slip... With 18 - 20kts, it was going to be difficult to turn the boat in such tight quarters. Two youngsters showed up and it was good they were there - but even though they were, it didn't stop me making a complete pigs ear of it - and so entertaining for everyone as it took a full 10 minutes to get within throwing range of them! Still, we managed - albeit backwards!
It was a great weekend! Even the storm.
Check out photos in the Menemsha gallery...
Laurie's Dad, Jim and Jean joined us on the boat and we had a fabulous weekend! (See Fathers Day photo Album.)
The weather was fantastic - bright and sunny on Saturday with winds running 15 - 18kts from the north east, which allowed us to sail up to the point of Prudence Island with only one tack and down the other side of Prudence to Newport on another tack.
On the way down to Newport, we got to watch day one of the Rhode Island Airshow from afar - with the USAF Thunderbirds (I stand corrected!) display team making one helluva racket with some neat, high speed, close formation aerobatics.
Sailing wouldn't be sailing without one idiot move. Saturday's was gybing the Genoa and finding that the furler was all tangled, preventing it being rolled up (we have to furl the forward sail before gybing because there's not enough room to pass through the narrow gap between it and the inner stay). We found this as we were headed right for the shore above Prudence Island - but managed to man-handle the sail between the slot before touching bottom! I thought I had it all sorted out - but later when we gybed before the Newport Bridge, it happened again, so we decided to take the Genoa down and fix the furler properly. Jim and Jean retreated to the salon while we made lots of noise and then dealt with a mass of Dacron on the foredeck! We re-reeled the furler and raised the sail back... No better! Rats!
We repeated the whole process again - exhausting! Still no better . Does this mean the furler needs to be replaced? In desperation I start looking around for other issues and suddenly realize that the Code Zero halyard, anchored in front of the Genoa was not tight - and was getting wrapped up in the Genoa as it was being furled - preventing a furl... Twit! Still, nice to have a simple fix when you've just decided it was otherwise going to be an expensive repair or replacement...
We anchored (third attempt) beside Ida Lewis YC and enjoyed a sausage and pasta dinner followed by a game of cards - what's it called - hand and foot? - a bit like Canasta...
Sunday dawned a little cloudy and cool. We got up to find Jim asleep in the cockpit! He apparently went outside at 1:23 (in fact he went out at 12.3V!) and got a good night's sleep!
We headed over to Ocean Breeze for breakfast (highly recommended) and departed Newport around 11:00am, headed for Quonset and a date with the airshow and Neal...
There was very little wind so we tried flying the code zero for a while, but then gave up and motored to the airshow and anchored by the security zone. They've certainly moved that out a good deal - we were a mile away from the runway! There were hundreds of boats!
We were then joined by Neal, Cathy, Deb, Leo, Wayne, Joan, and Waynes' daughter and beau! Certainly filled the cockpit up and Laurie and I were evicted to the bow!
Everyone had a good time - the weather was magnificent and the show very good - the Thunderbirds certainly being the main attraction - however the more fun display was watching bunches of folk dragging anchors across the ocean floor - mostly while trying to set them!
Our ride back was fantastic - broad reach in 12 - 15 kts making 8+kts! We passed another sailboat like they were anchored! Jim and Jean seemed to be having a ball too.
We got back around 6:00pm and set to cleaning up the boat. Idiot move two came when I hear my name being yelled out - coming from the fairway. Synergy, our next door neighbor couldn't get into her slip because our dingy was strewn across the whole lane! Oops! Getting used to life on a dock might take some time!
There were some heavy heads in the morning, but Sunday dawned beautiful - if a little too calm.
I messed about in the dingy for a while trying to see if I could get the engine going right by simply running it with the new gas - but no luck. However, I was able to get out to the Canapitsit Channel - and I think it's navigable with Toodle-oo! Maybe one day we'll check that out...
When I got back to the boat, Laurie was feeling a little better and time was getting on - so we weighed anchor at 11:15 and set off to catch Elixir, with Jamin in hot pursuit. That didn't last long as Jamin pushed the button and raised the main, while we had tangles left, right and center which delayed the main for some time!
We motored out past Middle Ground with very little wind, but it began to pipe up so we launched the spinnaker in about 8kts and gybed to starboard towards Horseneck Beach. Meanwhile, Elixir, a mile or so ahead was also flying a kite and Jamin joined in shortly after on port tack. To keep everyone in sight, we lowered the spinnaker and gybed her over (gotta get another sheet!) so that we could follow Jamin, with a heading pointing us well out to sea - but a forecasted wind shift occurred and we were suddenly on a direct course for Newport in about 8 - 10 kts, managing to sail along at 6 - 7 kts in bright sunshine.
We were slowly hauling in Jamin and then chatted with Elixir, who were waiting up for us, with just a main up. As Toodle-oo! and Jamin went past, Elixir raised her kite and we had the three of us, flying spinnakers all in pretty close formation! Very cool! Lots of photo ops too - so check out the photo gallery on the right.
After an hour or so of wonderful spinnaker sailing, Elixir and Jamin peeled off to head up the Sakonnet while we pushed on towards Newport. By now Laurie was feeling much better and had her nose back in The Book.
Once we got to Brenton Reef, we found ourselves inundated with sailboats of all shapes and sizes returning from a regatta. I've never seen so many boats packed into the East Passage. Unfortunately, the wind had dropped, so we motored the rest of the way to NEB, arriving at the dock at 6:15pm. Long sail - fun sail.
Thanks to Jamin and Elixir for making it a great weekend...
Our intention this weekend was to head to Newport on Friday night and then head on to Cuttyhunk on Saturday, returning on Sunday...
Bad day at work can sometimes mess with the schedule and Laurie's day was particularly poor. We therefore decided to stay on the dock at NEB and drown her sorrows instead! I decided to have a go at equalizing the batteries again - so set them to it as we went to bed. Laurie started reading her new book...
Laurie didn't sleep well - I wasn't aware of why at the time - b I didn't sleep well either. I was up at 3:00am and decided to check the batteries and seeing that the voltage was only 14V (instead of 15+V), decided to abandon the equalization. Something's amiss. Even though I went back to sleep, I was up again shortly after 5:00 - Laurie was awake too - so we decided to have an early start to the day...
With little wind forecast until the afternoon, we pottered around the boat for a while - or I should say, I did - which I was quite happy to do. I managed to get the bad dingy gas dumped and replaced it with new. I fiddle-farted with all sorts of stuff - while Laurie read her book.
At 9:15 we finally left the dock and headed down the bay to Newport. Laurie read her book.
Knowing there was going to be light wind from behind, we'd decided to keep the main under it's cover with a plan to sail the spinnaker once the wind developed. Out past Newport, after sailing through the start of a regatta, the wind finally kicked up to 7 or 8 knots, so I managed to pry Laurie's nose out of her book in order to launch said spinnaker.
We then had a great sail towards Cutty (sort-of), making about 6kts. Since Laurie's head was buried elsewhere, I decided to set up a fishing rod...
Wouldn't you know it, I managed to hook a fish - only my third in about 1,000 miles of trawling the bloody thing! It was going to be big judging by the effort I was having reeling it in. Meanwhile, all hell broke loose as I barked orders at Laurie - get the camera! No not that lens! Why can't you learn how to change a lens! Get the net! Chaos! Eventually I reeled in a whopper (my biggest catch anyway) and landed it on the side deck, with Laurie clicking away merrily.
I couldn't get the hook out. Despite her pleas to have me cut the lure I insisted I'd get it - "bring me some rum so I can quiet this bloody thing!" She brought out a bottle which unfortunately turned out to be Black Grouse Scotch (a favorite tipple of mine) - which I didn't notice until I'd poured a cupful into the hapless fish's gills. I thought I was going to be calming the fish down so I could extract the hook and release it - but no, I killed it! What a way to go!
We then had to call Laurie's brother Neal to find out what we'd caught - and after sending a photo, found we had a Blue. Edible but notoriously oily. However, having killed the beast, we were duty bound to consume it, so another call to Neal gave me perfect instructions for a -nearly- bloodless filleting method. I managed to get about 2lbs of meat off this thing - no doubt leaving much more on the carcass than I should have - but this would be enough for appetizers with the crews of Elixir and Jamin that would be waiting for us in Cutty.
All this was going on while we were still under spinnaker! Still doing 5 - 6 kts in almost the right direction.
Laurie went back to her book - I went back to tweaking the sail...
Once we got to the Buzzards Bay tower we had to change course - too deep to fly the kite, so we furled and motored towards Cutty. Just before we got to Middle Ground, the wind picked up, so we flew the Code Zero for the final couple of miles... arriving in Cutty at around 5:00pm and anchored in the inner harbor in 12 ft on 65ft of chain.
A glass of wine was in order! Laurie read her book.
Jamin called to coordinate dinner plans - and we discussed the cooking of the beast. We headed over to Jamin shortly after 6 and met up with Peter and Diane of Elixir, Jane and Mike of Jamin and enjoyed libations in the cockpit.
Finally I get to find out that The Book is a particularly erotic novel involving all sorts of interesting hardware(?) - and quickly a line sets up for whose going to read it next!
A festive evening follows with some participating a little more than they should (as tends to happen when one reads too much and sleeps too little). The morning would be painful!
More later - but just to note there's a new photo album on the right hand side... We had a blast this weekend, not withstanding the booze and book descriptions(!), the ride home with the three boats all flying spinnakers in close proximity was just great fun!