No work for 2 weeks!
We departed Portsmouth for Newport on Friday the 13th at 6:00 after stowing what needed to be stowed for our cruise to NYC and Nantucket. - ignoring all the bad omens! We motored down - not even taking the sail cover off and anchored at 7:00pm. Jamin were already here and out and about eating on land - so we decided to eat aboard...
We were greeted with a nice day on Saturday and with a lazy start for the off to Fisher's Island, we decided to have breakfast on land at Ocean Breeze. Mike and Jane on the other hand proved Friday the Thirteenth was indeed not good - though they averted serious issues... In installing a fan (God knows where) but in the process happened to stumble upon a steering quadrant pin that had nearly pulled out - and would have left them without steering! Someone was smiling! Easy fix, but major trauma if not found...
After breakfast we headed to the fish market and saw Jamin heading out of the harbor - it was 10:00.
After getting some shellfish, we made our preparations for departure and weighed anchor at 11:20. Initially there was almost no wind, but shortly after passing Castle Hill, it cam one from the South West and we headed offshore, pretty much due south, skirting the race course of one of several regattas in progress. When we tacked to the west, we began to pick up a little positive current, adding between a quarter and a full knot. Unfortunately, the wind turned a little and we were well off the rhum line.
Jamin hailed us thinking we'd just blown by them, but in fact we were still a solid 45 minutes behind them - but it made for interesting sailing as we chased down to the narrows between CT and Fishers, before the wind finally became very light and right on the nose. Tacking through the narrows was not appealing.
We finally made the anchorage at West Harbor at about 7pm and lay to 125ft in 3 fathoms, just ahead of Jamin.
Dinner aboard was a fabulous 'Laurie Special' Clam boil - followed by drinks aboard Jamin where we planned the following day's activities. Mike and Jane were still debating if they really wanted to go all the way to NYC in view of the weather forecasted to be exceedingly hot, but peer pressure won over!
While we had thought about staying at Fishers a day, we decided in the end to head out at first light for the long trek down to Port Jefferson. Mike wasn't so keen on the 5:00am start plan - but came around! Drinks were curtailed early accordingly.
5:00am came too early - but we did at least sleep well! Anchors were up by 5:20 and we were off - motor sailing directly into the wind, but picking up a lovely push from the race as we came south west.
At 7:30, we raised sail and turned the iron genny off - and finally made contact with the OCC's East Coast SSB net, though reception with Net Coordinator/OCC Comodore John Franklin was none too good. Jamin forgot all about the net thingy so didn't check in at all - in spite of being given explicit instructions the night before!
The wind came up nicely and for an hour or so we were able to make good progress almost towards the target. The weather was getting hot.
We arrived in Port Jefferson at about 3:00 and found a really nice spot to anchor in a big hole in the mooring field - but the Harbor Nazis came out and moved us to the back of the anchorage... as we moved out to the extremities of the harbor, under the watchful eyes of the SS, I recognized the shape of another Outbound coming into the harbor...
We anchored again and the Outbound 'Skrumpy' anchored near us too... Five minutes after anchoring we were in the water! What a relief! Jane and Mike swam over with their noodles and then David and Lynn from Skrumpy swam over and we ended up having drinks aboard Toodle-oo! while Jane and Mike swam home! David and Lynn are owners of the newest Outbound in the fleet - hull 46.
Unfortunately, a front came through and we had an interesting blow with 35kt winds and heavy rain. Certainly washed the boat off! After the storm which lasted only 30 minutes or so, we found ourselves rather close to Jamin and so upped anchor and moved into clear water, laying to 150ft in less than 3 fathoms and awaited the next blow.
We enjoyed a nice chicken salad while awaiting said blow and ended up going to bed early - and slept through the whole event - which according to Mike was not much to write home about anyway.
On Friday evening, it took us 4 1/2 hours to motor from NEB to Bristol - because we went to Newport, where Laurie was hoping to spend the following day with her good friend Sandra - but there were no moorings and the anchorage was full - everyone down for the Tall Ships - so we motored back up the bay to Bristol - arriving after 10pm!
Saturday was ladies day - so I hightailed it to Boston for some interesting sailing with Abby aboard a dingy. We sailed all over the place and in spite of a close call on our very first gybe, we managed to stay out of the water!
Sunday I rejoined Toodle-oo! - the girls had had a nice boozy Saturday. There was no wind and it took about 2 hours to sail from our mooring at the entrance to the harbor to Poppasquash Point not half a mile away! However, as soon as we cleared the point we were able to make good speed to Potter's Cove where we dropped an anchor and swam.
We arrived back to NEB for a beautiful sunset.
Next week we leave for 2 weeks - down to NY where we'll pick up Steve and Sue for a possible trip to Nantucket.
Had a nice gentle sail up to Bristol on Tuesday afternoon and anchored just off the entrance to the fairway at around 3:30pm, ready to watch the fireworks. We toodled down to see Mike and Jane and after a quick drink with them came back to find the harbormaster waiting for us... The wind had changed direction and we were now edging into the fairway - please move! What a pain! I let the harbormaster know I thought the required move was nuts - and he said he'd pass it on to the harbormaster... (I thought he was it...)
We re-deployed about 100ft away - and settled back - but another yacht felt we were too close for comfort (&^%*&) so we upped again and moved well away - to the edge of the harbor adjacent Poppasquash. While anchoring, Graylag frantically hails us on the VHF - so I respond... "You're right over my anchor" : "Really - how much scope do you have out?" : "110 ft all chain." : "So far we have 80ft out, and we're a solid 60ft away from you." : "Oh OK - you seem to know what you're doing." : "Thanks - let's have a drink sometime!" : "Sounds good."
We continued our deployment and settled down for dinner of Chicken, Corn and Salad (very tasty) and got ready for the fireworks show...
We're beginning dinner - with a glass of wine, when a blue flashing light appears on our starboard side. A somewhat terse exchange then proceeds - during which he indicated that he, the Bristol Harbormaster had asked the Tiverton Harbormaster to request we "adjust" our scope - we didn't have to actually move... Since we were not told this, we assumed we had to move (and anyway, why would any harbormaster think it's OK and safe to tell a captain to reduce scope?). "If we are in a good position now, I'd like to finish my dinner and wine and be left in peace!"
After sitting at our stern in silence for a couple of minutes with blue light still flashing, he buggers off to be a pain to someone else... (It's then that a rather bemused Laurie reminds me that our Documentation certificate has still not come back from the Coast Guard and that the dingy registration number is not affixed!)
We continue dinner - but before we can finish, Mark from Greylag rows over to us to find out what the Nazzis wanted! Obviously slight the worse for a bevy or two, Mark very nearly falls in the water while boarding Toodle-oo! We have a glass of wine together - and a nice chat, then pour him back into his dingy (just)! As he paddles back to Greylag, the harbormaster decides he needs an escort - complete with blue flashing light!
Finally we can enjoy the fireworks - but unfortunately we're farther away than either of us realized so it was not as good as planned... Our fault - not Bristol's - who put on an excellent show.
Sunday dawned damp and dreary. We slowly got our stuff together and after a brief chat with Elixir and Jamin who had taken moorings right under the fireworks, we went in search of breakfast - and found it at the English Pub! Breakfast sandwich and a pint of London Pride went down well! Laurie even went for a pint of Guinness!
We walked the parade - before it started, then watched the first few groups processing through before hitting Aidens for a couple more Guinness!
Our sail home was neat - into the wind, so we were short tacking down the harbor and getting good practice. We made it into the slip and hour or so later - with no difficulties (that's a first) and then enjoyed a beautiful summer late afternoon/evening drink in the cockpit.
In spite of harbormasters, we had a nice relaxing 4th!
With the Americas Cup World Series in town, it was an excellent opportunity to invite a couple of groups onto Toodle-oo! for some sailing interspersed with some spectating of the AC.
On Saturday we took Andrea Doyle (Steph She-must-be-going-for-a-raise-soon's Boss) and her husband John, out and down to Newport to watch the semifinals. The sailing was great, and the spectating was chaotic!
We found a good spot at the windward mark, with only a few hundred boats around us (!) and I sat playing engine against current, trying to hold position while all the spectator boats jostled for position. Keeping the boat in line was pretty much a full time occupation so I didn't see much of the races - but Laurie took some great pictures - as in the new Americas Cup gallery on the right hand side.
We picked a great place to watch - seeing the boats tack up towards the mark and then unfurl their Genaker's as they rounded the mark, sometimes lifting one keel way out of the water. Those things are quick.
We left after the first race - but it was quite tricky working our way back through all the boats - and the coast guard and marshal boats were quite aggressive!
We then sailed up and around Hope Island and arrived back at the marina about 6:30pm - in time to watch a beautiful sunset from the cockpit.
On Sunday I had a boat load. Squash players Dave Rolince and Rick Amaral with their wives Doreen and Kim, Bob Livingston (owner of the old Toodle-oo!) and daughter Abigail (Sunday's photographer) and her friend Mary. Laurie opted out of this one!
Again we headed down to the Windward mark and the crowd of boats was even thicker! Pretty much a repeat of Saturday - but a lot more tense - both in our boat and in the races!
We didn't quite make it back to the marina in time - a pretty major squall was heading over Bristol and Providence and we ended up catching it - such that it was not prudent to enter the marina in 30kt winds, so instead waited it out and got soaked!
Laurie had come down to the dock to assist our arrival - but she got roped into helping a small power boat as the winds howled - and ended up being soaked through.
The lightening was all around and indeed one of the boats at NEB took a hit - only a hundred yards from Laurie who's not the greatest fan of thunder!
Once the storm abated, we made our way in to a noisy (but without damage!) landing at the dock - unfortunately witnessed by Paul and Chris aboard s/v Georgia - a freshly purchased Outbound 44 that they are sailing from Cape Breton to Virginia.
After dispatching all our guests, we were able to compare boats with another Outbound owner at last!
An interesting weekend for sure!
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...