Saturday 9/15 – I started the engine at 0635 and raised the main with one reef in. I motor-sailed around the Hook as the first course was directly into the wind. The strong current running through the channel made it a swift but bumpy ride into the open ocean. Dolphins welcomed me. Chris Parker’s forecast was the same as yesterday. It promised to become a great trip with a broad reach on the port tack all the way to Cape May. At 0820 I turned off the engine and unfurled the yankee and the staysail and settled in for the trip. Before I left the Hook I had installed the Hydrovane rudder and vane, and it steered most of the trip. The wind was a little more northerly than forecast and sometime during the day I put the yankee on the whiskerpole to port. With the swell coming in from the SE the ride was comfortable. I love the feeling of this long lazy ocean swell, with the boat slowly rising and falling, while making great speed through the water. Sunset was at 1915.
Sunset with Atlantic City in the distance
After sunset the wind diminished to 10/12 knots. I could have shaken out that reef, but I decided to leave it in. One gets more careful when one gets older! And there were no other sailboats around that would entice me to enter into a “cruising race”. Actually, it was an unusually quiet trip. On these south bound coastal trips you often see a cluster of sailboats all leaving at the same time, but not this time. Although it is nice to have a few boats around you, on the other hand, it is easier for me at night not having to worry about other boats in the vicinity. At 2330 I took in the whiskerpole and set the yankee to port.
Sunday 9/16 – I reached the mouth of the Delaware Bay at 0400. At night I don’t go through any of the unmarked inside passages. You need settled weather with decent visibility to see the deep water between the breakers on the shoals. So I took the longer outside route, just outside the buoys that mark the big ship channel. I furled the yankee and the staysail and motor-sailed against the ebb current into the Delaware Bay. At 0720 the wind had picked up again and I turned off the engine. With an ENE breeze of 12/15 knots we broad-reached up the Bay on the starboard tack. After breakfast I took out the reef and continued north under full sail. We were doing 7.5 to 8 knots through the water. But as we got further north the wind got lighter and lighter and at 1100 I turned the engine back on. At 1430 I entered the C&D canal. While taking down the main I noticed that the webbing of the top slide had almost chafed through. This had happened before in 2016. I anchored in the Bohemia River at 1730. Tired, but satisfied. 35 hours from Sandy Hook to the Bohemia.
Sailing up the Bay in the early morning