Burial at Sea!!
07 October 2010 | Port Washington, NY
Clear sky, Air Temp 67F, Water temp 64F, Wind NW@15-20, gusts to 25
Well, we visited Mystic Seaport finally, taking Monday off as the winds blew as predicted, NE@25-30 with gusts to 40. So we just enjoyed the day. Tuesday it was still blowing, but the gusts had subsided to 30 knots, so we headed down into Long Island Sound.
Our course was dead downwind, not a favorite point of sail in those conditions, so we headed up onto a broad reach and ran down the north shore of the sound. Gybing out to give us more sea room, we found ourselves in the grip of the currents running out the sound. In over 20 knots of wind, doing 7.5 to 8 knots through the water, we struggled to make much over four over the bottom as we fought the 3.5-4 knot current. With the current running against the wind, it set up a mice sloppy 5'-6' sea just in case we were bored. I had forgotten how strong the currents are in this area.
So in the drizzle, fog and high winds, we slogged our way westward. It was obvious we wouldn't make our planned destination, so we modified it and dropped anchor in a small cove not all that far from our starting point. As we were slogging it out, a small yellow/green bird fluttered aboard. Obviously exhausted, he showed no fear of us and found a spot out of the wind to rest... on my right toe! He must have been blown offshore and become lost. He dozed and woke, hopping around looking for food, but we had nothing he would eat. We think he was a fly-catcher, and we don't normally carry flies. He stayed with us until we anchored, where we were going to take him ashore, but just as we got settled, he gave up and died. So we had a burial at sea and drank a toast to him that night.
Wednesday the wind had moderated to a nice 15 knots and swung to the south It was forecast to swing west, our destination, so we got another early start to get as much of the south wind and incoming tide as possible. Through the morning we enjoyed the boost, but at noon, both wind and tide turned against us, so we spent the afternoon beating up the sound. But the sun had come out and the breeze was light, so it was an enjoyable sail, even if, again we had to modify our destination. By evening we coasted in to Lloyd Harbor on Long Island and anchored for the night.
All day we listened to some 12 meter boats on the VHF. We could see one, but the talk was between three; Nefertitti, Columbia and Weatherly. Out of Newport, they were sailing in the Sound for some reason.
Thursday's objective was to get to the head of the sound to take advantage of the currents in the East River on Friday. Again we were off early to try to beat the forecast for increasing westerlies, but again they beat us out. As we headed out, we ran into our old friend, 20-25 knot westerlies with gusts over 30. Not interested in pounding 20 miles in it, we turned around and returned to our anchorage. By noon things had calmed down to a steady 20 knots, so we tacked our last 20 miles up to Port Washington where we anchored for the night... WE MADE IT!!!!
This has been a heavy weather trip so far. Tomorrow we can sleep in and catch the current in the East River, changing at 10 am, and just 5 miles from our anchorage. We always enjoy the trip through the river as it cuts right through New York, with Brooklyn on one side and elegant Manhattan on the other. The forecast is finally decent. We are hoping for 10-15 westerlies as we motor through the river and out into New York Harbor, then down to Atlantic Highlands to stock up for the New Jersey coast on Saturday and Sunday.