Yachting in Newport
23 July 2007 | Brenton Cove, Newport Harbor
NE winds 5 to 10 kt...becoming W. Waves 1 to 2 ft. At the Bay entrance... waves 2 to 4 ft. A chance of showers. Areas of fog. Vsby 1 to 3 nm.
Canons and dogs don't mix. Every time they go boom, the poor Intrepid Seadog Chip winds up shuddering on my lap. What is with this place and their yacht clubs and canons? Okay, so I understand that there is a whole tradition with yacht clubs and canons and Newport and the America's Cup, but that is entirely another form of sailing than what I have done most of my life.
We had the best sailing day of our trip between Mystic and Newport. The winds were strong when we raised the sails out in the Fisher Island Sound and seeing as it was a Sunday afternoon, there were sailboats everywhere. The sunlight was dancing on the water and the air was crisp and sweatshirt cold. We were hard on the wind and as we headed through Watch Hill Passage, we were racing against a beautiful forty-footer with varnished cabin sides, long overhangs and racing sails. We passed her, of course.
In the middle of the afternoon, halfway to Block Island, the wind died and we had to turn on the engine for a couple of hours, but it filled back in and we started beating into a good twenty knots as we rounded Point Judith and headed up into Newport. Talk about sails! It is exciting to be out there sailing when every direction you look shows more sails. As the wind piped up stronger, MATILDA was rail down and doing better than seven knots through the water. It was great sailing. Photos just don't do it credit.
When we finally dropped the sails and motored into the harbor, it was around 6:00 p.m. as we called Old Port Marine on the radio and asked about a mooring. We got an answer, but the guy's voice was totally unintelligible on the radio and we spent about half an hour circling in Newport Harbor trying to figure out where he wanted us to go. The radio traffic on channel 68 was a constant chatter. He kept telling us something about a green boat. We'd never been here, there are something like about 300 boats in the harbor on moorings, and we couldn't understand the directions the guy was giving us. And, of course, everybody in the harbor was calling Old Port's launches to get a ride ashore to go out to dinner. By the time we got our mooring, everybody in the place knew of us on board WILD MATILDA as the people who couldn't find their mooring. But then everyone we met here is from Mass, Rhode Island or Connecticut, and they can't remember not knowing their way around Newport. And just as we got the engine turned off and settled into the cockpit with a couple of beers and a bowl of water for TISC (The Intrepid Seadog Chip), they started firing canons!
Today, we went ashore and explored town amid the throngs of tourists and fought the traffic and crowds. We made our way down to the Armchair Sailor Bookstore and Bruce bought two cruising guides to Maine. We're taking off in the morning.
We're going to try to find someplace that has no canons.