12 July 2018 | Cuttyhunk
Kurt/warm and sunny
Well, after much doctoring, boat fixin and city living we're back aboard Big Frisky and underway again. As I write we sit in Cuttyhunk pond MA at the end of the Elizabeth islands, all privately owned and few inhabited. We have just been struck with motivation to find our voice again on the blog.....you see it's a funny story that just happened to us.
We had just pulled into the inside pond at Cuttyhunk for the night or two. We picked a spot at mid-tide rising in the area for anchoring and sat out a brisk northern wind compliments of Hurricane Chris. We had motored out of the Narragasett bay into the SE breeze that had been building in the three three hours it took us to clear the bay. By the time we rounded to the corner outside Newport it was a steady 18-20 kts gusting to 25. In good form we lucked into the current heading our way so we blasted down Buzzards Bay with full canvas and HUGE smiles on our faces. Sailors know what this feels like. A mix of magical flow of the waves and boat in motion - you get to know your girl and it feels right. Sailing a broad reach in 15-25 is what our baby likes the best.
We arrived to unfamiliar Cuttyhunk and turned up, dropped the sails and headed inside to see about our accommodations. As is the norm in the summer in popular anchorages the quarters are tight. You are usually squeezing into a small area just outside the moorings that are for rent. In this case it was no different so you have to estimate the depths of the anchorage on all sides of you as your boat will swing 360 degrees in tides, winds etc. You have to do this while motoring around, looking at the depths and then figuring your required scope (length of chain to put out) for anchoring safely. 5-7 times depth is what is recommended, lighter wind, less scope. Today it was 10 feet mid-tide so 50' of chain is minimum recommended. You then estimate the position that is in the middle of the 'safe swing' room. Did I mention that while you are doing this you are ducking and bobbing between that moorings, moored boats, anchored boats all the while being exactly 46' (in our case) away from your best friend and confidant in the world who knows equally as much as you about the process that you have to agree on in order to drop the hook. All the while you are being watched by the ENTIRE anchorage who is listening to every word you say/yell (note to self - no cursing or criticism of your mate). This manifests itself in a strangely close to the stern of your neighbor ahead as you are dropping the anchor with the length of chain that is in the safe scope area not too close side by side and best if you can stagger with your next door neighbors AND with similar length to everyone at anchorage already.
This last part can make or break the experience as when you inevitably turn direction with tide or wind the goal is to maintain your distance from everyone else. Too long of scope and you now swing into the boat that was formerly ahead of you that now you are on top of. It's always self arbitrating, with last in responsible for any moves needed. It's the least intuitive thing in the world and there is no classes for it (that give you the knowledge you need) only the harsh teacher of experience will do. We are newish on the anchoring scene as our skill sets have progressed, so has our confidence in anchoring and so now know just enough to be dangerous, including this location. It's rare for the N wind direction in this area and we did our best at the placement game. Well sure as the sun comes up, the wind changed directions today so now we are in the shallow end of the pond. There is grass so the depth sounders aren't accurate but even so we check by hand when on the dinghy while at anchor with a hand held sounder. Well as luck would have it Hurricane Chis's passing has affect the tides and so super high and LOW tides are coming through today. We had just returned from a walk on the beach in the outer harbor via dinghy and arrived back at DEAD LOW tide. We were relieved that even though the grass was tickling our hull Pamela remarked "at least she's facing the same direction as the other boats" and when pushed at stern from the side our girl floated free.
When we boarded a passing dinghy stopped and said he had enjoyed reading our blog as we came out of the Great Lakes 3 years ago. We were flabbergasted that someone had actually read and enjoyed our commentary of our little floating home. We all reminisced about the last time we crossed the Bay of Maine it was not such a good experience aboard Big Frisky - hah how the time has flown by.
Well, we're back and have some tales to tell of winter in Providence in our city flat, dead center in the middle of the littlest big city I know of. Hellava time. We're heading for Nova Scotia. Our larder is full. Who knows what could happen? Good to be back. We'll keep you posted.
Special thanks to the Captain of SV Grayling a 42' Catalina out of Massachusetts for giving us back our voice on our blog and the local knowledge shared for anchoring and passes around Buzzards Bay.