"There is nothing more pleasant than cruising on a boat with the whole family."
Letter from Empress Catherine the Great

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Day 39 -- August 30 -- HOME. -- HYC, Eastchester Bsy. -- 25.6 nm

We left Northport at 9:45, sailing off the mooring. The first ten miles were fine sailing on various port reaches. But once out of of Huntington Bay and off Eatons Neck, we were headed east with the wind behind us and there was not enough of it. I tried wing on wing and heading 40 degrees off course to "hot it up" as the racers say, but no luck. Against the tidal flow we were making 2.5 to 3 knots over the ground. Columbus could handle this or worse, but we don't have to...the engine was deployed. Arrived at home mooring 2 pm.  Lene took the bus and subway to our apartment to get our  car. I cleaned the boat. We will live aboard tonight and tomorrow night, as we did before the cruise, before returning with Witty and Alfie to our apartment,

39 days, 28 of them in Massachusetts.
22 passages to 22 ports, 8 of them new ones, with 16 lay days.
766 nautical miles.
Only one day of rain --  1.5 hours while underway -- and a few nights; but even more unusual: NO FOG!
A fun time.
Now if I can get my laptop to work or learn how to add pictures via edits to posts is iPad,  you will soon get photo illustration.

And summer is not over yet.

Day. 38 -- August. 29 -- Northport -- 36.7 nm

Underway from 8:30 to 4:15. It should have been a straight shot from the New Haven breakwater to G "13", off Eatons Neck, the entrance to Huntington Bay, off which Northport is a busy cove. We had sails up all the way, but the motor on as well most of the way as well while we tacked first across the Sound to Near Port Jeff and then back across again to near Norwalk, before heading to Huntington. The tide was foul from 10 a.m. Northport is our only stop on Long Island on this cruise though earlier this season we did visit Cold Spring Harbor and Sheepshead Bay, both on the Island.
We did have a half hour of blissful close hauled sailing when the wind came up but there were no waves yet. ILENE seemed so happy to be slicing through the water so cleanly. But then as suddenly as it started it was over and we furled sails and motored through Huntington Bay to our mooring, provided by Seymours. This may have been the first time I entered Northport, after perhaps ten trips, which was not a weekend day and there was no wind. Normally both the wind and the other boats provide a challenge.
The only challenge was the black flies which have congregated on ILENE, the last few low-wind days. They like to bite our ankles, which a spray diminishes but does not eliminate. There were at least fifty of them today, standing on the stern of the boat except when they came forward to bite us. And as on the other days, once we come to port they seem to vanish, thank goodness. Is there any insect expert who can explain this phenomenon? And speaking of insects, we saw no Mosquitos this whole trip. Is is extra precaution taken by public health officials in an attempt to ward off the Zima virus?
We went out for dinner, this our last night "on the road".  Tomorrow we expect to arrive back at the Harlem.
I did an analysis of our food bills during the first two complete monthly billing cycles of the credit card we use. These cycles were since we moved aboard in June. About 29% of our total food budget is spent in restaurants, as compared to groceries. This statistic has to be taken with a grain of salt because a small amount of credit card charges in grocery stores is for non-food items and some food eaten "out" is in coffee shops where cash is paid. But we eat well and inexpensively by cooking our own food.
A calm cool night.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Day 37. -- August 28. -- New Haven YC -- 30 nm

Some folks, alright, it was Ilene, have suggested that yesterday's post was boring. Well it is true that it was closer to a log than a diary, but I do not get bored by sailing and enjoy the changes that the different conditions compel me to confront. And there were not many land activities to report on in Niantic. In fact I have answered a friend's question: "Do you ever get bored with sailing?" with a question of my own: "Do you ever get bored making love with your wife?"

That said, today's passage, 30 miles by the direct route, was as close to boring as it gets. A nice warm sunny day with not enough wind to sail so the engine worked all day, 9:15 to 4:30, with the sails up but hardly contributing.

So what to do on such a day to add excitement? A three mile detour for a passage through the Thimble Islands, where I have never been. They are granite outcroppings that are private and have homes on them -- No trespassing. One can anchor in the passages between them, but holding is not good and cables run across from island to island.  There is little protection from the prevailing southwesterlies. Those are the reasons we did not anchor. Instead, we dropped sails for unimpeded maneuverability and took the tour. There are many buoys, navigational and mooring, and many islands and it took some figuring to make sure we were in the correct passage. A good day for it, with light winds, and we drove slowly. Many smaller power boats were on moorings inside, the folks just lolling about and enjoying doing nothing.

We have never been by boat to New Haven either. The marinas are quite deeply into the large, mostly industrial, mostly shallow harbor, near the city, several miles away. There were two anchorages. One is directly behind the massive sea walls that protects the harbor. We took the other, the New Haven Yacht Club, nestled in Morris Cove, on the eastern side of the harbor behind Lighthouse Point. They are friendly and offer a free mooring to transient cruisers and said it was available. But when we inquired we learned that it is too small in weight and in distance from other moorings for ILENE so we anchored about 100 yards away with plenty of snubbed chain out and enjoyed another of Lene's delicious home (boat) cooked dinners. The club appears to be small based on the number of its moorings, with most boats in the 20 to 30 foot range and the clubhouse is small and serves food only for parties. It probably thereby has low cost. Still, if we had more time on this cruise it would have been fun to lower the dink, spend a day and get to know the locals.
It was supposed to be a rather calm night, but despite being behind both the breakwater and Lookout Point, what wind there was rocked the boat. Not a comfortable night's sleep.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Day 36. August 27 -- Niantic YC -- 45.4 nm

Yes, from  Newport, which we left at 9, we had planned to go to Stonington CT, a lot closer to Newport than Niantic. But the tide turned fair just about when we were off Stonington, at about 2, so we kept going for another three hours to Niantic, where we had never been, always a plus for me, and dropped anchor, a calm night being predicted, at the edge of the YC's mooring field, at 5.
We raised sails in Newport Harbor and during the seven miles to Point Judith, heading 230 degrees magnetic, with the engine at 2000, tide and wind to starboard, we were going between 7 and 7.8 knots.
We rounded Point Judith at 10:45 and it brought up a lot of sad and scary memories in me of a prior encounter with Point Judith, before this blog began, a sea story which I will tell you about soon, though parts of it are written up in the decision of the arbitration panel of the admiralty reports.
From the Point the course was 270 for the 18.5 miles to Watch Hill Passage,  along the western half of the south coast of Rhode Island.
Before we left on this cruise I was talking with an actress friend of Lene's at a party in Hoboken who said she grew up in Charleston RI. "Never heard of it," I said. Well it's along that coast. That coast is sandy barrier beaches compared to the eastern part of the Atlantic coast of RI, which is rocky ledges giving way to harbors. "No boats in Charleson", I said. Well actually, I took a close look at the charts and at the coastline with binoculars and saw two tiny inlets, navigable by very shallow draft vessels, into Ninigret and Quonochontaug Ponds. There are no buoys marking the way in, no soundings indicating the depth inside and no references in cruising guides to either pond. In other words, they don't exist as far as cruisers or the Coast Guard are concerned. But if the folks who love them would consent and a developer with lots of money would dredge, they could become the next Lake Tashmoos or Cuttyhunks of this world.
Early in the passage along this coast there was no wind so I furled the Genoa and close hauled the main, to provide stability only, and we motored at 6.5, dropping down to 6. But 45 minutes later, at 11:30, the wind came back, off our port quarter so sails came out again to assist, which brought the boat back to 6.5. It was another clear sunny day, with a bit of haze but we saw Block Island all the way to Watch Hill passage. At 12:30, the boat speed came up to 6.7 knots so we turned off the engine and sailed the rest of the way, except for the last mile and a half. We started sailing at only 5.3 knots with wind on our port beam. With full sails, we were making half our apparent wind speed. When the wind got up to 12 apparent, we got up to 6.
We came through the passage at 7.1 knots at 1:50 p.m., though the tidal current was not supposed to get favorable until 2 p.m. In Fishers Island Sound and elsewhere today there wore small wind holes. Microbursts are narrow area, short duration, destructive winds, unlike hurricanes because of their small size and lack of a circular pattern. These wind holes were the negative matter of microbursts. We saw wind on the water's surface everywhere except for the area, perhaps 200 yards across, where we were, where there was none. We sort of had to coast through them. We passed Latimer Reef Light to starboard and a race at the Fishers Islsnd YC to port before passing between the Dumplings, passing Bartlett Reef to starboard and then heading NNWto the Niantic Bay YC. Those last four miles were exceedingly slow, the tide was bad and the wind light behind us. So we furled and motored the last mile and a half.
Our sole need to go ashore was to refill our three one gallon bottles of drinking and cooking water.  Before I had left for the YC on this mission, a couple in a dink came by and suggested we go in to town to see a movie. This entailed a dink ride of about one mile to the railroad and road bascule bridges and another half mile to Marker Seven Marina. The railroad's embankment cuts off the sea from the inner harbor, creating a sheltered spot. But the problem is that strong tidal currents run under the bridges through the narrow gap. It is suggested that sailors make this passage only at slack water.
No problem by dink, even on the return trip an the dark. We saw Indignation, based on a Phillip Roth
novel. Well acted and a bit strange.
A very peaceful night.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Days 33-35 -- August 24-26 -- Newport RI. -- 20.6 nm

Another cool morning. We dropped our Westport mooring at eight, and left Massachusetts waters after 28 day,  visiting 13 ports, including 6 new ones. On the way out, south bound, breakfast was eaten and once out to Westport's red and white buoy, for the next leg of 7.8 miles, west to the red and white at the mouth of the Sakonet River, the wind was in our face, but not strong, so we motored along at about five knots. Then we turned a bit to starboard and were able to use main and small jib instead of engine.
A funny thing happened as we were turning north to enter Narragansett Bay at about 11. I heard "Roger!" from a boat going the other way called  "Exit Strategy." A second later the same voice yelled "It's Michael!" He apparently knows ILENE, but unfortunately I did not recognize his boat or see his face. I asked for help on Facebook and one Harlemite, Jill,  knew his boat name and his name and that he was a former member. Another Harlem member, Ellen, then sent me his cell phone number and I called him and left a message. Thanks, ladies and thanks to science which can connect us all so well.
We gybed up to Newport harbor and sailed almost all the way in, way past Fort Adams, before dropping sails and motoring to the mooring, arriving at noon.
The public dinghy dock we used --  at Bowens Wharf --  one of several, is not large and not overly crowded given the large number of boats in this harbor. I sent off a Newport postcard to my granddaughter, and visited the Newport Art Museum, which I last visited in 2008. It is still focused almost exclusively on Rhode Island artists, but has added some contemporary works to the collection that formerly consisted of representational works from the 1870s to the 1920s, Newport's gilded age. Lene meanwhile found a lovely shaded outdoor coffee shop and called friends and read. We met up and did some grocery shopping before heading back to ILENE.
This harbor is crowded with boats of all types, except derelict boats. Some Fort Lauderdale-St. Maarten-Antigua behemoths, power and sail, some former America's Cup race winners now taking out tourists, and some lovely little wooden gems.
We walked the Cliff Walk -- most of it.  It runs 3.8 land miles along the eastern (more protected) side of Aquidneck Island, on which Newport is located. It is one of the city's most popular attractions and free.It hugs the rocky granite cliffs, reminiscent of Maine, at the edge of the sea, providing great views except in fog. The other side of the path abuts the back yards of the great seaside mansions, which they called cottages, that were built here in the 1880s and 1890s, including "Rough Point", Doris Duke's house and that of the Vanderbilts -- The Breakers. We figured out how to use the local bus system. The bus station is only a few blocks from the dink dock and the number 67 took us to near the far end of the Cliff Walk and after walking about three miles on it we got off and took the same route back from that point. ($2 fare, except sometimes they take only $1?)  I had never walked the southern part of this walk before, or as much of it. The sea views are magnificent and I learned the unique sound that a wave makes when receding from a beach made up of a deposit of small round rocks, a crackling sound. I had just never noticed before. Part of the walk is paved, but other parts are
a rock scramble. Lene's eyes are not what they used to be so I did what I
could to protect and guide her because, as I have noted in this blog years ago, if either of us falls and breaks a bone, the fun has to end. We also did some shopping. Lene occasionally gets herself into a
shopping frenzy, which can be cured only by the spending of some money. But seriously, our purchases were reasonable, shoes at Rockport and a new rubber rug for the galley sole, to replace the one that blew away off Greenwich on day one.
We had an early dinner at Scales and Shells, a fish house on Thames St., the main waterfront drag. I have eaten there almost every time I have visited Newport, starting over 20 years ago. It is the place I first tasted fried calamari and it was even better this time.
We had planned to stay only two days but the Admiral did not like the thought of beating into SW winds on the third day so we elected to stay an extra day, and push back our expected arrival date at the Harlem for a day. In fact in 2008, on our three month cruise of Maine, we did an overnight from  here and reached the Harlem pin one day.
We had to change moorings in the morning because the one we were on was reserved for someone else. And having raised the dink in anticipation of departure, we took the Olp Port Marine's public launch for the third day's shore activities ($3/person each way.) this made our return, at different times, easy. Lene took in the Tennis Hall of Fame and I visited Rough House and completed the Cliff Walk to its  southern end, again using the number 67 bus. I have toured The Breakers, which is more magnificent, several times. rough House was also built by a Vanderbilt, a different member of the family, but purchased by Doris Duke's parents and given to her. It is furnished with objects of art that she left in the house when she gave it the the foundation. The Breakers is one of about half a dozen mansions that are operated by a common trust. Rough House is separate and, I learned, charges the
highest admission, $25, for a very well docented tour. I also visited the new small museum of the history of Newport, free, and was surprised to learn that it ends with the gilded age.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Day 32 -- August 23 -- Westport Mass -- 12.2 nm

Underway 8 to 11 this morning. We should have used the Genoa because of light wind, but what's the rush. With NW wind we made the plotted line, on a very close reach until clearing The Wildcat, a bunch of rocks with an old wreck on it off Gooseberry Neck. Then we had to go more north and it was tacking to the mouth of the river. I had been to Westport twice before, but the last time was 1996 or earlier, because Lene had never been here.
The first time, it was a grey, stormy and foggy day. Two Mile Ledge had large breakers crashing on it which scared the heck out of the three or four small Harlem cruisers still outside, including me on my first boat, "Just Cause", a Pearson 28. We wanted to come in but did not have radar or GPS. Selwyn, my mentor,  and Evie, on their Tartan 31, "Evie F", slipped his mooring in the shelter of the harbor, came back out, located each of us on radar, came close enough for us to see him,
and told us via VHF to follow him and each other, single file, and led us in to safety. A good shepherd and a Good Samaritan.
Today it was chilly (jeans and foulie tops until we came inland) but clear and sunny and easy to find the river mouth and follow the buoys up the river. Moored boats on both sides of the river also mark the channel. There are a lot more moorings here than last time.
The Westport River is the harbor, with a curving channel running through it as well as a tidal current of up to three knots. We had reservations with Tripp, but first wanted to refuel. The fuel dock had a large power boat fueling and we were told to stand by. We turned, facing the incoming current and gave just enough fuel to maintain a geostationary position, going three knots through the water, but near zero over the bottom. 19.9 gallons since Hyannis. We were on our mooring by noon. The mooring balls are interesting. They are smaller and Tripp tells you to pick up the whole ball, and put it on deck and reach down to pull up the heavier pennant below.
The primary purpose of out visit here, other than that it is a beautiful spot, was so Lene could rendezvous with Janie and Donna, childhood friends who Lene had not seen since high school in Brooklyn several decades ago. They drove us for a propane refill and groceries and to Donna's very nicely  refurbished, comfortable 1820's home where we picked up kitty litter that Lene had shipped there. After unloading and stowing we went back to shore, were joined by Donna's wife, Vicki, had dinner at the local restaurant, overlooking the river, Back Eddy, and some wine aboard with the friends.
The marina's launch charges only $1 per person per ride so the dink had a rest day on its davit bar. A very pleasant day for Lene, and I got to meet some new friends.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Days 30 and 31 -- August 21-22 -- Cuttyhunk -- 14.5 nm

I planned to leave Tashmoo at eleven a.m. I had read that this would be one hour before high tide. But I saw that it was already high at 10:30 so we left then, and had no less than ten feet under us on the way out. (So we did not come in at high tide two days earlier!) Once out, we raised full sails and tried wing on wing for a while, heading about 280 magnetic. Then a broad reach, followed by dead air (during which we motored for five minutes) before the wind came back. But now it was on our port bow and then port beam. So wind came from all over the place and at all speeds from zero to 19 wind units.
Passing through Quick's Hole back into Buzzards Bay was easy. It is wide and we gybed in it. It was warm and sunny and a pleasure to sail. We saw about fifteen boats anchored in single file at the western side of this hole, including three sailboats.  I want to investigate whether this can be done safely overnight, and in what wind conditions. We took a mooring in the inner harbor of Cuddyhunk at 2:30 after four hours underway. Our speed under sail varied between zero and 7.4 knots. And our average speed was about 3.6 knots.
I marvel at old time sailors' ability to navigate to a destination by dead reckoning. One goes off course in gusts and speed is never constant and has to be measured through the water with set and drift (which are also constantly changing) needing to be factored in. Our chart plotter tells me where I am, what direction I'm actually moving (not heading) and how fast I'm actually going across the surface of the earth. It makes sailing very easy -- until the electronic toy breaks or looses juice. Still, near shore (at least by day and without fog), one can take bearings on notable landmarks and have a pretty good idea where one is. And far off shore, until one approaches shore, it is less important to know exactly where you are.
We lowered the dink but dined aboard both nights here. A sloop, "R and R", took the mooring next to us. Parents with a son and daughter. The kids were good at following instructions of the father to perform needed tasks. Then I saw father and son in their dink, struggling to get their outboard to start. After a few minutes I offered them ours so the kids were able to get their ice cream after all. I get help from so many folks that it's a pleasure to be able to give back.
The moorings here were apparently reset since the last time we were in the inner harbor. (In 2013 we anchored in the less protected outer harbor.) They seem much closer than before, too darn close for comfort, privacy or safety.
It rained our first night but the days have been lovely, clear, bright, warm but not hot and evenings of late have called for a light quilt, reminding us that fall is on its way.
We dinked ashore in search of fresh fish, remembering a time when we approached the dock from land and saw a thick rope hanging down from a scaffold --- which turned out to be half a swordfish. That time we paid for a healthy slice and cooked it immediately once aboard. But alas, those days are over. There is a new man who brings fish to Cuttyhunk (though not today) but he gets his fish from the markets in New Bedford, not from the sea.  We got a Cuttyhunk postcard, walked to the top for the views (Newport bridge towers, New Bedford, and the Vineyard) got two gallons of water and 1.5 of diesel in our auxiliary yellow tank. There was a restaurant and a B and B called the Fishing Club at which I had breakfast once with Jim, K.C. and Art maybe ten years ago. The B and B is still here but the restaurant is gone. Young men still cruise around in the mooring field offering plates of raw bar, and cooked lobsters can be purchased at a stand near the dinghy dock. However, the former restaurant is now a gift shop, though the tiny food market is still here. You think nothing changes in a small island like this, winter population 15, but changes do take place.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Days 28-29. -- August 19-20. -- Lake Tashmoo in Martha's Vineyard -- 20.5 nm

We were underway from 8:05 to 12:35, four and a half hours, and most of the time we intentionally sailed slowly, by furling the small jib, going off course and trimming the main for non optimum speed. Why would I ever intentionally go slow, folks who know me may ask? Because (1) having motored out through the channel too fast, at six knots without straining the engine, and, (2) at the Mate's request, not hoisting the main until breakfast was cooked and eaten, we found that we were sailing across Buzzards Bay at more than six knots toward Woods Hole and would arrive there while it was too near full flood unless we slowed down. So it was a gentle sail at about three knots on a port reach and we mostly sailed through the Hole about half an hour before slack, with only a knot or two of current pushing us, a slow pace that let us see the buoys rather than rush past them, possibly onto the rocks. Slower is safer, especially because there is s lot of traffic going both ways in the Hole including big power boats with their huge wakes and ferrys. Also, the current does not flow straight through the channel, but partly to the side, pushing you out of the channel if you are not attentive. In 2008 we came through with friends, Peter and Debbie, much faster, and our keel bounced off a rock on the way! This time it was easy, though we did have to motor during the central past of the compound curve when the wind was on our nose.
Once through the Hole and back into Vineyard Sound, it was only about three miles further to the entrance to Lake Tashmoo, which is the only port in the Vineyard we had never been in. The only trick during this leg was crossing Middle Ground shoal at its 15 foot spot rather than at its eight foot spots. This was easy with the GPS chart plotter. In fact we saw no less than 20 feet of water while crossing the shoal. Coming into Tashmoo at near high tide through the privately maintained reds and greens our seven foot depth alarm beeped only at two spots, briefly. We took a mooring for two nights. The lake is very shallow over much of its surface (like one foot deep). It looks like they dredged the channel through an inside sandbar and we saw folks standing in the water, up to their ankles, on both sides. But our mooring area was in ten feet of water.
After lunch and R and R we dinked to the extremely overcrowded public dinghy dock and walked less than a mile to Vineyard Haven for groceries and posted the last post. We saw "Florence Foster Jenkins" the latest Meryl Streep movie, and had dinner at Copper Wok. It's been a long time since we've had Chinese food and they serve big portions but not great food. At the next table were two couples who live in the Berkshires, where we are going for the Labor Day weekend, but keep their boat, when not cruising, in Rockport Maine. We noticed that Rockport is "full"of wooden boats and the blog (summer 2013) has photos of some of them. And what a boats hey have: a Concordia Yawl of 1956, that they had paid what must be an enormous sum last winter to have everything below the water line replaced. I had seen a half sized model of a Concordia yawl in the Whaling Musuem and the gentleman said "Yes, that's my boat! But why pay for a half sized model." Seeing the model made the defining feature of a yawl, as compared to a ketch, easy for Ilene to see.
Walking back in the dark after dinner we saw and heard part of the big annual fireworks show that was staged in Oak Park. Both of our nights here were very quiet night; we could have saved the $40 mooring fee and anchored. In the morning I did a lot of the remaining navigating, "fixed" the outboard's stalling problem by adjusting a set screw about 3/16" back, so that idle cannot get low enough to stall.  But I seem to have created another problem: the gear shifter -- forward, neutral and reverse -- does not move except at the new idle speed. This fall wiser heads will examine the problem. I went to town our second day here because Lene likes some alone time and cell and wifi service is very terrible in Tashmoo. I also checked out the bookstore which has a good nautical collection and bought vegetables. This was a great place that I had overlooked during prior cruises to The Vineyard, as long as you enter and exit at near high tide. Next stop: Cuttyhunk.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Days 24-27. -- August 15-18 -- New Bedford. -- 12.7 nm

Lots of photo will be added in September.
Learning from yesterday, we left Mattapoiset early, at 8:45 and sailed under main and small jib (though Genoa was doable) with wind from the north. Just a pleasant easy gentle starboard reaching sail on a sunny day. But when we reached the long channel (about five miles long) leading into New Bedford the wind got light, the tide was wrong and the course would have required tacking up the channel. And it is frequented by large commercial fishing vessels. So we motored. We passed the huge sea wall with its movable gates open. It is designed to stop storm surges from wrecking this harbor in hurricanes, leaving open a closable channel 150 feet wide. We took a mooring at Pope's Island Marina at 11:30. That island forms a second barrier to the sea, in terms of waves, filing most of the space, shore to shore. The marina is on the seaward side of the island and our mooring is very close to red "10", which flashes all night.

The rest of out first day here, after checking in, was devoted to food shopping, cleaning and laundry. The staff here are very friendly and helpful. They even gave us one free pass to the Whaling Museum, not advertised as an amenity, and offered to drive us to the Shop and Stop. The mooring price is only $35, with free wifi at the picnic area. But they have an interesting wrinkle: $5 per person for showers! We showered aboard. They have more slips than moorings and in one of the slips is a Solent rigged Contest, of about 45 feet, which looks much like our Saga, called "Watercolors". I took a good look at her from the finger dock in her owner's absence. Another Solent rigged boat took a mooring near us on our last day here. The Marina has a launch, to any part of the harbor,  but it is $3 per person each way, so our dink got good use, except the last afternoon when the outboard temporarily acted up again. The municipal dinghy dock is right in the heart of town, three tenth of a mile across the Acushnet River from us, free and very underutilized. When we visited the Glass Museum (you can skip it) we dinked over a mile upstream to a small dock just shy of the low I-95 bridge and walked back a bit.

The city, at least the downtown part, with its cobblestone streets that we crisscrossed, is small, perhaps eight blocks square and has many old stone buildings formerly and currently used to support the fishing industry as well as many elegant former banks, now housing other businesses and the full array of municipal governmental buildings. This was a very wealthy town in its nineteenth century day. I'm sure it has a suburban and mall based part too, but we did not get that far on foot. I sensed that it got down on its luck but is trying to rebuild with tourism, in addition to its still active fishing industry, bringing in more dollars worth of seafood than any other port in America.

We visited the New Bedford Whaling Museum, the largest of the museums in town. I give a lot of credit to the the whaling museum in Cold Spring Harbor, reviewed in this blog right after the Fourth of July, for covering much of the same ground, with a much smaller budget. New Bedford calls itself "The Whaling Capital of the World" and "The City that Lit America" with whale oil. An early chapter from Moby Dick was set in the Seamans Bethel, an interdenominational religious center built by the Quakers to serve the spiritual needs of the Whalers. It is across the street from the museum and temporarily closed for renovations. Though the Pequod's ill-fated voyage began from Nantucket, Moby Dick's Ishmael visited the Bethel.The whaling industry was a multi million dollar industry but today, with conservation, the whale watching industry is a multi billion dollar industry, albeit with inflated dollars.The museum has a large permanent display devoted to the human contribution to New Bedford's whaling industry mostly from the Azores and Cape Verde Islands, but slso including Eskimos, blacks, native Americans and South Seas Islanders, a very diverse group. In fact the whalers picked up crew wherever they could find them. That diversity is one of the reasons that the
Underground Railroad was so big here, with more runaway slaves here than in any other US city. In other places the black runaways would stand out in the crowd like a sore thumb as a prize for bounty hunters. Here they blended into a diverse crowd. The Museum has a half scale model of the Lagoda, an actual whaling ship, masts and all, indoors, that visitors can board -- if they duck to avoid banging their heads. They also had a vast and somewhat disorganized section on the history of the area and its peoples and a large art gallery featuring  nautical paintings including icescapes by William Bradford, who was a friend of Albert Bierstadt, one of my favorite artists for his western landscapes.
We also visited several gallerys, the U. Mass. campus here, which is its Art School, and the New Bedford Art Museum. The latter had an temporary exhibit of Bierstadt, what luck! But the museum was small, not very good and so a disappointment. But interestingly, the signage was in English, Portugese and Spanish, in that order, with about one third of the 95,000 folks who live here being of Pertugese descent.
We bought some clothing, very inexpensive, and did the Underground Railroad tour led by a ranger of  the National Parks Service. In additions to the Pilgrims and later the Puritans, another religious sect settled in this area: the Quakers, and in addition to their being pacifists, they were leaders in the antislavery movement.
We had lunch in both of the most popular waterfront fish places, The Black Whale and Waterfront Grill. Both are on the waterfront, but at the land end between piers at which the large commercial fishing boats were docked -- so one gets a narrow view of the harbor.
One afternoon, I gave Lene some alone time when visiting the Rotch -Jones - Duff house. Built by the first owner, a Quaker merchant (whaling ship owner) which displayed an elegant lifestyle in its day. The whaling men risked their lives for wages while the owners risked their assets but not their
asses, for profit. Mr. Rotch broke the Nantucket cartel of the whaling industry by moving his operations to New Bedford, which also had the advantage of being a deeper harbor. Another famous local was Rodman, who developed the use of spermaceti into very clean burning candles. The local
fort is named after him, and I wonder if Rodman's Neck, across from the Harlem YC is named after a
relative. I'll check that out some day.

The reason for our fourth day here is that thousands or runners are convening for  a road race in Falmouth and Woods Hole, making moorings there unavailable.  Plans keep changing.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Day 23 -- August 14 -- Mattapoiset -- 8.2 nm

We lallygagged around in Marion until 11:45 with delicious omelettes and sheer laziness in the heat. This was a mistake because in the afternoon the wind came up strongly from the SW, where we had to go, and the tide was against us too. I flew full main and small jib and it was too much with about 25 apparent wind units. We had to go south all the way to Cleveland Ledge before tacking. Too much heeling said the mate, even when I lowered the traveler.  OK, so we will furl the headsail and use only main. But with that configuration we were making only three knots over ground and were being set onto the point that we had to get around. OK, so we motored sailed a few of the miles, till we could turn into the big Bay in which Mattapoiset sits.
Our prior visits were on moorings rented by Mattapoiset Boatyard, on the NE side of the Bay, which are strong moorings. They have a good shower and we took a nice walk in to town.  We always ate at the only real restaurant in town, the Kinsale Inn, which states that it is America's oldest seaside Inn, built in 1790. It had a menu with a mild Irish flavor. Well, Kinsale is an Irish fishing town after all.

This time with the prevailing strong SW winds we anchored off the NE shore, somewhat protected by the land from the wind and greatly protected from the waves. For the record, we were at N. 41, 38.9, W. 70, 48.8, in waters that ranged from 10 to 15 feet, depending on the tides, with 60 feet of snubbed chain (except the snubber line fell off and dangled uselessly in the rather calm night). The mooring field was a bit closer to shore, in water that got gradually shallower, so we were not close to shore and with so much room around us and with the nearby boats vacant we acted like the French with outdoor showering, in complete privacy.
With the heat, we turned to tweaking our remaining itinerary until Westport Mass, where we will be meeting HS friends of Lene. (tweaking our itenarary beat boat polishing in the heat that we were experiencing in harbor.) I figured that in the days available, if the tides worked out, we could go to Woods Hole and thence to Nantucket for a few days. That would have pleased me because our friend Rhoda gave me a copy of Nathaniel Philbrick's "Away Off Shore: Nantucket Island and its People 1602 - 1890" about the whalers from there. They had made an appearance in Robert Hughes's "The Fatal Shore" which I have been reading all summer, about the settlement of Australia, largely as a penal colony.
But Lene was not keen on going east again so Nantucket will have to wait. Lene's
 only prior trip there, on a prior boat, was memorable for the heat, from which we escaped in an air conditioned movie:"Something About Mary" which we enjoyed with Evie and her late husband Selwyn.
Our current proposed itinerary from Mattapoiset is: New Bedford, Hadley's Harbor by Woods Hole in the Elizabeth Islands, Tashmoo Pond (tiny and overlooked until now, a twenty minute walk to Vineyard Haven, Cuddyhunk (at the other end of the Elizabeth's) and then Westport. But like all of our sailing plans, this too is subject to change.
We learned that the Kinsale Inn went out of business three years ago, but there is still a restaurant whose website map suggested to me that it was near the demised Kinsale.  It is simply called The Inn at Mattapoiset and is in the same 1790 building, under new management, without the Irish touch. The food was just as good; not great, and I used their wifi to post the last posting and watched our only bit of the Olympics this year. The dinghy ride in to town, six tenth of a mile, was fun and we secured the dink off the wall of the stone pier to a line strung parallel to the side of the pier, about 20 feet away, so it could not bash against the wall. On the return ride we saw big storm clouds, saw bits of lightning above and below, but the storm was far enough away that we heard no thunder, felt no rain and experienced no increased winds. Coming back to ILENE, she was the only boat in the area with an anchor light, making the approach to her stern very easy.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Day 22 -- August 13 -- Marion -- 7.2 nm

We sailed forth between Wings Neck to the north and Scraggy Neck  to the south (a wide entrance but where do they get these names). We left the Cape and crossed Buzzards Bay to the mainland at Marion. Wind was light and from the NE so we had a broad starboard reach going westward and then a close reach heading northerly into the harbor. We left at 11:45 and got onto a mooring of the Beverly YC at 1:15.  So dividing the miles by the time, one can see that this was a slow passage. And part of the reason for this is that we used only the Genoa with no main. What's the rush? It was sunny and warm but out on the water it was not hot, like it is on land. Most traffic in Buzzards Bay runs to or from the canal, and is either a beat or a run. Crossing the Bay was a pleasure. Alfie Girl no longer cedes sole possession of the cubby in the base of the helmspersons seat to Witty. They both crowd into aAthis tiny space. They enjoyed the ride too, photo to follow, as in almost all of the posts on this cruise.

Marion is a charming little town and I do mean little. It's general store was fun though and it supports a coffee shop and a book store. And it is mostly a residential community, all around the bay; but on foot on a hot day, we did not explore far.
The Beverly YC, whose moorings nearly fill the inner harbor, is the biggest thing around, with a nice but not ostentatious clubhouse, a large membership, low dues and a major claim to fame: the biannual  600+ mile Marion to Bermuda Race starts here. Nice showers, but only two of them, so I wonder how hundreds or racers get clean before the race. My late son in law, Julien, won that race about eight years ago. He did it in a Beneteau 36 and after he won the many older and richer men who spend a fortune trying to do so amended the rules. They now forbid smaller boats like his from entering. Some beautiful boats here, pics to follow.
We dined in ILENE's cockpit, as we have been doing much more this trip than in the past. Lene is very particular about what she eats, and it is often easier for her to cook it herself. One side effect, in addition to a rather low cost cruise, is that because I eat what she cooks, with occasional ice cream or baked dainties ashore, I'll probably weigh less when we get back. I contributed a pan of rutabaga, potato and onion home fries in Marion. Not bad!
In the evening the humidity seemed to reach 100%. The air was wet and the skies grey. We prepared for the possibility of rain and about midnight a front passed. after a decent interval of very strong wind torrential rain fell for about an hour, though we were asleep and not watching the clock. Cool night though, once we were able to open hatches.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Days 20 & 21 -- August 11-12 -- Pocasset Harbor -- 12.7 Nm

  • Underway from Sandwich only 90 minutes, starting at 8 a.m.  The tide in the Canal was fair from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. And all but two of today's miles were in the Canal. The wind was in our face so we motored, at a modest 2000 rpms and made speeds of 7.2 to 9.3 knots, depending on the wind, waves and eddys, which were against us and the current overcoming them. We were slower after exiting the canal.
  • (Where the heck did those dots come from?)
  • We have stayed on moorings at the nearby Kingman Yachting Center in Red Brook Harbor, only about a mile away from Pocasset Harbor several times. We met friends for day sails there twice, including Bennett and Harriet and their friends in 2013 and Rona and Tabou in an earlier summer. But we had not yet used our anchor on this trip, and Pocasset beckoned. With winds forecast from the SW at 10 to 20, the anchorage area in Pocasett, being NE of the high part of Bassett's Island, looked appealing. And the price was right. We were disturbed to find several moorings, mostly empty, in the area shown as the anchorage, but they were far enough apart, we hoped, to give us room for our anchor, especially if they remained vacant.  Sixty feet of snubbed chain in 15 feet of water.  I called the Harbormistress each day. She took our information and told us we could stay the night. I lowered the dink. We cleaned, cooked, ate, read, played games, planned some navigation and slept. The only problem was the wind, which despite the Island's protection, reached 35 wind units on our instrument. Once the anchor showed that it held in winds of that strength, we knew it had dug in and would continue to do so. The next worry became whether we would be able to break free when we wanted to leave. But the half gallon empty milk bottle float that marks it's spot is tied on with a strong line that is tied near the blade of the anchor, providing an alternative pulling up point that should get us free. Worries were not to become realities; exit was easy.
  • We did not go ashore, except one trip I made alone, on the second day, to Barlows Landing dinghy dock on the NE side of the harbor, about .6 miles from ILENE as the crow flies, longer if one wants to stay in the channel as I did. The Landing is a municipal facility at the foot of Barlows Landing Road, on which sit several placarded 18th and 19th century homes, including that of Mr. Barlow. I saw a group of wild turkeys. I asked in several stores for a postcard from Pocasset. A man in one of them gave me a ride to the Kingman Yacht Center where one of the four venders there who I asked, after saying they had none, offered me her only postcard, a map of The Cape, for the astronomical price of $2.11, including tax. I took it and having mailed it, commenced the walk back home. Without my extending my thumb, another local man gave me a ride to a small supermarket on Barlows Landing Road, where I got the two items Lene wanted. The trip back in the dink was a rough one with high winds threatening to lift the bow of the dink too high. I scooted forward, placing more weight toward the bow.
  • Thunderstorms had been predicted both days and we got one, sort of, the second night. The lightening  was visible, the thunder was sustained but not at all loud and the rain light. And unlike most such storms, which come with the passing of  a front accompanied by strong winds, this storm saw the seas flatten out. The 20 to 35 knots came down to five!
  • In the morning after breakfast I tried a new functionality, for me, in our Raytheon chart plotter called "Variable Range Line / Electronic Bearing Marker, or VRL/EBM. This has always been in the device, but I had never had occasion to use it, drawing my lines on my paper charts. This function allows one to draw electronic lines on the chart plotter screen and I don't need dividers to measure their length. The need arose because one page of our chart book has gone missing and I want to know and feel a need to report out daily mileage.  We have the InavX progrem on the IPad so we are not lost, but the VRL/EBM is supposed to make route planning easier. It is true about new tools that it takes some time to learn how to use them. I'm not there yet. I also did some more topside polishing, but at this rate it won't all be done by hauling time.
  • As we were about to leave, a man in a dink came by and told us to take a mooring, for free! I wish I had known that two days earlier when we arrived. Neither the cruising guide book nor the Harbormaster told us this. Yes, he said, they want us to use them so that the seaweed does not grow on them -- just like I hope ILENE's is used by guests at the Harlem. The numbers painted on the mooring balls refer to the size of the boat they are suitable for: I should select one with a number 43 or larger. Pocasett: I'll be back!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Day 19 -- August 10 -- Sandwich MA -- 23.1 Nm

Into each cruise some rain must fall. This was our first day of it. We got underway at 7:45 and arrived at 12:15. It started as a nice sail, though the wind was from the SW, where we had to go. We went south first and then tacked to the west, and could almost make the waypoint until the wind  came more southerly and diminished. No problem with less wind, we just unrolled the Genoa to replace the small jib. But then the wind got very strong, indicating 35 wind units on our meter and we could see the storm clouds approaching. Hmmm, they were not supposed to arrive until the afternoon. We furled the headsail, turned on the engine and powered straight for the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal, straight into the seas with high Rome. The rain came, very heavy, and we took down the main, rolled down the front of the dodger and inserted the canvas piece that connects the dodger to the Bimini. It was the last ten miles and I was not feeling sorry for myself as I got wetter and wetter because we saw several smaller boats going the other way without dodger or bimini. "I had no shoes..." -- you know the saying.

The rain stopped about half an hour before our arrival at the Marina slip. actually they wisely put us an the outside end of a "T" dock. This Marina is also gentrifying, building a big new office and shower house building. It is a tiny harbor jammed with docks filled mostly with local small personal fishing boats. I think it was mostly dredged. It's claim to fame is its location, just inside the Cape Cod Bay side of the Canal. So it is a place to hang out while waiting for the tide to go favorable. I had been here once before while crewing, Maine to RI, on Sealeaf, a 58 foot custom sloop, perhaps 2010. but it was a new harbor for ILENE. Knowing the strategic advantage of a short stop here, they have an hourly rate for those who do not plan to spend the night.

We relaxed, showered, visited the nearby supermarket, filled our water tanks and I did some exterior cleaning, of the starboard side, the side where the launch brings us. There is a glass museum in town, a long walk away, but not this time because more storms were forecast and it did rain several times during the afternoon, but only lightly, each time.

A nice couple on a power boat was tied up to our dock, stern to stern. Their boat was named after a country music song and they had come from Warwick in northern  RI, and headed out just before we did in the morning to Charlestown, Boston, where they were going to have dinner with their son. A much faster boat.

Another cool quiet night.

Days 16 - 18 -- August 7-9 -- Provincetown -- 68 nm

One frequent sorry consequence of waiting out a big wind storm is that when it ends you find it has taken all the wind with it. We had some of this, but were able to sail for other parts of the passage from Hyannis. Mooring to mooring 7:02 to 6:35; so a long day, but a good one. We had tide from the get go until 3 pm and especially in the Pollock Rip Channel, where, with tide and full sail, we made nine knots. "Rip" -- even the name of this channel sounds scary! And as usual with places I've never sailed before, a look at the reef lined path on the chart makes it seem like it's quite an obstacle course -- until you get there. In fact, the "channel" is wide, with lots of additional room for tacking, if needed, outside the reds and greens before you get to twelve foot water. We went through of a close starboard reach. We actually cut the end of the Channel, passing through an unbuoyed but wide area as we turned north. Still it could be a hard piece at night, on a stormy day or against the tide. We passed south of Monomoy Island, the big sandbar protruding south from the Cape's SE elbow and we were in the Atlantic. But that is where the wind died and we did a lot of motoring with the main up for stability, though this was not needed, given the calm seas.

And the "forearm" part of the image of the upper Cape curves a bit, gradually more westerly, by which we had hoped to find wind which was slightly off our starboard bow. But I t came up strongly, suddenly and on out port side at 3 pm, letting us sail most of the rest of the way.

We had been told to expect whales if we went ten miles off shore where they swim with the tuna. But adding that much mileage was not in the cards on such a long passage day. It was off Race Point, with the tide racing east, against us, that we passed a pod of whales, about five of them.  They were going west, with the flow, and took the opportunity to blow, spouting their beautiful but foul smelling breath near us and arching their backs perhaps three feet out of the water. The ones we saw did not raise their tails, however, an element of their final deep dive. They leave a slick of smooth water in their wake. Magnificent creatures despite their halitosis. What we dId not see all day until PTown harbor: any sailboats.

I also learned how big the Cape is. It was on our port side all day long. Lene thought it would have been shorter going the other way round the Cape, clockwise, through Woods Hole, up Buzzards Bay, through the Canal and across Cape Cod Bay. I thought not, because we have gone that way about five times, dividing the trip into three or four shorter separate day passages. Next morning I plotted it out and the Admiral was right, but shorter by only three of the 68 miles. The advantage of Lene's route is that unlike the Atlantic route, there are places to put in if a storm comes up. But I'm glad we went the way we did because it is water that I have never sailed before and permitted our vacation to complete a circumnavigation of The Cape and their string of westward extending Elizabeth Islands. Besides, we have many stops planned in Buzzards Bay on the way home. PTown is the farthest from home we will get, and we will be half way through the days we allotted for this cruise here.

The Provincetown Marina has been vastly upgraded in terms of the docks, launches, office and showers. More improvements are scheduled. The basic water is the same, but the owners of the adjacent real estate who have the "rights" to its mooring field can charge higher prices and make more money by gentrifying it.

I contemplated a stop in Wellfleet, on the Bay side, on the way home but decided to call the marina there because of rumors of low water, despite the cruising guide stating at least six feet at low tide. I had anchored way out in the outer harbor, maybe three miles from town, with three friends maybe ten years ago. Nope, there is now only one foot of water at low tide and you have to avoid the four hours centered on low tide even to come in by dink. Until it is dredged, it is on our "off limits" list.

We walked a lot in PTown, pshopped a bit (two nice Vietnamese silk pillows), visited some of the town's 78 galleries and went to the summer stock theater. It was a play about a group of non-college educated mostly white men, who had been laid off from their factory jobs in a rust belt city, Buffalo, when the plant closed. Among other people things they took a few drugs and contemplated suicide. In short, here was the core demographic of Donald Trump's constituency. But they were portrayed very sympathetically and lovingly. It was a musical: The Big Monty.

Last time we were here, in 2013, we met up with my granddaughter, which was a thrill. This time the highlight of our stay was hanging with Greg and Kathy. Greg is an artist and another member of my book group. (There are only eight of them plus me, so with Lee in Hyannis and Greg here in PTown, I connected with a quarter of them. I have been a member of the group only about 21 years and I'm still the rookie; talk about stability!) We spent all afternoon and had dinner together before they took us to Stop and Shop for three large canvas bags of foodstuffs, and then drove us to the launch dock. During the afternoon we visited the National Parks Service's Provincelands Visitors Center and then took a long walk around a huge lilypond in the Beech Forest, near the beach. But mostly we just talked and talked. Great folks.
The only disappointment here is that one of the four little packages we bought on line to be shipped here, did not arrive, though we got an email message that it did.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Days 12 - 15 -- August 3 - 6 -- Hyannis, on The Cape -- 25.7 nm

So far, when we have had wind, it was mostly from the SW, pushing us along to the east. On this passage from Edgartown, however, the wind was from the NE; it was a beat and we put up the single reefed main and small jib, sacrificing some speed, especially when the wind diminished a bit, for greater comfort and control. The mileage  reported in the title of each post is measured along the shortest logical route. "Logical" is my word meaning I exclude hazardous shortcuts. I mark off waypoints on the paper charts, draw lines between them, measure the length of each line and add up the total -- mooring to mooring.

But beating back and forth makes actual mileage longer. Assuming one can tack at a 90 degree angle and ignoring the leeway one gets, my high school geometry, if I remember correctly, gives the relationship between the lengths of sides of a right triangle as "one, one and the square route of two". Thus we would go two miles tacking as compared to 1.414 along the hypotenuse of the straight course. Two is more than 1/3 more than 1.414. On this passage  I marked dots close to the points where we tacked, and after arrival calculated that mileage and it was only 28.4, much less than 1/3 more than the nominal 25.8. Well some of this was because more than four miles of the total were motoring out of Edgartown and into Hyannis on the nominal route, but the reason that the actual was not much longer than the shortest logical is that the shortest logical course was not a straight line to the northeast but a series of more northerly segments at the beginning and end with more easterly legs in the middle. Also the wind changed half way through the passage. It started at about 45 degrees and ended clocked around to 70 degrees.

It was a fun sail from 7:15 to 12:15, extended by a trip further into the Hyannis inner harbor for fuel and to refill water tanks. We had used up the water in one tank and been running on the other for the last thirteen day. Both are now full. And we have used 20.4 gallons of diesel since City Island, in twelve days, during which we had the engine on 27.5 hours. Some of these hours are merely to operate the refrigeration, in neutral. But I had wondered whether the higher pitch of our propeller would affect out gallon per hour burn rate. Nope; still 3/4 of a gallon per hour. But I suppose some of you are bored by now with all the math.

Hyannis is a nice YC with about 500 members and several thousand additional social members. The club is on a beach and on our arrival the youth program was in full swing with many kids learning to sail and even more swimming off the beach. We took the launch ashore to drop garbage, pay for our mooring and take showers, and returned for a delicious steak dinner aboard.

We were here aboard ILENE in 2008, but this time our trip coincided with a visit by Lee, of my book group, his wife Patty and their sons Aaron and Benjamin, to the nearby home they have owned for over sixty years. Small, lovely and with an outdoor shower!  We spent a full twelve hour day with them, including all three meals, a walk to the beach at nearby Lewis Bay, and after lunch, a bike ride, of only about 1.5 miles, to Seagull Beach, on Vinyard Sound where we swam and walked. Their guests of the night before are oyster farmers who brought a bag of Wellfleets. And I learned a new skill -- oyster shucking! Our friends also chauffeured us everywhere: laundry, supermarket, post office, drug store, RadioShack and back to the laundry to pick up the fresh stuff.

Next day we took them to lunch at the Club, and Lee and Aaron accompanied us for a day sail out in Vineyard Sound. They had a good time and Aaron mastered the wheel, which was a challenge with strong winds in the mid twenties. Our round trip was fifteen miles, mostly near a beam reach, with reefer main and small job. We hit 8.1 knots and this against a small tide.

I created an accidental collision with 2013 41 foot Beneteau moored near us due to impatience, ego, foolishness and stupidity on my part as we were leaving. Our port side hit his anchor. I called the Club immediately to report the incident and went to his boat to exchange info with its owner upon our return. He is cruising back to Annapolis and checking out his anchor and I need a new stanchion.

The other excitement occurred near the end of the sail when the pin in the shackle that holds the main sheet block to the traveller sheared, making for the boom swinging free, back and forth. I secured it temporarily and had a replacement shackle aboard that I put in when we got onto the mooring. Too much negative excitement for one day, if you ask me.

We had planned to sail to Nantucket on August 6, but took another lay day in Hyannis and have sadly decided to blow off Nantucket this season. The reason was the weather and the tides. During the night the ride was bouncy due to strong winds in the harbor. Several weather sources said it was to be from the SW at 10 to 20 knots. The direction was correct but it was a lot stronger. Our instruments in the morning showed the wind in the low 30s with gusts to 40. But one does not need instrument to hear the wind howling in the rigging and feel the bouncing of the boat. And with all night to build them, the waves outside the harbor would be much greater. Finally, most folks are sensible enough to stay put in punishing winds. No one came in to Hyannis YC. So if we had gotten to Nantucket today, there was a strong likelihood that there would not be an available mooring for us there.

And Nantucket had to be scratched because the next leg, to Provincetown, is a long 69 mile passage through Pollock Rip Channel and we wanted favorable tide and an early start. We plan to start at 7 on August 7th. Each of the next few days if we had spent them in Nantucket would have meant almost  an hour additional delay in the starting time.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Days 9-11 -- July 31 to Aug 2 -- Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard -- 9.8 nm

No sailing on the short passage from Vineyard Haven to this, our third port on The Vineyard. First, Lene requested no heeling while she made breakfast, and then, after turning the corner, the paltry wind, faced us. We were underway only about 90 minutes, 9:15 to 10:45. After talking with Lee, we made a date, subject to weather, for Thursday in Hyannis, making Wednesday our passage day. So we made arrangements to stay three nights in Edgartown on the Harbormaster's mooring "yellow 30".

It's funny how each of the separate towns on this island runs things in their harbors so differently. In Menemsha, they did not want payment until the evening before we left. The other spots like to be paid promptly. In Vineyard Haven it is cash or check only; no credit cards. Here in Edgartown they take only credit cards, no cash or check. They each probably have their reasons and the rugged New England and islander individualism mentality is a potential cause. We can pay either way but it's funny how differently they want it. It's surprising how well the all-island inter-town bus system works. We have been to Edgartown before twice, by bus, but never by boat. The Edgartown YC gives reciprocal privileges to  visiting yachts to use their dinghy dock and the club is in the heart of town and only .47 miles from our mooring.

Usually Lene does all the cooking aboard but I made up a mess of sausages, peppers and onions and we needed pasta sauce and, for me, French bread. The reason for a trip to town! After coffee at a nice cafe, "Among The Flowers", and before browsing the bookstore, we bought both items and a postcard at three different local shops including "Rosewater" and "The Black Sheep". Colorful names.

During the dinghy trip to town, I believe I discovered the cause of the outboard failure. It happened again when I slowed to idle speed on approaching the dock. There is an adjustment that determines idle speed and for our outboard my hypotheses is that it is currently set too low, starving the engine of fuel and shutting her down. So until I can figure out how to bump up that setting, we will just avoid idle speed, taking the engine out of gear when approaching a destination.

It rained one night and another day and was cooler here. We did a lot of work on the net, paying bills, buying things to be delivered to ILENE, care of the Provincetown Marina.

The good day we took an afternoon bike ride to Oak Bluffs, less than 15 miles, round trip. We had moored ILENE in its tiny crowded harbor in 2008. When you put three boats in rafts on each tightly spaced mooring ball it can be tricky trying to get out, especially if there is strong wind, as was the case in '08. This time the harbor was less crowded.
Oak Bluffs was a camp meeting ground for one of the Protestant denominations in the 1890's and is a true Mecca for lovers of ornately painted gingerbread homes. It has a merry-go-round and lots of beach-related stores but not the bars and tattoo parlors of places like Daytona Beach; more family friendly, I would say. All of  The Vineyard, but especially Oak Bluffs has a lot of seemingly middle class Black people. Thus the Island, overall, is integrated. Whether or not the folks are segregated into separate neighborhoods, like most of America, is something I did not investigate.

The bike ride was fun, mostly along the Shore Road between the ocean on one side and a large saltwater lake, Sengekontacket Pond, just east of it. Lots of cars lined the road as folks were on the beach to both sides, in the water, and on every sort of craft: tubes, kayaks, sunfish, dinghies,  kite boards, etc. a sunny and windy day, a good day for sailing, but a lay day for us,

Returning, we did some shopping, gallery hopping and checked out a very luxurious new 140 foot sloop built in Holland along the lines of the racers of the 1930's with elegant overhangs forward and aft: Topaz. It was tied up at the YC, its crew having brought it over for the owner, who talked with us, and his daughters who were aboard. We also checked out the "Never Late" ferry which traverses the 550 foot wide harbor mouth to Chappiquidick Island, which the folks call "Chappy". The ferry is never late because it has no schedule but runs continually, on demand. There was a barrier island at the southern, Atlantic, side of this harbor, joining Chappy to MV, but it got blown out by a hurricane a few years ago, creating quite a tidal current running through the harbor.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Day 8 -- July 30 -- Vineyard Haven , MV -- 17.7 nm

Yes, here in Massachusetts, except for the scheduled passages to and from Provincetown, our hops twixt ports will be shorter.

We transferred the mooring pennant to a 45' Dutch boat built in 1968. In those early days of fiberglass they did not know how strong glass and resin was and laid in heavy thick sides. The owner had three lovely well behaved young kids aboard who requested permission to board, which was granted, and played with our feline team. Before separating ourselves from the Dutch built boat, we said goodbye to Jim, and his 31 foot Pearson, which was tied to our port side and was headed for Cuddyhunk.

Casting off at 9:15, we hugged the north shore of The Vinyard, which looks a lot like the north shore of eastern Long Island, with high sand cliffs reaching down to the sea, girdled by huge rocks. But there was no wind so we motored all the way. I saw turbulent water and unrolled the small jib to give it a try but the turbulence was caused by rough tidal flows, not wind.

The Harbormaster assigned us a mooring inside the sea wall which we took at 10:45. This location would have been more valuable if there had been a rough night, but it is the same price and a shorter dinghy ride, compared to those outside the sea wall. We found ourselves moored among five schooners for which VH is their hailing port. Beautiful old fashioned craft with the taller of their two masts aft of the shorter one. So different from ILENE's sleek modernity, yet both have their place on the water and in the hearts of their fans.

We contemplated leaving the dink hauled up and taking the launch in to town, but our two round trips for the two of us would have cost $32, so I lowered our dink, first for a grocery run and later, in the evening, to take in Woody Allen's latest movie, Cafe Society.

And the first of those trips is when our only problem here occurred. I slowed down to idle speed to talk with the folks on a nearby Solent rigged Tartan 44 and our Yamaha four stroke outboard died and would not restart. So I rowed a few hundred yards to the dinghy dock by the ferry landing and tried again. No luck. I noticed that the gas tank was low -- not empty but low. So while Lene was in Stop and Shop I  took it to the gas station and put in three gallons. Still no luck. Lene got to talking with another boat owner who recommended a mechanic who lived on a houseboat  about 150 yards from our mooring. He agreed to come over to the dock but the dairy products we had purchased could spoil so I rowed us back and he came to the boat. He asked what I had done to try to get the outboard to start. Hearing my story he said: "You probably flooded it. You don't need to choke an engine after it is warm. Try again." And she started right up. Our helper would accept neither coffee, beer nor cash as a reward for his service. He is an artist and a tour boat operator. I told him about the houseboat used by Noble at the Noble Maritime Collection we visited last winter.

A quiet night, cooler than the last few.