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

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Days 86 and 87, September 11-12 -- Clinton CT to the Black Rock YC, CT to HOME at the Harlem Yacht Club --35 and 37 NM

We have stopped several times at the Fayerweather YC in Blackrock CT, but whenever we tried to visit the Black Rock YC,

about half a mile less far up the creek, they were too busy, having a regatta, sold out, etc. This time they were open and a very nice club it is, founded in 1928, with a large modern club house with a swimming pool and tennis courts. But the restaurant is closed on Mondays so we cannot report on the cuisine. Like the Harlem it an all-moorings yacht club served by a launch, but unlike the Harlem is has no dock that sailboats can use, even to tie up temporarily near high tide to wash or take on water!
The passage here held promise, but the winds got light, with periods of sailing interspersed with periods of motoring.  Elapsed time of 6.25 hours.  We had two miles getting out into the sound, a straight shot of due west for 28 miles and then a bit more northerly and going in at the end around this damaged daymarker.
Tide was with us almost the whole way.

Our final day was likewise almost uneventful with the primary waypoint, Good old Execution Rocks,  a straight shot after clearing
black Rock and the Penfield reef behind it.

Such a windless day that we did not even put up even a single sail. We had tide almost the entire 5.25 hours underway. We gave the diesel its annual workout, intended to burn off carbon deposits that will accumulate if it is not worked hard occasionally. We ran for half an hour at 2500 rpms. Maybe that is not fast enough?
The passage was not totally eventless however, including a first in my life of sail. We were motoring along off Huntington Harbor with auto pilot steering when this craft came up rapidly behind us and close to us.
I slowed to three knots and the voice came over "Have you had a safety inspection in the last year?" "No, not in the last 28 years!" They closed to two feet from our port side, I opened the gate and two of the four Coasties aboard jumped onto ILENE and politely asked for my driver's license and the boat's registration papers. I showed them our life raft and EPIRB, not required on their check list, and the fire extinguishers and life preservers. They did not check whether we had flares or whether they were up to date. They noted that the manufacturer's inside label in our life preservers was worn and gave us a clean bill of health. I believe that cruisers like us (evident by our dinghy hanging from its davit) tend to have the required safety features and more. It is the casual day sailor who is likely to not be so well equipped.
Dave, our senior launch operator, told me that the Club had rented our mooring from almost the entire time we were away to the owners of a boat that did not sail much. That is why our new bridles, installed this spring, were so clean.

As you know, this blog will continue, but the summer cruise of 2017 is now concluded. I enjoy being away but there is no place like home.Thanks for reading.

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