Friday, July 1, 2016

A Day of Firsts

Today was our first day to sail somewhere, instead of glorified circles to end up where we started at the dock. Given the light wind forecast, we timed our departure to catch the ebb current out of Fisher's Sound on our way to the Block. In the Sound we had a zephyr or two, but it was often calm with us doing 3 kts., half from current. The fluttering flag on the Eastern end of Fisher's Island gave us hope as we were flushed through the reefs and dumped into Block Island Sound.

Slowly the wind freshened until we were spinnaker reaching at 6-7 kts. in 10-12 kts. true. We were in the ocean but it felt like a lake; no seas other than sport fish wakes. A couple of hours of delightful sailing brought us to Bock Island around noon. Dragging is a well known problem in the anchorage and moorings are first come first served. We're here on Thursday to beat the 4th of July weekend crunch for a mooring. Too late. Turns out folks came out a week early to grab a mooring and hold on for dear life throughout the week and weekend. Geesh. The crowds and lack of anchorages is a big problem in New England. You have to reserve a mooring, when you can, or compete against motor boats for first come. All of this put's us on a relentless schedule regardless of currents and weather, which sucks. So while we are determined to enjoy the area while we are here, this isn't my idea of cruising.

I did research best spots to try anchoring, so we had a plan B. Thing is, we had never before dropped the anchor on this boat: another first! Down to the depths she went searching for a purchase on eel grass and oyster shells. We go into our ritual for difficult spots. Basically let the anchor sit awhile and work its way gently into the seabed before we try backing down to set it hard. In the meantime, with the engine ticking over just in case, we take down the furled spinnaker, clean up lines, etc. Then a gentle backing down and more cleaning up. Finally, a good hard pull to make sure she's stuck and a snubber.

Making sure we're anchored fast is only half the battle. We look around at our neighbors trying to gauge who might come loose and what risk they pose to us. That is how most boats are wrecked here. Surprisingly, our little group all look well set except a small motorboat, which isn't large enough to be threatening. Coming back from a shore excursion, however, we find this behemoth offshore tug, which appears to have been salvaged for cruising, anchored a 100 meters to windward. We'll be little more than a speed bump if this thing drags its rusty hulk over us. I think of moving, but the area is starting to crowd up and the better bottoms already occupied. Though the harbor master says there are only 800 boats right now, out of the expected 2000 this weekend!

We now have 15 kts., gusting higher, in the anchorage so Spencer figures it's time to launch Puff and go sailing around the Salt Pond, with mom as added ballast. We haven't tried sailing Puff with 2 people - another first for today. Weight placement is critical. Off they go! Spars flexing, mast step creaking under the load, I've never seen a pram go so fast! Puff and crew took satisfaction in sailing past the smaller motor dinghies, since they aren't allowed to plane in the harbor. Not terribly practical for ferrying crew though.

We are waaaaay out from the dinghy dock (not that there's any room on the dock anyway) and it's windy, so part of the money we save not being on a mooring goes to the launch service for a daily pick up and drop off.

This was also our first day to pump real poop into the holding tank. On a boat, all first things come with a built-in problem to solve. Dropping the anchor can snag the bowsprit bridle: hmmm. As to the holding tank, it seems to be holding so I can only assume it's saving its surprise for later. Maybe it'll implode on the first pump out. Now that's a lovely thought.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you guys are going to have quite the exciting holiday this weekend! Hopefully you aren't playing bumper boats with your neighbors. And David says "always saving the shit for last" haha!!

    See you in less than 4 weeks!!!

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