Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Due to popular demand ...

Oh all right, so the demand was from two people. Anyway, a couple asked if we had a blog and we had to say only in Chinese (June's blog has been well-received by those who have read it). The result is that I will do my best to keep up this blog. This should prove a bit easier since the amount of work to do on the boat is declining substantially, if only because of all the work that has been done in the past 20 months.

Rather than trying to summarize what has been happening in the past year since the last blog entry I think I will pick up in the past month or so. If anyone has questions about earlier events, please let me know. Our recent time on board started in Noank, CT (a lovely village to visit, go to Abbott's for lobster - if you are old enough to appreciate it, there is a Costello's nearby that specializes in crabs) where we had the boat out of the water for planned maintenance. The biggest jobs were doing the bottom and installing both wind power and two solar panels. The bottom job included a lot of fairing (filling in low spots to make the bottom more streamlined) and raising the waterline about 3" in the bow - something about the 100 gallon water tank and 400+ pounds of ground tackle up there I guess. Raising the waterline meant painting a nifty red stripe after some careful measuring - every metre of length meant that the waterline changed by 3 to 4 mm. The solar and wind power were not too difficult - just running a lot of wires through very constricted spaces.

After leaving Noank we wandered east and north with the general goal being to go to Maine for several weeks. We certainly did not hurry (very used to this retired business now and June seems to be a fast learner too). Some highlights (or not) of the journey):

Fisher's Island, NY - FI is only about 3 mi from Noank but I just wanted to somewhere different from where we had been for about a month; we anchored in the West Bay of this island that is about 2/3 private and has summer houses on it that would be bigger than the biggest houses in the Post Rd area in Toronto.

Point Judith Pond, RI - I thought this would be a bit more pastoral than it turned out to be. It is long, shallow bay inland from the coast. We barely managed in a channel that the cruising guide said should have been a bit deeper than it turned out to be. We found a good place to anchor that got nicer as the weekend crowds disappeared.

Between one rich area and another - we were passed by this boat as we were heading toward Cuttyhunk. They were going from Newport to either Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket -- rich places all. Our boat seems big at 45 feet. This one apparently was 45 m long (judging from the emblem on this sail). Registration was in Bermuda

Cuttyhunk, MA - This is a remote island (by the standards of the region) that has a few hundred summer residents and less than 100 during the winter. You feel that you are in a different kind of place here, more like Maine or Nova Scotia.

The harbor is wonderfully protected but it is almost full with moorings - a common theme in New England south of Boston (and even parts north of it). We did anchor in close company (us on the left of the photo) and spent a couple of nice nights although the weather was cool and gray.

I had anchored at Cuttyhunk in the early '80s. It seemed much more crowded now and there were even moorings in the outer bay that were open to winds from the north and northeast. Cuttyhunk was also overrun by bunnies as well as tourists (actually more bunnies than tourists I think). They had little fear of people and I had to stop June from adopting one (or more).

Marion, MA - we anchored in a crowded harbor here as well. They have left a little marked anchorage that has room for two boats at most. We ended up here for two nights as there was a gale warning for the area including nearby Buzzards Bay which is not very large and pretty well-protected and I am sure not an area prone to gales in July. This storm caused considerable damage to boats in the area including a couple ending on the beach at Block Island.

From Marion you have to time your arrival at the Cape Cod Canal. Currents in the Canal can be up to 5 knots. We avoided the full ebb tide but still did more than 11 knots over the bottom for a time. The canal allows you to avoid a very long trip around all of Cape Cod. There are three bridges over the canal - the nearest one is a railroad bridge which is rarely lowered. The others are high level highway bridges.

Plymouth - as in Rock.

Not one of our favourite places for a variety of reasons as you shall see. There are not many places to stop between the Canal and Boston and this was positioned well although you have to go in for almost an hour from the sea to the harbour. Not sure what the Pilgrims saw in this place that made them want to stay, although there is a very good stream available. The very large harbour is mainly sandbanks (green on the chart), many of which appear at low tide (the tide range is 9'+ rather than the 3' or south of the Canal.

Problem #1 - In the narrow channel next to Plymouth Beach (A on chart), June went forward to pull some chain on deck so we could anchor efficiently when we got to the deeper area parallel to the channel after it turns westward (B). Next thing we knew, the anchor ( a lovely and effective 60 lb Manson Supreme) had slipped off the windlass and was heading to the bottom taking our anchor chain with it (almost $4 a foot x 200 feet). It was tied to a rope that was pulled on deck after all the chain was gone and just pulled out the knot. I assume that the knot had loosened as it was under the chain that was constantly moving as the boat rolled and pitched.

When we got to the supposed anchorage area we found that it was pretty much full of moorings. We ended up taking one of the town moorings. These were $45 a night and that did not include launch service or showers ashore. We hired a work boat and guy with a grapnel to try to snag the anchor chain since we knew where it was. After about 3 hours we had pulled up four old lobster pots, assorted rope and wire cables and an anchor - but the wrong one a small Danforth-style. We gave up on this and chalk it up to a (pricey) learning experience. The new anchor and rode are now eye-sliced to a couple of hundred feet of 3/4 rope which has a large shackle at the other end that it too large to come through the hawse hole. The shackle is then tied securely inside the boat as well.

Problem #2
- While we sitting at our mooring with no other boats witin a quarter mile a sailboat ran into us! There was no reason for this at all. Winds were about 10 knots and the tide was high so they could go where they wanted to. The owner and his wife were below apparently and their adult daughter was at the helm. I think the closer she got to us the more she just froze up. She could easily have turned right or left a bit and missed us, but ... The damage consisted of a hole about the size of a walnut near the bow and about 6" below the deck. The lovely teak rubrail was also crushed and there were assorted scrapes and scratches.

The culprit (below) was only 22' long but weighed around 6000 pounds. It also had a bronze forestay fitting that was quite sharp. This fitting was torn off his boat in the collision but it took all of the damage.

After this we were able to move to a Plymouth YC mooring (C on chart)that was the same price but included launch service and the use of the club's facilities. PYC is a 19th century club and very friendly but still a bit traditional. They have an 8 am and sundown cannon for example. In contrast to most clubs on Lake Ontario their membership seemed quite young with many young families. Our mooring was quite close to Plymouth Rock (D on chart

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