Author Topic: Mona SOBO 2016  (Read 2530 times)

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ralay

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Mona SOBO 2016
« on: October 18, 2016, 03:15:24 PM »
Hey folks.  Woody and I left Boston last Friday to head south...somewhere...for the winter.  We went out to Provincetown for the weekend and are in Onset, MA today, on the south side of the Cape Cod Canal.  The weather has been warm and beautiful, but the wind has been poop.  We've had 25kts out of the SW or nothing at all.  We have a heavy boat that's not very weatherly and it's exasperating to have nothing but strong headwinds or totally glassy water. 

When we're not travelling, it's always easy to say, "On the NEXT trip, we're not going to have a schedule and we're going to sail more!"  The problem is that there's ALWAYS a schedule, even if it's not a personal schedule.  The changing of the seasons presents a schedule.  No one wants to be clobbered by hurricanes or winter storms.  There's all the schedules that municipalities impose (48 hours here, 7 days there).  There's the schedules the wind imposes. Most anchorages don't afford 360 degree protection.  It's common to be chased out of an anchorages by shifts in the wind.  It's also common to need to be somewhere when the current is flowing this way or that or when the sun is still up/in a certain orientation.

We've also been talking about the problems of avoiding the hordes of other boaters.  Our north bound and south bound trips this year have been at the edges the normal season for New England sailing.  If we had left earlier in the fall, we wouldn't feel the pressure of winter on our heels, but we'd have a very difficult time finding room to anchor.  From NYC to Boston, almost every good nook is filled to the brim with moorings.  The anchorages we've used have all only had room for a few transient boats to anchor outside the mooring fields.  There's only room for us now, because the bulk of cruisers are already south.

Our intentions to be patient and go with the wind are complicated by all these factors even though our personal schedules are 100% empty until spring.

It's also frustrating to feel compelled to leave when the right wind arrives.  I was very excited to rent a bicycle on Monday and ride the trails around Provincetown on Monday.  But when we woke up, the wind seemed just northerly enough to sail.  I felt compelled to take advantage of it.  We skipped breakfast, jumped on deck, and put all the sails up.  We were able to sail about 10nm before it died entirely and I was left angry that we gave up biscuits and gravy and a day of exploring for what turned out to be only 2 hours of wind. 

These are my not-very-romantic ruminations about cruising life today.  I've been thinking about why people often describe the sailing life as being "free."  I think it has its charms, but freedom is rarely one I would use to describe my life while sailing.  If anything, I think it's an exercise in accepting that I rarely get to be in control or have things on my own terms.  It's about having the weather make most of my choices for me and needing to make the best of things.  That seems like the opposite of what most people mean when they talk about freedom.  Freedom is being able to point your car at the object of your desire in any weather at any time and just GO!

So that's my challenge this week - relinquishing my expectations.  Being patient.  Accepting that I'll just have to save some places I wanted to see for next time.  Making my own fun.  Accepting that I'm going to have to listen to the motor more than I want to.

Anyways.  We're in Buzzard's Bay and planning to head through Long Island Sound, down the NJ Coast and up into the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays.  If anyone on our path wants to meet up and gam, let us know!  We're going to read up all our paperbacks at this rate and could use the company.

Offline Godot

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Re: Mona SOBO 2016
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2016, 05:35:01 PM »
Once you hit the Chesapeake, I would love to see you guys again.
Adam
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Middle River, Chesapeake Bay

Online Frank

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Re: Mona SOBO 2016
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2016, 07:56:23 PM »
Great post Relay.....

Yep, the reality is there are many days where you feel vulnerable and out of control.
But.......

You know 😄😄
God made small boats for younger boys and older men

Offline CharlieJ

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Re: Mona SOBO 2016
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2016, 09:36:36 PM »
Sux some times eh Rach? But cruising is not always fantastic, EH? Beats the heck out of sitting on the couch watching sitcoms?

I seriously envy you two, and I've told you before. You guys are young, and living the dream. Enjoy

 
Charlie J
Sailing on S/V Tehani
Meridian 25

On Matagorda Bay
On the Redneck Riviera

ralay

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Re: Mona SOBO 2016
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2016, 11:50:57 AM »
Well, we got up before dawn today to catch the current going down Buzzard's Bay.  The current through the Cape Cod Canal is 5+kts with almost no slack time. 

Today is one of those rare days we got EXACTLY what was forecast - a 90 degree East wind 15kts gusting 20.  Perfect Westsail wind.  It's warm and sunny to boot.  It's rolly with lots of white caps out here but we're trucking right along.  Will make Narragansett Bay tonight, though I think we're gonna go to Dutch harbor rather than Newport this time for better protection from the W/NW. 

Tomorrow will have a fair (SE) wind but it's supposed to rain all day and have fog with terrible visibility.  It's MIGHTY rocky and lobster potty around these parts, so we'll probably stay put.  Then it's gonna go back to gusting W 30-35kts for the next 3 days.  Gonna be slow going until we get to NYC and can turn South. 

Considered going Block Island to Cape May, but even that is a stretch for our boat in a West wind.  No one has ever accused us of pointing very high. 

But today, at least, is awesome sailing, and Newport/Jamestown isn't a bad spot to be stuck.  We'll just keep creeping along whenever the wind isn't blasting out of the west.  We've got the heater to fire up during the cold spells.  Woody is hoping to get stuck in Mystic next. 

ralay

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Re: Mona SOBO 2016
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2016, 11:58:51 AM »
Charlie, how do you know the dream isn't living in a little self-built A frame on the beach?  I think a lot of people have trouble seeing "the dream" anymore once it becomes their daily life.  I think I big part of the definition of "the dream" is that it's a departure from "ordinary" life. 

You've got to be careful living all the dreams too young.  Soren Kierkegaard said, "Pleasure disappoints; possibility - never."   ;) There might be more pleasure in working a 9-5 and anticipating the idealized version of what we're doing than doing it. I'll try to quit spoiling it.   ;D

Offline CharlieJ

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Re: Mona SOBO 2016
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2016, 12:49:00 PM »
:) I suppose I live in the best of two worlds. My A-Frame at the beach, with my woodshop just outside, and my cruising boat ready to go when ever I decide to, for however long I decide:)

Oh, and getting stuck min Mystic would be kinda fun.

Best wishes for good winds

Edited to add-   although, one is the loneliest numbers  ;)
« Last Edit: October 20, 2016, 02:54:14 PM by CharlieJ »
Charlie J
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On Matagorda Bay
On the Redneck Riviera

ralay

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Re: Mona SOBO 2016
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2016, 03:51:27 PM »
Where's that dock that Tehani's tied up to?  I don't think I've ever been there.

Offline CharlieJ

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Re: Mona SOBO 2016
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2016, 05:43:19 PM »
Gated community half way between Port O'Connor and the Vic Barge canal. Honor system for boats- lovely clean bathrooms and showers and nobody around. Dollar a foot, fill out a form add a check or cash and drop into a lock box. It's right across the ICW from the cut to Army Hole. I've stayed in there several times and never seen a soul, except a few maintenance folks. Can't get in by car

Something on that fee- the form sails SAILBOATS $1.00 foot, POWER boats- $50.00.
Charlie J
Sailing on S/V Tehani
Meridian 25

On Matagorda Bay
On the Redneck Riviera

ralay

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Re: Mona SOBO 2016
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2016, 03:50:08 PM »
We anchored in Dutch Harbor in Naragansett Bay last Thursday after my post.  From Friday until today, it's blown 25-35 knots out of the W to NW.  We would have loved to spend that time visiting Newport again, but the anchorage at Newport is open to the NW. 

Dutch Harbor, like most of the good nooks between NYC and Boston has a mooring field that prevented us from anchoring close to shore/dinghy dockage.  We were able to row ashore on Friday to meet Woody's grandparents on their way back from a road trip to Maine.  After Friday, we were forced to tuck in tight behind Dutch Island as there was a gale warning all weekend. 

Though it was impossible to go ashore in Jamestown/Newport without a dinghy motor, Dutch Island did offer us good protection and good holding.  The island is quite tall and forested and has mud up to its rocky face.  The island is owned by the state of RI and is covered in the ruins of a fort and a working lighthouse.  We spent a rainy, blustery Saturday exploring in our foul weather gear and hiding in the fort ruins when the downpour became to intense. 

Since Saturday morning, we've been confined to the boat.  It's been gusting 25-35kts out of the W/NW for the past 5 days.  On Monday, we sailed down to the mouth of Narragansett Bay.  At Point Judith, the waves were exploding on the black rocks beneath the light house in a very New Englandy way and the tears were getting blown right out of my eyes.  We hoped to anchor in the Harbor of Refuge and land the dinghy on the beach at Galilee, but it was too rough, even behind the breakwater.  We motored into Point Judith Pond and anchored in another protected, but remote spot.

I wish I could say we've been doing a bunch of boat work, drawing, writing novels, etc.  But mostly, we've been binge watching TV shows on the lap top and eating comfort food.   ;D  I've baked pumpkin bread and whole wheat bread and we've both been making soups in the pressure cooker.

We feel happy to be on a relatively spacious boat like Mona.  I think we would have been losing our minds if we were still on the Aleutka with no room to even stand up.  It's also nice to have a heavy boat.  So far, conditions this fall have been very similar to conditions this spring - almost every day has a small craft advisory, if not a gale warning.  We're getting only about one day a week of wind out of anything but the W/NW and it has been strong.  Anyone who didn't want to go out when it's gusting at least 20kts would have a heck of a time getting anywhere.   Our heater is also awesome.  The low was in the mid 30's last night and I was getting too warm with the heater set to "1".  I had to open all the dorades to cool off.  Best idea Woody ever had.  Speaking of Woody, it's very nice to have someone you can spend 5 days stuck in a boat with and not want to murder. 

Today we motored a mile up to Wakefield, RI at the top of Point Judith Pond.  The harbor here is also packed with moorings, but the slips at Ram Point Marina are only $1/ft, which is unheard of for this region.  We decided it was well worth it to get fuel/water/groceries, do laundry, and take showers. 

Tomorrow is our one allotted day of East wind this week, so we'll be trying to make the most of it.  Woody wants to go to the library at Mystic Seaport, so our goal tomorrow is to get to Mystic, and hopefully find a place to anchor in the river.  Tomorrow night, the wind is forecast to pick right back up to 35kts, so we'll probably spend the weekend there. 
 
We're trying to be patient with our progress.  Once we get to NYC, we'll be able to turn south and put all these W/NW winds to use.
 

Offline Jim_ME

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Re: Mona SOBO 2016
« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2016, 12:36:02 AM »
Appreciate your posts, especially thoughts on day-to-day experiences, including dealing with the strong unfair winds, anchoring in those places in the late season, what an improvement the cabin heater has been, and so on.

Hope that you are enjoying the Mystic Seaport Museum and area.

Look forward to hearing more about your cruise,
and wishing you fairer winds! :)
 

ralay

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Re: Mona SOBO 2016
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2016, 11:01:33 AM »
Mystic was awesome.  There's a tiny area to anchor north of the last can.  We were the only boat, so we squeezed Mona in.  We were sitting in the mud at low tide, but it was so sheltered, it didn't matter.  There was no real wave action even when it was blowing 30.  There's a dinghy dock at the Seaport and a very pretty cemetery that I landed the dinghy on one day.  It was so enclosed and protected that we felt free to row around all three days. 

The Seaport was awesome.  Admission is good for two days, so we went twice.  Woody spent most of the first day in the research library while I went to a bunch of demonstrations and activities (rope making, cask making, whaling, nav instruments, etc.). Well worth $26, in my opinion.  Dockage, on the other hand is insane.  It's another example of a place it would be very hard to visit cheaply in season.  It would have cost $400 to stay at the marina for 3 days vs $0 in our mud hole.  I also walked to the hardware store and got a 100' tape measure so we could send in our mainsail measuremets.  We tried to do it with a halyard but even the Dacron lines stretch to much for precise measurements.

Today we've got a NNW wind 15-20 and are beating along the CT coast.  It's sunny an cold.  Only little white horses this close to the coast.  With the current, we're making 7.5kts in the gusts with a reef in the main.  That's pretty good for the likes of us.  We're heading somewhere or another on the CT side of Long Is Sound, probably roughly around New Haven. 

Tomorrow is supposed to be 5kt East wind.  If it's anything like the light East wind we had on the way to Mystic, we'll probably have to motor or stay put.  I fixed our spinnaker, but it won't do any good if the apparent wind can't decide if it's ahead of us or behind.  Maybe we can reach over to the NY side?  We'll see. 

Anyways, we're enjoying our second day of sailing wind since we left.  Woo!  We're supposed to get some on Friday too.  It was so warm yesterday (70F) I could take a shower in the cockpit.  Being clean and having a little wind will do a lot for your disposition. 

Offline Norman

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Re: Mona SOBO 2016
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2016, 02:24:28 PM »
Rachel, I always enjoy your posts, and look forward to the possibility of meeting you and Woody as you pass through the Chesapeake on your way to sunnier and warmer ports.

I agree with your comments to CJ further back about the "dream" being an elusive goal.  My dreams have changed with the years, and the realities that I have lived, very different from the dream, have been very good.  Yes, "9 to 5" can be a dream to enjoy (I have not had a real 9 to 5, but got close just before retiring).  Many days brought challenges that I could not have even imagined the day before.  The pride in attacking a problem on unfamiliar equipment, reading and understanding the manual, and restoring it to service leaves a very deep satisfaction. 

One of the best moto's here is "Happiness is being satisfied with what you have".

The real secret is keeping the sun shining inside, and sharing it with those around you, and you seem to do that well.  Yes, you do complain about the wind and weather, as it constrains your life and activities, but blend that in with the things that are right, such as Woody is someone who does not inspire murder in 5 days confined together.  Cheers to both of you!

Send me a PM, and I will send my phone # and email so you can get in touch with me when you are close, and we will find a way to get together.  A combined meeting with Godot would be fine too.

As the sailing farewell goes, Fair winds, and following seas!


ralay

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Re: Mona SOBO 2016
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2016, 03:46:05 PM »
Anchored in Throgg's Neck in the Bronx, at the start of the East River.  Sailed all day Monday to Sachem Head, I think.  Then sailed all day Tuesday to Stratford, CT.  Monday we had pretty strong winds.  One of those days where the depth sounder starts reading the distance to the surface of the water during the gusts.  Joking to Woody to lean over and scrape some of the waterline while we were showing so much of it.  Tuesday we had a forecast for E 5kt.  They were more N and we were able to put up our (newly repaired) asymmetrical spinnaker and ghost along on a reach.  We spent a lot of the day going 2-3 kts but it was so pleasant, no one cared.  We set up the autopilot and worked on jobs on deck (polishing the stainless, lashing, etc.). Had to motor into the Housitonic River as ebb current was 2+kts.  As usual, only boat at anchor.   

Spent 2 days of SW wind doing errands.  Got groceries, did laundry, ate Chinese food - the wonders of civilization.  Fall colors are in full swing. 

Today we had just about a perfect day.  Pulled up the anchor and shot down the river on the last of the ebb.  As we got to the sound, current switched and we rode the flood west.  It was honking out of the NW this morning.  We were beating hard with a reef and the staysail, heeling over good in the gusts and catching a little wake up spray to the face.  We were able to point pretty well (for a WS) in the strong wind and run right along the CT coast at 5-6kts SOW and more SOG.  The wind died back to around 15kt later in the day and we could put up the jib and keep on trucking.  Our timing was such that we could have gone right on through heck Gate, but we decided to stay on this side and visit the museum at the SUNY Maritime College, which is right off our stern.  We've got friends who won't be back to town til Sunday, so we're killing some time. 

I haven't been paying attention to miles, but I'd say we're probably halfway to the Chesapeake.  We'll probably get there in 2-3 jumps. One down the Jersey Coast and one up DE Bay.  Hoping to meet my family in DE for Thanksgiving, so we've got 3 weeks.

Offline CharlieJ

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Re: Mona SOBO 2016
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2016, 04:41:44 PM »
great tales Ralay.

Was great having you on the chat last night. Hope you can do it next Thursday also. Tell James hello for me
Charlie J
Sailing on S/V Tehani
Meridian 25

On Matagorda Bay
On the Redneck Riviera

Online Frank

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Re: Mona SOBO 2016
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2016, 06:31:03 PM »
Those lazy days waiting out winds can be kinda nice. Catch up on tasks, read n be lazy.
Enjoy the journey!
God made small boats for younger boys and older men

Offline Bubba the Pirate

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Re: Mona SOBO 2016
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2016, 05:26:21 AM »
Thanks for letting us follow along!
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Emma  -  Westsail 32
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ralay

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Re: Mona SOBO 2016
« Reply #17 on: November 12, 2016, 12:17:27 PM »
Spent 4 days in various spots in NYC visiting friends.  Got to take a daylight tip down the East River and NY Harbor.  Quite a bit more scenic than our last bleary eyed trip at 3am.  There was plenty of roiling water and heavy traffic, but not too bad.  Ship traffic in Galveston is much worse.  But NYC has a million tugs, ferries, water taxis, and tows going willy nilly.  Pretty easy to navigate with AIS to tell you the names of vessels.  Would be harder without.  Calling "ferry in NY Harbor" sure wouldn't narrow it down.

Stopped in Great Kills, Staten Island for fuel/water.  Very protected, but stuffed with empty moorings.  We helped ourselves to one to wait a few days for weather.  Didn't go ashore except for a walk in the park.  Would be very difficult to find a spot to anchor. 

We hoped for a solid weather window to get us all the way to Cape May, but none was forthcoming.  We were getting forecasts for days with 25kt NW winds (OK) but then W/SW winds with gusts up to 30-35.  We decided to make a day run to Barnegat Inlet and I called ahead for local knowledge.

We were supposed to have 25 kt NW winds, but wound up with more like 10-15.  Needed to motor sail a few hours to make it in before dark.  It was a good call. The inlet was pretty sketchy.  It's uncharted and only has a few movable buoys.  The jetties are partially submerged and had big waterfall breakers on them.  BoatUS and our fried told us the middle of the channel shoals and to hug the jetty all the way in.  We didn't have any problem following those directions in daylight, but it would have been really nerve wracking at night hearing those breakers on the submerged jetty and not being able to see the unit cans/nuns.  We anchored next to two other cruising boats.

In the morning we again had a forecast for NW winds, gusting 25-30.  All three boats got under way and headed out.  The wind was still out of the SW.  The big ketch motored straight into it.  The 35ft sloop looked like they were struggling to figure out how to reduce sail enough while beating.  They're roller furling didn't seem up to the task.  They quickly fell way off and disappeared over the horizon.  We reefed our main down and put up our staysail and Yankee jib and went leaping and crashing straight down the coast.  We had to shut all the seacocks to keep the drains from spouting, but the boat did great.  The harder the wind blew, the higher we pointed.  Around noon we overtook a little sloop (Cape Dory?)  It's sails were furled and it was motoring while getting tossed around.  Mona blasted by in a dead straight line at about 6.5kts throwing big clouds of mist as she hit the wave tops.  It was pretty awesome.  If it had been a race, we won.  We wouldn't have made Cape May until after dark, so we came in at Absecon/Atlantic City around 2pm and took victory bucket baths.  BoatUS towed in another sailboat at dusk.

I suppose we should have kept going as today we're back to high pressure and light wind.  Oh well.  It was really howling last night and we were happy to be inside with the heater on. 

We'll spend the weekend in Cape May then head up DE Bay to spend Thanksgiving with family.

Online Frank

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Re: Mona SOBO 2016
« Reply #18 on: November 12, 2016, 12:54:28 PM »
Great update!
Sounds like heavy placement was nice on the windy day 😄

Have fun
Keep the updates coming.....and a pic or 2
God made small boats for younger boys and older men

Offline Norman

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Re: Mona SOBO 2016
« Reply #19 on: November 12, 2016, 01:53:57 PM »
That is more a cruising update than some of the previous!  Reefed main, staysail, and yankee should have been a fine appearance as you blasted by the competition in your "race"!  When the wind pipes up, a big heavy vessel shines, especially if the crew know how to sail her!

Putting in before dark is a much more pleasant way to go, hopping down a coast.  Your description of entering the harbor between a jetty with breaking waves, and invisible buoys, is exactly why I love to be in before dark.  Leaving in the dark as OK, as you have ample opportunity to assay the situation, and an exactly known starting point.

Soon, you will be with family for the holidays, and around the corner into the Chesapeake Bay.  Plenty early for Thanksgiving, and seeing all the friends and relatives.  In spite of the weather you are making a great many NM toward your wintering port, whatever you choose this year.

Norman