August 31 – September 10 — Life Slows Down after Cruising

Faithful readers who await my traditional post-cruise statistical summarization please be patient.

These eleven days began with packing an amazing amount of stuff and transporting it and our furry felines back to our urban apartment. They also saw sorting through more than ten weeks of mail, observance of Rosh Hashonna, a five course dinner I cooked for nine the night before, a dinner with Bennett and Harriet of “Ohana” at their home, repairs to home and to car, and a visit by hurricane Ida to New York City with deadly torrential rain. The Club’s parking lot, see below, was flooded but not the clubhouse itself. Nor’easters do more harm with their strong, prolonged, unidirectional (rather than cyclonic) winds; they push the Atlantic Ocean into Long Island Sound from the east so fast that the water has no place to go except up^.

I also did about six hours of work on ILENE, mostly cleaning and measuring for replacement parts, on two work days.

And one sail day, with Lene and Marie and Tom, but it turned out to not be one. I congratulate the fortitude of my crew — no requests for adjournment, whining, or whimpering.
The launch got us to the boat just exactly before the rain started. Not heavy, but steady. We put up the clear plastic cockpit side enclosures (which had not been used at all this season or last) as well as the canvas dodger-bimini connecter. And then spent three pleasant hours in the cockpit eating the delicious lunch that Marie had prepared.

I’m thinking we have 5-6 weeks of day sailing left in this season.

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Days 69-71 — Aug 28-30— To New London, Port Jefferson, and Home to City Island

Once we got moving, we moved fast, covering 39, 54 and 37 NM in the final three passage days of this cruise. We was helped by NE winds, the opposite of the prevailing Southwesterlies, especially the first day.

That day we were underway 6.5 hours with only .6 engine hours, and 5/6th of them were due to lallygagging while exiting Mackerel Cove. Heading toward Point Judith with main and small jib on a very broad starboard reach, we were making 8 to 8.5 knots in big seas. Even set to the powerful sea state three, Auto was having trouble holding our course so I furled the jib. After Point Judith, we made the cowardly 270 degree tack to avoid having to jibe, putting the wind very broad on port. The wind direction helped us decide to enter Long Island Sound via Watch Hill Passage rather than The Race: steering twenty degrees further to the right, avoided a dead run.  We considered Stonington, but were making good time so next considered East Harbor and then Hay Harbor on Fishers Island. We had helpful tide. For a while we were on a dead run but the mainland of Rhode Island itself sheltered us a bit, the wind got lighter, the seas lower and we went a bit further to New London.

We took one of the sixteen moorings of the newish municipal Waterfront Park. It is right by the RR station which means a lot of noise for the grade crossing. Last time we were here we were the only boat and the adjacent solid concrete pier was temporarily converted into a stage for one of Shakespeare’s comedies that night. Now, a large clam bar restaurant is on the pier and a visiting rock band entertained its patrons. We were one of five boats and a large old semi-derelict schooner called “Prodigal Sun” was nearby. I chatted with a man who was using her to compete in a big money prize bluefish competition. The five I mentioned did not include the magnificent US Coast Guard ship “Eagle”Several restaurants were nearby and we dined at an American style place where dancing would be taking place later on.

Next morning the wind was still from the NE, but weaker so we had to motor the whole way, with some help from the wind. Exiting New London we passed one of her other famous residents, port to port. You can see sailors standing on her aft deck. Not much of her is above the waterline. We also passed The distinct three story cubical New London Ledge Light to port and the slender white column of New London Harbor Light to Starboard.  New London is very easy getting into and out of.

I like to look up the name, size, course and speed of nearby boats using the AIS feature displayed on the chart plotter. A boat about a mile on our port beam was named Sangaris. The only Sangaris I know is a sturdy seaworthy Amel owned of Craig and Cathy, of the Harlem, which they have cruised throughout the Mediterranean and Europe. We visited them in Florida in 2015 and they stayed a few nights in our apartment. A VHF hail confirmed and we resorted to cell phone communications. They had spent the night at Fishers Island and, like us, were headed for Port Jeff.

We got there first but a funny thing happened while we were trying to anchor.

With the anchor about twelve feet down, but not yet on the bottom, the windlass froze: no up and no down, just a click. I think I accidentally pushed both the up and the down button simultaneously.  My first thought was to get us unto one of the eighty vacant moorings on a Sunday evening and then to raise the anchor back on deck. We do have a second anchor, but I was not thinking of that. We used a line and the jib halyard winch on the mast to raise the anchor out of the water, but it came up backwards and needed help to twist facing right-side forward for its shackle to get lifted past the roller. Craig came rowing over in his dink, turned it and we were able to pull it the rest of the way back by hand. I would have started to think about how to fix it when we got back to the Harlem the next day. But Craig, an engineer who can fix anything, trouble shot the issue and the burned out fuse was located. No replacement fuse? No problem, let’s look for one not in use! And three inches away was the fuse for the former Lectrasan sewage treatment system that I removed about 15 years ago. It had nothing to protect, was moved to the electric circuit marked “windlass” and the windlass worked again.

In the morning we dinked over to Sangaris for a social call before the our 11:00 am tide based departure. It was pure motoring on the final day, directly into very light winds until Matinecock, where the course changes about twenty degrees to port and the main, which had been put up, was finally able to boost our speed. Cathy and Craig had a car at the Harlem and gave us the keys to use to drive into Manhattan to get our car. Then back to City Island for our last night of sleep aboard with the kitties.

Rest assured dear readers, this blog will be continued.

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Days 66-68 — August 25-27 — Cruising With Yael and Mendy: Cuddyhunk, Newport and Mackerel Cove

Passage from New Bedford to Cuddyhunk, 14 NM, was all by Yanmar after a stop to fuel and water ILENE. Not a peak sailing experience for Yael, though different from her time with us in Casco Bay in 2013; this time she had the sensation of being on the open seas and in mist, briefly out of sight of land. This is Fort Rodham (no relation to Hillary Clinton) which we visited by Car with Ken. With winds from the west, we anchored outside Cuddyhunk, on its east side and dinked in. It is an unusual place. No cars, just golf carts. We visited both of its two stores: the small general food store and the souvenir store, where, with a bit of help from Uncle Roger, Yael scored a CUDDYHUNK T shirt — a conversation starter for her friends back in Israel. On the short walk up to the top of the island, we passed four adjacent buildings on the same side of the street: Historical Society, Town Hall, Library and School, with the church and parsonage opposite. The summit provides great views of Gay Head on Martha’s Vineyard named after the gay colors, red, of its cliffs. and of the Cuddyhunk.   Block Island and the tops of the towers of Newport’s bridge were not visible because of the haze. ILENE is the white speck on the right, anchored outside the Island Yael cooked our dinner with meat she had brought with her and experienced a cockpit shower under cover of darkness, and the other boat was quite far from us.

A calm night and then off to Newport, 25 NM away. The Yanmar continued to sound ragged so I was glad to have enough wind to motor sail, and after a few hours the wind grew strong enough that we were able to sail without the motor. And that finally gave Yael the feel of real sailing. We were making six knots, which is not a thrilling speed but gave her a taste. Rounding Brenton Reef and heading up into Narragansett Bay brought the wind back to our quarter and slower speed. We got a good mooring and started sightseeing. The International Tennis Hall of Fame , the Touro Synagogue (it was closed) plus galleries and some window shopping. Here’s a better picture of Yael and Aunt Lene But instead of public transportation, Yael’s brother, Mendy, who has sailed on ILENE many times, drove from New York and joined us for the night to drive her home the next day. Our cockpit dinner, after sundown, was memorable in the food, the company and the lighting. Mendy chose to sleep in the cockpit, where I have several times failed to get a good night’s sleep.
After blueberry/mango pancakes, we drove to the Cliff Walk, walked about a half hour on it. Relatively light winds deprived our visitors of the sight of the surf pounding on the rocks below. Then we toured the Vanderbilts’ “cottage”, The Breakers, a monument to conspicuous consumption in the gilded age of the 1890’s, before our niece and nephew drove home to Brooklyn.

We took off from the Newport mooring in the early afternoon headed for Mackerel Cove on Jamestown Island but the engine sounded even worse and I looked back and saw only tiny infrequent spurts of water coming from the exhaust pipe with the fumes. The heat alarm did not sound, but I knew this lack of water was bad for the engine so I shut it down and we sailed across the eastern passage of Narragansett Bay, very slowly,  at .9 to 1.7 knots against the tide, with only the small jib. We took a mooring at The Jamestown Boatyard. What to do? Mixing elbow? Impeller in cooling water pump? Blockage in the raw water strainer?  I tackled the strainer first, because it was easiest and it was the only area into which I had to look.  I found this plug of packed seaweed in the entrance to the raw water strainer, removed it, cleaned out the basket, put it all back together again, and the hum was restored. So we thanked the Boatyard for the hour’s use of their mooring and took off for Mackerel Cove with many small power boats but plenty of room to anchor in 14 feet or water. The bridge from the Island to western RI and the masts of many boats moored in Dutch Harbor on the west side of the island can be seen across the narrow strip of land at the NW end of Mackerel. The anchor light warned any other boats not to hit us, but all the smaller party boats left before dark and though a bit rolly, it was a calm cool night. But it was the night that Lene persuaded me to take her home sooner than planned.

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Days 62-65 — August 21-24 — Retreat Back To New Bedford and Lay Days In Hotel There

Because of New Bedford’s powerful “doors” that can close the 150 foot wide passage through its sea wall against hurricane storm surge, New Bedford seemed a good place to hole up when hurricane Henri was poking its way north and threatening to land any place between New York City and Boston. We scored the mooring next to the one on which we rode earlier this month at Pope’s Island Marina. Here is a view of ILENE from Pope’s Island with the sea gates in the background.

Tide slowed our crossing of Vineyard Sound but the current changed while we were in Woods Hole and was favorable for the crossing of Buzzards Bay. Here is Nobska Light at the SW corner of Cape Cod.  The 20 miles took about 3.5 hours. Again, all diesel, though I put out the Genoa, twice, with no effect.

On the mooring, we worked about four hours finalizing ILENE to face Henri.  Pulling the 55 pound Rocna up over the bow rail and lashing it to the deck to prevent its low hanging blade from chafing through the bridle.

The bridle was coated with rags at the chock, also as precaution against chafe.  The dink was lashed down to the deck athwartship, twice and secured fore and aft to the mast and anchor windlass. The club burgee and U.S. flag and its pole and other items that catch wind were removed.  The sails, dodger and Bimini were left up but the stack pack containing the main sail was lowered, compressed and trussed to provide a smaller sail area.

And then we packed cats, their food and litter, and all we would need for three nights away, and persuaded the launch operator to pick us up and take us to the very nearby Seaport Inn and Marina, about a half mile away by foot, less by water, where we holed up to weather the storm. That hotel is in Fairhaven, a historic town on the east bank of the Acushnet River, with New Bedford on its west bank; sort of like the relationship between Brooklyn and Manhattan, separated by the East River.

The storm made landfall on eastern Long Island and Stonington Connecticut, so we were spared the brunt of its wrath. The preparation and precaution were thus, in a sense, wasted energy; but better safe than sorry. Our insurance carrier would be happy to know of our efforts. The crew were not happy being locked in a room with us.

We ate at a variety of local restaurants, though many others were closed. The Black Whale earned its high price with excellent and imaginative preparations – we ate there twice. Fathoms, a sports bar on Pope’s Island, served simple tasty food: haddock and/or cod, baked or fried. Both of these places get their street cred by being owned by fishing boat captains, suggesting the freshest of seafood. We went to a Chinese Restaurant and a wonderful breakfast place.
The harbor was crowded with recreational sailors like us, and while normally a good portion of the huge commercial fishing fleet is at sea, they were all crowded in port, breasted out from each other. We only walked the coastal streets of Fairhaven, which appears to be a place with a low cost of living in historic homes mixed with commercial activity devoted almost totally to the sea: from a propeller shop to a marine insurance firm.

We devoted a huge amount of time, probably more than twelve hours, on planning for our time with niece Yael, who last sailed with us in Casco Bay, Maine, in 2013. What day she would come? How would she get to us — by train, bus, car, and ferry (and the schedules and prices of each)? What ports to visit with her and the mileage for each passage? We can do sixty NM in a day, but that’s not ideal for a young woman who wants also to enjoy the pleasures of the land as well. And how could she could get back to Brooklyn before the start of Sabbath on Friday evening? In the end, her father, Ken, drove her to New Bedford on Tuesday, August 24. But before they got here we restored ILENE. The only part of this work that I feared was lifting the heavy bulky outboard from the lazarette and placing it back onto the dink’s transom, without dropping it onto ILENE’s gelcoat or into the briny. This is what kept me awake the night before. In the event I asked a stranger, Chris, of “Deja Vu”, who was passing in his dink, for a hand, and it got done. Thanks again, Chris!

Once Ken and Yael arrived we hung out, toured the sea wall, had a less than good dinner at the Whalers Inn, provisioned, and settled in for the calm warm night. We plan to make passages on the next two days, of 14 and 30 NM, to Cuttyhunk and Newport, from which port, according to the current umpteenth plan, Yael will take public transportation back to New York City on Friday the 27th.

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Days  59-61 — August 18-20 —To Vineyard Haven, Lay Day and Day Sail There

From Lake Tashmoo to Vineyard Haven (only shortly more than a mile by land, was 4.6 NM by sea, going around West Chop. And it was all motor with no wind. We dropped our Tashmoo mooring at 7:30 to have some tide on the way out, and the depth alarm, set to honk when there is 6.9 feet of water or less, gave a brief report.

But something sounded wrong about the engine. It ran, but not smoothly, and noticeable white smoke came out with the cooling seawater discharge. I shut it off once we were safely out of Tashmoo and let the boat drift for the three minutes it took for me to check the oil, find it low, add a quart and test again. That seemed to bring things back to normal, but the question remains: what caused the Yanmar to eat a quart of oil all of a sudden.

Secure on a reserved mooring outside the protective seawall, I asked myself why we had paid for a mooring — because only a hundred yards further from town we could have anchored and saved the $70 per night. Our neighbors, at dusk, with their anchor lights on Our first and last nights were calm, but the middle day and night were quite windy, in fact we cancelled our dinner reservation and did not leave the boat that day. Some cleaning and lots of thinking about the potential visit from niece Yael, and later about how to preserve ourselves and our boat in hurricane Henri, which is scheduled here soon and has forced changed plans. I also checked the antifreeze reservoir and transmission fluid levels and added some of each fluid. This on the advice of the knowledgeable and ever helpful Professor Dean.

On the arrival day we dinked in and while Lene did three consecutive loads of laundry, I visited the new Martha’s Vineyard Museum. This is now its back side, with the main entrance where the parking lot is Here’s the view from the museum, with West Chop at left, a bit of the pond in the foreground, ferries in the Sound and Cape Cod at the horizon. Well the museum is actually quite old but until recently was in a couple of rooms in snooty Edgartown and largely ignored by all. Now it in the former Naval hospital reminiscent of the privately financed Snug Harbor on Staten Island. It is attractively displayed and interactive. They had the Fresnel lens of Gay Head Lighthouse and it’s ingenious mechanism to regulate a steady rate of revolution. A time lapse video of the tower’s movement, about 100 feet inland, in 2015, to prevent its tumbling into the sea due to gradual erosion of the headland on which it sat was interesting. So our paper charts, printed before 2015, show the lighthouse in the wrong location.

The museum celebrated the diversity of the island’s inhabitants. One display was erroneous, however, which I brought to the attention of the Executive Director. MV like Nantucket (and New York’s Long Island) is a product of the last ice age, in which a glacier as high as the tallest buildings in NY pushed up mounds of earth and rocks before melting away. But the exhibit said that the melting was slow and “raised sea levels three feet per year for 13,000 years.”  Maybe it was three millimeters, but the math is just plain wrong.

 

Our last day here, after filling water bottles, a stop at an ATM and at Shop and Stop, I brought Mark and Kyle out in the dink. We breakfasted on sweet potato/mango pancakes and, after hoisting the dink, we set out for a sixteen mile day sail, largely back and forth, a couple of times, across Vineyard Sound. Many points of sail, for our guests who are learning to sail, and many wind conditions in the strong tidal current that flows through the Sound. We used main and small jib, but achieving 9.9 tide enhanced knots SOG, we reefed the main. .

 

But our next port of call is to be hurricane-sheltered New Bedford, and the issue became what to do with the dink.  Having two strong men aboard was a huge help. We raised the outboard from the dink’s transom and muscled it slowly, in stages, to and into the big starboard lazarette where it stands, cushioned in place by the fenders. It’s fuel tank is moved under the helmsman’s seat. Then we used the spinnaker halyard to lift the dink above the starboard line lines, center it over the foredeck, flip it upside down and partially deflate it. It still needs to be lashed securely to the deck. I had heard of this process, but never done it before.

 

After which, Kyle and Mark invited us to their lovely home in Oak Bluffs, to meet their two big dogs and two cats. And we used their shower, took a walk with a dog to the Pond, where they plan to keep their boat, and enjoyed take out dinner and conversation. And the launch brought us back to ILENE for our last night in Martha’s Vineyard.

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Days 57-58 — August 16-17 — To Lake Tashmoo in Martha’s Vineyard and Lay Day There

As exhilarating as the passage east to Nantucket was, the reciprocal course back west to MV was, well, boring. The reason was a lack of wind, a total lack of wind until we got to the waters off West Chop, for the last two miles, when 12 knots came up, opposing the tide, which had turned against us. The waters were roiling.

We had not noticed Lake Tashmoo until our most recent prior cruise to the Vineyard; too shallow, it seemed. The lake was a lake until a channel was cut into it from Vineyard Sound. The same sort of thing as at Cuddyhunk and the Great Salt Pond of Block Island. Except here the cut, between a pair of breakwaters, is narrower and shallower. We did a small 360 degree turn when we saw a ketch’s masts exiting the Lake, to give her time to get out so the two sailboats did not have to pass each other in the narrows at the same time. We had slowed during the passage to make our arrival closer to high tide and made it through the channel without seeing less than eight feet of water. Last time we were here we saw folks wading, up to their knees, very close to both sides of the channel. This time it was marked by three or four privately maintained reds and greens until the lake opens up.

We did some boat work both the afternoon of the day of our arrival and the lay day.  On the latter, we did not even leave the boat. On arrival day we dinked to the overcrowded Lake Tashmoo public dinghy dock and walked a bit more than a mile to nearby Vineyard Haven where I met Mark and Kyle. They have moved from Vermont to MV, bought a house here, taken sailing lessons, and are planning to buy a 30 foot Catalina Sloop. Hard to believe, based on more frequent Facebook contacts, but we last saw them in Casco Bay Maine in the summer of 2013. Then they spent a few days aboard ILENE.  We had dinner with them in Vineyard Haven and planned a day sail with them in a few days. They brought us stuff that had been delivered to their home and gave us a ride back to the dinghy dock. It was a quiet time in Lake Tashmoo. Wildlife

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Days 55-56 — August 14-15 — To Nantucket and Lay Day There

The passage from Tarpaulin Cove was generally east in predicted light winds from the SW. We hoisted anchor at 9:45 and took our expensive ($85/night!!!) Nantucket mooring, 35 NM and six hours later. We were made to feel lucky to get the mooring; they had us on a waiting list!

It was a fun sail with the motor running only 2.3 hours, mostly on takeoff and landing, with a bit in the middle when the full sails, together with the favorable tides we’re giving us only three knots. The best part came after this lull when I was aroused from my interior cleaning chores by flapping sails. What’s up ?! The wind had changed and we were on a dead run. So I let out the Genoa, jibed the main and we were sailing wing on wing. And at 8 to 8.5 knots SOG — for an hour!  That was a rare thrill. Many ferries passed us going to and coming from Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

After being shown our mooring, D3, we drove to the water dock to refill the tanks after loss of water in Mattapoiset. There we were engaged by Chris and Annie from an interior state (Tennessee?) who are not boaters. The morning of our lay day we went grocery shopping and window shopping and made a mistake. Lene suggested: Why not spend a few bucks to take the launch and save the 25 minutes of effort to raise and lower the dinghy? Plus the dinghy dock is at the southern end of the waterfront but the launch’s dock is right next to the supermarket. Good idea! But we forgot about the high cost of living in Nantucket. The launch costs $6 per person each way!!!  This is a big money town and folks spend it on sailboats

and powered behemoths line this row of four of them with two big domes high.

all but one of the powerboats was registered in the Bahamas by rich people avoiding taxes.

This was my fourth stop in Nantucket, Lene’s third, so we had seen most of the sights. During our most recent prior visit, in June 2017, we enjoyed several days before taking off before daybreak for Nova Scotia. The town of Nantucket is the only town of any size on the Island, unlike Martha’s Vineyard – twice its size, which has several large towns.

This Island is shaped somewhat like an inverted, fattened, mirror image of the Nike sneakers “swoosh” logo and is said to be 14 miles long and three wide at its widest point. We had a pleasant lunch at Breeze, the restaurant of the Nantucket Hotel  We toured the beach of the tiny village of  Siasconset at the far eastern end of the island by the local bus system. The Island only reaches 30 feet above sea level but beautiful views of the interior heath suggested greater elevation. I waded in the light surf of the Sconset beach. And what a coincidence, we were greeted by Chris and Annie who were staying with friends out there.

Sunset with Brant Point Light, at the far right, occulting red.

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Days 53-54 — August 12-13 — Two Ports on Naushon Island In The Elizabeths

The Elizabeths is a chain of private islands that divide Buzzards Bay to their north from Vineyard Sound, which runs south of them. They reach from just past Naushon near the eastern end, to Cuddyhunk (which we plan to make our last Massachusetts port of this cruise) at their western end.

Hadley Harbor, at the eastern end of Naushon, is a perennially popular spot. Our Harlem Club Cruise put into Hadley, maybe 20 years ago. But it’s a crowded anchorage and lures boaters with a limited number of free moorings — with anchorage for those who come at the wrong time. One small island forming the north side of the inner harbor, Bull Island, has a small dinghy dock and a trail through (Lime disease infected) forests. I would have worn long pants and explored but Lene demurred so we never lowered the dink.

Our passage to Hadley was marked with marital conflict because I put up the Genoa, in addition to the main, when we were still in the five-mile-long SE cove leaving to New Bedford. That passage mandated a close-hauled starboard tack. We did go at more than eight knots but with an angle of heel that was offensive to the Admiral and the feline crew. It took a long time and a toll on my shoulder muscles to refurl the Genoa. Then, once out in the open waters of Buzzards Bay, we fell off onto a beam reach (and lower) making six to 6.5 knots without any headsail. No headsail was the penalty I paid for my earlier recklessness.

No moorings are available in Hadley. We looked and coming back out to the anchorage area a very rude boat cut in front of us at high speed to take the best remaining spot to anchor.  We ended in a tiny cove between two northward pointing mini peninsulas from Goats Neck, itself a peninsula at the eastern end of Naushon. Before anchoring, we got a bit too close to the muddy shore but were able to instantly power off in reverse. With a steady but mild SW wind prediction, we were sheltered by Goats Neck and not in danger of getting stuck in the mud again by the wind blowing us onto the land. We dropped back and were a safe distance from the big power cruiser behind us. But then another boat came up behind us, dropped his anchor ten feet off our stern, and dropped back close to the power cruiser.  No touching during the rather calm night. Just luck!

The next day saw the passage through Woods Hole which starts only about a half-mile away to the right of this view of the exit from Hadley’s. and is less than a mile long. The Hole, between the SW corner of Cape Cod and the Elizabeth Islands, is like Hell Gate, Plum Gut, The Race, and the Cape Cod Canal. The tide-driven water flows through it at speeds of up to six knots, and part of this flow is not straight through the channel but slides sideways across it.  And there are two entrances and exits, forming a crooked “X” shaped passage with many buoys which used to be confusing when one is blitzing through them. But the new chart plotter shows the entire channel as a broad white X. I once let a friend take us through and we bumped a rock. No big damage to boat or friendship but since then I always take the helm in tight spots. But the new Raymarine Chartplotter shows a broad white X through the Hole; you know you are in the channel and which side of it you are in!

We had a very easy time in the hole this cruise, due to good timing. We hauled anchor at 7:45 and went through at near slack when the current slows down before turning back the other way. We had half a knot against us which was good because it slowed us down and gave even better control. The wind was minimal as well and we motored through and out into Vineyard Sound. Then we went close hauled in light wind with no main and only the small jib, making about two knots for the remainder of the six NM to Tarpaulin Cove. It is on the south side of the same Naushon Island, in Vineyard Sound. No rush; we got in at 10:30.

 

As small, tight, crowded, and (this time) unfriendly as Hadley was, Tarpaulin Cove was the opposite: big, uncrowded, and friendly. Here we are at anchor under the abandoned lighthouse at the West end It is about 3/4 of an NM wide, with a long sandy crescent beach along its inner side, with only six sailboats overnight,  and lots of friendly folks on them. It reminded me a bit of Roque Island in Downeast Maine and Orchard Beach near City Island. There were also half a dozen day-tripping powerboats. Two of them had “med moored” to the beach. Anchor dropped offshore and then backed in toward the beach with a stern anchor then set to hold them in place. Families and friends on the beach. One was a father whose son had been stuck in Halifax for a year and a half by COVID and had flown in with five of his mates. Another group included two faculty members of the Mass Maritime Academy, their wives, an adult daughter, her boyfriend and a very playful puppy. And then in the dink ride back to ILENE, we stopped to chat with a couple in a 50 foot Farr. She has a seven-foot keel which keeps her out of some places. The couple had been together for 52 years and his only complaint was that there were no more places for them to cruise to in their cruising range. It could have been a rolly night had the wind been strong from the south, but we were tucked into the western end, protected by the mild SW winds.

Lene was intrigued by the atmospherics in this next picture but it did not rain. I found the block that had been shackled to the toe rail boss to control the small jib when sailing large, was just hanging on the jib sheet, not shackled. But then, the miracle of miracles, when the pin of the shackle had worked itself out, both parts of the shackle were laying on the deck, neither had gone swimming. All is reattached.

 

Another thing about Tarpaulin: the only place on this cruise without phone/internet access. A reminder about how things used to be.

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Days 50-52 — August 9-11 — Mattapoiset and New Bedford

The sail out of Pocasset to Mattapoisett began while the night’s rain was still falling, at 10:20  am while the tide was still highish. Once out of the buoyed channel I put up the Genoa only, on a very broad starboard reach in modest winds. Such a short hop, only ten NM, that we could afford to go slow, and part of the way we were making less than four knots. A very pleasant, unexciting peaceful passage. But I did now want to jibe to port off the mainland coast to make the harbor and eventually I put us on a dead run, which put us on a course that cleared the rocks. Then we hardened, entered, and anchored in the same spot as last time. We have visited Mattapoiset several times. It is a good spot to pick up or drop off the crew. We used to take moorings offered by the boatyard on the eastern side of the harbor but with the Rocna we feel safe on anchor and winds were light out the first night with 50 feet of snubbed chain in 15 feet of water at high.

Lunch was a walk of more than a mile to Turk’s Seafood. We get there at 2 and the lunch crowd was still there, packing the house. Worth the wait and worth a visit if you are driving through. Then another good long walk to Exotic Nails, not hardware but Lene’s manicure.

We had planned to go to New Bedford the next day but when doing the breakfast dishes — no water!  How can that be?  We heard the electric freshwater pump’s whir, but no water. And then we heard the sound of water running through the boat into the bilge. I spent the next six hours looking for, finding, and easily fixing the leak. This had happened during the passage from Hampton Roads Virginia to Tortola in the Caribbean 1500 Rally in the fall of 2010.  But my crew member, the late lamented Erwin, got it fixed so fast that I didn’t learn how to do it from him and reinvented the wheel. Part of the reason it took so long was that as I took apart the boat at each potential target area, I did other things in the spaces such as checking the water in the batteries and cleaning years of grime from the darkest corners of the aft lazarette when checking the hot and cold connections to the cockpit shower. The metal connector inserted into the ends of two rubber hoses had fallen out of one of the hoses. Confirmation: Lene turned on the pump for a second and I saw the water running out.  The fix: once I gained access by moving another hose out of the way, was to loosen the hose clamps, reinsert the metal pipe connector into the rubber hose and clamp it tightly with the hose clamps. Then I put the boat back together. The flashlight is shining at the culprit’s connection. But a nice sailing day was lost. Our second night in Mattapoisett was not as calm as we had become accustomed to. It featured a wind storm with the rain, but only to 20 knots.

And the wind continued the next day during our passage to New Bedford. We started with a single reefed mainsail and when I added the small jib, The Admiral asked me to refurl it because she did not like the resulting heel angle. The shortest logical course was 13 NM, of which the last five were the channel into New Bedford. Our track was 16 NM due to a wide tack out into Buzzards Bay, the red line rather than the blue hypotenuse on the chart be beat into large seas, assisted by the Yanmar, in a fog that got down to 1/4 mile visibility, measured by that is how far away the chart plotter showed the buoys to be when they popped into sight. Once we got to the five-mile-long channel NE to New Bedford, the wind was on, and a bit aft of, the beam and the sun burned through the fog to produce a hot day ashore. The city is protected but a mammoth sea wall across its entrance with a narrow entrance that can be closed in the event of hurricanes. Well, it is not that narrow, as proved by the fact that a large commercial fishing vessel came through outbound while we came in under reefed main. We did turn on the engine again, briefly while in such close quarters, and then sailed to our mooring, conveniently near the Marina where we took showers and town, across the Acushnet River, where the coaster cruise ship is shown, near the ferry dock and the public dinghy dock. But the most salient feature of New Bedford, now that whaling is no longer permitted, is commercial fishing, lots of it. With a bit of whale watching on the side.

Arriving in town at 2:30, it was too late to do any sightseeing. I wanted to see Seamen’s Bethel Church, where Herman Melville sat and placed  Ishmael in a memorable early chapter in Moby Dick. It was being renovated during our last visit and was closed this time, so a disappointment. The NB Whaling Museum, which we visited last time, has a nice new grassy outdoor courtyard available to the public without cost called the Captain Paul Cuffe Park, dedicated to a Black sea captain and community leader born on Cuddyhunk to an interracial couple in time to be active during our war of independence. But Lene achieved her objectives: a pedicure for her and a new lightweight red inexpensive foulie top for me. Dinner at the Moby Dick Brewing Co. and a quiet dry night.

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Days 48-49 — August 7-8 — To Cohasset and Pocasset

Finally on the move again — out of Boston Harbor. Cohasset is an upscale bedroom community. While we were headed north from Scituate to North Weymouth we passed outside of Minot’s Light, shown in red in the upper right corner of this chart.  It warns boats off the rock-studded area outside Cohasset with the three entrance channels through them, shown drawn in blue to the location of our mooring, shown in yellow. We had been to Cohasset in 2013, and did not re-explore the town this time but were happy on the Harbor Master’s $35 mooring (same price as in 2013). We did not lower the dink and enjoyed our own food and our own company. We were passed by an endless parade of pleasure boats and a few lobstermen on a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon. This wants after our 3 1/4 hour, a 15-mile passage which was rather uneventful. The main was up almost the whole way, but with little effect. Small seas except when churned up by multiple powerboats wakes. There was a race of Star class boats back and forth across our route outside the entrance; we managed to slither through it without disturbing the racers.
A quiet night before the long passage, through the canal, with a very light wind from behind us on a grey sort of day.  We took a one-mile, one-hour detour in and out of Scituate along the way to fuel up. The long length of the passage, 49 NM, and the time of favorable current through the canal called for a 7:30 a.m. departure from Cohasset, which also fit in with the higher side in the narrow unforgiving channel out. Occasional help from the wind, but the only problem, and not a bad one, was a tidal bore that moved against us in the canal. At the other end, We ended up rafted up to s/v “Crews Inn”, a 44 foot, center cockpit Pearson sloop, very well maintained, in the mooring field of Parker’s Boatyard in Redbrook Harbor, Pocasset, on Cape Cod at 3:55 p.m. ILENE is on the far side of Crews Inn,  We had planned to take a mooring or anchor in the little cove on the north side of Bassetts Island in adjacent Pocasset Harbor. But way back when we were stuck in Scituate we had met another sailing Ilene, married to Len, during a launch ride back to our respective boats. The other Ilene noted that the name of our boat was the same as her name and spelled the same unusual way. The two Ilene’s hit it off and exchanged information and my Ilene recalled that the other Ilene lived in Pocasset and called. Len came out in his Whaler to lead us through the narrow but well-marked twisty channel to his boat. He chauffeured us to the local supermarket and we had dinner with them at a popular low-key local spot, The Courtyard, with homemade ice cream at the nearby creamery before he drove us, by car and Whaler, back to our boat. This was gracious hospitality several orders of magnitude beyond the call of duty. We hope they will come and see us in New York.  A calm night with rain.

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