Redwings Round the World

Mid-Atlantic Coast

3 - 9 June 2000

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New York, New York!

3 June - Reedy Island, Delaware

Aaron - I thought I set the alarm for 0500, but nothing heard so I guess I did not, and although I was awake at around 0600, the bed was too warm and as Colleen had rejected my crazy idea of the night before to make a one day push all the way for Cape May (over 100 nautical miles away), I stayed in bed till 0700. Did anyone follow that sentance? Is it a sentance?  Can I spell sentence?  No, but the spell checker can.

So, we hauled anchor at around 0715 and headed for the small Spa Creek bascule bridge (the kind guys jump cars over in Magnum PI or whatever cop show is popular these days in the US) for the 0730 opening.  Easy in theory, tough when you run Hard Aground five minutes after getting underway.  

I was pointing out something to Colleen on another boat in the anchorage and not looking either ahead or at the depth sounder when - opps - we stopped.  I should have gunned it right there and turned hard to port (back into the channel - there were a few boats anchored right in the middle of it [as were we] - my excuse for not being more [or less] in it).  But I did not, and after we were fully stopped and I realized what had happened, I tried to drive over it fully expecting to get loose easily as usual.  No dice.  Not even an inch.  Full throttle for 30 seconds.  Nothing.  Same in reverse.  Nothing.  Oh oh.   Colleen went below to try to figure out how to call the Tow Boat US guys with whom we are insured for up to $500 of towing (about 30 seconds I think).  She was not able to raise them.  The tide was fairly high already and dropping.  Time to kedge it off?  One more try.  I finally found that if I gunned it and cut the wheel to port, and then eased off and cut back to starboard, the bow would swing about 5 degrees back and forth.  In this way, I slowly worked the bow around to port and out into the channel, apparently slowly flattening the mud bank below the keel.  I was able to get more and more momentum back and forth as we further flattened it and eventually, achieved forward movement and slipped back into the channel.  Whew.  We made the 0800 bridge opening.

Once back in The Bay, I had a Hell of a time getting the auto pilot to steer straight.  It would work for a minute, and then start arcing one way or the other no matter how I adjusted the rudder, sea, and steering controls.  Wacky.  Perhaps this is it and its finally died - or at least gone partially crazy.  The wind built to 15 knots and we got the sails up and were soon sailing along at 6-7 knots through the water, but were only making about five knots against the current.  With the current against us for most of the day, there is no way we could have made a 100 mile day (in daylight) anyway.

The wind build steadily throughout the day and by 1500 we had 20-25 from just aft of the beam and were hitting 9.5 knots through the water on occasion surfing down mini-waves.  The forecast was for only 10-15 knots of wind so we had not bothered to reef early.  I also just was not into sailing today for whatever reason and felt very lazy and inept.  As it started to gust 30, we decided to reef and attempted it while still underway going downwind.  This works about 50% of the time if you really get it right and make sure all the lines are clear and there is proper tension on the main boom up haul.  Of course today was one of those days and it was a real bitch to get it down as the lazy jack lines got tangled with the batt-carts, Colleen had a tough time with the halyard as we had no auto pilot and she had to do it with one hand while steering with the other, we had barges bearing down on us, 30 knot gusts, short tempers, etc.  Some days just suck for no good reason.

We finally got a 3X reef in and slowed down to 6-7 knots, but had the comfort of a more manageable sail plan.  However, the way we had reefed the sail was a mess and some of the battens where sort of bent on the boom.  When the wind eased later on, I hoisted the main back up and we had full sail right up to the mouth of the C&D canal.  The wind was only 15 knots or so and this time we got the genoa in, turned the motor on, headed up into the wind while we slowly dropped and flaked the main down.  Doing it right and having it nicely flaked made me feel better and cleared my foul mood a bit.

The tide was favorable through the C&D canal, which links the upper Chesapeake with the Delaware River, and we quickly motored through the 20 miles of so of canal.  Once into the Delaware River, wow what a scenery change.  The shores were grassy (vs. the tree-lined Chesapeake) and a huge nuclear power plant dominated the Eastern Shore.

We tucked in behind Reedy Island, about 4 miles down river from the C&D canal, and anchored in 10 feet next to two other cruisers.  Glad to have finally got a big move in.  Quiet night. 

4 June - Off the Jersey Shore

Aaron - The tides in the Delaware River are strong so we initially planned to leave just before slack tide at 0900 to ride the ebb down, but when I awoke at 0700 to feed the screaming meemies I noted that we had slack current in our anchorage so I yelled down to Colleen to get up and we got going.  Beautiful day.  Sunny, 10 knots on the beam, motor sailing against the moderate current making 4-5 knots over the ground.  Easy.

When the tide and current turned at exactly 1038 as advertised in "The Captain" computer current program (using this a lot lately - thanks Hiner for letting us pirate your CD), we headed out to deeper water mid-channel and were soon doing 7-8 knots over the ground and comfortably arrived off Cape May, New Jersey at 1500.  We had planned to pull in for the night, check it out, and then do another 50 mile trip up the coast to Atlantic City tomorrow.  Colleen really wants to avoid doing any more overnighters.  But I convinced her that we should just push on as God knows when we will get weather like this again and there are not so many places to hole up on the Jersey Shore.  Also, we have a lot of friends we would like to see in NY and would prefer to stay a bit longer up there and not have to push so hard to Boston.

Beautiful evening.  12-16 knots just aft of the beam, full moon, flat seas, no current.  We moved along at 6-7 knots in great comfort.  It seemed like we were passing Atlantic City for hours.  The tall neon-lit buildings were visible for miles in either direction.  I had fun listening to the Yankees / Red Sox game on NY radio while on watch, even though the Sox blew another Pedro start and lost to the damn Yankees 8-7.

5 June - Larchmont, New York

Aaron - Colleen spelled me for four hours and came on watch from 0100 to 0500.  Still good sailing, though the seas built up a bit.  Soon after I came back on at 0500 with the sun rise, I could see the twin towers of Manhattan's Word Trade Center on the horizon.  Finally back in familiar territory!  Another mini-milestone.

By 1000 we were passing under the bridge connecting Coney Island and New Jersey and were in New York Harbor sliding by the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Manhattan's financial district.  We decided in principal that we would push on to Larchmont, which is on the other side of the East River in Long Island Sound, later in the afternoon.  But the current in the East River would have been negative from 1100 on so we pulled in to a marina in Jersey City ostensibly to take on fuel (we bought 50 gallons at almost $2 per - yikes) but in fact to get free water, kill time, and make phone calls and get e-mails.

At 1400 we slipped the lines and headed into the East River which runs between Manhattan Island and Brooklyn.  We had a lot of current initially, but were still able to make four knots over the ground and were soon enjoying positive flow as the tide turned.  Neat to be traveling right through the city, under the Brooklyn bridge, past Queens and on out.  The only negative was a couple of bratty kids who yelled obscenities and tried to shell us with rocks from the bank.  Welcome to New York.

We pulled into Larchmont Harbor at around 1700.  Wow.  Huge Great Gatsbyesque yacht club.  Hundreds of beautiful boats.  Massive houses with manicured landscaping and docks leading to the harbor.  Bit of cash around here.  We anchored amongst the furthest out YC moorings, threw the dingy in, and whizzed into the club to call our friends Maggie and Jerrel who live here.  Jerrel used to work with Colleen in Hong Kong.  We had a great evening with Maggie and J and their daughters Rosie (5), who we knew in HK between the ages of 0 and 2, and Chloe (2.5).

6 June - Larchmont, New York

Aaron - We borrowed M&J's car in the am and made the requisite supermarket run.  M&J and the girls came over to the boat in the afternoon and took the tour.  The girls really liked running around down below and playing with the cats.  The kittens are getting a lot more used to new people and this was the first time they really interacted comfortably with kids.

In the evening we hooked up with the Clayton gang and attended a cookout at Bruce and Julie Clayton's house about 45 minutes away from Larchmont.  Bruce and his sister Carolee are old close friends of mine from high school.  Carolee and her husband Dan, also a Camden Rockport HS grad, picked us up at the YC and introduced us to William, their recent family addition.  Doug Clayton, who we worked with in Thailand over the past year or so, was also there and it was great to catch up with everybody.

7 June - Milford, Connecticut

Aaron - I twisted Jerrel's arm and got him to call into work for a "personal day" today and at 0800 he was banging on the hull and ready to play hooky.  Another beautiful day.  Sunny, light breeze.  Very relaxing motor sailing down Long Island Sound.  After a couple of hours, the wind built to 7-10 knots and we were able to get a bit of sailing in.  So nice.  We furled the genoa and pulled into a small harbor near Norwalk Connecticut at around 1500 and Colleen dingied Jerrel ashore to catch a train home while I jockeyed amongst the moorings.  It was great that he could join us for a bit of sailing.

We then pushed on to Milford Connecticut and anchored behind Charles Island which is about one mile out from the narrow harbor entrance, but with light winds, and the island blocking the prevailing easterlies, we felt pretty comfortable.  We decided not to try inside Milford harbor as it looked very narrow and shallow on the chart.  We dingined in and it looks like we would have had the depth, but there was no room for a sailboat the size of Redwings to anchor.  The small inlet was packed with moorings and all of the boats were also tied to stern moorings so they would not swing into one another.  Made a few calls, got on line, took a walk, and headed "home".  Beautiful evening on the boat watching the yacht club's Thursday Night Races pass right by our anchorage spot. 

8 June - Niantic, Connecticut

Aaron - We left Milford at 0900 and had another beautiful sail / motorsail in 10-15 knots of wind under sunny skies arriving in Niantic at 1600.  We were originally gonna head under the bridge and up into the Niantic River which looked like the best place to meet our friends Steph and Anne Marie who arrived this evening, but saw a bunch of masts on the South Eastern shore of the bay, looked at the chart and identified what looked like a good anchorage near a small yacht club, pulled in and dropped the hook.

We dingied in and found out that we had arrived at the Niantic Bay Yacht Club.  What a down home joint after the Larchmont YC.  After we told the "permanent member on the scene" Stuart that we had sailed from Hong Kong, we became instant club celebrities and were allowed free showers, phone calls, internet, mooring, and water at the dock.  What nice folks.  Colleen called Anne Marie and told her where to find us and at 2000 she and Steph arrived and yelled at us from the breakwater to come in and pick them up.

Steph sailed with us in St. Martin (also see Steph's Log) and is now a salty veteran of Redwings.  This will be AM's first trip on the good ship.  Girls happily talked well into the night and I happily listened to the Red Sox with the ear phones on.  Heading to Shelter Island to hook up with our friends from May-Britt tomorrow who we traveled with in the Bahamas and Chesapeake.  Another beautiful clear cool evening with no bugs and minimal swell.

Photo: News Flash!  Steph is closet cat lover.  Glitter and Sparkle eat your hearts out.

9 June - Shelter Island, Long Island, New York

Aaron - We headed into the dock at the Yacht Club and once again received a warm welcome with one of the employees running down the dock to take our lines.  Free water and free internet downloading and by 1000 we were underway headed towards Shelter Island.  No wind again.  Beautiful morning.  We motored all the way.  Very enjoyable though and low stress.

Shelter Island is situated near the end of Long Island between LI and Montauk.  Lots of current ripping through the various passes to get their.  Lots of boats too out on a Saturday.  We were trolling for bluefish and lost our killer lure that has caught about 30 fish when a power boat whizzed close behind and past us ignoring my pleas.

Beautiful homes with rolling lawns down to the water lined the Shelter Island shore.  I'd never really heard of it before.  Its really beautiful here.  We found a spot to anchor in side Green Harbor near the yacht club moorings and May-Britt and shut down the engine.  We called Robert, who we met in the Bahamas on May-Britt two months ago, and he welcomed us to Shelter Harbor.  BBQ to start at 1900.  Rasmus, Kersten, and Robert's daughter Katrina and her boyfriend Brian, came out to the boat in Robert's runabout and I took off with them water skiing.  It really reminds me of summers in Camden around here.  We had a good time skiing, even though we were all a bit out of shape.  I took a major digger at the end of my second run - I was trying to push it as hard as I could till I fell as I knew I was through - and oh man my ribs are killing me.  I felt a little crunch.  I don't think there is anything broken but ouch.  The girls dingied into Robert's house and borrowed three bikes and took off riding around the island.

By 1900 we all felt like napping but rallied and headed into the BBQ.  Beautiful wedding going on at the Yacht Club.  I forgot my shoes so was walking around bare foot through the YC and on to Robert's house and probably looked like a real scum. Oh well.

What a fest at Robert's.  In fact it was Katrina's 24th Birthday party.  I wondered why Robert had already planned a BBQ in June when we mat him in April in the Bahamas! Unbelievable food - shrimp, lamb, chicken - best feed I've had for sometime.  We had a great time with all and did not make it "home" till mid-night.  Could be a short sleep.  If the weather is nice tomorrow, we will make an early break for Block Island.  If not, or if we feel lazy, we will hang here again tomorrow. 

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Copyright 2001 All Rights Reserved by Aaron Henderson and Colleen Duggan