There is a lot to write about here, but I’ve run out of time as it’s now November 24th and Colleen and the kids are coming tomorrow and hopefully we can start on some family cruising entries.
November 1st – Wood’s Hole to Point Judith RI
In the morning I told the guys my plan and gave them an option to reject it: sail / motor to Point Judith Rhode Island about 45 miles away (and on the way) where we could surely find fuel, or try Falmouth or Martha’s Vinyard in the morning (not on the way but closer). I indicated that I was “90%” sure we had enough fuel to make Pt. Judith. We decided to go for it. We sailed a bit and then had to motor sail as the wind shifted and we made it 90% of the way….. before the Port 18 gallon tank gave out. Not to worry, we still had some fuel in the starboard tank as even though it said “E” I had switched it to the port tank while it was still running so there must be some…. And we only had four miles to go… I started to bleed the fuel line and was getting fuel through when all of a sudden I started to get air! Apparently I had switched tanks when there was only 1 cup of fuel left! We were well and truly 100% out of fuel. OK no big deal, we had wind, we were in a position to sail to the outer harbor and then dingy with a jerry can for fuel. However, we were really pressed for time as we were trying to make Stratford CT the following day and the fuel dock closed at 1600 so I called Sea Tow – located right in Pt. Judith – to see if they could bring us out 5 gallons of fuel. The guy kept me on the phone for 10 mins getting all sorts of info and then “checked” and said he could only offer a tow and could not bring fuel. What’s the cost? $1,300. Click. Conversation over! We called the fuel dock and hatched a plan that we would try to beat up into the outer harbor and they would bring us some fuel and then we could go in to fill up. About 10 tacks later (not easy with staysail and genoa and crew of three total) we made it and dropped the hook under sail. The fuel dock owner came out with 5 gallons and looked at us like we were crazy. We made it in to the dock and fueled up but WTF??? My port 50 gallon tank only took 20 gallons of fuel. Was it not really empty? It can’t have been blocked as just had all of the fuel polished… Strange. Am I losing my mind? Is the tank smaller than I thought?
As we were fueling various other crews on the dock were drinking beer and asking when we were leaving etc. “Now” we responded. What? Now. I/we were not very chatty. We’re on a mission! Can we get water? No, no water since Hurricane Sandy (the dock was trashed as well and signs of damage were everywhere). OK thanks and bye bye! We left at sunset and headed out into Long Island Sound to try to make Stratford the following morning.
November 2nd – 3rd – Point Judith (left p.m. on 1st) to Stratford CT
Of course the wind was on the nose the whole way. We had easy going to Race Rock, but as soon as we entered the sound proper the wind and waved kicked up. But we had plenty of fuel and just bashed right into it. Close encounters with tugs, a hard time separating navigation lights from shore lights, and fighting the freezing weather defined the evening. We were all relieved when dawn arrived and we were only a couple hours out of Stratford. We arrived around 1000 and as we entered the Housatonic River could see evidence of Sandy’s arrival here clearly.
We spent two days in Stratford where we met Phil working on the watermaker and doing other boat jobs. Phil installed the new filter in the watermaker and replaced the leaking valves and got it working! We still however did not have a working fridge so ordered a new one to be delivered to Hampton. Can’t say I’ve never been to Stratford now….
November 4th – Stratford to Little Bay New York, New York
We left Stratford in the afternoon with a view to making it to NYC before midnight. It was amazing to see the NYC skyline emerge from 40 miles away! We finally made it around 2300 and dropped the hook just outside the Throgs Neck Bridge. To bed in double long underwear, gloves, hat and two sleeping bags! Burrr!
November 5th – 6th – NYC to Hampton VA
Up at 0630, engine on at 1650, and “pronto prontissimo” anchor up at 0700 and steaming into the East River. Cold, but at least not raining or snowing! We enjoyed the urban scenery which is so rare to see from Redwings and eventually made it to Hells Gate at clos to slack tide as planned. No drama…. and continued towards Manhattan. Beautiful view of the Chrysler building with the sun shining off the art deco spire! Looks like the UN building could use some paint…. Finally into NY Harbor after dodging commuter ferries, only to have to dodge the REALLY big boys! But we made it through and raised sail and reached off along the Jersey Shore.
The sail down from NYC to Hampton was hard, but uneventful. We were racing as fast as we could as a Nor’easter was forecast to hit the Eastern Seaboard just about the time we were to arrive in Hampton. Cold nights! I came up once to find Peter huddled on the sole of the cockpit trying to stay warm and out of the wind.
We made good time and entered Chesapeake Bay just as the Nor’easter hit. But things got worse before the got better. In the shallow bay the waves were really stacking up and we were taking wave after wave over the boat – which is ok, but we were wet and tired and just pounding. Finally we made it “through” the bridge (I say through as a section of the bridge goes underwater – a tunnel – to let sea traffic in) but were seeing winds of 30-35 knots and rough seas. To top it off, we had a tanker coming at us down the channel just as the skies opened up with torrential rain. I decided to hand steer to get out of the channel and head up into the wind to drop the main, but as soon as I disengaged the autopilot, the boat spun out of control right towards the approaching tanker! Apparently, the steering cable had parted! I put the autopilot back on and used it to turn the boat and jog across the channel away from the tanker – who by now had a spotlight on us….. We were able to escape and with the boat jogging forward at low speed into the wind, we got all of the lines prepared and I went forward (hooked in with a harness and tether) and we got the main down and secured.
The next hour was a lot of fun slowly jogging into heavy seas with limited visibility and dodging tankers and buoys knowing we had no hand steering available. We finally made it into the protection of Hampton Roads and found a 30-foot area outside of the main channel to anchor in. My first time anchoring with the autopilot! Jaime did a great job anchoring – good thing he got trained up on that this summer!
I went below and inspected the steering system and sure enough the cable had come loose in two places. I was able to repair it and we soon hauled up the anchor and picked out way into the Hampton River, found the fuel dock at the Blue Water Marina, tied up and collapsed around 2400. We made it!