Boy, where has the time gone? We are safely back in Oxford, MD after an adventuresome 6 week shakedown cruise.
There sure was a lot of shaking. We headed across the bay to the South River where the inverter/charger gave up the ghost. Then the anchor windless failed to fire when we wanted to leave.
So, we learned that the circuit board rebuild for the inverter was almost as much as a new one, and it would take 6 weeks to get, what to do? Write a check for a new one to be sent in three days. Went through the windlass system and traced the problem to a dead short in the motor. Took the motor apart to find that two of the brushes had overridden the commutator and shorted against the shaft.
On to Annapolis to pick up the inverter. Did I mention it was 100 pounds? Fun humping it from the water taxi to the boat! Thanks again to our old neighbors Gary and Anita for helping with the effort and also for the best 61st birthday a guy could have.
So on to Block Island.
The C/D Canal and Delaware Bay were hot (101) and calm. The only thing remarkable about them was the quantity of flies we took on board! Fortunately we carry a trusty fly swatter and engaged in a battle for boat supremacy. It was touch and go for several days but by the time we anchored in the Great Salt Pond the flies capitulated and moved on to greener pastures. Much like the rats in the great Suspense! radio drama Three Skeleton Key (look it up it’s great.) After vacuuming up the ravages of the war we headed to the Oar Restaurant for a sarsaparilla and to look for our oar. The Oar is festooned with hundreds of oars that have been decorated by visitors to the island since 1980. Ours is painted fuchsia with well-wishes from all the guests who attended our wedding there 22 years ago. It is still there so we added a message for this trip.
Our nephew Patrick came over on the ferry to spend a couple of days with us and we had a thoroughly good time.
Oh, I almost forgot: We have a chart plotter that ostensibly has all the charts we need to go all the places we want to go. First clue to this fallacy was sailing up the coast of Long Island the chart stopped at Montauk! It restarted at Newport, but no Block Island! Fortunately I am a bit of a traditionalist and demand that we have paper charts for everywhere. This takes up a substantial area of storage under the bed. Anyway, we had the paper charts out already and were able to put to use our rusty coastal piloting skills and got there with no worries. Fortunately for me, Nancy has taken on the task of navigatrix. Unfortunately for her she spent countless hours over the next weeks tracking down and solving the e-chart dilemma. My hat is off to her for her persistence.
Newport, RI was the next stop. It is getting harder to anchor there as the mooring fields have expanded greatly, but we spent a day before realizing that we would be right in the path of Hurricane Henri. Yikes! So, we weighed anchor and headed up the Narragansett Bay to a place called Hope Bay up near Fall River, MA and hoped for the best. We stripped the sails and battened the hatches.
We put out two anchors with 200′ of rode (we were in 12 feet of water, so it was something like 10 or 12 to 1 scope.) Nancy worried the weather and I worried the placement until we couldn’t worry any more, so we held on and waited. Fortunately the storm came on strongest during the day, when everything is better, and exactly from the direction we had set up for. 8 hours of 35kt winds with gusts to 45kt. 4-5 foot storm surge but only 2-3 foot swells. Easy peasy. Then it cycled around and came back at us the next night. Only gusts to 30kts, slept like a baby (up every 2 hrs crying.) Afterwards we headed back to Newport and picked up a mooring. Much closer to town and no risk of fouling our anchor on all the old crap on the bottom. The day we left before the storm our neighbor pulled up some ghastly debris and had to have divers come cut him free, fortunately we had no such trouble.
Newport is a lot like Annapolis, too many T-shirt shops and tourists, but many more cool boats. We ate well and drank our share and even took tours through a couple of the cottages on the bluff. Oh, yeah, by this time we had learned that our water-maker wouldn’t run. We hashed it out with the water maker dealer in Newport and walked up to his shop and dropped $800 for a pump which we believed would solve the problem. It didn’t. It led us to another and many more. By the time we added up all the possible expense to solve these knowns let alone further unknowns we decided to just order a new one (OUCH!!) We walked back down the hill and drank some more! We were able to get into Bouchard, a famous French restaurant and had a great meal with impeccable, friendly service. It made up for all the frustrations of the trip so far (a great bottle of wine helped.)
After tiring of Newport we headed back to Block Island with the plan to sail over to Martha’s Vineyard. But, upon arrival in Block, the weather was deteriorating, and Hurricane Ida was moving north inland and threatened us with more severe weather in a few days. We decided to cut our losses and depart for good old MD. The sail back was pleasant enough with one or two rollicking squalls, going 14kts on a beam reach in 28kts of wind with staysail and double reefed main while the rain is falling so hard you can’t see the front of the boat! Not to be missed! This time the rain had washed the Delaware Bay clear of flies so no blood-bath to report. Anchored in the Sassafras River to wait out the remnants of Ida. This is one of the most beautiful spots we have been in. Wooded bluffs teeming with wildlife well protected from the winds and swells and best of all: fresh water with no nettles! We swam for hours in the refreshing coolness. We’d still be there if we didn’t have to get back to do all the projects we have lined up.
So, I’m writing this while waiting for the ship store at the boatyard to open. The anticipation is like Christmas morning; we have so many presents waiting for us. New radar, heater, water maker, wash-down pumps, charts for the places we have yet to go, and many other bibelots.
(Note from Nancy…. Just a few of Randy’s Christmas boxes… all ready to unpack!)
We’ll try and do better about keeping you informed. So we’re flying back to Iowa tomorrow to do a couple of shop projects (bug screens for the hatches!) and take care of the last of the medical/dental/vision issues. But we’re returning by TRAIN next week. Stay tune