Tuesday, September 6, 2011

BroVenture2011! Day 3 and 4!

Ahoy Intrepid Readers!  We continue now on our epic Long Island Sound journey (well, there are more sounds, like Fisher's and Block, but really, is there any other Sound like Long Island Sound!?  No.) as we return to our homeport in the Connecticut River!

To the startled reader, see the previous post for an explanation, this is a departure from my normal Goat Island Skiff adventures.

Day 3 Watch Hill/Napatree Point to Old Lyme:  This day dawned clear and bright, and we brothers arose to a beautiful beach, beautiful weather, and our beautiful selves.  I took our dinghy and paddled into shore to get egg sandwiches at the local coffee shop.  Note to reader, the coffee shop offers egg sandwiches that are unceremoniously microwaved and the coffee is better ordered as just coffee, because if you add cream and sugar, they will put so much syrup you'll doubt there is any coffee in the cup at all.

Windsurfer board?  Check.

Extra long canoe paddle?  Check.

Stand-Up Paddleboard?  Not really, but Check.
El Skippero (Mexican) chilling out.  
After a swim and a run on the epic beach illustrated in the previous post we decided to haul anchor and head Westbound.  Since the tide was high, we decided to be manly, and make a run across the dangerous shallow shoals that are festooned on the chart with things like "submerged pipes" and "rocks" and lots of shallow areas.

The Skipper had a hunch to hug a line of red buoys that headed out, this would have made sense in any kind of maritime setting since they would have been on our port side, but I was led astray by other boaters who were cutting across the nefarious shallows further inland.  I mused that the red markers (which were not official navigational aids, or marked on chart) were marking out a danger area instead.  My little brother listened to me for what must be the second time in his entire life and acting as Skipper, L made his own decision attempt the shallows closer inland than Napatree Point.

We ran aground, because I was wrong.  My little brother will never again listen to me.

When we ran aground, I jumped overboard and came up to my waist.  So yes, we really were aground.  L started to plot furiously his escape, as we were losing time and tide.  I started getting line ready to haul up his damnable centerboard which was stuck in the down position, rendering his shoal draft boat useless as such, we might as well been a fixed keel.  As I prepared the lines, L took advantage of a gentle swell and gunned it!  Dragging centerboard across the sand, hitting obstacles along the bottom, and caring for nothing save not having to call Sea-Tow to come save us, we made it to the channel that was conveniently marked by the red buoys that headed out to sea!  Relief!  

The winds were light.  After a short stint of attempting to spearfish, which included a philosophical argument on what direction a speargun should be pointed, we set sail for home.

Island Packet "Winter's Haven"

Island Packet "Winter's Haven"  Note cool person.

Watching "Winter's Haven" burn us.

The wind is picking up and we're beginning to start moving now!
About right after this above picture was taken, many things happened at once.  We started really moving, with the leeward rail in the water and L and I up on the windward rail like a real racing boat!  At this point, I realized we had 40 lbs of unsecured anchor and chain on the forward deck!  I made my way forward just as those 40 lbs of nefarious metal slid overboard and over a hundred feet of scope unwound in dangerous "Deadliest Catch" fashion!  OH NO!  I could only imagine the destruction if the anchor caught on the bottom while we were moving at 5 knots in the opposite direction!  Needless to say, I saved the day.

The Skipper L pleased that I saved his boat from mishap.

Hero.  Note anchor now securely attached.
After saving the day, I decided to hang off a shroud, and promptly pulled it free.  That was another few minutes of drama, lemme tell you, but thanks to my ever-present box of tools I was able to fix it quick, 'cause I'm a hero.  Then I made dinner.  Beans.

Making dinner #1 underway.
Sailing into the sunset.
This time, with our new chart, we successfully navigated around several reefs and found a mooring off of Old Lyme for the night.  This was a good thing, because it was dark and we don't have running lights.

We made dinner #2.

video

L says: Day 3

We motored out of Napatree Point and promptly ran aground.  We were attempting to follow an unoffical "cheat" channel, passable at high tide, but Christophe thought boats had been taking another route, which I foolishly followed, rejecting my gut instinct.  I got us out by gunning the outboard and powering the keel through the sand and shallows... and totally redeemed myself!  We dropped the hook off Napatree beach looking to do some spearfishing, but the current was ripping and the spot was too exposed (though visibility was clear), and the shipmates had differing views over speargun safety, so we looked at cool Christmas light jellyfish instead.  We headed back into Fishers Island Sound, where the wind suddenly picked up and we had a strong reach that we rode all the way to Old Lyme - a good few hours of straight sailing.  At one point, with the boat deeply heeled, Christophe leaned on a windward shroud and it snapped, almost dropping him overboard.  Good thing the other shroud stayed put, or I would have been practicing rescue sailing maneuvers.  We pirated another mooring (3 for the trip) and we learned how to use the anchor sail, though it did not prevent a boat-rolling sleep session.



Day 4 Old Lyme to Essex:  The next morning we awoke to heavy swells and queezy stomachs.  L, who has everything in his boat, found an anchor riding sail so fortunately we were pointed in the wind.  Now, the funny thing is that he didn't know what it was.  I had expressed the desire to have one so we could stay pointed in the wind and not rub against the mooring ball (THUMP THUMP THUMP all night).  L asked, "Is it small and triangular?" I answered in the affirmative.  "I have one of those."  Again, L's magical-free-boat that came stocked with everything had an anchor riding sail that I have ever only seen in catalogs like the above link!

I can't express to you how useful this thing is.
After deciding to not really eat breakfast, we cast off the anchor and headed home to the beautiful Connecticut River.  The wind was fair but from the west, so we motored to the river mouth and then raised sail to glide northbound like Vikings of old raiding upstream villages!

The lighthouses welcome us and many other sea-weary sailors home.

173 years old and still a functioning navigation device.  This is called a durable technology.
Spanning the Connecticut River at it's mouth are two bridges, the Old Lyme RR Drawbridge, and the "new" Baldwin Bridge carrying I-95.  The drawbridge operator works closely with the trains (namely Amtrak) and boaters to get people through.  He actually had a gap of "about a minute" and opened the bridge to sneak through some boats between two trains.  This guy was good.  It was pretty awesome.  We waited for a longer opening time, I didn't want to be responsible for a train wreck.

Now, I think if the winds are favorable, a sailor should be sailing.  So we were going to sail through these bridges, dammit!  Vikings didn't putt-putt under RR bridges!

Approaching the bridge, full speed ahead!

Sailing under the span!  We made it!

HAHA!  Success!  Pillaging ahead!
Nefarious I-95 is carried by the Baldwin Bridge.  We'll sail under this one too.

More clearance on this one.
It's like the Hall of the Dwarf Kings.

Essex in View! Oh the Joy!
(Intrepid Reader who identifies which historical figure I'm ripping off gets free GISamateur parking)
'Nuff said.

And suddenly, just like that, we were home.  It was a fun 4 days.  If I could do it again, I'd tow the Goat Island Skiff behind the boat so I could some small boat sailing and keep these posts at least a little more relevant to it's title.  That, and there would have been some good sailing around Napatree Point, and to be honest, I miss my little handsome boat.

Otherwise, great adventure all around, some good stories, and some good weather.  Sure beat 4 days being a Landlubber!  Oh how I pity you landlubbers.

Until next time Intrepid Reader!

L says: Day 4

We reached the Connecticut river and began motor-sailing north, which against the ebb tide meant barely making progress.  The wind picked up near the bridge, and we took advantage by jibing in circles around the other boats that were patiently waiting.  As the bridge rose we sailed through, and were soon back at Essex dock.  The finale of the trip was anchoring my boat in Booty Cove (note: secret spot, not charted.. I will say that I am anchored between a bald eagles nest and a hobo camp).  There was an old man crabbing that tried explaining to Christophe that an osprey flying overhead was actually an eagle.  We whalered back to shore, the boat safe and sound and us with only minor dehydration and sunburn!  BroVenture 1 - Tragic Outcome 0