Forgotten

The last post ended with an epic walk for groceries and suchlike.  It was about 5 miles, not counting the up-and-down-the-aisles part. Then we wanted to go to the USS Nautilus museum – it’s all about submarines and the first nuclear sub is on display there.  Google maps gave me the helpful information that there was no public transit between New London and Groton.  I mapped it as a walking route…4.7 miles each way. And then we walked. The best part about walking through strange towns (or even strange parts of familiar towns) is finding the unexpected.  This qualifies: John Winthrop the Younger was the son of the founding governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and was himself a governor of Connecticut.  He build the mill above in 1650.  Pretty neat, eh?  Note the freeway bridge in the background. The mill is actually situated right in the middle of three such bridges arranged in a major convergence leading to the bridge over the Thames River. Can you imagine the battle to save that mill? When we showed up, a cop was hassling a very tidy homeless guy.  He had a pack and a gallon bottle of water on the picnic table and it looked like he had camped the night before.  This was before 9am, so the guy was trying to be subtle, I guess, packing up before most people would be around.  I wonder who bothered to call the cops on him.  He wasn’t hurting anyone or anything. Anyway, we used the long, tall I-95 bridge across the Thames River and then the narrow road along the river to the museum. What we saw: missiles, officers’ histories, sonar and radar histories. What we didn’t see: the people and systems that make submarines possible. I (James) grew up in Austin,[…]

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‘Ol New London…

Dena jumped over me at 0445 and that’s weird. No, I mean she was up before me at 4:45 in the morning and that’s weird, or rather not the norm, but that just shows you how motivated we were to get the hell out of Hamburg Cove. Don’t get me wrong, it was a breath taking environment, a beautiful sheltered cove and the best ball-shagging we’ve ever done but after an entire weekend and a rainy Monday in the place, we were both freaking out to get underway. When we clipped onto Miss Sue’s mooring Friday morning there were maybe 15 boats in the cove which is about a 1/4 of a mile circle. We thought we were in the perfect situation for a couple of folks like us that just wanted to kick back and let a busy summer weekend on the water go by. The odd seagull circled, but we were entranced by the bald eagles, cormorants, and osprey.  There was also a small diving bird, so cool in its fast banking and sudden dives.  All the birds were hunting successfully, but the fish jumped right out of the water all around the cove.  One cormorant caught a catfish so big that it had to carry it around the cover in circles, tearing it to pieces as it went. Oh, how sweet and cool the water was!  There was a biological life to it, no doubt, but it was fresh and we needed that pretty badly. A lovely calm lay on the water and, refreshed from a swim, we got in Tinker and rowed up the river, seeking the truth of the rumored old-fashioned general store. I (Dena) caught sight of a stone building behind a small dock and watched it appear as we started around a bend. […]

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Hamburg Cove

When last we spoke, we were irritated by a bay full of mooring balls. Our solid anchor job improved our mood and we decided to take a day for stick-around type fun. Rather than leaving first thing the next morning, James went aloft in an attempt to stop the banging inside the mast. The VHF antenna is at the top of the mast and its cable runs down a channel inside the mast, along with electrical wire for the anchor light. A couple more electrical wires (foredeck light and steaming light) begin under the spreaders. Some or all of these wires have come out of the channel and they bang around inside when the boat moves in certain ways. Not while sailing, but while motoring sometimes and definitely at anchor. He took apart the foredeck light, hoping to reach into the mast from there and pull the cables forward with a zip tie, but the hole was too small to work with, disappointing him. Putting that back together involved two screws and a gasket, all of which had to line up perfectly on a surface pointing down. Of course, dropping any of those bits would have been tragic, since they would almost certainly have bounced right off the boat. He kicked that project’s ass. We still didn’t want to leave, so we went sailing. I know, sounds like we left. But I’m talking about dinghy sailing. The dinghy – Tinker – is a Dyer. After all that work we did, she rows wonderfully and it was time to find out how she sails. The answer, to our great pleasure, is wonderfully. Tinker wouldn’t sail into the wind before and still doesn’t point too high, but now she moves along nicely and tacks with ease. I found that I like sitting[…]

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Another crime of capitalism…

I (James)  finished the engine just outside the Norwalk entrance channel on a heading of 100 East for Port Jefferson, Long Island, NY with two reefs in the main and the jib paid out all the way to 130%. It was one of those sailing experiences that you never read about, meaning, uneventful. The wind was perfect, the seas were with us and we only saw a handful of boats for the entire adventure. It was a prime example of why we live this way. On the VHF radio we heard about a research vessel that had lost its Diver Propulsion Vessel, which was jetting itself all over the Norwalk channel, but that was behind us. There was a NOAA survey vessel, R/V Thomas Jefferson, doing maneuvers and making depth-soundings all the way across the Sound but again no concern of ours, just a minor course adjustment is all. The most excitement we had was shaking the reefs out when the wind softened and pulling them back in when it stiffened.  Both events were handled, one each, by the one of us on watch, single-handed, without trouble. Coming through the narrow cut between Mount Misery Point and the Old Field Beach, we slid through the water as though oiled.  The fresh bottom paint does have an effect.  The wind was southern but scheduled to turn west overnight, so we skipped anchoring in the Sand Pit from which a century of Manhattan concrete was taken.  Instead, we turned starboard just before the red nun 4 in order to run up the small channel between Strong’s Neck and the beach. Even before making the turn, we could see that our Snug Harbor, our Sheltered Cove was speckled with mooring buoys. A little background on the humble mooring buoy. A mooring buoy is[…]

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Ready to Splash

We’re drinking coffee, relaxed but excited that we’ll be underway again soon.  This haulout has gone pretty damn well, considering we went into it without planning ahead. The insurance adjuster showed up the day after we were hauled.  His visit was an all-day event.  We showed him the damage, told him what we wanted.  He hemmed and hawed and said there was no way they’d pay to paint the entire boat.  The adjuster went back to his running car to start writing things up.  In the heat, we fumed that there was no work being done while we waited around for him to come back and talk to us again. That’s when we brought over the manager of the yard and the master painter.  We all debated for a very long time.  First he tried to say it could be spot painted.  The hull isn’t uniform enough for the painter to find a good feathering place for blending the new and old.  Then he said it could be gel coated and washed and waxed. I told him that the painter was not wrong about the hull being non-uniform, but that I’m also not wrong that it would look silly as shit to have a patch of perfect new paint in the middle of the boat. This guy is a car and motorcycle person.  He doesn’t really know what boats require.  He just knows it sounds like more money than he is supposed to approve on his own.  Just when it was about to get really upsetting, the adjuster retreated again to his running car. He must have deliberated with his bosses.  An hour later, he came to the side of the boat and I clambered down the rickety ladder.  He held out a sheaf of paper an inch thick.  On[…]

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…A beautiful sail.

On the 10th, we set off from our anchorage at Liberty Park.  And yes, we had a quintessential NY scene. We left NYC via the East River, getting a nice shot of the Pier 17 museum this time. We passed the entrance to Newtown Creek (boo, hiss) and under the Queensboro Bridge.  Lovely thing, it is! We were running with the current, having made it out of the Liberty Park anchorage at the exact right time.  When we got to Hell Gate, the current was flowing like mad.  Whirlpools swirled visibly and jerked us around like an amusement park ride.  It was cool as fuck. This is a 6 knot boat under most circumstances. James started singing, “So we crashed the gate doing eight point eight,” but by the time he reached the end, we were bouncing over 9 and saw our top speed at 10 knots.  Ten knots!  Wow! Rikers Island creeped us out and the rest of the area between Hell Gate and Throg’s Neck didn’t offer much more. We passed into Little Neck Bay, Long Island, and settled the hook just of the coast of the city of Great Neck, NY.  The area didn’t have many boats in it and it was pretty peaceful once the water skier got tired.  A couple of other boats swung our way to get a good look – because we were looking great on the hook! We know this because we launched the dinghy and gave her a maiden voyage, rowing to the little semi-public park meant only for the residents of the stuffy neighborhood.  The tony subdivision has a fancy name, but I can’t be bothered to remember it. The row went swimmingly (not literally), with all our hard work resulting in a nice firm caprail that gives us plenty[…]

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A means to an end…

We’d dealt with the crazy dock hand, the rickety piece-of-shit dock, the boat next to us that somehow hit our boat while we were off in the city being very cool, the insurance company and more wake than either of us country mouses have ever even seen and it was time to move on. We started the engine at 1500, kicked her in gear, and backed out of our slip into the fairway. I was on the bow helping us out when I heard the distinctive sound of Dena  putting the engine in forward but something was different. I didn’t feel the surge of forward motion that usually comes with such a maneuver. We started to drift and Dena kicked up the RPM’s a bit, still nothing. The wind caught the bow and we started to swing back towards the dock and Dena drove hard to lee but we obviously had no helm, adrift in a marina, completely surrounded by millions of dollars in plastic-destroyers. Oh wait – did we forget to talk about the boat that hit us at the dock?  Funny, right? Wrong. We wrote the blog post about being aground at the slip while still in the slip.  Once the water rose enough, we moved to the fuel dock with the idea of changing to a deeper water slip after filling the diesel tank.  Before we had even cleated a line, James became somewhat distracted. “What the fuck is that?” I saw the odd area on our port side, midships, but continued to focus on tying the thrusting boat to the heaving fuel barge.  Sounds sexier than it was. Once we were safe, I could turn my attention to the matter at hand.  The matter was a series of gouges about 4′ long and 3′ high, running[…]

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