Days of gales at anchor, a wild ride in a monster truck (up and down the Eastern Seaboard to get our bikes to Annapolis)…
…and some clever social-distancing from some good friends defined the blur-of-a-memory that was our Covid-Old Saybrook-2020 adventure.
That’s S/V S.N Cetacea over Fred’s left ear and Sue’s head.
Then we went sailing!
Once again the spring guided our departure with a narrow window of fair winds. The weather said it would start slow and could get gusty with winds at 10 to 15 knots from the northeast, setting us up for a down-wind run west from the mouth of the Connecticut River.
I (James) figured we could go nice and easy by tightening the tack for a reach to Port Jefferson on Long Island, and that would make for very little high-jinx and a nice short (ish) day. This is a thing we’ve done a few times so not really an adventure, just a sailing trip.
The last time we went to Port Jeff was a miserable anchoring experience. We dropped the anchor on the fingernail edge of a large expanse of safe water completely full of empty mooring balls! Our motivation to spend two and a half hours navigating into and another couple hours coming back out of a place we don’t even like was almost nil, the weather was only starting to kick up, and by the time Port Jeff was off our port bow, going there wasn’t even a thought.
So we pushed on.
We had a window of less than 24 hours of downwind sailing before another strong southwesterly would mean banging our heads on the wind and waves, after which another rocking Nor’Easter would blow through the Sound. That and the fact the current would be fair for a little more than half the trip inspired us to choose the “Incredible Adventure!!!” option. We sailed the whole Long Island Sound in one go.
We totally kicked it’s ass and ran the length of the Sound in thirteen hours. It was a wild ride.
We weren’t quite directly downwind, so the one-foot-or-less wave-height (lie) would have been (sigh) nice. Every time we got hit by another five to six foot growler from abaft, we heaved and rolled…still not enough to scare us out of pushing on. A portion of this bravery was due to the moment when I (Dena) said, “Hey, I’m going to take some meclazine…want one?”
By the time we got to Halfway Rock Light (vid below) the tide had turned around against us but the winds had increased.
This gave us a solid run with a full mainsail for 12 of the 13 hours we were underway. We never even unfurled the headsails or reefed the main… One tack, on one heading (M-260) for 12 absolutely invigorating hours straight down the middle of the Sound was only broken when the wind died right at the worst of the countercurrent. We ran the engine for an hour on and off, milking the wave action to keep the minimum speed necessary to control the boat, but the rest was silent running.
We grabbed a free town mooring in Manhasset Bay a little after 1900…Then we lit a fire and all was well in the world.