Onset to New London

Onset, Massachusetts is a great place to shag a ball in the depths of fall. The winds have been so mighty and fluky that we really did have to tuck back into Onset harbor for a few days to shake off the Cape Cad adventure, meaning, rest up, fuel up, provision up and fix up. We’ve been keeping a watchful eye on our water pump for the past couple of months so we decided to stop the guessing game and just tear into in and see for ourselves if the impeller was holding the way it’s supposed to. We also tuned the rig as best we could without disassembling the roller furler. One of the more nerve-wracking thoughts a sailor may fixate on is the possibility of losing the mast. Actually, that makes it sound easy. Oops, I lost my mast! Oh, I found it! But no, if the mast goes, it’s catastrophic. In the moment, high tension steel cables whip around while a large mass does something unexpected. Later…well, let’s just say there’s no more sailing. After that we set off once again down Buzzards Bay. The day was promising 10 to 15 knots of steady westerlies increasing to gusts of 20 by the early afternoon so the decision to get underway early with the outgoing tide and freshening breeze was an easy one, and wow what a sleigh ride. The currents coming out of the canal shot us down the bay for the first third of our day’s adventure. Double reefed on the main with no jib help whatsoever and still making 7 knots but as the wind clocked around and the current slacked a bit the wind and waves were contrary enough to inspire a little engine help for the next third. Once we rounded up on[…]

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P-Town to Onset

P-Town was a raging success! We anchored for the first three days right outside the city breakwater. On the second night, though, we got our little butts spanked by an early winter screamer that clocked around from the south to the northeast with winds ranging from 25 to 35 knots and breaking waves in the 5 to 8 foot range! Neither one of us slept very well that night as the boat got pounded from all points of the compass (that’s saying a lot ‘cuz Dena can usually sleep through pretty much anything) but our ground tackle held like it always has, perfectly! Our anchorage was about 2/3 of a mile from the city dinghy-dock. The row was exhausting going in but we quickly discovered that it was almost impossible rowing back out! The first morning after the big storm I (James) rowed into town. It was long but doable with the wind in our favor. After a full day of running up and down the P-Town drag (about 50 times), out to a grocery store, a liquor store, and the local coffee shop for our sustenance and addictions, we were well on our way to being kaput. Then, at about 5pm, I (Dena) made my doomed attempt at rowing back out to the boat.  I pulled strongly while between the dock and the breakwater. Then we cleared the protection of that giant pile of rocks. The wind pushed us backward and the blades of the oars were like wings. I twisted my wrist with each stroke so that the edge of the blade presented itself to the wind’s force, and that helped…a little. On the other hand, waves were breaking over Tinker’s bow and washing over my shoulders. And it was damn cold, even with all the effort. James[…]

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Portland to P-Town

I (James) really do have to admit that after two weeks of living under the highway, …in the flight path, and next to the construction site, it was a stretch, even for me, to say we were enjoying our million dollar view. There was that really cool Peregrine Falcon that lived under the bridge that had the coolest screech! …And Chief, the bent ear’d guard-dog! …And all the cool folks that we partied with the night of the Lunar eclipse, but by the time we got underway we were (once again) done with Portland, ME! Don’t get me wrong. We made some great connections and I’d even say some lasting relationships but two weeks is a real stretch for us. We had to get underway! We didn’t plan on staying even two days but right after we tied up to the South Portland free-dock we started getting reports of fierce weather coming our way. A weak low pressure zone built up way down in the Caribe while a strong Nor’Easter hammered down from Greenland. That week low pressure built up to Hurricane Joaquin and that Nor’Easter reminded us what that actually meant, holy shit, that’s why people fear these things! That free dock pounded and squealed for three days after the eclipse and the big seas didn’t get below 10 feet until the morning we left Portland. The seas that Joaquin left behind were still pretty big (in the 7 to 10 foot range) but the winds had died down quite a bit, meaning, it was time to put a serious charge back on our greatly depleted battery bank. Being under that bridge only gave us about two good hours of sun a day and that was when the sun was actually shining, which was rare. Anyway, we needed the[…]

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