Weather turning cold and the summer season is coming to a close… time for SAILS to head south. Last year we departed on November 22nd as we were delayed waiting on our windlasses to be repaired… we left short one windlass with one remaining behind at Ideal Windlass in Greenwich, RI. We left again this season with the same windlass still in RI. Let’s see… September 11, 2013 to November 10, 2014… 1 year 2 months later and still no windlass… maybe next year… ?
We had planned our departure time base on current at Hell Gate, East River, NY… slack tide at 1212… takes four hours for us to go from Stamford to Hell Gate… we needed to depart between 0800 and 0900 to have favorable currents through the East River. We needed to take on some fuel before leaving and I had to load the dock box and supplies on the towboat to return to Oyster Bay. Plans were to do this late afternoon… but I had a rush of late afternoon tow cases so this had to wait till morning before departing… all but one thing… we needed to move SAILS out of her slip before then. We can’t get SAILS out of the slip at low tide due to a large hump behind the slip… with low tide at 1830 and the last minute rush of tows I missed the window to move SAILS out of the slip into deeper water… we had to wait for the next high tide… well not hide tide but mid tide plus… than meant around 2200 we should have enough water to back out of the slip and onto the adjacent t-head dock.
We had enough water at 2200 and we did not even have to start the engines… we just slid SAILS back by hand and onto the t-head… the current coming in pushed SAILS right back in to the t-head… by 2230 we were secure and off to bed… 0545 alarm was not going to be a welcome sound… ?
We were both wide awake well before the alarm went off and prepping to leave… 0730 and we were away and heading to the fuel dock… of course someone had decided to tie their boat up for the night on the fuel dock… 50 feet of dock and on one end was a 25 ft SeaRay. We managed to get SAILS docked in the remaining 25 ft of dock and the diesel hose was just long enough to reach our tanks. We took on 300 gallons of diesel to give us enough to make it the Virginia area where we had heard reports of fuel prices around $3.00 per gallon. We would top off the tanks there saving a few bucks.
At 0830 we departed from the fuel dock… towboat tied to the port side… I took SAILS out the channel and into Long Island Sound and turned the helm over to Susan… I jumped on the towboat and headed to Oyster Bay to pick my boss Mitch. Susan was really nervous being alone on SAILS and at in control… this was the second time ever she had done this… once at the end of last year and now.
Approximately 60 minutes later we were back to the SAILS with the towboat… Mitch at the controls I jumped onto SAILS… the season was officially over… SAD… I really enjoy working here during the summer and hate it ending… well not ending… there is always next summer to look forward to. Mitch departed with the towboat and we continued toward NY… final destination today planned as Manasquan, NJ.
As anticipated we had a favorable current down Long Island Sound and into the East River which allowed us to make 7-8 knots arriving at Hell Gate approximately an hour after slack tide… as we approached Hell Gate our speed started increasing… we were soon zipping along at 10.5 knots… awesome! Shortly past Hell Gate and the East River gets wider we slowed down slightly but we maintained over 9 knots all the way out of the East River and New York Harbor. We were heading south down the shore of New Jersey at Sandy Hook before we dropped below 9 knots.
I was surprised to not see many boats fishing off New Jersey… normally there are tons of them fishing just off the coast here and we have to maneuver around them like we were running a slalom course… but there were virtually none out… in fact other than the commercial traffic there were very few recreational boats out.
With the favorable current the entire day we arrived to Manasquan, NJ at approximately 1800 with our destination the Shrimp Box Restaurant. They have about 300 feet of dock space and normally no issues having enough space. Upon arriving there were two other boats docked… a small 20 ft center console on the north end of the dock and a 30’ SeaRay south of the center console… maybe 50 ft between them… too tight to attempt docking between them… so we docked behind the SeaRay… this was dead center of the dining room and the “View” for the people dining inside... fine for us but not good for the people dining… we just killed their water view. The Shrimp Box did not think it was good either… we had to move to between the other two boats… I paced the space off between the two other boats… just over 50 feet… was going to be “real” tight but we could do it… we untied and moved forward to alongside the space… my estimate pacing it off was “OFF” there was not enough space… I brought the bow of SAILS in and Susan secured her to a piling… we swung in slowly until I could get off onto the dock… we managed to work SAILS into the space by hand with inches to spare between us and the other boats... a lot of work for a dock and dine restaurant… then we saw small signed stating “No Overnight Dockage”… that is why we came here… it had always been dine in the restaurant and dock free for the night… We sure were not going anywhere else at this point… 1930 securely docked.
2000 we headed into the Shrimp Box for dinner… which was really good… Susan had fresh flounder and I had a seafood trio… flounder, scallops and shrimp… we did ask our server about the overnight dockage signs we saw… she had no idea but felt we would be fine staying the night… so we decided to take our chances and spend the night.
Our location for the night N40°06.093’, W074°02.239’
. We traveled today for 9.75 hours covering 71.8 nautical miles averaging 7.4 knots.