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Monday, 14 May 2012
Port Jefferson,NY to Warwick,RI
Florida to Rhode Island- Day 30
Woke at about 0700 hours and took Beecha to land for her morning business. I decided I would make breakfast today and surprise Susan. There was a McDonalds right at the top of the docks... two breakfast sandwiches and two hash browns... YUMMY! Been a while since we had enjoyed any fast foods... LOL

Returned to SAILS on the dinghy... Surprise! Breakfast! Susan had already eaten a bowl of cereal while Beecha and I were at land... but she still indulged in the greasy breakfast sandwiches and hash browns... and since she had already eaten... she couldn't finish hers... I had to jump to task and finish up her sandwich and hash browns... LOL

Anyway, we dropped the mooring lines and were back underway at 0740 hours and soon were back in Long Island Sound. Forecast for the day had been 10-15 knot winds out of the south and we were expecting a little more in the way of waves than what we had... it was almost flat calm... it was early yet and figured it would get worse... but it didn't. I checked the forecast and it had changed from last night... it was for 5-10 knot winds out of the south and 1-2 seas.... VERY NICE!

It was very calm but it was one of those "gray" days... once we were back out in the middle of the sound you could not see land on either side of us... not because of the distance but because of the fog or mist in the air... GRAY AND GLOOMY.

We did have a good boost of current allowing us to make 7.7 to 7.8 knots most of the time... as we approached "The Race" where the sound narrows down we were doing over 9 knots for quite a while... but this was the area where we were meeting the changing current from ebb to flood and there were spikes of current that slowed us down to below 7 knots as we crossed them and then we jump right back up to over 8 knots... did this for several minutes... then we hit a spike that stayed with us a couple of miles from Fishers Island where we slowed to less than 5 knots as we entered Fishers Island Sound between North and South Dumpling islands... very narrow here... once past we did pick up a little speed but not much... all the way through Fishers Island Sound we made about 6.0-6.3 knots.

We had planned to stop and anchor behind Fishers Island but the forecast for the Tuesday in Block Island Sound was crap! South winds 15-20 knots with gusts to 30 knots and 4-6 seas. That would place the waves almost directly on our starboard beam... would not of been a comfortable day of cruising so we decided to continue on to Warwick, RI. It would be a late arrival and involve some night travel but that would be better than the rough beam seas.

We exited Fishers Island Sound through Watch Hill Passage and again slowed to below 5 knots as the current was ripping through the narrow passage. But it was not long after getting into Block Island Sound that our speed increased to 6.5 knots. Approximately 6 hours to go making our arrival time between 2130 and 2200 hours.

We should of been able to see Block Island at this point but it was still very foggy... a couple of times it did appear through the fog as a darker area but nothing very clear. We would see it soon enough as we would spend the summer there.

Once into Narragansett Bay we did get a slight boost of current and we were able to make just over 7 knots all the way up the bay to Warwick. We pulled into Brewers Greenwich Bay Marina (N40°57.020’, W073°04.234’) at approximately 2130 hours and were secured to the dock at 2140 hours. This was our longest day of cruising the entire trip north... we traveled for 14 hours covering 101.42 nautical miles averaging 7.24 knots.
Posted at 3:37 PM
Sunday, 13 May 2012
New York,NY to Port Jefferson,NY
Florida to Rhode Island- Day 29
We departed from our anchorage at approximately 1040 hours and headed slowly out to New York Harbor and The Battery. We wanted to arrive to The Battery two hours after low tide. When you do this you have a boost all the way up the East River and well up Long Island Sound. Low tide was at approximately 0930 hours and it would take us about 45 minutes to get there from the anchorage. No current at all coming out of the anchorage but when we hit New York Harbor we had a tremendous outbound current that set us sideways. Turning up in to the current towards The Battery we were barely able to make 5 knots but as soon as we passed across the Hudson River and into the mouth of the East River we started picking up speed.... 6 knots… 7 knots… 8 knots… 9 knots…. 10 knots… we felt like we were flying… LOL

The 10 knots we only saw a few minutes in the narrower portions of the East River… when we went through Hell Gate I thought we might see more than 10 knots but we didn’t. We carried these speeds all the way up the East River and out into Long Island Sound. Once into the Sound we slowed to about 8 knots and passing City Island we leveled off at around 7.5 knots.

When we entered Long Island Sound someone let the small boats out… they were everywhere… power and sail. Couple of sailboats pushed the limits and came right across our bow (cross channel) and glared at us as they passed 150 feet off our bow. I think with just the size difference between them and us they would not do things like this… and the boaters here all seem to not be as friendly as the ones you cross paths with further south… wave at them and they just stare… no waves back… no smiles… nothing… We keep waving anyway.

Leaving so late we opted to stop at Port Jefferson which would put is there around 1800 hours. It was actually getting fairly windy as it has been in the late afternoon… nothing like we have seen but it was out of the southwest at 15-20 knots as we pulled into Port Jefferson. Reading in the cruising guides there was a city or town mooring field. It was forecast for rain tonight and it was already windy and might get worse so we decided to get a mooring ball. Guides told us that they were $40 a night and it included free launch service… YEAH! No dropping dinghy to get Beecha to land... awesome!

We arrived at approximately 1750 hours and hailed the Port Jeff Moorings on VHF channel 68… a real friendly young lady answered and gave us instructions as to where to go and that she would meet us at the mooring ball. We rounded green can number 9 as instructed and headed towards the launch that was already at a mooring ball. We danced around the launch and mooring ball with SAILS as she tried to hand us the mooring pendant… the wind and current were working against her on the launch and she would swing in front of us each time we approached her. Finally, she dropped the pendant and moved away from the ball which let me bring SAILS right up to the ball and grab the mooring pendant with a boat hook. We were securely on the mooring at 1800 hours at approximately N40°57.020’, W073°04.234’.

She brought the launch alongside SAILS and secured it and we discovered the new mooring ball rates… $40 was last year… it’s now $45 and the included launch service is still included but because of it being May 13th (pre season) the launch is on a reduced schedule… stopping at 1800 hours and starting at 0900 hours in the morning. So no free launch service for us… we dropped the dinghy and took Beecha to land. She did allow us to dock at the reserved launch only area… the marinas is the area charge $10 to tie up your dinghy otherwise.

We traveled for 7 hours and 20 minutes covering 53.83 nautical miles averaging 7.34 knots.
Posted at 8:32 PM
Saturday, 12 May 2012
Atlantic City,NJ to New York,NY
Florida to Rhode Island- Day 28
We had a nice dinner at the restaurant we were docked at… Scales was the name of it… the chef and owner both came out after we docked and welcomed us saying “Welcome back… nice to see you guys again.” They remembered us from last fall when we were heading south and stayed at their dock for three days waiting out weather. It was nice that they remembered us. They also invited us back next time we pass through the area.

We departed fairly early at approximately 0710 hours. As we were leaving the inlet we ran along side a couple of tug rigs. There was a dredge working the Absecon Inlet and they were part of the work crew. After we got a few miles out in the Atlantic we heard them broadcasting on the VHF that they were closing the inlet until 1100 or 1200 as they were going to be laying a dredge pipe across the inlet and no boat traffic would be able to pass in or out until they were done. We made it out just in time… luck was with us.

We had the current with us heading out the inlet making 8 plus knots until we headed north outside the inlet then we slowed to about 7.2 – 7.8 knots… and we averaged that speed most of the day… we were hugging the coastline to stay in the calmest waters. The west wind forecast was for 5-10 knots and we had that most of the day. The seas were 1-2 feet and actually were an ocean swell coming from the southeast. The ride was smooth the entire day.

We encountered another dredging operation offshore from Surf City, NJ… had to alter our course offshore to pass through between the two jack stations… they actually hailed us on the VHF to let us know where it was safe to cross. Normally, you hail these guys and have a hard time getting any response.

The biggest issue we had today was the small recreational fishing boats. They were everywhere and always right in our path. I guess it was because we were hugging the coastline that we had to deal with so many of them. I actually got in a yelling battle with one of them. We’re 60 tons and I’m sure look fairly big to these small boats… the bait fish were working all over and one time there was a huge patch of bait working right in front of us. One of these small boats sees the bait working and comes zipping over and stops right in front of us… not more than 150 ahead of us and starts waving at us to move to port around him… they were casting into the bait. I had no choice but to move to port but this just does not happen instantly… after I saw I was clearing him as he did not move I went out the pilothouse door and yelled some appropriate phrases at him and we then exchanged a few more choice words and jesters. I just don’t understand how anyone in a 20 foot boat would pull in front of us and stop… LOL

We had planned to try and make it all the way to City Island, NY today but we just did not have the current with us strong enough to get the needed speed boost to make it in a timely manner. When we were maybe 15 miles from New York we started slowing way down… had a strong current on our nose and soon were doing 6 knots and in the Narrows going under the Verrazano Bridge we were doing less than 5 knots. With the current the way it was we would not do well in the East River and Hell Gate, so we opted to try a new spot we had never anchored before… The Liberty Island State Park Basin behind the Statue of Liberty. It was listed in all of our cruising guides and had good reviews so we gave it a try. It was almost dead low tide and there were a few shallow spots going in… never less than 7 feet but entering a new area and you see 7 feet when the chart says it should be 13 feet you get a little anxious but once in the basin itself there is plenty of water 10 to 15 feet. There were 4 other boats anchored already… Two sailboats, a trawler and a SeaRay / Carver type cruiser. The smaller sailboat was unoccupied and appeared like a derelict boat. The other three had people on board. Supposedly, a ferry runs in and out of the basin from 1000 to 1800 hours and you have to leave space for him to get in and out… the sailboats, the trawler and us are well out of the way on the north side of the basin… the other Searay/Carver type cruiser is on the south side of the basin and I am willing to bet he is going to be in the way of the ferry… maybe he is leaving early???

We anchored at approximately 2010 hours in 14 feet of water at approximately N40°41.737’, W074°03.767’. We traveled for 12 hours covering 89.99 nautical miles averaging 7.5 knots.

I took Beecha to the boat ramp docks at the west end of basin… the floating docks did not have an access ramp to the fixed dock so they were unusable. The fixed docks did have built-in slat ladders that I was able to use to get Beecha to land. After she did her business we headed over in the dinghy to check out the ferry landing docks. On the south side was a very nice floating dock… we’ll give it a try in the morning when we walk Beecha.

We will sleep in tomorrow morning as we have to wait for the correct current to head up the East River and Hell Gate to Long Island Sound… we need to be at the Battery at approximately 1100 hours… two hours after low tide at the battery heading north gives you a favorable current all the way through the East River, Hell Gate and Long Island Sound. Not sure where we will stop tomorrow night… just heading north or actually northeast.
Posted at 10:00 PM
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