Rhode Island to Florida - Day 2
We departed at 0630 hours from the Between the Bridges Marina on the Connecticut River final destination for the day undetermined... destination undetermined as during the evening of the 6th the AC/HEAT had decided it was just too cold in New England for it to provide any heat... the lines cooling the condensing units were freezing up and no water flow... and NO HEAT! Mark (my Brother-in-law) and I worked for several hours trying to defrost the units but it was pointless... every time we would defrost one... minutes after turning it back on it was again frozen up and no water flowing... we decided to let them thaw all night and try again in the morning. We had turned on the oven and had it's door open to use it as a space heater with the AC/HEAT running fans only to circulate the warm air escaping the oven. We set our alarms for 0500 hours and went to bed at midnight.
Seemed like I had just gone to bed and my alarm went off... 0500 hours... the make-shift oven space heater worked fairly well and kept the inside temps in the 50-60 degree range. We turned the AC/HEAT back on normal and let them run to see if the thawing process had worked... I took Beecha to land for her morning walk and by the time I got back I could see the units had already frozen up again... one AC/HEAT thru-hull outlet had water coming out of it... there are 5 thru-hull outlets for the AC/HEAT and all 5 should of had water escaping from them... The thawing process had not worked... the water temperature evidently was just too cold for the unit and we had a long way to go south before we would reach any warmer water... we needed another heat source besides the galley oven. Susan got on the phone and talked to her brother George who lives in CT... he volunteered to go to Home Depot for us and pick up a couple of space heaters and bring them to us at Westbrook, CT... Brewers Pilots Point Marina (N 41°16.425’, W 072°28.146’)... this was approximately an hour or so cruise from the mouth of the Connecticut River. We were all set... stop at Westbrook, pick up the space heaters and continue on our way south.
After waiting 15 minutes for the Old Lyme Railroad Bridge to open for us we headed south out of the Connecticut River and back into Long Island Sound... the winds were predicted to be 20-25 knots out of the west so we figured it would be rough. AS we exited the mouth of the Connecticut River and turned westward into Long Island Sound... the waves started and they were pretty big and with a very short period (space/time between wave peaks) and we were really pounding.. it was as bad or worse than the first day of our trip... we did have the current with us today which helped our cruising speed to stay above 6 knots but the current was against the wave direction... this is what was making the waves so short and steep today... very very nasty! Plus it was freezing cold adding one more pleasantry to the ride.
We made it to Westbrook Brewers Pilot's Point Marina in about an hour as anticipated and headed towards a slip north of the fuel dock where the current and wind would be in our favor for both docking and leaving the dock after picking up the space heaters George was bringing us from Home Depot. We spotted an appropriate slip and Susan and Mark donned their jackets, hats and gloves and proceeded to the foredeck to handle lines for docking. As soon as they went outside Mark contacted me on the VHF (we use VHF for communicating while docking) and said we had a hose bib free flowing water on the port side deck and that he would not be able to get lines on the dock and I would need to hold SAILS in position until they could stop the water. What had happened was that a plastic y-valve in port side hose bib had frozen and split open allowing water to spray in all directions on the port side deck, walls, ceiling, etc... they did manage to stop the water flow and get lines to dock and we were able to get safely docked at approximately 0900 hours. The port side deck was like a skating rink frozen over solid with ice from the water leaking... the ceiling above the deck had ice sickles hanging down and the side was a sheet of ice... it's amazing how quickly the water freezes. Now all we had to do was wait for George to arrive with the space heaters and we would be set to head back out into Long Island Sound.
While waiting for George to arrive mark went down to the laundry/engine room to check things and came back up seconds later stating we had a water line on the AC/HEAT freeze and break and was leaking water into the bilge... GREAT! this trip was really starting off in a bad way... I went below with Mark to see what he was talking about and saw the master stateroom's condensing unit weeping water from one of it's copper cooling coils... a blister and crack... plainly had frozen and burst... why I am not sure as the temperature in this area of the boat was well above freezing... the other two condensing units were fine... SHRUG! Anyway, shut the seawater valves to the leaking unit and stopped the leak and proceeded to remove the water it had expelled from the bilge. While doing this George arrived with two new 1500 watt space heaters... COOL!.... or should I say HOT!... LOL
At this point I took everything that was happening as a sign and I made the decision to stay put right where we were for the rest of the day... we are eager to get south to warmer weather and see our friends and family in Florida but another day here in CT will be good... the sea conditions are horrible, it's rough on SAILS as well as us... tomorrow will be a better day.
Posted at 2:23 PM
Rhode Island to Florida - Day 1
We departed Warwick, RI at 0630 hours on Monday the 6th and planned to cruise 9 hours with an ETA to the Between the Bridge Marina on the Connecticut, River at 1530 hours… the morning started off great… beautiful sunrise and smooth seas for the first few hours…
we knew it was forecast for high winds with 3-4 seas… not too bad and they would be directly on the bow so figured it would not be that bad of a ride.
As we cruised down Narragansett Bay winds were 15-20 knots with gusts to 25 knots and 1-2 seas… a very comfortable ride…. as we exited Narragansett Bay the seas began to build to 2-3 feet but still not uncomfortable and the winds were about the same… I knew when we made our turn to the west at Point Judith seas conditions were deteriorate and they did but not too badly… seas built to maybe 3-4 feet with a big rouge waves ever so often that would send things flying that we thought had been secured.
As we continued westward past the Point Judith lighthouse things settled down for abut a half hour and then the wind started to pick up seas were building… soon we were in steady 6 foot seas with some really large rouge waves… we dropped from our typical 7 knot cruising speed to if we were lucky 4-1/2 knots… and we had approximately 16 nautical miles to go until we reached Watch Hill Passage. Once through Watch Hill Passage we would be in the lee of the wind behind Fishers Island and things would settle down… so we toughed out the 16 nm for 3-1/2 hours with winds at a steady 30 knots with gusts to 40 knots… it was NASTY!!!!
As anticipated, as we cruised into Fishers Sound the waves decreased to 1-2 feet however the narrower waterway increased the speed of the current flowing against us and our speed dropped to 3-1/2 - 4 knots… then when I thought things were improving it started SNOWING!!!! LOL!
Conditions remained the same as we cruised through Fishers Sound but now our ETA to the Between the Bridge Marina on the Connecticut, River was 1900 hours… it would be dark at 1700 hours so the last 2 hours of our trip would be at night… as we exited Fishers Sound back into Long Island Sound we again were fully exposed to the west winds and the conditions continued to deteriorate.. waves building back to 4-6 feet and winds 25-30 knots with 35-40 knots gusts… slack tide would be at approximately 1700 hours so the head current we were struggling against would be gone and we pick up a little speed… YEAH!
We had approximately 14 nm to go From Fishers Sound to the Connecticut River entrance. After slack tide at 1700 hours we did get a boost in speed and our ETA dropped from 1900 hours to 1845 hours… YEAH!! 15 minutes less of these horrible conditions seemed great… It was terribly COLD… we have reverse-cycle heat on SAILS which does not like the COLD New England waters… so we were bundled up in jackets and blankets to keep warm.
We turned into the Connecticut River at approximately 1815 hours and we were finally out of the waves that had been beating us and SAILS up for the last several hours… it seemed like heaven… we cruised 3 more miles north on the Connecticut River… under the Old Lyme Railroad Bridge and we were safely docked at the Between the Bridges Marina at 1850 hours. (N 41° 18.965’, W 072° 20.996’)
We were met by my Brother-in-law Mark and his wife Tracy (Susan’ Sister) at the dock. Mark was coming aboard SAILS here to continue on with us as we head to back to Florida.
Posted at 7:30 PM
Finally 45 days after SAILS was hauled to check the starboard engine vibration... all work is completed. Problem was found to be a bad shaft coupling... shaft was sent out to machine shop and had a new coupling fitted to it... After shaft was removed play was noticed in the transmissions output shaft and sent out for repairs... They found it needed more than just a new rear seal and bearing... the forward and reverse cone drive needed to be replaced... problem was the part had to come from Japan... almost 5 weeks waiting for the part to arrive. It arrived to the Atlanta Georgia on November 22nd and then 2 days to ship to New England arriving on November 24th... Transmission was delivered back to the boat yard on November 29th and installation completed December 1st... We took it for a short sea trial today and everything was given the OK and we are finally ready to start south to Florida... at least the boat is ready... we still have to do some preparation but plan to depart early Monday morning December 6th.
And it is time to leave for sure... temps predicted for the next few days... high in the 30's and lows in the 20's... There are a couple of inflatable dinks at the top of the dock that have been sitting there full of water... this morning that water in those inflatable dinks was frozen... ICE... TIME TO HEAD SOUTH!
Posted at 4:56 PM