Warwick, RI to Point Judith, RI
Rhode Island to Florida - Day 1
The first day of our trip back to Florida did not start well... weather forecast was poor... very windy and rough seas.... with patchy fog and rain... despite the poor forecast we departed from Brewer Greenwich Bay Marina Warwick, RI at approximately 0920 hours. Greenwich Bay was choppy and winds were 15 - 20 knots out of the Southwest... there were a few other boats out... mostly commercial fisherman that are out every day no matter what the weather. As we turned to starboard from Greenwich Bay into the West Passage of Narragansett Bay the waves increased slightly but were not bad. We did have the current in our favor giving us a slight boost in speed. But this ebbing tide was not the best thing when combined with the wind on our bow it was causing the waves to be steeper and steeper as we approached the mouth of Narragansett Bay. We passed under the Jamestown Bridge and cruised past Dutch Harbor and we could see Whale Rock and the Atlantic Ocean in front of us. The waves were now approaching 6 feet in height and very close together. Up to this point we had been sheltered from the full Southwest wind... as we approached Whale Rock the full force of the wind was on our bow... waves were now 7-9 feet and with a 5 second period between each peak... I slowed SAILS down to a crawl to lessen the pounding of the waves and we continued on in anticipation that it would smooth down once we got through the mouth of Narragansett Bay.
We passed Whale Rock and made a 15 degree turn to starboard which helped the ride tremendously... quartering the seas instead of dead on our bow... and as we got farther and farther away from the mouth of Narragansett Bay it started to smooth down slightly with more time between each wave peak but we still had 6-8 foot seas. We had gone to far at this point to turn back and Point Judith was only a few miles ahead of us... we continued on in hopes that the change in direction as we came around Point Judith would give us a more pleasant ride.
We were soon making our turn to starboard at Point Judith... the waves had become far more favorable but we were concerned about the winds... when we left the winds had been 15-20 knots... they were now a steady 25 knots plus with gusts to 35 knots... well above the forecasted winds. Once past Point Judith we did not have any safe havens until Fishers Island / Watch Hill and the current would be on our nose... making it 2-3 hours to make it to Fishers Island. With the turn to starboard the waves were now almost on our beam... the ride smoothed down but were causing us to roll more than we wanted to... We decided we did not want to ride like this for 2-3 hours and headed into Point Judith.
We entered Point Judith Harbor of Refuge through the East Passage and soon were in calm waters. We proceeded through the Harbor of Refuge and into Point Judith Pond. We had anchored here in the past about half way up the pond between Gardner, Plato and Beach Islands... 8-10 feet of water and adequate wind protection. It was dead low tide and the channel was a little skinny... 5-6 feet in a few places. We anchored at approximately 1440 hours at N41º 24.292', W071º 30.277'.
When I dropped the anchor I was having a little trouble... the windlass kept stopping... reversing the direction up and down seemed to correct it. But after one reversing up and down the windlass stopped... I had enough chain out that we were anchored securely but the windlass being dead was an issue. How was I going to raise it... I had 50-60 feet out (1/2" chain) and 110 lb. anchor... pulling it in by hand would be next to impossible.
The windlass is hydraulic and the only electrical portion is a solenoid for reversing the direction and the clutch switch that engages the hydraulic pump. The switch for activating the pump was on and the indicator light was illuminated... I went to the engine room to investigate... as I approached I could smell burnt rubber... and opening the engine room door I saw the problem... two broken belts lay on the floor. I broke out the tools and installed two new belts on the hydraulic pump and returned to the bow to check the windlass. It was working again but it was still stopping... I tried reversing it a couple of times and then it stopped again... this time it was different... I could hear the windlass turning but the gypsy was not moving... it was dead this time and not the belts.
Dead windlass... what else could go wrong... we started dragging anchor... luckily we have a second windlass and anchor and I dropped it immediately and stopped us from dragging anchor but I still had the problem of retrieving the other anchor manually. I decided I might as well get it taken care of and back on the boat now rather than wait... I summoned Susan and had her run the boat as I retrieved the anchors... I first retrieved the second anchor I had dropped when we started dragging and then I had Susan drive us into the wind as I manually pulled the first anchor in. The winds had really increased and were not helping matters. It was a slow and tiring process and we were making headway... no problems... Then it happened... when I had retrieved the second anchor I had not fully raised it... it was hanging at water level and somehow in the process of maneuvering in the wind the anchor chain I was retrieving had become entangled in other anchor... we had a mess.
I struggled with anchor twisting tool for 30 minutes and was finally able to untangle the anchors... I fully retrieved the second anchor and returned to manually retrieving the first anchor. I had removed the chain from the windlass gypsy and about half way through the process I bumped the windlass switch and noticed the gypsy turning... it was working with no load on it... I moved the chain back on to the gypsy and tried to retrieve the remaining anchor chain with the windlass.... it stopped again... I removed the chain from the gypsy and activated the windlass again... working fine... I applied a little load on it with my foot and I noticed it was stopping at exactly one revolution when the gypsy was in the same position each time. Evidently there was some gear broken within it... I could manually turn the windlass past this point and it would again turn one revolution and stop... idea!!! I placed the chain back on the gypsy and retrieved the remaining chain one revolution at a time... manually advancing the gypsy each time it stopped. this was a slow process but it was sure a lot easier than manually pulling the chain up.
We got the first anchor up and repositioned SAILS and dropped the other anchor and were secure for the night.... Oh I forgot... during this process the port engine overheated and had to be shut down... luckily the hydraulic pump is on the starboard engine. Safely anchored I now went back to engine room to troubleshoot why the port engine had overheated...I noticed a lot of coolant in the bilge and cleaned it up and checked all the hoses... the props had been stirring up the bottom when we were working with the anchors... I thought we must of sucked some mud into the strainer... checked it and it was clean... maybe we sucked some debris and blocked the through hull... everything looked good...I filled the engine back up with coolant and started it.... checked the water flow from the exhaust and it was good... shut the engine down and went back to the engine room... again there was coolant in the bilge... I started the engine and surveyed it form top to bottom for a leak... then I saw it a drip near the rear of the engine... tracing it up I found it coming from the turbo... I killed the engine and upon closer inspection discovered the problem... a freeze pug in the turbo housing was blown out... I had replaced one of these freeze plugs in the past I had purchased a couple of extra freeze plugs at that time... JUST IN CASE... and I was glad I had... replaced the freeze plug and we were good to go.
We had arrived at 1440 hours and it was now 1800 hours... it had been a horrible day!
Here's the stats for the day.
We traveled for 5 hours and 20 minutes covering 27.44 nautical miles averaging5.14 knots.