Fourth of July Weekend

Hooray!  A three-day weekend with a fantastic weather forecast.  How lucky and rare!

Our original plan was to spend the holiday weekend in Montauk on Long Island.  A group of Shenny members were going to head over there and it sounded like fun.  However, a bit of research led us to decide that we would be better off going on a different weekend.  I was interested in going to see the lighthouse, but the shuttle bus wasn’t going to start running until July 5th.  It makes no sense, but there you have it. Also, Lake Montauk is very large and without an outboard yet on our dinghy (also known as “The Ugliest Dinghy on Fishers Island Sound”), rowing wasn’t going to be practical.  So we decided instead to head to one of our favorite spots, West Harbor in Fishers Island.

The winds were expected to be light all weekend but we figured worst case scenario at only four nautical miles, we’d simply motor there.  Fortunately the weathermen were wrong, and we had a nice, pleasant sail on Friday, July 3rd to West Harbor.

Although Fishers was scheduled to have fireworks that evening, the anchorage is quite large so we knew there would be plenty of room.  Still being quite new to this whole anchoring thing, we chose a spot FAR away from everyone else.  The Rocna set right away, and after backing down hard with the outboard it was clear we weren’t going anywhere.  For some reason this time I knew I wasn’t going to fret over it.  Maybe it was because we had such a good experience our first time on the hook. Regardless, I didn’t worry once about dragging for the rest of the weekend, and slept like a baby.

There were fireworks scheduled for West Harbor that evening, so we spent the afternoon relaxing and watching more boats arrive.  One of the highlights was the Mystic Whaler which arrived around 5:00 p.m. and dropped anchor in our vicinity.  The Mystic Whaler offers three and five day cruises around local waters.  We had seen it on previous occasions sailing in the distance (including that day on our way to West Harbor), and it was cool to watch (and hear) the very large anchor and chain drop.

Mystic Whaler at anchor.
Mystic Whaler at anchor.

Later in the afternoon we had some lovely boat tv watching a group of classic looking sailboats sailing back and forth.  They seemed to be practicing for a race, and they were so pretty and graceful.  My favorite had a steel-blue colored hull, and I got a close up look as they whizzed by us in the anchorage.  We watched them approach and it was clear that they were going to be CLOSE!  We weren’t concerned in the slightest – it was obvious they were excellent sailors – and instead we all enjoyed a good laugh when, as they passed, one of them said to us, “This won’t hurt a bit” and Jeff replied “It will buff right out.”  Honestly, they were so close we could have handed them a beer.  It was very cool.

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Later that evening the fireworks show was delayed, but it ended up being a very nice display.  The wind had turned us around so that the fireworks were off our beam, which was the perfect angle for viewing them from the cockpit.  I tried to take some pictures but they didn’t come out on the iPad (note to self: get new digital camera).  Although the anchorage was filled with boats floating around, it wasn’t so crowded that there was a concern about anyone hitting us.  Overall, it was great and will likely be our new July 4th tradition.

Saturday the 4th was a delightfully lazy day.  Several people left the anchorage that morning and as a result we felt like we were kind of “poking out” into the main entrance, so we picked up the anchor and moved in a bit closer to land.  I guess that means that now we’ve officially anchored three times!

That afternoon Jeff was napping down below and I was reading my Kindle in the cockpit (thanks again, Dad and Nikki!) when I became aware of an increasing number of sailboats going by.  I looked up and saw a motor boat with several, large inflatables chugging out, and I realized that a sailboat race was about to start.  Soon I saw my favorite steel-blue hulled boat go by, and I woke up Jeff for some more boat t.v.  We had the perfect vantage point for the race – fun!

As they day went on the clouds moved away and we were treated to a gorgeous sunset, but the evening got even better after dark.  From where we were anchored we were able to see at least ten different fireworks displays up and down the Connecticut shoreline and into Rhode Island.  I love fireworks, and for a while there were so many that I didn’t know which way to look.  It was fantastic.

Sunday started lazy as we sat around watching more people leaving the anchorage.  The wind forecast called for 8-10 knots beginning after lunch.  As the morning wore on though, the wind was steadily increasing so we decided that it was time to head out.  Jeff the human windlass did a great job raising the anchor, and we were off.

Before we left Shenny on Friday we had switched our foresail from our 98 jib to our 130 genoa.  The jib isn’t really cut right for our boat (newbie mistake when we selected it from Bacon Sails in Annapolis where it was on consignment), and July and August usually brings light wind where the 130 would be more useful.  When we left the anchorage we quickly wished we had our jib back.  The wind was blowing quite a bit more than the predicted 8-10 knots.  Had we known, we would have put a reef in the main to compensate for the power in the genny.  Oh well.

Pegu Club FLEW back to Shenny.  Winds were a steady 15+ knots with gusts up to 20, and the Sound was pretty lumpy with the occasional 3 foot swell.  Once we settled in we were having a blast.  At one point Jeff spied a lobster pot off of our starboard and, as he was looking at it, Pegu Club took a wave on her bow that resulted in the biggest splash since we’ve owned her.  It almost reached the cockpit, and it was awesome.  My spontaneous reaction was to let out a big “WHOO-HOO!”, causing Jeff to look over and see what he had missed.  Yes, I do think I’ve gotten comfortable with friskier conditions.

Back from West Harbor.
Back from West Harbor.

After we arrived at our mooring the winds died down (perfect timing for us!) and we whiled away the afternoon, grilling and sipping cocktails – the perfect way to finish a fantastic holiday weekend.

2 thoughts on “Fourth of July Weekend

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