As far as the wind goes, this has been a frustrating season so far. We’ve either had no wind or too much (as in, 25-30 mph too much). While we wouldn’t mind getting some practice in some 20+ winds, we’d like to get a bit more familiar with Pegu Club first. There’s also the issue of the waves on Long Island Sound when it gets very windy because they get quite close together which is hard on the boat and its sailors.
The weekend of June 11 and 12 was a perfect example of what we’ve been experiencing. Saturday was a nice day, but there was zero wind. We spent the day relaxing on the boat (Jeff even took an afternoon nap), and we also worked a bit on our mast wiring. For some reason the mast lights weren’t working even though they had worked when we tested them over the winter. Jeff put on some new connectors which did the trick, except for the spreader light which is blinking on and off. Fortunately it’s the least important light for the moment.
Sunday the 12th was nice and warm but blowing stink. The winds were scheduled to pick up mid-morning to 25-30 mph, so we decided we would pack up the boat after we woke up, eat at Shenny’s sailing school breakfast, and head off to Mystic Seaport.
We have been Mystic Seaport members since we took their community sailing lessons in 2012 and enjoy stopping by periodically to check out the exhibits. Today we got lucky in that the Spirit of Bermuda had just docked a few hours earlier.
The Spirit of Bermuda is a 36 meter sloop that was built as a training vessel. The Bermuda Sloop Foundation owns the ship, and the Foundation’s mission is to offer Bermudian adolescents educational lessons and character building through their experiences on the Spirit of Bermuda.
We had actually seen the Spirit of Bermuda when we were last in Bermuda in 2012. The people we had rented an apartment from had taken us for a tour of Hamilton Harbor on their boat, and the Spirit was on a harbor tour for a fundraising event. This was the first time I’ve seen the same boat in two disparate locations, and it really brought home the fact that the boat had actually sailed from Bermuda to Mystic.
In speaking with the crew, we discovered that they were heading to Newport to participate in the Newport-Bermuda race, and they had stopped in Mystic to clear customs and have a few nights of R&R. We were talking to one person in particular, and when we mentioned that we planned on sailing Pegu Club to Bermuda in four years he asked us what boat we had. Almost every person that we’ve spoken to in the States, when we mention that we have a Bristol 29.9, immediately responds with, “You’ll probably want a bigger boat for that.” This guy didn’t blink. He was enthusiastic, asking us what work we still needed to do on her, what was her name, etc. It was very refreshing and is likely a good example of the sailing culture on the island. Our feeling is when the shit hits the fan, the ocean doesn’t care if your boat is 30 feet or 40 feet. You just better have a solid, well-found boat.
The next weekend found us driving to Shenny on Friday for the first time this season. Now that school is finished, Jeff is off work at 3:30 so we’ll be able to stay from Friday – Sunday for the rest of the summer. Hooray! The weekend forecast was finally good for both days, and we were looking forward to a fun weekend of sailing.
After we arrived we went to Shenny’s weekly Friday night cookout. The club provides hamburgers, hot dogs, and all of the fixings. We pay $3.00 per person and bring a side to share. It’s a great way to meet other people. We spent a beautiful evening on the clubhouse porch chatting with several people, including a couple who we discovered at the end of the evening had sailed on their 28 foot boat from Groton to the Bahamas “dozens of times.” Ahh. Fellow small-boat enthusiasts. We told them that we would definitely be picking their brains in the future.
The wind forecast for Saturday was middling, but we headed out anyway hoping for the best. Our intent was to sail to East Harbor on Fishers Island and anchor out for our first overnight of the season. We had a good sail for an hour, and then the wind died. I was unusually stressed out. I think I’m still trying to get comfortable on Pegu Club. Because of the weather this was only our fourth time out on her this season (and only our third sail). The water was also extremely busy with lots of power boats and sail boats which I wasn’t used to. Ultimately since there was no wind we decided just to motor back to Shenny (Thumper, our single-cylinder Yanmar has been fantastic) and spend the night on the mooring.
On Sunday Jeff had a great idea. The wind was looking good, so he suggested that this time we sail out into Long Island Sound (instead of Fishers Island Sound) under just the headsail. No destination in mind – just a nice, relaxing, headsail-only sail out in the wide open water. I readily agreed, so we headed out.
It was perfect. Winds were around 11-15 knots, the sun was shining, and we had tons of space all around us (except for one time when we altered course to avoid a ferry coming from Orient Point into New London).
I was fantasizing about simply keeping on going, and we talked about how four years from now we’ll do just that. It will be awesome, and we can’t wait.
After Jeff’s perfect remedy, I felt like I had regained my sailing mojo and was ready to head out for more adventure. Wind and weather permitting, we’ll sail to Montauk this weekend for our first anchor of the season. We’ve never been there and it will be a longer sail through Long Island Sound vs. simply going to West Harbor or East Harbor on Fishers Island. We’ll save Fishers for Fourth of July weekend. Adventure is out there!