One of the things we’ve been looking forward to about having a bigger boat is the ability to host guests more comfortably and easily. Since we’ve been back from vacation, that’s exactly what we’ve done.
During the weekend of July 23rd and 24th we hosted our friends Vanessa and Kurt for the first time. They had been on Little Bristol a few times and had seen Pegu Club over the winter, but this was going to be their first visit with her all put back together.
The weekend called for sunny skies and breezy on Saturday with winds from the northwest overnight, then less windy on Sunday. Northwest winds meant that our traditional standby anchorage of West Harbor on Fishers Island was out (too exposed), so Jeff and I had decided that we would anchor out at Ram Island by Noank. It would be our first time there, but it looked nice and it was well-protected from the wind.
One of the many things that I love about Vanessa is that she truly enjoys spoiling us with homemade food when she sees us – whether it’s our house, their house, or the boat. It doesn’t matter. True to form, she and Kurt arrived on Saturday morning with a cooler full of scrumptious meals and snacks. We sailed out towards Fishers Island with plans to sail along the coastline, round Latimer Light, and head back towards Ram Island.
A brisk breeze pushed us from behind as we went down Fishers Island sailing with just the genoa out. I noticed the wind gauge and the whitecaps, but it wasn’t particularly pronounced sailing downwind. Once we got ready to turn around towards Ram Island, however – whoa Nelly!
18 knots and choppy water resulted in a last minute change in our plans. Although the winds were supposed to die down as the afternoon progressed, we didn’t want to take the chance given that we were unfamiliar with the anchoring conditions at Ram Island. After all, we did want them to stay with us again some day. A quick call to Dodson’s on the VHF had us heading for the outer harbor for a mooring. Not ideal given that it’s more exposed than the inner harbor, but it was better than beating upwind back to Shenny.
It took two tries to catch the mooring ball in those winds. Jeff had the mooring line the second time but hadn’t yet put it on the cleat, and as the wind pushed the boat back he hollered, “Forward! Forward!” All was well after that bit of excitement, however, and Vanessa brought out the bacon wrapped pineapple, chips, salsa, and guacamole, and drinks were quickly poured. No sooner had we settled in when the launch for Dodson’s came by and said that, due to cancellations, we could move to a mooring in the inner harbor if we wanted. Yes, please! This was an excellent example of Dodson’s typical customer service.
Now on our second, much more protected mooring, we thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the day. We took a stroll through Stonington Borough and then sat down to a great dinner of shrimp, chicken, and beef kabobs and a rice pilaf. Brownies followed for dessert. Did I mention that they spoil us?
We had a great sunset, and everyone slept well with calm waters overnight.
Sunday dawned calm and sunny. Jeff and I provided breakfast burritos and coffee (yes, we did get a chance to return the favor and feed our friends!). We all took a quick walk to Stonington Seafood Harvesters for Bomster scallops and other goodies, and then we cast off the lines and headed out. We were going to ghost over to Chocomount Cove on Fishers Island where we would anchor out and enjoy some swimming.
Kurt was the helmsman for our pleasant sail to Chocomount, and before we knew it we were dropping the anchor. Vanessa brought out pulled chicken sandwiches from her bottomless cooler to ensure that we stayed well-nourished, and then it was time to go swimming!
Jeff cannonballed into the water first and came up gasping. Apparently it was substantially colder than Three Mile Harbor! He quickly hopped out, and then Kurt went next.
Kurt chose to go in the hard way, easing himself in inch by inch. No way could I do that. His Swedish heritage makes him hardier than I am, apparently, because he eventually went in all of the way – and then wisely sprung out. My turn next.
I knew I was going to have to cannonball, but it took a few minutes of standing on the edge of the boat, psyching myself up before I could do it. Yep, it was cold. No doubt about it. I decided to show up the men by swimming once around the boat, slightly regretted it when one of my back muscles that were rigid from the cold went “eep”, and then climbed out.
Vanessa was the only wise one. She said there was no way she was going to go in, and she stood up to the peer pressure. Smart woman.
We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon at Chocomount until the flies chased us away and we headed back to Shenny. A great weekend was had by everyone.
Kurt (courtesy of Vanessa), and Vanessa who always takes great selfies!
The weekend of July 30th and 31st meant that my aunt Becky was visiting from Virginia. She had never been sailing before and was eager to come along, so on Saturday the 30th we drove down to Shenny.
Conditions were perfect for her maiden voyage. It was warm, sunny, and the winds were strong enough to move Pegu Club but not enough to make the water too choppy. We sailed towards Fishers Island and then proceeded to go where the wind took us, sailing aimlessly for three hours and enjoying each other’s company.
We finished up with drinks and snacks in the cockpit with a newly hooked sailor. We told Becky that she has a standing invitation to come visit and sail whenever she would like, and I suspect she’s going to take us up on it.
The weekend of August 6th and 7th saw more guests on Pegu Club. Jeff’s friend Matt was visiting from New York, and he and Jeff O. were going to be joining us on Saturday (with Matt spending the night on the boat).
Jeff and I drove down to Shenny on Friday the 5th after work and enjoyed some R&R in the cockpit after a long week at work. Jeff O. and Matt arrived on Saturday morning with thunderstorms threatening. We figured we would head out and turn around before the storms had a chance to really develop.
We had decent wind and sailed around with no real destination in mind, just simply catching up and having fun being out there. After a few hours I checked the forecast for an update and was pleasantly surprised to see that the thunderstorm threat had vanished, so we extended the sail until the wind started to die.
Matt and Jeff O., and Matt and Jeff catching up.
What came next? Well, drinks and snacks in the cockpit of course! We all had a grand time. Eventually Jeff O. had to head back home (unfortunately he had to work on Sunday), but Matt, Jeff and I enjoyed a lovely sunset and dinner. Matt had been kind enough to bring a bottle of wine with dinner (a big step up from our typical box of Bota), but we couldn’t find a corkscrew on the boat. No worries – MacGyver to the rescue! Jeff used a long screw and the screwdriver and pliers on his Leatherman. Voila! Instant corkscrew!
After a calm, peaceful night on the mooring, we had a relaxing Sunday morning before heading out to anchor at West Harbor. We were hoping to do some swimming from the boat, thinking that West Harbor might be a bit warmer than Chocomount Cove was. A Shenny member that we’ve become friendly with came by on his dinghy and gave us a good tip for finding nice warm water behind the oyster beds in West Harbor (There are oyster beds in the harbor? Who knew?), so off we went.
We had a nice sail to West Harbor and found a good spot to anchor close to the chosen swimming spot. Unfortunately as soon as we anchored I looked down and saw a gigantic jelly fish floating by. The tentacles extended at least twenty inches behind him. No way were we going in there today. Music, snacks, and drinks followed instead while we continued to catch up, and unfortunately it was eventually time to head back to Shenny. The winds had picked up quite a bit, but we had a good sail most of the way back before motoring the final 20 minutes.
When we went to pick up the mooring ball the winds were blowing in the high teens, but Jeff picked up the pennant on our first try. Unbeknownst to me, Matt captured some action shots while I was bringing us in. Apparently I am quite the picture of concentration. We joked afterwards that you’d think I was trying to dock onto the International Space Station!
We think we had Matt hooked by the end of the weekend, because he was talking about making this an annual trip. A successful visit by any measure!