Wednesday morning NOAA was calling for 8-10 knots as we prepared to head from Stonington to Shelter Island. Since the wind was going to howl on Thursday, the plan was to pick up a mooring at Shelter Island and spend the day in Greenport, then continue our journey on Friday. Not so much.
We were enjoying a nice sail through Fishers Island Sound with approximately 10 knots of wind, but when we were out of the shelter of Fishers Island the 8-10 knots turned into a steady 18-20. What the?? I suspect 18-20 is a lot more comfortable in other areas, but on Long Island Sound the water turns into a bit of a washing machine. Combine that with having to sail close-hauled, and this was not going to be our idea of a good time. In fact, it was looking like a repeat of last year’s slog from Block Island to Three Mile Harbor.
We gamely went on a bit farther and then decided that we were on vacation and supposed to be having fun, so we turned around and ran back to West Harbor on Fishers Island. There are a few public moorings, one of which was available, so we decided we would hunker down there until Friday and wait for the system to blow over. West Harbor is one of our favorite harbors and it’s very well protected from southwest winds so we knew we would be comfortable. It wasn’t a difficult decision.
We spent the next two days relaxing and exploring parts of the island:
By Thursday night it was clear that these winds were taking their time blowing through. Friday was looking no better than Thursday, so we debated where to go next. We definitely didn’t want to go back to Shenny just yet. After all, when we’re cruising we’re not going to be able to simply run back to Shenny when the weather turns. How about Noank? Just a few miles from West Harbor, we could dash across Fishers Island Sound, pick up a mooring at Noank Village Boatyard, and explore Noank and Mystic by water. We have been there countless times by land, but never on the boat, so we were both pretty excited about this idea.
Late Friday morning we headed out, deciding to sail a bit in the frisky winds. One of our goals this season is to get used to sailing in less-than-ideal conditions. Between the squall and the winds, this vacation was giving us plenty of opportunity.
NOAA’s predicted 8-10 knots with gusts to 25 was actually a steady 21-25 knots on Fishers Island Sound, so we exposed ourselves to that for a while before adjusting our course and heading up the Mystic River towards Noank Village Boatyard. What followed was a lovely two days. Noank has possibly replaced Stonington as my favorite overnight getaway. We had hot lobster rolls at Abbott’s, went to the Noank Farmer’s Market on Friday evening, and on Saturday we took the dinghy up the river into Mystic which was a lot of fun. We also saw fireworks over Ram Island on Saturday night which was a treat. The staff at the marina were all extremely friendly, and the mooring was in a great location to watch boat TV as boats went up and down the channel all day. It was a blast.
Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, so on Sunday we headed down the channel and out into Fishers Island Sound to go back to Shenny. The predicted 8-10 knots winds were actually 18-20 knots (damn you, NOAA!), and the water was still a washing machine. I was nervous about docking in those conditions, but the Shenny docks are so well protected that the wind was substantially less there. Miraculously, I managed to back us into our slip on the first try! Whoo-hoo! Maybe we’re getting a bit better at this whole docking thing!
The rest of the day was spent relaxing before heading back home. Although we both had to work on Monday, we did have Tuesday the 4th off, so we were able to head back down Monday after work and spend the 4th giving Pegu Club a bath – both inside and out – which she badly needed after our adventurous week of vacation!