After a solid month of working on the boat Every. Single. Day. We finally cut the dock lines!
It’s a good thing I stopped working at the beginning of August, because if I hadn’t we likely would have been at Shenny until mid-October. The to-do list on a boat is never finished, but there is a difference between “nice to do” and “must do.” In our case, our “must do” list which was scribbled on a piece of paper had over thirty items on it, including finishing sewing the mainsail cover, making the bimini, and installing our battery monitor and solar panels (all future blog posts). It felt like we would never get there, but finally – on Labor Day – we were ready to go!
We really want to go outside to Cape May, NJ rather than sailing down Long Island Sound and the East River in NYC. Instead of waiting for a weather window at Shenny, we decided to get this show on the road and sail to Block Island. From there we’ll head to Narragansett and poke around until a window opens up.
We were wonderfully surprised to receive a rousing sendoff from our friends and dock mates at Shenny. Everyone knew when we were leaving as they had been watching us work every day and encouraging us. Since it was Labor Day there were plenty of people around, so we motored down the fairway to many waves, cheers and shouts of “Bon Voyage”, “See you next summer”, and tooting boat horns. Our friends from S/V Lone Star even repeatedly blew their conch horn. It was completely unexpected and SO SWEET! We were absolutely delighted!
Photos courtesy of Shenny friends.
Sails finally raised, our late start meant that we were off in a foul current with the wind behind us, but we gamely sailed down Fishers Island Sound and jibed repeatedly to try to get some speed. Finally we realized that if we kept this up it would be after dark before we arrived at Block, so we fired up Big Red for an hour until we made it through Watch Hill passage. At that point we were able to REALLY sail for the first time since last season (we’ve only sailed a few times this year and the winds were minimal).
With winds from the southwest at 14-17 knots in Block Island Sound, Pegu Club was romping along at over 5 1/2 knots. It was sunny and warm, and we were having a great time. We even were able to practice with Bob (our Monitor) for a while. We still need to work on our technique a bit, but we had it working well for quite a while. It was amazing to simply sit back and let the boat sail itself, all without using any battery power. It makes for a completely different experience, and I can definitely say that we will be putting Bob to work as much as possible from now on.
While the wind was great, waves on the beam were giving us a rolly ride resulting in a bit of unusual queasiness for Jeff and I when we would go down below. However, this was truly the first time we’ve had any significant boat motion in the last thirteen months, so we need to get our sea legs back. It was also HOT in the cabin with the hatches closed and the sunny, warm weather. Between the heat, no sea legs, and the rolling it was not a good combination, but we were fine in the cockpit so we just stayed up there as much as we could.
Typical of New England, the sunny, warm temperatures changed into thick fog when we were about an hour away from red Bell #2 outside of the Great Salt Pond. This was turning out to be quite the inaugural day! We’ve only experienced fog during a sail one other time, and that was when my parents were on board with us. At least this time we were only responsible for ourselves!
Visibility was around 1/2 mile but our chart plotter led us right to where we needed to go, and surprisingly there wasn’t any fog in the Great Salt Pond. It felt somehow fitting to emerge from the fog into the sunny, welcoming embrace of Block Island. And with that, our adventure begins!