While Connecticut was sweltering through another heat wave, we were in the coolest spot in the area – Block Island. After enjoying a few days of lovely temperatures and nice breezes, we decided to head to Newport on Thursday, September 6th. We would have loved to stay another day, but we wanted to take advantage of the favorable winds given that Friday they would be on the nose.
We cast the line off the Shenny mooring ball and pointed Pegu Club towards Newport with 15-18 knot winds from behind. Downwind is the slowest point of sail and we don’t have much experience with it, so we struggled a bit at first trying to find the sweet spot between getting some speed and aiming somewhat towards Newport. After rigging up our preventer we finally settled in and jibed our way across Block Island Sound, pulling into Newport around 1:00 p.m.
Our intent was to anchor but when we motored to where we thought the anchorage was, we could only see mooring balls. Thinking that perhaps the anchorage had been replaced with a mooring field (something that is happening at an unfortunate rate in New England), we had resigned ourselves to paying for a mooring for the night.
As we motored further in, Jeff suddenly noticed that there weren’t any balls and we had stumbled on the anchorage, so we found a spot and dropped the anchor. Ten minutes later the Harbormaster came by and said that we were too close to the underground cable so we needed to move. Bummer – but we were sure glad we had installed the electric windlass!
We found a better spot and dropped the Rocna again (both times it set immediately). I marked a waypoint on the chartplotter, and the harbormaster came by to make sure we were all set and give us information as to where the dinghy docks were. He was very friendly and set a good tone for the visit. The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing and enjoying the best boat tv that Newport has to offer.
Checking the weather, we knew that the early evening might bring thunderstorms. Right on time the skies began to darken.
People started coming back to their boats, and I fretted a bit about how well the Rocna would hold given that we were also going to have a 180 degree wind shift.
This guy wasn’t concerned about the weather. He was really that close to our boat!
Fortunately the thunderstorms skirted us to the north, only bringing some gusty winds of 20 knots. A few people dragged, but no one near us, and they were on their boats so no damage was done to anyone else. We watched the show, thankful that we weren’t the show. It was VERY encouraging to be able to look at the chartplotter and see Pegu Club exactly on the waypoint that I had set earlier. Earlier that morning I wasn’t sure how well I would sleep for our first night at anchor this season, but after seeing that Pegu Club hadn’t budged even with the gusts, I ended up sleeping like a baby.
The next day was spent running errands and doing laundry and taking showers at the Mariners Center. The charge for laundry was highway robbery – $4.50/load to wash and $3.75/load to dry. Suffice it to say, we won’t be doing laundry there again.
That evening we were scheduled to meet up with Chet and Mike from Shenny. Chet was bringing his boat to Newport for the boat show next weekend and Mike was crewing for him. They kindly offered to take us out to dinner, and we had a wonderful evening with them talking boats and sharing stories. It was a great way to wrap up this stay in Newport, as we were planning to raise the anchor and head up to Potters Cove on Saturday to spend the weekend at anchor with friends who are fellow Bristol owners.