On Tuesday we took advantage of a break in the weather to sail from Potters Cove to Bristol. Bristol has a rather large anchorage that is quite exposed to the prevailing southwest winds, but with the forecast calling for light winds from the north for several days it seemed like a good time to visit.
The sun peeked out a bit on our pleasant four nm sail east across the bay.
We were feeling lazy so we went under headsail alone, beam reaching and broad reaching with winds ranging from 6-12 knots. We had plenty of room to drop the hook and before we knew it we were settled in again.
Bristol is a cute town of about 22,000 people, and it has the oldest continuously celebrated Independence Day festivities in the United States. The celebration starts on Flag Day on June 14th where they have outdoor concerts, soap box derby races, and many other festivities. A former co-worker had told me about their July 4th parade which he said was unbelievable.
As we walked through Town we passed a Town government building with a directory outside which included the “Fourth of July committee.” Clearly the Fourth of July festivities are serious business here. Looking at their website, apparently the parade is viewed by over 200,000 people! In a town of 22,000! We have no idea where they put everyone.
We had a nice mix of boat chores, land chores, and fun during our 4 1/2 day visit. We had mail to collect at the post office and the UPS Store and we took the bus (and walked) to Jamestown Distributors, a marine supply store where we replaced our handheld VHF which had given up the ghost the day after we cut the dock lines (of course). We could have taken the bus to Stop and Shop, but we decided to pick up a few things at the local bodegas instead, since we like poking around local stores when we can.
Eric from Delta-T had mentioned that Bristol had a new Maritime Center with laundry facilities, showers, ice, and vending machines, so we had to take advantage of that a few times. Perhaps not surprisingly, Bristol’s laundry was much more reasonably priced than Newport with two loads of laundry costing $10.00 vs. the $16.00 in Newport (can you tell I’m still irritated about that?).
Bristol is home to the Herreshoff Museum which we had visited when we were last here four years ago, so this time we mainly poked around the town checking out the historic houses (many of them built in the early 1800’s). We also walked to the Mount Hope Farmers Market which was about a mile away from the dinghy dock. Unfortunately the market was a bit of a disappointment, proving to be much smaller and pricier than it seemed from the website. It made for a nice walk though, and we did pick up some butter lettuce and two gigantic local peaches.
My only quibble with Bristol is with the dinghy docks. For such a large harbor there are only two. One is for short-term use only (the signs say 10 minutes or less), and the other only has room for 1/2 dozen dinghies at most. It wouldn’t be a problem this time of the year if there hadn’t been a few dinghies parked there that clearly hadn’t been moved in a while, based on the amount of rainwater sitting in them. That complaint aside, Bristol made for a lovely stop.
While we are certainly enjoying Narragansett Bay, now that the risk of Florence has passed it’s time to get moving south. We have been checking Windy.com every day, along with PredictWind, but so far we haven’t been able to find a 48 hour window to make the jump straight to Cape May. When the winds are good the period between the waves are closer together than we’re comfortable with, and when the waves are good the winds are lousy.
After many discussions we’ve decided to give it until Wednesday at which point we are going to leave Rhode Island, going either straight to Cape May or back to Long Island Sound to take the inside route. Either way, it will be good to get going!