Coecles Harbor, NY

Coecles Harbor is a very pretty anchorage in Shelter Island, New York.  It’s popular enough that there is a 48 hour limit for anchoring between May 15 and September 15.  Fortunately it was after September 15th when we dropped the hook on Saturday, because the weather gods prevented us from moving on until Thursday morning.  

On Sunday we took the dinghy to Taylor Island which houses the Smith-Taylor Log Cabin.  The Adirondack-style log cabin was built in 1900 and expanded in 1937.  It’s open for tours by appointment only, so we settled for looking through the windows and exploring the small island that it’s located on.  

I couldn’t get a decent shot due to the clouds, so this is courtesy of Google Images.

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That was the last time we left the boat until Wednesday morning as the forecast predicting 20-25+ mph winds and rain Monday and Tuesday was spot on.  

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Mother Nature gives – a stunning sunset the night before the 36-hour high winds.

Mother Nature takes away – this was the next 36 hours.

I spent the first six hours or so fretting about whether the anchor would hold, but after posting on the Women Who Sail Facebook page several people suggested that I set an anchor alarm.  I downloaded an app on the iPhone and relaxed once it was clear that we weren’t budging.  I sure am glad we upgraded to a heavier anchor!

We had hoped to leave Wednesday morning, but we woke up to thunderstorms and heavy rain so we pushed our departure date back a day.  Finally on Thursday the stars aligned and it was time to move on.  Hooray!

We had hoped to leave first thing in the morning to catch a favorable current, but the winds were strong when we woke up due to a cold front that had passed through overnight.  Feeling a bit psychologically scarred from our aborted trip to Port Jefferson on Saturday, we decided to postpone our departure time for four hours to catch slack at Plum Gut at 12:20 p.m.  We could put up with an adverse current once we were past the Gut if the wind was going to die down a bit.

I was feeling nervous as we left, and when we poked Pegu Club out of Coecles Harbor we had 20 knots on the nose and choppy waves.  Sigh.  I relaxed quickly though, and realized that Saturday’s experience truly had raised the bar a bit as far as my comfort level was concerned.  It was tough to go through at the time, but the long-term benefit is worth it!

Steering clear of ferries going in and out of Orient Point.


Orient Point Lighthouse off of Plum Gut, built in 1899.  It’s nicknamed the “Coffee Pot.”  I guess you could argue it looks like a bit like a percolator.

Once we were through Plum Gut the wind shifted and was behind the beam, so we sailed under jib alone for awhile, getting an occasional push from the waves behind us.  Eventually the increasingly adverse current made it clear that we needed to fire up Big Red if we wanted to get to Mattituck before dark.  Even though we were motor sailing, the sun was out for awhile for the first time in days, and we basked in its glow and the joy of finally being on the move again.

4 thoughts on “Coecles Harbor, NY

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