So how has it been to be boaters again rather than cruisers? In a word, great! We are so glad that we decided to come back to Shenny and Connecticut for a home base. We’ve been having a wonderful time hanging out with friends, re-visiting favorite places, going for daysails and the occasional weekend getaway, and we’ve been thoroughly enjoying the freedom of hopping into a car whenever we need groceries or want to go somewhere.
Yep, one of our first orders of business when we got back was to buy a used car. It took three days and a few near-misses, but we ended up with a FANTASTIC car – a 2014 VW Passat with only 36,000 miles on it, two owners, and zero accidents. It’s the fanciest car we’ve ever owned – it even has a sunroof! – and it’s going to be SO comfortable to drive across country next month.
But before we turn our sights to our trip west, first we had a long-planned two week vacation with fellow friends from Shenny. I’ll readily admit that up until the week before our departure we weren’t super-enthused about heading out for two weeks. We were still feeling a bit burned out and were searching for our mojo, but as the departure date drew closer we found ourselves getting more and more excited about it, and by the time vacation arrived we were raring to go!
The hope when we were all discussing this trip several months ago was to go to Martha’s Vineyard, but Tropical Storm Elsa put the kibosh on that. No worries – there are plenty of destinations to choose from in this region. Two of the boats only had one week available, so we spent that first week focusing on Long Island. It was a cloudy trip to Coecles Harbor with wind mostly a bit too close on the nose to sail, but Coecles proved to be as delightful as always. The same thing can’t be said about the weather, however, with cloudy and foggy days predominating.
After two days at Coecles we waited for the fog to lift and were rewarded with a cloudy but splendid sail to Three Mile Harbor. The winds were 12-15 knots and we tacked our way steadily towards our destination. It was a blast! The eight of us enjoyed a good dinner that evening at one of the local restaurants – and got a chuckle out of the “fancy” East Hampton ladies giving us the stink eye as we left the restaurant in our decidedly-not-fancy boating clothes!
The next day was finally sunny and we all raised the anchor and headed to Montauk, which was a first-time visit for us. There was some motoring followed by some nice sailing, and, after following our friends through the twisting channel, we dropped the anchor in a great spot and relaxed.
When we woke up the morning we were socked in with fog – we couldn’t even see our friends anchored near us. No better time for a cockpit shower! We quickly got all “Frenchie”, as cruising friends of ours once described boat showers in the Bahamas, and took full advantage of the fog. Once a cruiser, always a cruiser!
Two nights in Montauk passed quickly after which two of the boats returned to Shenny while we went with our friends on S/V Infinity to Watch Hill – after the fog cleared, of course. The trip was a motor fest due to the wind completely dying after the first hour, but it was well worth it.
Watch Hill, like Montauk, was another first for us, along with slipping through Wicopesset Passage. We’ve avoided Wicopesset in the past because it seemed so narrow on the chart. While it’s not exactly wide, we’ve been through enough truly narrow areas over the past three years to now understand that it’s really not bad at all (although we were very happy to be following Infinity the first time through). From now on we won’t avoid it if it gives us a better wind angle to Block Island.
As for Watch Hill, we hadn’t gone there in the past because we were put off by the idea of the long motor up the channel, but, again, our perspective has changed since we left. It was a wonderful, scenic destination with a large, protected anchorage and plenty of boat t.v., and we loved hearing the sound of the waves on the other side of the beach. We all piled into Infinity’s dinghy for a walk around town to get some ice cream, and I can say without hesitation that we will absolutely return – hopefully before we haul out in September!
The next day we caught the current back to Shenny on a day with no wind and were pulling into our slip within two hours of raising the anchor – again, after the fog cleared. Where are we, Maine? We’ve never experienced this much fog in mid-July before! Anyway, the plan was to spend only one night in Shenny where we could enjoy an unlimited hot water shower, do laundry, and pick up some more items at the grocery store. After that, Infinity and Pegu Club were heading to Block.
Leaving Shenny the next afternoon, we expected a motorfest to the anchorage in East Harbor. Fortunately, the forecast was completely wrong. We had a great romp over there with 14-17 knot winds before tucking into the lee of Fishers Island for burgers on Infinity and a calm night – although it did get a bit rolly for some reason beginning around 3:00 a.m.
No matter – we were planning to get up early to catch the ebb current out Watch Hill Passage and head to Block Island. It was going to be Pegu Club’s first trip there in two years! After motoring through the passage the wind filled in and we had a lovely sail to Block in about 10 knots of wind. We set up Bob the windvane and kicked back, enjoying being back in our home sailing grounds.
We were all keeping our fingers crossed that we’d be able to get a mooring once we arrived (Block in the summer can be tough), and we ended up being SUPER lucky when we discovered the Shenny mooring was vacant. We rafted up to Infinity (it was their first time rafting), and proceeded to have our best trip to Block Island ever. The weather was great, the company was fantastic, and it was an all-around great time. Jeff went metal detecting a few times, we all walked into town a few times, dinner and drinks were had at The Oar (of course), and a continuous game of Mexican Train dominoes was played each evening on Infinity.
Of course, all good things must come to an end, and after three days we had to vacate the mooring. We had kicked around the idea of picking up a town mooring for one more night, but the conditions looked better for traveling back that day vs. the next, so we reluctantly waved goodbye to Block hoping to return again before the end of the summer.
Now, Jeff and I have a running joke that we’ve never had a good round-trip to Block. It’s always a motorfest at least in one direction. This time, however, was the closest we’ve ever come to actually getting to sail both ways. Yes, we motored for the first hour, and we motored again after we went through Watch Hill Passage, but in between we were actually able to sail, and we even had enough wind at the right angle to sail through Watch Hill Passage – another first for Jeff and me!
Once through the passage we motored over to Mystic and anchored north of the Seaport – a first for SV Infinity – and then after one more evening of dominoes they headed back to Shenny while Jeff and I elected to stay in Mystic for an additional night before a windless motor back to Shenny on Saturday.
So that’s why one vacation actually felt like two – the first week mostly in Long Island with three other boats, a one night stop in Shenny, and then right back out again with SV Infinity with a destination of Block and a short stay in Mystic. The whole vacation was SO much fun, and we sailed more in those two weeks than we had in any two week period over the past three years as we traveled north and south (that doesn’t count time spent in the Bahamas, of course). There’s a LOT of motor sailing up and down the ICW – we’ve certainly had our fill of that for awhile.
The crew of Infinity and Pegu Club were each able to experience several firsts on this trip, and the other boats also had a “first” by experiencing their longest time on the boat away from Shenny. We’re looking forward to more trips with everyone in the future!