We've spent three years cruising to the Bahamas on Pegu Club, our Bristol 29.9. Time to switch it up a bit and head to Southern California for the winter, tent camping our way across the United States.
It was another fun ride down the East River from Port Washington.High winds the day before had stirred up the water but it wasn’t noticeable until after we went under the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge.Then it was VERY sloppy for a few hours with the wind on our nose and against the current until we were inside the tip of Sandy Hook.45 minutes later we were anchored in our regular spot behind the Atlantic Highlands break wall (I think three visits makes it a regular spot, don’t you?).
Now I will readily admit that I was NOT looking forward to going down the Jersey coast.Even though we had a windless, uneventful trip from Cape May to Atlantic Highlands a few months ago, this was going to be the same direction as our trip from hell last fall, and it was absolutely messing with my mind.My nerves were NOT helped when I saw the waves near the hook as we went inside towards Atlantic Highlands.
I tend to be a glass-half-full kind of person, so once it was obvious that Pegu Club’s damage wasn’t as bad as we had feared it was time to make the most of our layover in Delaware City.Frankly, I had never even heard of Delaware City before I started researching our trip, but by the end of our visit we both agreed that it would be a nice place for an annual stop.
With a population of approximately 1,700, Delaware City was the eastern terminus for the original Chesapeake & Delaware (C&D) canal before its expansion and relocation in 1927. It has a nice paved path that runs along the canal between Delaware City and Chesapeake City, a large historic district, a small bodega, and a few shops and restaurants.Perhaps its greatest asset, however, are its friendly residents.
We left Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey on Monday the 8th with a forecast calling for winds gusting into the high teens but dropping off later in the afternoon, and waves of about four feet decreasing with the wind.Based on the forecast we decided to leave with a reef in the main and switch to the 85 jib.It was the only thing that went right that day.
Leaving the relative protection of the anchorage the winds were gusting into the low 20’s and we were very glad that we were using the small jib.We had read that it could be rough rounding the point of Sandy Hook but then things typically smoothed out, so we were prepared for it tp be sporty.What we weren’t prepared for, however, was regular 6-8 foot waves on the bow.Although we were wearing rain pants and our lighter foul weather jackets, we hadn’t thought to put on our rubber boots.Within minutes we were soaked from head to toe.
Pegu Club climbed up the waves and down the other side, but there were a few times she dropped off of the edge of the wave, plunging through the air before slamming down on the water with a thud.I was definitely scared, but turning around wasn’t an option.The waves were so close together we were concerned we might broach.We had no choice but to keep plowing through.