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.
One of our goals for this year’s travels is to visit places we haven’t yet seen. We had a great time last year and while we want to return to some old favorites, we thought it would keep things fresh if we made a point of stopping in new harbors and towns. Given that, we took a look at the chart and selected a few interesting spots to check out as we worked out way west along Long Island Sound.
Although we had hoped to visit Mattituck again, the weather wasn’t going to cooperate so we bypassed it and went straight to Port Jefferson for the night. From there it was a quick hop to Northport, NY which was a new destination for us. There wasn’t much wind until we turned into Huntington Bay (which is very large). At that point we went from 1 knot of wind to 18 knots and had a nice sail up to Northport.
We’ve tried multiple times over the years to feel the love for Gardiners Bay in Long Island.The first time we were there was to bring Pegu Club back to Groton after we bought her.She had been kept in Dering Harbor in Shelter Island and we were looking forward to sailing her back.What we ended up with was a hot, humid day with zero wind and the most obnoxious power boaters we had ever encountered.The kind who go full speed on autopilot while hanging out down below without a lookout.Those who were actually at the helm seemed to enjoy going as fast as they could while aiming right at us and then turning at the last minute to see how big a wake they could give us.Jeff vowed he would never return to Gardiners Bay.
The next season we decided to give it another shot. We had a sporty, close-hauled 40 nm sail from Block Island to Three Mile Harbor in Gardiners Bay (that was actually our longest sail until we left to go cruising).Three Mile was a lovely spot with a very large anchorage, excellent holding, and clean, warm water to swim in.We enjoyed it so much that we stayed there for several days before having to motor all of the way home on a hot, humid day with zero wind while being harassed by obnoxious power boaters.Are you starting to see a pattern?
As we talked to various cruisers about our plans for heading north, everyone assured us that it would take much less time than the trip south.The weather would be better, and with the additional daylight we could make more progress each day. Well, they were absolutely right.Going north is MUCH faster.
Granted, we’ve done a few passages in order to get some miles under the keel, but there’s no question that this has been a quicker trip for us.There have been very few weather delays, and the warmer temperatures leave us less fatigued so we can put in longer days.
Readers of this blog know that typically we move along very slowly.We like to take our time and poke along.So why the big hurry?Well, we would like to spend some time this summer cruising in southern New England again.But before we can do that, we have a few projects that we want to do on Pegu Club, we have some medical appointments to take care of in Connecticut, and we want to visit family in Rochester and the west coast.We also want to leave to start heading south much earlier this time – ideally by mid-August.Between all of those things, if we want to have ANY time to cruise our home waters we need to put the pedal to the metal and get north.If we went at our usual slow pace, we’d have to turn around and leave as soon as we arrive!
Honestly though, this pace is working out just fine for us.We wouldn’t want to do it both ways, but we do think that we’ll stick with this strategy in the future – take our time going south while moving quickly north.