Every two years is race week (or one of), at Block Island. Payne’s Killer Donuts begin to be sold every day that week and just think of the vast quantities that are eagerly devoured every day! We headed out early Wednesday morning arriving Block Island Sound by 2pm. As we approached Point Judith’s Harbor of Refuge, Gunboat Elvis was spotted to starboard and we earned second place in the race around Point Judith! True, really.
But if you must know, the expanded version is this: current against us as we headed east through Long Island Sound, we chose to exit it not thru the Race, but through Watch Hill Passage where the current wouldn’t be as strong as through the Race. Either way would find us in Block Island Sound and several miles away a race was underway. S/v Elvis is a Gunboat catamaran we’ve seen several times in the Bahamas. They were flying along at 10kts to our 7kts, heading toward Newport from Block as we skimmed the RI coast heading for Jamestown’s west side, Dutch Harbor. As we rounded Point Judith our wind angle improved and we flew along at a comfortable 8kts, the wind on our stern quarter. Elvis sailed farther over toward the East Passage, using his spinnaker to best advantage and a swift 12kts. Yes, two of us cats and yes we were second. True story.
Decent wind and no rain made us happy sailors and anchor down before 6pm made for a timely happy hour. We’d wait out the next few days here in Dutch Harbor if the marina couldn’t fit us in until our “due” date. Of course we hoped they’d have dock space for us on Thursday or early Friday as high winds were forecasted for Friday, preceded by T-storms, etc. The main anchoring area is opposite Dutch Island, on the backside of Jamestown, just above the Dutch Harbor Boat Yard’s large mooring field. Dutch Island lay less than 2/10s of a mile from us; Thursday morning I could not see it thanks to dense fog. Every vessel in and around the busy Narragansett Bay area did a Securite call; all day long. No space for us today at the marina. Sigh. Afternoon found us walking east on Narragansett Ave for a long overdue visit to Jamestown. Restaurants, nautical stores, a bustling harbor where you can take a launch over to Newport, a bead shop and one of our favorite B&Bs, East Bay B&B all packed into a few blocks, with more temptations on the edges.
Rain threatened; the day moved from foggy to overcast with sun teasers. By 7pm the fog filled in again even as the sun tried to break through. Several boats joined us in the anchorage, at a courteously spaced distance and we all hunkered down for the expected rain storms and increased wind overnight. Was I worried?
Overnight and early morning fog gave way to dense fog and of course the marina gave the Ok to come in. Even the 12-18kts wind was no help in diminishing the fog, but with radar and AIS we’d take it slow. How many idiots would be out in this anyway? Our rusted anchor chain came up for the very last time (without a problem) and we headed north up West Passage speeding along at 7kts on one engine, the wind pushing our stern and a favorable current. Our biggest challenge was finding the correct span on the Jamestown Bridge which we couldn’t see until we were virtually upon it. Why can’t our Garmin chart plotter display where the pass span is for each bridge? Is that asking too much?
Two and one-half hours later Ortolan was expertly docked (ok it was a T-head) stern to stern with s/v Sequoia. The dock girl refused our tip, saying, “No thank you, it’s my job.” Sweet, the beginning of the end of tipping! Got ourselves plugged in, settled in, checked in and planned our weekend, figuring the haul-out would happen Monday or Tuesday, weather permitting.
The cockpit was quite crowded with all the extra haul-out related supplies and equipment we’d need.