With each passing day we pinched ourselves to be sure that everything was really
going our way. We bid farewell to Port Washington along with three other sails,
motoring down the East River through New York harbor, the current sweeping us
along. No noticeable pleasure boat traffic and minimal commercial traffic- a
nice change from last year’s Saturday trip.
Don’t look now but we are starting to show our experience, or maybe we could call it confidence. 🙂 The paper charts remained MIA- oh those silly things that consume 75% of the table space; oh I did pull them out eventually for the trip down the lonnggg NJ coast. Gives me something to look at, plus I find the charts provide a better “big picture” than the chart plotter. We raised the main in the harbor; a walk in the park event today, a terrifying moment if this had been Year One.
West winds allowed for fine sailing through the lower bay, around Sandy Hook and along the New Jersey coast. Seas could not have been more than a foot (and I’m being generous here) thanks to low winds for the past couple of days. The Pride of Baltimore was sailing just ahead of us and made for a lovely view and of course the requisite photos.
After a short time I noticed our apparent wind was hanging around 60 degrees with 8 to 13 kts true and some higher gusts. About 3 seconds later Russ predictably states that we should use the screecher, “the wind is gonna stay low.” I agreed. A day earlier “gusts to 20kts” were in the forecast, but had been removed as of the morning. In went the jib, out came the screecher; our speed increased and we were closing in on The Pride.(you can bet she was motor-sailing)
No, no NOAA, when will we ever learn not to trust you, you miserable substitute for a forecasting entity. Sigh. This time we can’t blame NOAA entirely; we failed to pound that proverbial nail into the horse’s shoe and blew out our flip-flop. About an hour and a-half later we heard a loud POP sound and I raced out to see what I could see, but my wondering eyes proved useless as I looked up at the screecher from both sides. We could hear a flap-flap sound, reminiscent of the awful sound the sail made last November when we got caught in BIG wind that tore the sun protection material. Russ figures it out and we try to roll in the darn thing, which is not easy to do well as it doesn’t wind on a pole but on a halyard line. As soon as it was mostly wrapped we released the halyard and dropped the whole thing into the ocean. In my dreams perhaps, but in reality we dropped it on deck, tied off the halyard and tied up the very bulky mass with a few dock lines. Naturally the wind was gusting during this time, but overall we were lucky that conditions were calm and Otto was doing his usual good job. The Pride pulled farther ahead since we don’t go as fast with the jib and we were left wondering where she’d be in the morning.
The night was uneventful and we both got some sleep, motor-sailing with only the main in 8-12kts that had moved to SSW. Warm too; the low for the night was only 67. Ah, now I can relax a bit; how great to be done with my least favorite overnight so quickly- not that I like any of them mind you.
Crossed the Delaware with ease; the big ships not awake to terrorize us yet. By 8:30 Thursday morning, 24 hrs later, we were anchored in Breakwater Harbor at Cape Henlopen near Lewes, DE. After a short nap we’d deal with that white pile on the tramps.