Week 20 14 -21 May 2018 Port Jefferson, Long Island NY – Newport, Rhode Island 96 nm
14 May Monday Port Jefferson
We woke up to a quiet morning with low clouds. Lit up the furnace which we had turned off last night because it became too warm in the sleeping compartment. There is no thermostat so with no wind and a cloud cover it becomes too good.
Little wind from north east where we are heading. There was a good forecast for Tuesday and we decided to stay in this protected anchorage for the day.
Annika used the day to try to understand FaceBook, which we so far had not used. Now when almost everybody we know is connected to that “fake news world”, we finally have decided we have to join in.
Björn was occupied to write a letter to OCC, that we joined a month ago, about our “qualifying trip” (minimum 1000 nm) from Japan to Alaska. We could have chosen any of more than ten trips over the last years, but looking at the members list it was fun that we didn’t chose an Atlantic trip, which was the most common and of course the obvious trip for an European based club.
After lunch Annika went up the mast and turned the VHF antenna up again that we turned upside down before ICW to get under the bridges. We don’t have any bridges to pass where the antenna makes any difference.
Being up there she also used McLube dry lubrication to grease the sheave for the main halyard which had become quite noisy lately. The sheave has a bronze bearing to a stainless shaft, but even so makes some irritating noise when using the halyard. Now it’s absolutely quiet.
Then we launched the dinghy and cleaned the waterline from some slime and growth before we took to the beach for a long walk on the peninsula. We got some shots of Ospreys, Red Winged Blackbirds, Mockingbirds and of course some Canadian Geese.
Back in Moon we secured the dinghy on deck and made everything ready for an early start tomorrow.
Had a nice sunset, sitting in a warm cockpit, before we started to prepare dinner.
15 May Tuesday Port Jefferson – Stonington Harbor, Connecticut 60 nm
We had a light fog when we woke up shortly after six o’clock. Weigh anchor fifteen minutes later to get going before the current in the entrance became too strong in the narrow channel in to the port.
We had almost half a mile visibility in spite the fog and the wind was almost neglect able. Motor sailed with full sails in one knot counter current, making five to six knots over ground.
We ran the water maker for the first time since we tried it in ICW with bad result. Now we have changed all pre filters and cleaned the strainer and we now got perfect water in the relatively clear Atlantic water that comes with the rising tide. We specifically didn’t want to use the water maker in outgoing tide because of the sewage smelly water from New York, the second worst since Pusan in South Korea!
Just before noon the wind picked up and we shut down the engine and sailed more than seven knots for a short while before the wind died and we had to engage the engine for, as it turned out, the rest of the day.
The good thing was that the fog disappeared and we got all our water tanks filled.
Shortly before the chosen harbor we saw our first Eider since we left northern Europe thirteen years ago. We are really coming closer to home!
Five o’clock we anchored in Stonington Harbor and had a beer in the sunshine sitting in the cockpit admiring some Ospreys in the sunray. Getting below to prepare dinner we got a weather alert on the phone; thunder, heavy rain and tornados! OK we are used to the US way to warn you for almost nothing but this was a little more than usual. Sure enough the sky west of us became black and we could see lightning in distance. Strong wind picked up, but only for a short time, and the rain started as the thunder came closer. We only got hit by the out squirts of the front, but the thunder kept on for an hour.
We were happy to have arrived to the anchorage an hour before hell brook lose!
Nanny, our Swedish friends wasn’t that lucky. They were still out there when the front hit them, luckily they had been prepared and reefed all sails and could ride out the 50 knots wind, before they in the rain could come back on course and anchor in New Haven, still in heavy rain. Making us feel even luckier with our fortunate timing. They are only thirty miles west of us and still such a difference.
The forecast calls for north east and rain tonight and tomorrow. Our heading to Newport is very much north east, meaning we have probably to rest in port for another day.
16 May Wednesday Stonington Harbor
Quiet night after the thunder went north east. Morning came with no sun, but without rain and wind.
We launched the dinghy after breakfast and made a trip in to the village. Tied the dinghy to the “town dock” and strolled around for almost two hours. It was a nice sleepy little village this time of the year.
Most pleasure boats were still on the hard, but we found several where people were working to get them ready for the season.
Back on Moon the predicted wind shift had come and it became somewhat uncomfortable as we lifted the outboard and dinghy back on deck. We pulled the anchor and moved closer to the harbor to get protection from the now easterly waves. It was much more comfortable and easier to prepare lunch in a boat that didn’t “jump around”.
The new anchoring spot was close to the fairway and before dark, when the wind had almost disappeared, we moved back to our original spot for the night.
17 May Wednesday Stonington Harbor, Connecticut – Newport, Rhode Island 32 nm
We were up and running already at six o’clock to get out through the narrow and tidal effected archipelago east of Stonington before the current became too strong against.
Instead of the strong head wind yesterday we now had no wind and light fog. Almost all winter clothing was needed for the helmsman. We pulled the anchor and now we really have come to the northern hemisphere. No mud, only kelp that is so typical for higher latitudes. On top of that we have rocks on the shores. We feel that we are closer to home!
We managed to get out at sea between all the markers and rocks without too much current and then turned to a more northerly course along the coast.
Mist with visibility of one mile and we used the navigation lights all day. Lots of fishing boats along the coast and later when those were gone, lots of floats some of them under water all time due to the strong current when passing the two capes.
Coming into Newport there were lots of activities in conjunction with the Volvo Ocean Race. We were advised by the Coast Guard to go around the fleet of race boats, and others involved in the spectacle, to get to the harbor. This of course meant that we came close and got some close-ups of the race boats when they prepared for the daily inshore race-
Finally we got into the harbor and found a spot in the crowd to put our hook down and we managed to set the anchor to be prepared for the coming strong north easterly wind tonight. Had a late lunch after all anchoring procedures were done. Later we launched the dinghy and drove to the nearby dinghy dock. Newport is extreme in aspect of docking fee up to $5 a foot, but to anchor and use of the town dinghy dock was free.
Walked around the town and looked at all famous buildings from long ago. We also saw some yachts that we normally only see in yacht magazines. This is really the place if you want to see big sailing boats.
Back in Moon after seven o’clock it was time to prepare dinner using our findings from the town supermarket.
18 May Friday Newport
The wind started around four early morning and created a need to check the boats around us. Our closest neighbor, a big Spanish sailing vessel, had anchored in the opposite direction to the strong wind and was now close to our port side. After a while the wind turned even more and the Spanish boat came further out from us as we had set our anchor very hard for this new wind direction. We went back to bed when we had decided that if they drag, it will not affect us and our anchor. The wind had swept away the fog and therefore we could sleep without the foghorns disturbing us the whole time.
Due to our late night work and somewhat disturbed sleep we had a slow start this morning. Breakfast at nine and then we stayed indoors for the whole day in the windy weather. The fog and absolutely no wind yesterday are exchanged to clouds but no rain and 15 – 20 knots of wind.
This wind makes it uncomfortable and very inefficient to continue north and we have another reason to stay in Newport for some days except the weather. Annikas brother is right now sailing his yacht from Bermuda to Newport, ETA Sunday morning and of course we would like to meet him and his new boat before we continue north.
During the afternoon we visited the “Race Village” looking at the race boats. More or less to have done it, but of course it would have been awkward to be in Newport and not visit the Volvo Race. They have been very unlucky with the weather this year. Two days ago they even had to close the village because of the thunder storm. Our expectation, created by memories from the same event in Gothenburg many years ago, was long from fulfilled. This was a cold and a bit boring story.
The trip to the village was not meant to be done by foot. No shorelines walk way and nothing prepared for pedestrians along the road. As most places in US; cars are the priority and people don’t walk.
We were back in Moon around seven to start dinner procedure.
19 May Saturday Newport
The night had more normal wind, enough to keep us in wind direction in spite the current.
Cloudy and rain “around the corner” when we woke up.
Ten-ish we had the rain on top of us and we spent the morning indoors waiting for the weather to clear to be able to go shopping. We plan to be able to avoid shopping for the next two weeks so some planning is needed.
We have no reports about the progress of Sea Breeze, Annikas brothers sailing yacht on route to Newport from Bermuda. Hopefully they will arrive tomorrow.
There were wind for the race boats in there inshore races during the day, which we watched only from our protected cockpit. Just as the daily races finished, the rain together with fog came drifting. So even if they in total are unlucky with the weather, there is some luck involved.
Even if the wind came down late afternoon it was still not fun to go ashore. We stayed in the boat in continues rain and made us productive with other items.
Cooked dinner on the “humming” furnace and had a nice warm evening in the cold rain.
20 May Sunday Newport
Woke up at four when the wind came up from south west. Our anchor was set to meet the north easterly gale two days ago and because of that we wanted to make sure we didn’t move too much if the anchor reset in the new strong wind direction. During the previous gale the boat next to us re anchored and doing so they came much closer. That boat was now our concern, but it turned out ok, even if it was much closer than we normally are comfortable with. Having checked this we went back to bed.
During this procedure we saw the AIS signal from Sea Breeze, approaching the coast slowly, not to arrive in both darkness and fog. When we woke up later at eight o’clock, we saw Sea Breeze passing us like a ghost in the fog.
Breakfast and VHF contact with Sea Breeze and later we took the dinghy to say Hello. We didn’t want to irritate the customs and climb up on the boat, so instead we went ashore for some shopping until they had got their clearance.
Coming back to Moon we had lunch and did some must do things before the dinner together with Sea Breeze tonight in town. Had a shower and then over to Nanny and our Swedish friends for a “see you soon beer” as they are leaving tomorrow morning. Then over to Sea Breeze just nearby. We were now three Swedish boats on a row in the middle of Newport harbor! Maybe not every days event.
In Sea Breeze there was some bubbles served because Johan, Annikas brother, was celebrating his birthday.
Later we all went in to a restaurant where a table was reserved.
Very nice party with lots of good sea food. In fact too much for those who can’t resist eating.
Coming out of the restaurant, the sky had cleared and the night was quite warm!
Easy to find Moon on the mirror like water with her two anchor lights.
Annika & Björn