Tuesday June 21st through Saturday June 25th: Port Washington is a lovely little town. The people are friendly and welcoming to boaters. We spent a couple of days here just relaxing. On Thursday morning, we moved Sol Purpose to a mooring ball, so she would be more protected while we spent a couple of days in Manhattan. We took the train into Manhattan and walked around Central Park, Times Square, Broadway etc. In all my previous visits, I have used the subway, so it was very interesting to stay above ground and see how different one street can be from the next. Central Park is beautiful-and huge!-we could have probably spent a whole day there. We went to Strawberry Fields, the lake with the restored boathouses and Sheep Meadow. To round off our visit, we ate hot dogs from the original Nathan’s hot dog stand! We also visited Macy’s on 34th Street. Moray was confused about the tourist attraction value, until he saw the original wooden escalators. For me, of course, as a Christmas nut, it was a pilgrimage! On Friday, we went back to Manhattan to explore south of 34th street, and to meet our friend, Karen, for lunch. We visited the 9/11 memorial which was incredibly moving. We then went to Central Station. To round off the day, we went to a Broadway show – well…. not really as that is not in our budget but we went to see Finding Dory in a movie theater on 42nd Street, so that is close enough :)!
boating pond in Central Park
mmmmh, Nathan’s hot dog
lunch with Karen
On our return to Port Washington on Friday evening, we stopped on the waterfront to hear the live music put on every Friday night in the summer. This week it was a big band playing swing music. They were great and it was nice to see so many people there, with picnics etc. On Saturday morning, we left the mooring and headed to the fuel dock. Unfortunately, it was a very low tide and after running aground once trying to get on to the dock, the fuel dock hands let us tie up to their guest dock until the water level rose. That was going to be a couple of hours, so we took the opportunity to go grocery shopping etc. without needing to transport everything in the dinghy. We also filled up the water tank. Once we had the fuel, we headed back to the anchorage and settled for one last night.
Sunday June 26th-Monday June 27th: bright and early, we set out on the next leg of our journey. There are so many wonderful places in the area, but we decided to head for Newport, RI. This would be an overnight trip, and we wanted to be sure that we didn’t arrive before daybreak, so we actually slowed down in order to get the tides and currents just right. We called in to the harbor master, as they have very strict rules on anchoring and how long you can stay. During our sail to Newport, we had thought about how long we wanted to stay, and had decided that this would be the perfect place to spend the July 4th holiday. Also, the boats that had just completed the Newport to Bermuda race would be returning and that would be quite a sight.
Monday June 27th through Tuesday July 5th: the first part of our stay in Newport involved repairs. First of all, we had started to have issues with the house battery bank holding a charge. While this was not too big a problem while we were doing day hops, with the engine running to recharge the batteries, it was and would continue to be a problem for longer stays at anchor. The batteries would only get get charged when there was wind or sun. So we had to order a new set of batteries and get them delivered to Newport. Hinckley Yachts is a dealer for these batteries, so they kindly agreed to receive them, despite the new batteries being a warranty exchange. That was really helpful, as they would also accept the old batteries. Now getting 4 batteries off a boat at anchor is not the easiest task in the world! We managed to manhandle them into the dinghy, along with the two of us, a propane tank and Moray’s bicycle, and then off again at the dinghy dock. I waited with the old batteries while Moray cycled to U-Haul, where he picked up a truck and filled the propane tank. When he got back to the dinghy dock, we loaded everything into the truck and headed to the grocery store. I picked up a few groceries and Moray dropped me off at the dinghy dock while he headed to Hinckley Yachts. Now this was going to be the first time I had ever taken the dinghy by myself. I loaded in the groceries and the propane tank and got the outboard started. Yay! I untied and headed back to Sol Purpose, heaving a huge sigh of relief when I got there that I had done it!!!! Unloading the bags of groceries took a little time but got done and I got back in the dinghy to go back and pick up Moray. I tried starting the outboard, but nothing. I tried and tried, so often that I blistered my fingers, but nothing. I knew that I had probably flooded it, but had no idea what to do, and Moray had the only phone we have. That meant I had no WiFi access to email him either! Trying not to panic, I decided that I would have to row. Now that was going to be no mean feat, as it was a long way, and there was a lot of wind and current. Nonetheless, I set out. I didn’t get very far, despite my attempts, when a boat with two divers that clean boats came by. I joked that if I was still there when they came by again, they could tow me in. They said that was no problem and said they would tow me now. Yay!!!! So I arrived at the dinghy dock under tow, thanks to my two heroes! We loaded the new batteries into the dinghy and Moray took the truck back then cycled back to the dinghy. When he arrived back, he started the dinghy after two tries 😦 Ah well, lesson learned. I know now what I did wrong and will NEVER do it again! After another 2 hours the new batteries were in place and we ran the engine for an hour to get them fully charged up to float voltage.
Now that we had the new batteries in place we wanted to ensure that they lasted as long as possible. Moray had noted that when under motor the alternator would hold the batteries at close to 13.8 volts all day. This is higher then the designed float voltage and could lead to drying out the electrolyte in the batteries. He therefore investigated the engine charging system and found that the regulator installed had no physical connectivity to the alternator and could therefore not manage its charging. We had bought a spare 100 amp Balmar alternator and regulator several years ago and so he decided to install it to see if it handled the battery charging better. Once installed it charged in three stages as a good regulator should and the voltages were within expected levels at all times. Here’s hoping that this fixes any charging issues that may have led to the previous batteries early demise.
Remember a few blog entries ago when we told you about the wonderful Ospreys along the ICW? Well, we’re not so enamoured of them anymore! When we were traveling from Port Washington to Newport, we weren’t getting wind readings on our instrument panel – it just was stuck at a reading of 30 degrees Port. When we arrived, and anchored safely, Moray checked out the anemometer and realized that part of it was missing. He called Garmin to find out if he could replace just the missing part or if he needed to buy a whole new anemometer. The salesperson at Garmin asked where we were and said it happened all the time – Ospreys take them! So he sent us a new one which arrived the next day, no charge. So poor old Moray went up the mast and brought down the anemometer. He fitted the new part, and went back up there to fit it back in place. Unfortunately, when he did this, the very old masthead light fell to pieces, so back down he came, and got online to order a new masthead light! That arrived the next day, so back up he went for a third time, reinstalled the anemometer and new light and we were back in business!
<Note from Moray – Debs muscled me up the mast all three times>
Now that the repair report is over, let’s talk about more fun stuff! Newport is amazing! The harbor is constantly busy, with high speed ferries coming in from Providence and Block Island, old Americas Cup boats taking people out on trips (several of them, several times a day), cruisers arriving and departing, and children learning to sail. On several occasions we saw a RIB heading out like a mother duck, with 5 or 6 little sailboats following along, each manned by a child who couldn’t have been much more than 7 years old. What a great way to spend your summer vacation.
After several people recommended it, we spent Sunday morning doing the Cliff Walk. This is a 3 hour walk, partly on a path, but partly over rocks, that goes along the top of the cliff, in front of some incredible houses. For example, one of the houses here was owned by the Vanderbilt Family. The views were amazing!
At the end of the walk, we stopped off at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. This is sited in a former Social club that was built for the rich and famous. It was designed to look a lot like Wimbledon, with grass courts and the well recognized buildings. You can even sit court side and have Pimms! That night, we sat in the cockpit and watched a beautiful sunset and the fireworks being set off in Jamestown.
On Monday, we decided to do the whole July 4th traditional thing and spent the day at the beach! It was a lovely day, even if the water was cold and we got a little sunburned ( sun block has to be applied everywhere!). In the evening, we met up with one of Moray’s former team mates from his days racing on Hamburg. Eric was here with his girlfriend Suzy, getting Kenai ready to be pulled out of the water after the Newport to Bermuda race. We had a great dinner overlooking the water and then watched the fireworks from a waterfront bar. Great July 4th!
Tuesday was spent getting ready to leave for our next leg of the grand tour, checking weather, planning routes etc.
Wednesday, July 6th: at about 8am, we pulled up the anchor and bid farewell to Newport. Our next stop would be Onset Harbor, which is at the entrance to the cape Cod Canal. Using this canal cuts out about 150 miles of sailing around Cape Cod, so that was the way we would go! The entrance to the harbor has a very strong current going through a narrow channel, with rocks on either side but we got through without incident and arrived at the anchorage safely. There were a few boats already anchored there, so we managed to get a couple of nice pictures. Moray went for a swim but the water was way too cold for me!
Thursday, July 7th: we had planned to leave at about 7am to head for Gloucester, but the fog was so thick we couldn’t see much further than the end of the boat
. By 8am, the fog was clearing and another boat set out, so we set off too. Within 10 minutes of our departure, the fog was back, so we made our way through the rocks etc. very carefully using GPS and radar. Once we turned into the canal, the fog cleared and we had a wonderful passage down the canal. We had a 5 knot current pushing us along, so we were doing over 10 knots!
The canal is very pretty and there were lots of people along the banks, fishing. We got through the canal is just over an hour and then turned into the Atlantic to head up to Gloucester. And then the fog returned, with a vengeance, and stayed with us for the rest of the day. We got into Gloucester’s Inner Harbor at about 7:30pm, having seen nothing all day, except on radar. We came into the harbor purely on GPS, radar and me on lookout at the bow, which was nerve wracking with all the crab/lobster pots but we arrived safely and anchored for the night.
Friday, July 8th and Saturday, July 9th: When we woke up, the fog had cleared and we could finally see the town. This place is so different from anywhere we have been so far. It’s an old fishing town, and helped by the cold rainy weather, it looks very raw! The laundromat was not far away, so we spent the morning doing the laundry. Moray took a wander around to see where grocery stores etc were and came back very excited. He had found a bar that was about to show the Andy Murray Wimbledon semi-final! So we dropped the laundry back at the boat, came back to shore and headed down to the bar. What a great afternoon! Not only did Andy play a great match, we met some awesome people. After we left the bar, we went to Charming Carlos for dinner and then headed back to the boat.
Today we did some sightseeing. We walked around town and took in the various monuments dedicated to the locals and fisherman of the town and their families. We also went to the Crow’s Nest for a pint just to say we had. This is the bar made famous by the film, The Perfect Storm.
caption to go with the sandals
statue of Fitz Henry Lane, a local painter from the 1800s
Seine boat crew
typical Glocester architecture. The town had a famous granite quarry much like Aberdeen but this was used predominantly for the foundations of houses and wood cladding used for the rest
Gloucester fishermans memorial
over 5,300 men lost since 1623!!!!
the “greasy pole”
the obligatory Crow’s Nest shot 🙂
The greasy pole picture above refers to a competition they have locally. Every year they have St Peter’s Fiesta, he is the patron saint of sailors. As the population has a high percentage of Italians, and as Italians are apparently famous for scaling poles (who knew), this competition came about. The locals grease up the aforementioned pole and then those of Italian descent try to run, walk, crawl their way to the end and grab the flag that is affixed there. The winner gets a small cash prize and bragging rights till next year. Details can be seen here…
We had toyed with the idea of taking the Blynman Canal out of Gloucester to save some time. It had reported sections that were under 5 feet deep which would have been an issue at low tide and the entrance to the canal was skinny to say the least
(sorry about the audio). For these reasons we will be going around the outside tommorow on our way to Portsmouth.