Saturday, September 3, 2011

Portsmouth, NH to Buffalo, NY Yacht Delivery Update 1

Andre (L) Lisa (C) Capt. John (R)
Luc (L) Pierre (R)

Tuesday, Aug 30 2011
What a difference a couple of days make! 0600 in the morning, Andre with Pierre in tow, heads into the engine room for pre-start checks. At 0630 we are underway for the Cape Cod Canal under clear skies and glassy seas.

Excited Crew!! Almost.

Sadly, Lisa had to find her sea legs later.

As we approach Cape Cod, we are greeted by a number of Right Whales, blowing on all quadrants. The boys, Luc (10) and Pierre (7) are on look-out, shouting out like whalers of century past.

We planned our arrival to the canal with emphasis on getting to the east entrance in time for the change in tide (ebb) so that this 8 knot boat doesn't have to run against a 3 knot current. It was great to see the speed over ground hit 10 knots while we were in the canal.

1800 finds us grabbing a (free) mooring bouy at Port Independence on Onsett Bay, just south of the Mass. Maritime Academy.

Wednesday, Aug 31 2011
We enjoyed an extra hour's sleep last night. After engine checks at 0700, we were underway for Fisher Island on the eastern end of Long Island Sound. Again the weather was delightful. Calm seas with just the motion of the yacht creating a pleasant breeze in thru the pilot house doors. We count less than a dozen boats out on the Sound as we pass Latimer Light on the north side of Fisher Island.

There is something about the waters in New England... the color... the smell... I love it!! Oh, and you can't get lobster rolls in Palm Beach.

While we were gliding the last 10 miles to our anchorage at West Bay, Lisa spotted what looked like a hot air balloon way out in front of us. I thought it odd, a hot air balloon over Long Island Sound this late in the day. Well, about 30 minutes later we got buzzed by what was an unidentifiable flying object...

Just before sunset at 1910, we drop anchor in West Bay. The unique thing about Fisher Island; even though it is on the east end of Connecticutt, the island belongs to New York State. In 1664, the Duke of York gave the island to New York as a land grant. Fisher Island for the most part, is a private island with limited services for the transient boater.

With the anchor chain fouled in the hawse pipe, Andre gets a lesson on how to get the kinks out.

Thursday, Sept 01 2011
Another early reveille at 0530 to get this boat headed down Long Island Sound... next stop, Stamford, Ct.

Again, we gauge our departure with regards to the tide; for the most of out trip today we averaged better than the boat's 8 knot cruising speed. This end of the sound is filled with debris, trees, sections of docks and oddly, the water was the consistency of rich chocolate milk. I have never seen the sound this muddy before. It wasn't until we passed abeam of the Connecticutt River mouth that the water blued up.

The end of the day found us up the eastern branch in Stamford Harbor tied to Harbor Square Marina. This was Andre's first use of bowthruster. I think he likes it!

Great stop... the marina has a moderately acceptable Italian restaurant on premises (The Eclisse) and across the street is a most formatible supermarket called "Fairway." A huge store filled with specialty items and organics; you have to ask for assistance to locate something as typical as Mrs. Buttersworth. But check out the produce... I have never seen a store with so much produce. And display? Every navel on the navel oranges display where pointed outward with military precision.

We took an extra day in Stamford to perform some training in knot tying, tender launch and recovery, change of fuel filters, engine zinks and tracing/servicing the steering system, etc...

I have to tell you, Pierre, the 7 year old, is the best knot tying student I have ever had. Bar none!

That's Luc on crane.

Andre looking up the deck.

Andre and the boys took off in the tender to give the engine a good run and charge up what was a dead battery. This afforded me time to get "Sea Hunt" underway with just Lisa aboard to give her some maneuvering and docking lessons. After about 30 minutes, it was time for me to step onto the dock and let Lisa solo the boat. Actually, I had to trick her as she didn't want to do it. Well, she did an outstanding job in the turning canal and returned the boat with the starboard pilothouse door right to where I was standing. Well done Lisa!

Proud New Skipper

Saturday, 03 Sept 2011
Delayed start today. Our half day run to New York City has to be timed perfectly as the tidal current in the East River, specifically Hell's Gate, can run at 5 knots. Therefore our departure at 1230 affords the last of the flood tide with a nice push down the remainder of Long Island Sound, pass Throngs Neck and Rickers Island and into the East River at the turn of the ebb tide. We clocked mostly 11-12 knots down the East River and once saw 13 knots! Around Hell's Gate and down between Manhattan Island and Roosevelt Island, the ebb was in full flow. Standing waves,  just live we were in river rapids, hobby-horsed "Sea Hunt" with the boys bow-jumping with enthusiasm. Rounding the The Battery, we headed across the Hudson River to the Big Clock on the Jersey Shore and Liberty Island Marina.

Execution Rocks.
It is said that durig the Revolutionary War, British troops would take captured American rebels to the rock and chain them there at low tide.

Stepping Stone Light

We have to lay up here for a couple of days. Hurricane Irene caused flooding the Mohawk River, which is part of the Erie Canal system. The canal system sustained structural damage to a couple of lock houses. The canal is closed from Onieda Lake to Waterford, NY; the terminus of the canal system until an extensive survey is completed. We will not be able to find out when they will reopen until at least Tuesday. So, it looks like liberty call in New York City. The boys will love the Intrepid Air and Space Museum in Mid-Town. More to follow...

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