Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Retracing our steps

We are under way in Long Island Sound, east bound for Port Jefferson harbor. Now that we are back in open water, I can use some of our time under way to blog. It's a beautiful day on the sound, with little traffic.

This morning found us at anchor in Manhasset Bay (map), a familiar stop. Unlike our last visit, we arrived on a weekday and so the bay was not nearly as crowded. That let us anchor just off the edge of the mooring field, but still within the designated special anchorage. It was a nice spot, with a somewhat shorter ride to town than last time.

The World Trade Center tower and lower Manhattan, coming down the Hudson.

We had a very fast cruise yesterday, leaving Pier-i just before 8am, and dropping the hook in the bay, a cruise of some 24 nautical miles, just three hours later, for an average speed of eight knots. That was at just 1,400 rpm, which is normally just over six knots speed-through-water for us. As we approached Hell Gate, we had a whopping four knots behind us, and we whizzed past the United Nations doing nearly 11 knots.

A quick side note here about photos. Notwithstanding a fascination with photography in my youth and taking it up as a hobby back in the days of film (I shot a lot of Tri-X), I gave up most photography decades ago. The ubiquity of truly superlative images of absolutely everything in the world, coupled with the accessibility of the Internet, means you can see a much better image of the United Nations, or the Brooklyn Bridge, or the Statue of Liberty, than anything I can take and upload to the blog.

Obligatory shot of my alma mater, Stevens Tech, on Castle Point.

For a long time, while we were still on the bus, I would type my blog posts and then Louise would hunt around for a royalty-free image to link, just so we would have some visual interest on the page. Since we've been on the boat, however, our readers have been clear that they want and enjoy photos of our cruising, and I've been trying to oblige with some snapshots of our best cruise moments, captured with my cell phone (we no longer even own anything better for taking photos).

That being said, I still can't bring myself to take a whole bunch of pictures of the very same things we photographed on a previous visit. And so it is that, with such a swift current behind us, I opted to focus on driving and enjoying the scenery rather than snapping photos on this pass. If you want to see our view of the UN, or the bridges, or other New York City landmarks, you can check out my posts from that cruise here (and parts of the preceding and following months as well).

The fast cruise and early start (necessary to have favorable current both in the Hudson and also the East River) meant we landed in Manhasset Bay so early that we could easily have simply continued all the way to Port Jefferson. Our primary motivation for the stop there, though, was to avail ourselves of the free pumpout boat, and also what is perhaps the most convenient mega-supermarket we've seen in the US, just steps from a public dinghy landing.

The pumpout boat runs until 2pm on Monday, and does not resume again until Thursday. We called them before we even made the turn into the bay -- we would have continued on if they were, for whatever reason, unable to get to us. Fortunately the schedule was open and they got to us just 20 minutes after we set the hook.

Sailing school. Yes, they are really that close to each other, and that's our rail at left.

We are in the height of summer sailing camp season, and we ended up right in the middle of classes yesterday afternoon and this morning. Between capsizing and running into each other it was quite the show; fortunately none got close enough to Vector for concern. At least a few, though, learned first hand what it's like to sail into the lee of a giant trawler. I learned to sail in similar boats, and went for more than one unintended swim myself.

The sailing kids were already done by the time this woman started sunbathing topless. SFW -- there's a rail blocking in this photo.

Louise had some packages to take to the post office, so we splashed the tender right at 4pm to head into town. We landed at the dinghy dock across from the Stop&Shop, and Louise headed for the post office as I walked to a nearby Shell station, can in hand, to get gas for the dinghy. After I fueled the dinghy, Louise contacted me to let me know there was an Ace Hardware as well as a West Marine a few blocks away; the postal substation turned out to be inside the Ace.

I still needed some parts for the engine room sink project, so I hoofed it to the Ace while she headed back to Home Goods, so we passed in the middle. I found most of what I needed at Ace, and I browsed West Marine but left empty-handed. I then walked back to the Stop&Shop plaza, where I popped into Radio Shack (next door to Home Goods).

I needed a couple of simple toggle switches for a generator project, but even those are no longer stocked. Radio Shack is going out of business, and I can see why. None of the three guys in the store knew anything about switches, and when I asked if any of their wire was tinned they all stared at me with a blank expression. The manager even asked if I meant "tinted," while the salesman asked if I meant it was made of tin. Perhaps they know more about cell phones or music players, but I doubt it.

We both wrapped up in our respective stores about the same time and met at Amalfi's next door for pizza. The place was packed at 6pm for senior night (soup, salad, and pasta for $10), but the food was good and they had beer and wine. We wrapped up our shore excursion with a provisioning stop at the enormous Stop&Shop and hauled our loot back to the tender in backpacks.

We were awakened around 4:30 by a huge thunderstorm. We managed to get all the hatches and windows dogged before anything got wet, then we sat and watched for a bit to make sure we were not dragging anchor. We had set a short 5:1 scope when we arrived, due to our proximity to the moorings. Somewhere in all of this, we heard the Coast Guard's side of a mayday call, apparently a boat struck by lightning just a stone's throw from where we had been anchored on the Hudson. They made pan-pan calls about it all this morning, but canceled them later, so we're not sure if anything really happened or not.

Sailboat rigged like a windsurfer. Looked to be about 30', with a cabin.

Today's cruise has been pleasant and uneventful. I did spot an unusual sailboat, with a rig that looked like an oversized windsurfer hung from a forward-set mast. I thought it might be a one-off until I spotted another one under bare poles motoring along. I've never seen such a beast before, and here there were two in one day.

Two in one day. This one was motoring, even though there was plenty of wind.

We were also passed by a large expedition-style yacht, Zeepaard ("Seahorse" in Dutch). We recognized it immediately; they had docked with us briefly a Apex Marine in Stuart, Florida a year ago, but left when they could not get enough shore power to the vessel. It's for sale, and can be yours for just a hair under ten million. No word on whether these were owners or charter guests aboard. It's very "shippy" and looks as if it can go anywhere.

Zeepaard. The guests are on the sun deck, around the hot tub, while the crew is working on the tender.

We should have the hook down in the vicinity of Port Jefferson by 5:30 or so; dinner has been in the crock pot since this morning. If it's calm enough, we will likely drop the hook in the small cove outside the main harbor, as we did last time through. Otherwise we'll duck in behind the point. We should make Gardiner's Bay tomorrow.


  1. Hi, Sean
    The sail boat in your photo appears to be a "catboat". Old New England design that carries a lot of sail for the size of the boat.

    Bill Ellis

  2. Hi Sean, I think the sailboat you saw was a Nonsuch, a production modified catboat. http://www.nonsuch.org/ Pretty cool design with an unstayed mast and a wishbone rig. Not that uncommon.

  3. Hey Sean, I think you need a better camera when highlighting topless sunbathers.

  4. Sure; feel free to send me one :-)

    1. I'll look and see if I have something that will work for you. Mike


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