Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Arrivederci New England

We are under way westbound between Rhode Island Sound and Block Island Sound, with the great State of Rhode Island receding behind us. We are bound for Long Island Sound and will be anchored at day's end in New York waters, bringing to a close our two month cruise of New England. It is an eight hour passage, affording me ample time to catch up on the blog.

Headed out of Narragansett Bay. Jamestown at left; you can just see the top of Pell Bridge behind.

We had such a good push on our transit of the Cape Cod Canal last weekend that we ran straight past Onset and all the way to Mattapoisett harbor, where we dropped the hook in our usual spot (map) after checking in with the harbormaster by radio. We knew we'd be pinned down for two nights wherever we went, and, while Onset would have offered more services, we wanted to make the extra miles while we still could.

We splashed the tender, tied up at the town dock, and walked the three long blocks to Nick's Homemade Pizza House. The pizza was excellent and the draft beer was inexpensive, so we were glad we made the trek. We were the only patrons dining on the covered outside patio for most of our meal.

Century-old Clingstone Mansion, on a rock off Conanicut Island.

As predicted, outside conditions had us in the harbor all day Monday, and I got a few things done around the boat. It was drizzly all day, foiling my plans to go ashore and walk around some. We had a gap at dinner time, but absolutely everything in town is dark on Mondays, so we had a nice dinner aboard instead.

Sunset over Battleship Cove, USS Massachusetts, and the Braga Bridge

Tuesday we had another brief window for westing, and while it was a bit of a rough ride as Buzzards Bay yielded to Rhode Island Sound, we gritted our teeth until we made the starboard turn into the relative calm of the Sakonnet River. Winds and seas out of the south meant running upriver until we could tuck in behind Fogland Point, where we dropped the hook in calm water (map). The winds rushed right over the point, and the harbor filled with windsurfers in the morning.

Wednesday we weighed anchor with the tide and rode the flood all the way to Fall River, Massachusetts, on the Taunton River, where we had previously planned to ride out the long-distance remnants of Hurricane Larry. Knowing that Borden Flats would be too rough, I was hoping we could squeeze in to anchor in Battleship Cove, or, if not, pick up a town mooring there.

The old armory, Fall River.

We found there to be insufficient room in the cove between the last moorings and the nearby dock for the scope we needed in the 20-knot winds. Due to some political drama in the harbormaster department, it was impossible to reach anyone for a mooring, and so we left the cove and continued upriver through two more bridges to drop the hook in Breeds Cove (map), on the other side of the river in Somerset, Massachusetts.

Sunset over the Braga Bridge from The Cove restaurant.

While that made for a mile-and-a-half tender ride back to town, it was otherwise a perfect anchorage, very calm even in the high winds, with good holding well off-channel. It was quiet, even being so close to a major bridge. From the boat we could see a nice patio eatery in Somerset, but with no way to land the tender on that side, we bashed our way back to the Cove restaurant in Fall River, which has a courtesy dock. Dinner on the deck was a wind-swept affair, but at least it was warm, and we really wanted to get off the boat.

Thursday, as anticipated, the remnants of Larry had us pinned on the boat all day. We succumbed to pandemic acedia and mostly did nothing all day, but we had a nice dinner aboard and looked forward to a more pleasant Friday. And pleasant it was; I tendered ashore to the dinghy landing at Battleship Cove just after lunch and walked all over town, since we never left the marina on our previous visit here.

The old Congregational Church, which the infamous Lizzie Borden attended. The cloister was briefly a restaurant and is now an event venue.

Fall River is a town frozen in time, sometime early in the 20th century. Its industry now mostly silent, most of the buildings nevertheless still stand. The downtown sports a handful of restaurants and a few shops. I dropped a couple of packages at the post office, also frozen in time, and then hoofed it across town to the grocery store to top up our provisions.

Fall River public library, inscribed "The People's University."

In the afternoon we tendered a little over two miles down to Borden Light Marina, where we had stayed in 2015, to meet up with our Bostonian friends Erin and Chris aboard their lovely Selene, Barefeet. It was wonderful to see them and catch up; they had literally been the last people we hugged before the pandemic put a damper on things, as we crossed paths in the Bahamas. They drove us over to the Tipsy Toboggan for dinner on the patio (not to be confused with the Tipsy Seagull, right in the marina, where we ate last time). A final cocktail aboard Barefeet finished off a very pleasant evening.

Saturday we weighed anchor with the tide and headed to Naragansett Bay. We had one good day of weather on the bay before we'd be pinned down again for two nights, and we wanted to make some progress and maybe see another town. It was just a two hour cruise, but it was absolutely miserable, with more sailboats than I've had to dodge in a long while. For the uninitiated, in open water and with few exceptions, power vessels must give way to vessels under sail. Sailboaters are notorious for not answering the radio, leaving me to try to guess their speed, course, and intentions in order to avoid them.

Warwick Light, on our way from Bristol to East Greenwich.

This is one of the key reasons why we try not to move the boat at all on weekends, and especially nice weekends in places with a short boating season. Weather trumps all, and it was Saturday or nothing. We swung up toward Bristol, one possible stop, but with the harbor open to the south, the anchorage was untenable, and instead we proceeded on to East Greenwich, were we dropped the hook in a lovely anchorage right off the beach at the Goddard Memorial State Park (map).

The quaint downtown of East Greenwich, RI.

This was a great anchorage to ride out high winds from the south, and it was calm our entire stay. The anchorage is popular with cruising sailboats, because you can dinghy to the beach where the state park has restrooms and showers available. We splashed the tender for the ten minute ride to the town dinghy dock instead, where it was a short walk through the pedestrian tunnel under the high speed train tracks and up the hill to town. We had a nice dinner on the porch at Besos, the first place we came to. By contrast, the waterfront joints were all packed to the gills when we passed them.

Sunday I returned ashore stag to explore, this time landing at the yacht club dinghy dock, a much shorter ride. There are perhaps ten restaurants along the main street, many with at least a few outside tables, and some shops including a CVS and a c-store. Overall a very nice stop and an excellent place to wait out the weather. We returned ashore in the evening for pizza at Twisted Pizza, which had a very nice patio.

King Street, one of the few ways to get from the waterfront to town past the tracks. This old New Haven Railroad bridge now carries the electrified Northeast Corridor tracks from NY to Boston. Not Odyssey-friendly.

Yesterday the weather on Narragansett Bay was once again suitable for travel, but we would again need southerly protection overnight. We considered running down the west side of Conanicut Island to Dutch Harbor, but it looked like we could not tuck in far enough with the harbor full of moorings. Instead we headed down the east side and dropped the hook in Potter Cove (map), just north of the Claiborne Pell bridge and across the channel from Newport, where boats are arriving in great numbers for the big Newport International Boat Show this weekend.

At one of the marinas, the docks seem held in place by twigs. Not Vector-friendly.

We splashed the tender and headed to the town dock at Jamestown, around the corner and under the bridge, about a mile and a half. Most of the town is dark Monday, and neither of the two open restaurants had outside seating. But the Narragansett Cafe was mostly empty, save for the bar itself, and had high ceilings, so we picked a table away from everyone and enjoyed our first indoor meal in quite a while, with pub food and draft beer. We enjoyed strolling around the quiet town before returning to Vector and decking the tender. We had the anchorage to ourselves overnight, with a spectacular view of the bridge and Newport in the distance. It was quiet, notwithstanding being right next to the toll plaza.

Block Island Sound, which we've been crossing most of the day, is exposed to the North Atlantic. Today's weather was perfect for a crossing, but as so often happens, it's a one-day window before things starting picking up out of the south again. That meant setting our sights on the north shore of Long Island, rather than an earlier stop along the Connecticut coast. We should have the anchor down by cocktail hour off Truman Beach in Southold. As I finish typing, Montauk is some ten miles off our port, and we are approaching The Race, where I will steer by hand with nearly four knots behind our port quarter.

The overnight view from our anchorage. Claiborne Pell bridge with Newport behind.

Update: We are anchored in our usual spot off Truman Beach (map). Louise made a big batch of pasta e fagioli today and we've been smelling it cooking all afternoon; I'm looking forward to dinner. Tomorrow we will continue along the north shore for points west.


  1. Wow, and it ended with pasta e fagioli! What an amazing adventure!

  2. Learned a new word, acedia. Thanks.


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