Friday, October 21, 2022

South bound and down

We are under way southbound in the Atlantic Ocean, off the New Jersey coast, on what we hope to be an overnight run to Cape May. Seas are two foot rollers out of the south, but it's otherwise calm out here, and is supposed to remain so until late tomorrow morning.

Sunday we had a fairly short cruise from Port Jefferson to Northport on Huntington Bay. We could easily have made our more usual next stop of Port Washington, but that would have overshot Mamaroneck, where we hoped to stop early in the week for a paint evaluation. Beside that, I felt a bit cheated out of Northport on our last (and only) visit, since that's where the heart trouble started.

It's actually a full four miles or so from the sound to the anchorage, but it was the right place to stop. After anchoring just outside the mooring field (map), Louise had a long phone call to make, and I suggested we splash the tender beforehand so it would be ready to whisk us ashore for dinner right afterward.

Our nighttime view of Manhattan through the George Washington Bridge, from our anchorage on the Hudson.

That was a prescient call, because the davit winch crapped out as I was rotating it into position. I then had a good hour to work on it before we'd need to leave the boat. The two-decade old crimp lug on the end of one of the power wires had simply come off, and I learned that the lug was too small to begin with (they had trimmed strands from the wire to make it fit), and was poorly crimped with a hammer-type crimper.

I was lucky to find a properly sized connector in one of my parts boxes, although I did have to drill the lug hole one size larger. I crimped it on with my hydraulic crimper and it will probably now outlast the boat. The other wire was still firmly attached, but I assume it has the same issues, and I will replace that crimp when the crane comes off for painting.

When Louise got off the phone we splashed the tender and headed in to the nice, free town landing. It was a short walk to Skippers where I made a dinner reservation. Afterward we had a nice stroll along Main Street. There are more decent restaurants here than I had remembered from our brief and fraught first visit.

Passing Execution Rocks close aboard en route from Mamaroneck to Port Washington.

Monday morning I called Derecktor Shipyards in Mamaroneck, with whom I had been communicating, to let them know we were just three hours away. They told me they would not have room at the dock until Tuesday afternoon, and we decided to just spend another night in Northport. Rain was forecast for dinner time, so we went ashore for lunch, instead -- pizza at La Porta and ice cream from Lics. We had dinner aboard.

Tuesday morning we weighed anchor for a 1pm appointment in Mamaroneck. Whatever project they were hoping to get off the dock in the morning was backed up, and so instead they had us raft up to a shiny aluminum research vessel belonging to CUNY. The number of metal boats in the yard gave us some measure of reassurance, as did the number of yachts.

This yard seems willing to do what most other yacht yards, thus far, have not: put a commercial, roll-on paint on out hull that will be a lot easier to maintain than the spray-only Awlcraft finish we have now. Their rates are reasonable, and we had a good feeling about the yard/paint manager. They will send us an estimate at some point, but in the meantime we're researching just exactly where we could live in the area while we have to be off the boat for two or three months next summer. There are no long-term hotels or corporate housing in Mamaroneck.

Approaching Throgs Neck, Manhattan skyline to the left.

We were dropping lines by 2:20pm, in plenty of time and a favorable current to make Port Washington, where we dropped the hook in our usual spot (map). We made certain we were far enough in to be entirely within the designated "special anchorage" so that we would not need a legal anchor light overnight.

I spent the rest of the afternoon running though the mast-lowering checklist in preparation for our next leg, but I had to stop short of actually lowering the mast until we returned from dinner and had the tender on deck. We made our usual pilgrimage to the triumvirate of Amalfi's, Home Goods, and Stop & Shop. Groceries are expensive in Manhattan and we wanted to stock up on a few items.

After we returned home we decided to just leave the mast up until first thing in the morning, thus making the anchor light a non-issue (we always use it, even in Special Anchorages). In the morning we finished the mast lowering checklist and weighed anchor on a favorable tide for Manhattan via the Harlem River.

The Palisades, adjacent to our anchorage on the Hudson, showing some fall color.

We had the hook down in Anchorage 17 across the river (map) by lunch time, but 20+ knot winds against the knot or two of river current had the river so choppy we could not splash the tender. That was a bit of a problem, because our Starlink terminal had gone walkabout, and I was hoping to get ashore right away to track it down.

I had called the Dyckman Landing marina last week and asked about having packages delivered there, something we did routinely at the Boat Basin. They had told me yes and even supplied a delivery address. But just as with the Boat Basin, that address is shared with an adjacent restaurant, The Hudson, and apparently that's where our terminal went. Our forwarded mail also landed there Wednesday afternoon.

I learned this when I called under way in the morning to tell them I would be in to pick it up. Apparently they don't really accept deliveries here and whoever I spoke to early in the week was mistaken. The Hudson was closed for the season, but the NYC Parks people were able to track the delivery down and they had it in the office while we were still trapped on the boat.

The chop laid down when the tide changed, and we were able to get ashore for dinner. We walked over to the Amazon locker for a few packages before landing at the Tryon Public House, our favorite spot in this neighborhood. The delivery alert for one final package arrived while we were eating, but we figured to be here a couple of days, so we would pick it up Thursday afternoon on our way to the vaccination appointments we had scheduled.

On our way out of the city we passed this quad of foreign warships enjoying a port visit. USS Intrepid museum at right.

By yesterday morning that plan had changed. A possible passage window for today and tomorrow was shrinking rapidly, and the forecast for winds east of south would make our anchorage in the Hudson a hot mess. We needed fuel before we could leave NY harbor, and so we made a last-minute decision to abandon our vax appointments and any other NYC activities for an immediate departure. I raced ashore in the tender, power-walked to the Amazon locker for that last package, by way of the post office to drop of our ballots, and raced back to Vector. We had the anchor up by 10:30.

That was still not early enough to have favorable tide the whole way, and it was against us once we reached The Narrows. The relentless 25-knot wind had us bashing our way across the mouth of Raritan Bay to Sandy Hook, and things did not really calm down until a mile north of Atlantic Highlands.  We were alongside the fuel dock, which closes at 4pm, by 3:20. Fuel had jumped from $4.78 to $6.00 between when I called on Monday and when we arrived at the dock, but we had no choice, and we bunkered 350 gallons and filled our water tank.

It was flat calm at that end of the bay, other than the wakes from the huge high-speed ferries that run to New York City, and we dropped the hook in a familiar spot (map). We tendered ashore for dinner at On The Deck, with a lovely view over the bay to the NYC skyline in the distance. Thursday turned out to be prime rib night, which was decent if not spectacular.

Departing Atlantic Highlands, an inversion layer trapped this brown haze, nearly erasing the city. How it always looked in my youth.

We had been going back and forth about leaving at first light for a two-day run to Cape May, with an overnight stop at Barnegat Light. But as tomorrow's window got progressively shorter, we considered instead a two-day run to Atlantic City, an OK place to be pinned down. Eventually even that became un-doable, and we instead decided on an overnight run.

Just since I started typing, the wind has picked up and seas have built, and we're now in two-foot short-period chop on top of the roll. We have bail-out options at Barnegat Light this evening or Atlantic City in the wee hours if things get worse, but we're hoping the forecast for decreasing winds is correct and we'll make our goal of Cape May. That will allow us to continue our journey much sooner, in more protected waters.

We're just passing Manasquan Inlet as I wrap up typing, and the plotter is projecting an arrival in Cape May at 9am, just as I come back on watch. My next post here will likely be from Delaware Bay.

1 comment:

  1. A good Air B&B would do the trick; however, you would need to find one in a good location to facilitate traveling back and forth to the yard. Look around before you leave and make a reservation once the yard settles on the dates they can take you for the painting.


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