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Old 07-09-2008, 10:25   #1
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skipgundlach's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Currently on the boat, somewhere on the ocean, living the dream
Boat: Morgan 461 S/Y Flying Pig
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Hard Hearted Hanna

Hard Hearted Hanna

September 7 - In Three Mile Cove on the south end of Gardiner's
Bay on eastern Long Island...

Moving forward to the title, we left you as we were island
hopping, and on our way to the Connecticut River from Block
Island, beginning Saturday of Labor Day Weekend. As has been the
case everywhere so far this trip, we had good wifi connectivity
there, so were able to check weather and mail.

We got off early, but - again - despite NOAA' consistent predictions, there was no wind whatsoever. So, contrary to our own rule, as it was a very short ride, we motored through the Fisher Island rip, beating the counter-current by a couple of hours. Despite having our lines out from the time we pulled up the anchor in Block Island at 7:30, to take advantage of the currents, we again struck out in the fishing department. We did, however, catch multiple clumps of grass, which does nothing to enhance our lures' attraction to any fish which might have been interested...

Once we were through the Fisher's Island Rip, NOAA was saying,
consistently, on the VHF, that what we'd have would be South,
5-10, and instead, it was E 5 - which made our progress reduce
the apparent wind to zero. More motoring, as, this time, we were
timed to have a little countercurrent going north in the Connecticut River. For all that, it was a very short passage, Connecticut River being a pretty straight shot from Block Island.

As we were going upriver, the railroad bridge was down, but we
were pretty far out as it started to rise. We called and they
held it for us until I gave the "Thanks, Bridge; Flying Pig
Clear - thanks for the opening" call we do on each bridge, once
we were under (not through, but the bridges move slowly!), a
lovely courtesy, as the next opening wasn't for 40 minutes. He
appreciated the call, too, as most boats don't seem to bother to
acknowledge, let alone thank the tender for the opening.

The Connecticut River can be challenging for the unfamiliar, but
with good charts, it's very well marked. Areas with notable
shallow spots have very narrow channels, but they're there, and
ample to our needs. So, we proceeded without incident, up the
river, past its many twists and turns and lovely scenery,
enjoying the ride. Despite our fishfinder alerting on many fish,
they were all at the bottom, and since we were trolling, even if
they *were* hungry, they ignored our lures. We did, however,
continue to have a bountiful catch of grass...

As has been the case, nearly always, now, our passage was
uneventful in the mechanical sense, a real relief from the
experiences last summer. The most exciting things which have
happened lately were that I tightened the second new belt (unlike
the last ones which disintegrated, literally, in 10 hours or
less, the first new, smaller-width - go figure! - belt lasted
more than 200 hours) which went on a while ago, and, on another day, we ran our battery down enough that we couldn't start immediately. Both were relative non-events, resolved quickly and easily.

My client met us in his dinghy, buzzing down from Deep River in
the Brewer Yacht Yard marina where he keeps his power cruiser.
Perhaps surprising to those who know me today, he said he hardly
recognized me. Apparently I was pretty tightly wound when we
worked together, but, today, he sees me as totally laid back and
relaxed. Nice to be that way; cruising certainly agrees with me!

He had arranged with his marina for us to camp out on a marina
client's empty ball, and since he would not be back until Monday
afternoon, that was just perfect for us. We had the boat moored
on the ball by 3:30 and were off to see his boat before leaving
for his home, where we'd take advantage of his laundry

A constant fact of life for cruisers is looking for the next
laundry opportunity; we've been blessed with a wide variety of
friends, relatives and internet acquaintances who have graciously
offered their laundry, vehicles, and, sometimes, hot showers
throughout our cruising since we left after rehabbing post-wreck.
As we'd filled our tanks in Block Island, water wasn't an issue,
and because we'd run the engine, we had plenty of hot water due
to the heat exchange system in our water heater, gathering heat
from the engine. So, we showered aboard, this time, rather than
at his home.

Back to his boat, however, compared to ours, it was a very
different environment. An entirely different lifestyle, of
course; his pulls 2 boat bux (for those unacquainted with the
term, a boat buck is one thousand dollars; BOAT = Break Out
Another Thousand) out of his pocket each time he fills it, but,
being a trawler, has much more room for the same length as ours,
with its vertical sides and relatively rectangular shape. It
also has room for an entire engine room under the salon floor,
hiding two enormous 6-cylinder diesels.

We went out to dinner, deciding to wait for the Wal-Mart run
(there were some things we needed unique to Wal-Mart) for the
following day, as they were delayed waiting for someone who'd
come to inspect a car they had for sale to return after what
turned into a 1-hour test drive. Lovely Italian restaurant and a
great time was had by all; he drove us back to the boat, where we
borrowed his dinghy to return to our boat for the night.

We got up at a leisurely hour, meeting my client who provided a driving tour of Essex and Deep River. Pretty homes and great history there, as it seems everywhere we've been in New England, along with all the nautical areas of interest. We returned to his boat via Wal-Mart, where we got all but one item, which was overlooked on the list, and stopped to reload at Subway, eating on his boat while we enjoyed the view out of his cockpit 15 feet or so in the air. Soon, we got a chance to go for a ride down the river with their two exchange students and a few friends. As we went, he pointed out many places of interest, piquing our thoughts of perhaps not just flying downriver on Monday...

Because the currents were favorable, and the trip short, we
decided to take a walking tour of Essex on the way out. Oops...
No water out the back, signifying that we'd soon burn up an
impeller in our water pump, not to mention overheat our
hard-working Perky, the Iron Genoa, so we immediately shut down.
I went to investigate what might be wrong, and the first thing I
do when I have such a situation is to open the filter.

Sure enough, it was filled with grass. While Lydia emptied and
cleaned the strainer basket, I poured water down the filter,
assuring that any grass which might be blocking the intake would
fall off. There was no resistance, so apparently we'd sucked any
there was into the filter. Once replaced, we were off and

So was the current, which meant that at cruising revolutions
(again with the wind! - though we did manage to jibe the main to
catch a little aid as the river twisted and turned) we were
making more than 8 knots downriver. Essex soon hove into view,
and we threw out the anchor in a lovely area right across from
the Town Docks. With the current and the wind, we were at quite
an angle to both, but we took our time and got the hook firmly

Off for another walking tour, and all the lovely sights and
history. New England has such a different character from what
we're used to, and we loved all the architecture we saw. Soon we
were back aboard, the dinghy once again snugged up to the
arch/davits, using the ratcheting straps we'd bought at Wal-Mart,
a great improvement over my prior modus of just tying off a bow
and stern line, crossed under the boat, and we were under way
again at 3:30.

Our calculations had it that we'd easily make it to our next
destination, Coecles Harbor. Sure enough, the wind, this time,
cooperated, and we sailed down the Connecticut, out over Long
Island Sound, around Orient Point, and into the entrance of
Coecles Harbor on mostly broad or close reaches.

There were a few other boats in the harbor, but there was lots
of room, and excellent holding power for our 55# Delta anchor,
which was down and set well before dark. The trip over was just
like the last several trips, which is to say that we caught only
grass along the way. Striking out for fresh fish, I grilled the
London Broil Lydia'd been marinating for the last couple of days
in the frig, and we had a salad along with the couple of strips
we cut from it. After dinner, I cut up the remainder into about
3 ounce portions, for us to use in coming salads. Not fresh
fish, but delicious all the same...

The more we studied, the more we became confused, as we could not
find the nature preserve on the charts. Googling (still enjoying
wifi) disclosed that the entrance to the park, the only access
permitted, was nearly 4 miles away from a distant dinghy dock.
By the time we'd leave, and go on a 3 or more hour nature walk,
we'd not be back timely. Best seen by road, unless you invade it
from the area of our anchorage, which would not be politically

So, we abandoned that and moved the boat to the other end of the
anchorage as suggested by the local police who stopped by in his
boat, just making sure all was well. He'd recommended that area
in case we decided to stay there for Hanna, but we really just
did it so that we would not have so far to dinghy into town and
Taylor Island.

Taylor Island is a lovely cottage on a small island at the end of
a rock/sand bar, originally owned by an immigrant Greek who
apparently somehow willed or trusted or otherwise conveyed it to
a public entity. The grounds were immaculate, and the cottage,
displaying signs saying that it was under construction, so no
access was permitted, was entirely charming. Peering in the
windows showed that, probably during tourist season in the
summer, visitors were expected, as there was literature, T-shirts
for sale, and other paraphernalia related to showing off the
facility visible in a couple of the rooms. We enjoyed a picnic
lunch under a bearing pear tree, taking a couple of the windfalls
home to (we hope!) ripen.

Going to the town docks, and getting one of their free maps,
showed that it was really too far, and too little to see, to
bother, so we got back in the dinghy and had a circular tour of
the harbor. As in any waterfront in the US, these days, there
are some spectacular homes, and this was no exception. Whatever
the economy is doing elsewhere, some folks are still doing very
well, thank you!

Back to our home, again, to have a leisurely dinner and early
bedtime, in order to get out early, again, for our next
destination, Greenport. Inertia set in, however, and we didn't
actually depart until 12:30. In light winds, we tacked back and
forth, clearing the lighthouse off Long Beach Point and heading
downwind, jibing, until we got to the breakwater in Greenport.

Dropping the sails, we motored into the harbor, just to look
around, but the signage made it plain that no transient
provisions were present in the mooring field, and there was no
room to anchor. The local TowBoatUS representative suggested
anchoring inside the breakwater, which is what we did. Because
it was a short trip, and we expected to go into town, we had
towed the dinghy, so after anchoring securely in 20' of water at 3PM, we set off.

There is a town dinghy dock immediately inside the harbor, and we
had a very short walk to town. Because I saw a shopping cart on
the sidewalk, I knew there had to be a grocery store in town.
Chatting up a passerby as we trundled it toward town revealed
that we were on the right track to find the IGA; he was also
impressed that we'd take it back, but I couldn't possibly leave
it there - grocers, especially independents like IGA, pay dearly
for those, and besides, it was just inconsiderate of whoever it
was who took it. It was no trouble for me, so off we went.

There were quite a few townspeople out for a walk, including a
couple of dog walkers. As Lydia's happier with animals than
people, of course, she chatted them up, and wore the hair off the
pets stroking them, on the way to our tour. Bookstores took some
money, and we stocked up on fresh salad makings, bananas and a few other goodies at the IGA.

We slept soundly and quietly in our secure anchorage, but knew that we'd have to do something else for the coming storm. To take advantage of the currents and tides, we left reasonably early (10 AM is early for us) to Three Mile Cove, a very well protected anchorage south of Orient.

We could not have asked for a more pleasant day to sail. In brilliant sunshine, with consistent 8-13 knot apparent winds, occasionally bumped with gusts to 15-16 knots, we had a close reach or beat the entire way. Up the channel was only a close reach, but our turn at the lighthouse put us on a rhumb line directly to the harbor entrance. Once again, we streamed our lines, but caught only grass, so pulled them in as we reached the entrance.

Three Mile Cove has a very long, but well marked, channel. After a brief tour of the anchorage area, we had our anchor down by 2:30 in 12 feet of water. We settled in to do our preparations for the coming blow, but, aside from some rain splatters, there was no indication of the forecast excitements. Many people wrote to express concern that we might not be safe, a heartwarming affirmation of the wide circle of prior and internet friends we've developed who are following our adventures.

With no apparent real excitements, Lydia made Oatmeal cookies before we had to close up the cabin, and I installed new gaskets and screens in previously leaking ports. The last time that was done, I'm convinced, was decades ago, and it was time for renewal, anyway, but this was a good excuse to do it. I'd ordered in a complete set over 3 years ago, but other than a couple of nuisance points, had not installed any other along the way, since we moved aboard.

We'd set the Delta on lots of chain, and were about to put it all (300') out, and, motoring to pull it tight at right angles to the boat, drop the other, 75# CQR anchor, drifting back as that chain (125') and rope (175') paid out, taking in some of the original, to make two rodes of ~200 feet each, in a "Vee" arrangement. The " MegaBraid line on the CQR, and the 20' length of MegaBraid snubber on the Delta would take up the shocks, and we felt secure in that holding.

However, a local motored up and encouraged us to pick up a mooring among the many empties, saying that none of them would be used that night. He suggested one which, based on the size of the mooring line, 1" nylon double braid, must have been for an enormous boat. He assured us that it would easily hold us, in plenty of water. So, instead, up came the original anchor, and we rested comfortably on Black Dog's very substantial mooring. Thanks, Black Dog!

Hanna was forecast to arrive with peak winds of up to 55 knots, but the 3-hour interval weather for both East Hampton and Orient, ashore, near here, had a max of 41 knots showing, so we didn't do full hurricane prep. In all of the forecasts, local and NOAA, the strongest winds were forecast for midnight or before. And, of course, since 39-73 knots is only tropical storm, anyway, we'd not likely see anything like a hurricane here.

Accordingly, we trussed up the main and staysail with leftover line from our old running rigging (the lines which control the sails), but left them not only on the boat but in their covers. I took the spinnaker halyard and did a counter-wrap (the other direction from the furler) around the genoa on the top, the most vulnerable section, after we wound up as much as would come out of the furling drum, completely enclosing the bottom of it with the sheets. We were confident that our sails would not have a problem with the winds, even if they were as strong as NOAA suggested.

We also left the bimini and enclosures in place, for the same reason. We figured we'd get a great washdown in the process, but planned to roll up the windows later as the wind built. The evening started with lots of rain, but the winds didn't pick up until well after dark; at that, they rarely got over 20. However, the edge of the storm was quite obvious, as there was a sudden increase in velocity.

At 9:30. I went out to roll up the enclosure windows, reducing
windage. I also cocked the KISS so it wasn't directly into the
wind. When winds reach over 30 knots, it sounds a little like
the flight line at a general aviation airport, the blades are
spinning so fast. The interior system shuts down, to prevent
overheating of the generator, but if the blades aren't directly
into the wind, they don't spin as fast, and you can continue to
make power up to 40 knots or so.

By 9:30, the winds were consistently over 30 knots for extended
periods, so it was prudent, especially in light of the prior
unit's having taken flight in similar winds just before our
wreck, to do that. We were rewarded with a constant stream of
15-25 Amps from KissyFace, and the flight line shut down, returning (relative) peace and quiet to Flying Pig.

In the end, that was the worst of it; we never saw more than 34 knots of wind, and it had started to die by 11, so we turned in and slept soundly at midnight. By 4AM when we happened to wake, there were brilliant stars and no rain as we opened the aft hatch, but the wind was still fair. KissyFace continued to top up/off our battery bank, and we woke to similarly brilliant skies and moderate (8-12 knots) breezes.

Our genoa prep was well found, as the boat nearby which had gone out to set a second anchor while we were going to our mooring had its genoa catch the wind during the storm. It was slightly unfurled, flapping in the breeze, torn, this morning. It reminded us of our extremely tightly wrapped genoa in our wreck. By the time we salvaged off the rock, it had half-unfurled, and was in tatters. Rolling them up is never sufficient in a *real* blow...

As we went out for our morning coffee on the back deck, we noted that the decks, despite not having been scrubbed, haven't looked this clean in months.By 10, we were making nearly 20 amps of sun and 15 amps of wind power, so Lydia broke out the vacuum (a big ampsucker) and did some continuing cleanup. We were also very pleasantly surprised to find, one very small area on Port aside, due to the Captain Tolley's Creeping Crack Cure which Lydia so assiduously applied recently, that our leak problems were resolved. That last one will no doubt soon succumb to her ministrations :{))

Wind forecasts have modified slightly from what they were for the last couple of days, and a continuing moderate (under 20 knots) west wind is in the offing. As I type this, we've seen a typical 8-13 knots, so it should be a marvelous sail as we head off to Mattituck, where, we're promised, there's a great shore experience, complete with free hot showers at the (also free) town dinghy dock. We hope that it's not shut down after Labor Day! - but also are really not concerned, as we have plenty of water.

So, check the SPOT (assuming they have it up and running again; our last segment was unrecorded as they did "maintenance" so we really don't know if it will show), and you'll see our progress out of Three Mile Cove, and, later, as we move down Long Island Sound. Spot page, for those interested, is SPOT Shared Page

Stay tuned :{))


Love from Skip and Lydia

Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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"You are never given a wish without also being given the power
to make it come true. You may have to work for it however."
"There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in
its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts."
(Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)
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