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Old 23-09-2008, 21:10   #1
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Boat: Morgan 461 S/Y Flying Pig
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Sound Advice

Sound Advice - sent September 24, 2008

As we left you, Hanna had been hard hearted, but not hard to
take, as her energy was sapped, apparently, by the trip up the
east coast and down Long Island Sound.

We're hoping to pick up some of that energy as we move in the
other direction, toward New York City, but first we have to get
to Long Island Sound. As we sheltered in Three Mile Cove on the
south end of Gardiner's Bay, there's a bit of a trip involved,
but nothing much.

Undoing all the storm preparations took a while, and our usual
sloth and indolence in the morning prevailed before that, so we
didn't get off our very kindly-offered, very secure mooring,
before about 2:30. You may recall from the last that there's a
very defined channel, and a lovely anchorage, surrounded by much
shallower water. On the way out of the anchorage, Lydia, not yet
quite awake, got on the wrong side of the red bouy, and ran very
hard (as in, firmly, but not in any way damaging or permanent)
aground on a sand bar, throwing me to the salon floor by way of
the mast on the side of my head.

That reinforced the saying of "one hand for the boat, one for
yourself" - a safety mantra - you never know when the boat might
suddenly move in an unexpected direction. Of course, we weren't
really under way, so I'd not taken that precaution, and, in the
end, the biggest result was a lozenge-shaped bruise with a slight
skin split on the side of my head, quickly becoming nothing but a
discoloration. All our misadventures should end so quickly and
easily! Our MaxProp reversed us out of the sand in very short
order, and we proceeded out of the harbor under sail.

NOAA had, in all the areas available to us, been saying that the
wind would be, of course, different than we found in reality.
We've come to rely more (not ignoring NOAA, but looking for other
inputs as well) on local detailed forecasts, so, before we left,
we'd checked and found that the wind would be nearly ideal for
our passage.

Our trip from Three Mile Cove up to Orient was a close reach in
10-15 knots of wind, helped by the tidal current which, instead
of the usual set to the leeward side, actually pushed us to
windward, and we made great time through the rip out into Long
Island Sound.

Once we got on the Sound, not only did the wind and waves pick
up, but so did, as forecast, the wind, moving to 15-20. Due to
our angle of attack, it was a beat to get high enough to tack
down to Mattituck, and still make some westing. However, our
sloth in the morning made it such that it was apparent we'd not
make it to Mattituck until well after dark. So, we headed up the
Connecticut River, anchoring in Saybrook Shoal in plenty of
water, less than 2 miles from the entrance.

As the currents were against us, we didn't leave for Mattituck
until nearly noon, taking advantage of the enforced time to do
some minor chores around the boat. Forecast winds were very
light, but at least, early, supposedly to our advantage. We
pulled up our very firmly stuck anchor around 11:30 and set sail.

The trip down the river was fairly fast, as the current and the
tides helped, gaining 8+ over ground. As our prior entrance to
the area was back to the east, we elected to turn west but not go
so far that we'd have to deal with the shoal. Wind was such that
we had to beat the entire way, but our marvelous ship took it in
stride. About 30 degrees of apparent wind, on a great sailing
day, we tacked our way up the Connecticut shoreline, then turned
south when we could clear the shoal.

Winds were very consistent, 10-12 knots, once we got into the
sound, and we were making about 5.5-6 knots very closely hauled.
Our tacks look like someone drew them with a square, and we
tacked several times to get to the point where we could be on a
line with the opening at Mattituck. Just before our last tack,
we hooked a bluefish, which, darn him, tangled in our other line,
so it wound up cutting it, losing a lure we'd just bought. In
retaliation, I killed and fileted him as soon as the wind died on
our last tack!

With the wind dead, we reluctantly motored the last couple of
miles, as we'd timed our travels to be on the hook before dark.
The inlet looks very scary on the charts, but the reality is much
more benign.

We came in at about high tide, which, of course, helped, but
rarely saw less than 5' under our set-for-7 feet sounder, and
frequently were over 10'. The inlet is pretty clearly marked,
with one anomaly of a red without its little hat, which in
marginal light might have been confused for the
otherwise-all-cylindrical greens. No lights on any of them, but
easy to see and follow.

A couple of 3's had my attention, but the anchorage proved to be
consistently over 6' deep everywhere we motored around it, and we
got the hook set in hardpan grass on the second try. When we
arrived, there were two boats here already, and just before dark
a 4th boat pulled in. In entirely flat water, with the gentlest
of breezes, we enoyed our fresh fish dinner, looked at the
internet provided on a strong signal, and rejoiced in another
enchanting, invigorating, marvelous day on the water before we
took an early bedtime.

Tuesday we took a relaxed approach to getting up, as we'd not
leave until the full tide tomorrow, and the weather and wind
would have been iffy Tuesday, anyway. A quick check revealed
that Matt-A-Mar had gas, diesel and water, so we'll fill up when
they open and leave on Wednesday's (10th) high tide.

We went for a walk around the town, enjoying Love Lane, and found
the local plaza without too much excitement, obtaining our very
few supplies, and headed back to the boat to another blissful
evening aboard. It doesn't get much better than this!

I'll leave you here for another time; stay tuned!



Morgan 461 #2
SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
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(Richard Bach, in The Reluctant Messiah)
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