The chalenges of sailing a small yacht are what makes us go sailing when we can. Everything from weather, location, traffic, currents, you name it can effect a passage. Your boat’s waterline determines your speed which can be a powerful obstacle in the progress of any passage. But sometimes you just need to be “Lucky Enough” and have a little sea skills for assistance. This is what powered us through Hell Gate on July 1, 2021.
We departed with very overcast skies and the forecast for a powerful thunderstorm at 1 PM (we so hoped it would come at 2 PM since we weren’t sure we would make our anchorage by 1 PM). We needed to leave the dock with the tide in our favor as passage through this famous gateway to Long Island Sound needs current with your yacht but not too much as you can quickly lose steerage if you are slipping through the water out of control. Once more we untied our dock lines and ventured off into a potential rough passage.
Rounding the Battery, dodging all the ferry boats and pleasure craft in the busy New York Harbor was our first wake up call for attention. The sky continued to darken as we made our way up the East River past the might city as United Nations and Sloan Kettering scurried by. With four miles to go the sky looked ready to give way to the promise of a storm. Soon the wind started to freshen and the first rain fell. We put up what we call our little top to get some shelter from the rain and soon had one plastic side in place for more wind and rain protection.
We were a half mile from our anchor spot when Ed went to the foredeck to prepare the anchor. Now it really started to rain and blow and he was getting wet. I was in the cockpit securing more cockpit protection. Ed let go the anchor while I followed his hand signals. Soon he quickly ran back to join me in my place of shelter. The anchor bit into mud and we swung into the wind.
On the sea all is well that ends well and five minutes later we were in the cabin with a cup of coffee and Tates chocolate chip cookies. We made it because of the good use of a swift current that carried us at an average speed of 9 knots while staying in full control. We completed the sixteen mile trip in a little over two hours with only five minutes of rain. I guess you could say that we were “Lucky Enough” to quote Jody Yeoman and Mike the Moose.
July 12 – LLoyd’s Neck
Soon we weren’t Lucky Enough as we had to blast out of our anchorage when the
wind changed. Spent three lovely days at the Harlem Yacht Club where we had visits from more former students and a great 4th barbecue with fireworks that went on until past midnight. The New Yorkers are really happy Covid is behind them for now.
Leaving the YC we had strong unexpected head winds. Of course we were so out of shape and the boat hardley ready for rail down but that is what we had. After about an hour of this we opted for a close anchorage out of the wind – Pelham NY which is one of our old time favorites. Protected in every direction – however it was Monday and a holiday and the place was hoping with small power boats enjoying the water. By 8 PM everyone left and it was quiet and we had it all to ourselves. The next AM we left for Stamford and had a nice sail. Three nights on the mooring visiting Ed’s old boat and Mitch. Had pizza for my birthday. We also had an unpleasant birthday surprise of Tropical Storm Elsa which gave wind, rain and misery. We were safe but on the boat listening to rain for twenty four hours. Makes me wonder why we worked so hard to sit here in the rain.
We left Stamford on July 10th for LLoyd’s neck 7 miles away. We have been in here many times and it is not an easy entrance. Recently it has shoaled up a lot so it is even more difficult getting in and out Our plan was two nights and then on to Pequot for another student. Anchored by us for one night was a beautiful Nonesuch Cat which I include the photo. We tried to leave and went out two hours after low on a rising tide – not enough water – after running aground three times we gave up. Bad weather was on its way – it was really hopeless so we went back inside. It is really comfy here but the weather is just awful. We are eating well and having fun but I yearn for that AZ sunshine. I am getting all soggy.
Today we will try to get out again. This time 3 and a half hours after low. We hope for the best.
July 13th – we made it out and screamed over the Stamford 7 miles away to spend the night at anchor. We were hoping for an early start with little wind on Wednesday.
July 14 Wedneday – Pequot Yacht Club in Fairfield CT and the sun is shining
We have internet so I am going to try to send these off. Things are looking up when the sun shines. We are attending the Wednesday night barbecue at the club tonight. Swordfish is on the menu. The next plan to to leave tomorrow and continue east to Stonington and finally Block Island. We just need a little break in the weather.
Ellen on the Harlem YC patio – Ed coming into the club from the launch – the Chef’s specialty , cod fish sandwich – Harlem Club house – Eric Bell married- Steven Sue married – Ed sails the CatBoat Drummer Boy with Mitch – the club restaurant and our secluded anchorage at Lloyd’s Neck Long Island.