Just finished up my first big cruise going from Cape May, NJ to Salem, MA in 3 weeks exactly from July 23-Aug 12. It was a great trip and done with 3-4 crew including myself, a 22 year old recent college grad, my girlfriend who was able to take some time off of work for about 10 days, and a 28 year old can do anything type of guy. Wanted to give a recap of the trip, the places I saw and the things I learned (which were ALOT!) Also sorry to the guys who I talked to about getting in touch with, the tail end of the trip went way to fast! If anyone wants any more info on particular legs of the trip and specific places/anchorages let me know.
Cape May to NYC:
Started off by having the engine die out just while exiting the Cape May jetties. Got the jib up quick, got out of the jetties and the rest of the sails up and on our way. To NYC we go. First overnight sail and first time either of my two crew had been offshore so needless to say I didn’t get any sleep that night. But we luckily had good weather and made it in about 30 hours. Got the engine back on in the middle of the night and she ran fine to NYC as long as we kept it at 2000 RPM's. It was really great coming into NYC for the first time on a sailboat, as I had done it a handful of times on container ships before... very different perspective being the little guy. Got through lots of traffic fine and docked at Lincoln Harbor Yacht Club/Marina (around $90 for the night). Despite their claims of having a wave stopper or something of the sort installed, it was a rolly night at the dock, but still a good one.
NYC to Port Jefferson:
Left early afternoon and had the tides timed right. Made over 9kts for the first time going through Hell's Gate. Crew loved the bridges and NYC scenery from the water. Passed by Kings Point, my Alma Mata which was a cool feeling. Little to no breeze in Long Island Sound but made Port Jeff, which was our goal by 2200 and anchored. Went into town in the AM for breakfast and was greeted by the dockmaster holding out his hand for $7 dinghy dock fee. Once back to the boat the crew did the first of many traditional "Tally'Ho's" (jumping into the water when arriving and leaving a port).
Port Jefferson to Fishers Island:
Not much breeze again. Didn’t plan very well in regards to the tides. Got knocked down to a little over 3.5 kts about 10-15 miles away from fishers. A little after nightfall thick fog set in with a slight drizzle. We were making security calls, had someone blowing on the manual fog horn every minute and someone on the bow for buoy/trap lookout. It was pretty spooky having the big fast ferries appear out of no where a mile or so away from us and then disappear into the night. It was a lot different without having radar. Thank goodness for GPS! Made it safely into Fishers Island and anchored where we thought was the correct place. Things sure looked a lot different in the morning though during our Tally-Ho! Wish we could have gone ashore for a bit but we had places to be.
Fishers Island to Newport:
Left Fishers early to try to make Newport early afternoon on a Friday. I couldn’t believe how many traps were outside Fishers and that we were able to avoid all of them the night before in the fog. We were going to go to Block Island but I wanted to try to have our engine looked at (hunting at over 2500 RPM's consistently, occasionally hunting under low RPM's, engine would crank fine but would not always fire soon after and what appeared to be excessive leaking from stuffing box while under way). Nice sail to Newport and we made it to the mooring field and on a mooring ball off of Ida Lewis YC late afternoon ($45 a night). Tally-Ho'd and got a launch in to try to take showers at the Seaman’s Center. We were a few minutes too late and I had one upset girlfriend who had been without shower for an undisclosed amount of days now! She was resourceful though and made her way into the Black Pearl bathroom where she managed to back up the bathroom line while washing down and washing her hair in the sink haha. We moved to the anchorage on Saturday and stayed through Tuesday morning when we realized we weren’t going to be able to get a mechanic for at least a week. Had a very good time and spent a lot of time in town as well as doing the Cliff Walk.
Newport to Cuttyhunk:
We were planning on going straight to the Vineyard, but I made one of my better desicions of the trip to change course and check out Cuttyhunk for the afternoon/night. I was a little nervous on our approach in the narrow channel with a lot of traffic on my tail and a few boats coming out at low tide, but we made it in fine and got a mooring ($40 a night). It was one of our favorite spots. Walked down to the beach, went swimming and ordered overpriced and not so good icecream. The two guys on board took their surfboards and paddled over to the neighboring island while the lady and I ordered from the Raw Bar boat. The two mooring attendants joined us on our boat for a few cocktails after sundown. Beautiful weather and a great day.
Cuttyhunk to Vineyard Haven:
One of the first times in the trip we had good breeze. It was great to have the engine off for a whole leg. Anchored in Vineyard Haven and went ashore. One of my best friends from high school manages a store in Edgartown, so we had use of her car for most of our time there. Toured around the island for two days and got our lifejackets lifted out of our dinghy at the harbormaster dinghy dock.
Vineyard Haven to Hadleys Harbor:
Another great sail across the Vineyard Sound. Tried getting through Woods Hold Passage an hour too soon, got half way through and had to turn around as our little engine that shouldn’t go over 2000 RPMs wasn’t making any headway. Swung around and grabbed a mooring in Woods Hold for about 2 hours until the buoys started pointing up and down in the passage. Got through fine the second time and found a nice spot to anchor inside Hadleys. This was probably a close second to Cuttyhunk as far as favorite harbor. Swam, grilled and took the dinghy around the harbor to check out the boats and mansions. Realized I never put any oil in the gas tank for our two stroke and shut her down right away hoping we could get some before killing the 1969 Johnson 6HP outboard.
Hadleys Harbor to Edgartown:
Once again, great breeze in Vineyard Sound and no problems getting through Woods Hole. Anchored outside Edgartown Harbor with a lot of current. Went ashore for dinner and walking around and got back to the boat around 2300. By 0100 the breeze had picked up to 20-30kts from exposed area (I believe NW). This was the first night on anchor in adverse conditions and I wasn’t sure how we were going to hold so headed up to the cockpit around 2ish and catnapped up there with the engine on the rest of the night. Wind died down around 6, I think we drug anchor a little bit at one point of the night, but it reset. We had out 120 feet of rode in I think 15 feet of water, 100 feet chain and 20 feet nylon with a CQR. After the night of little sleep I decided to bring us inside to get a mooring in the morning. Went to take the dink ashore after getting oil into the gas tank and it finally seized up. Managed to paddle to the dingy dock and make the most of our last day in the Vineyard. Got our air pump lifted from dinghy while at dinghy dock to add insult to injury.
Donna at the Herring Creek Marina was a great help in trying to help us with our dink situation and one of the friendlier people I met the entire trip. If anyone sees her tell her the young guys with the dinghy engine trouble said hi!
Edgartown to Nantucket:
Got our first taste of big breeze once we got to the east of Chappy Point. Steady 20-25 from the SE which also kicked up our first waves and the first time our bow went under a few times. We were the only boat I could see traveling in our direction, but the forecast wasn’t supposed to get any worse, so we trucked on and got in a groove with the seas and had a good time. The fore cabin hatch leaked a little so one of our guys clothes and berth got soaked. Anchored in Nantucket late afternoon just before a big thunderstorm came through. Had dinner and walked around ashore. We all loved the island and personally I liked it a lot more than the Vineyard. The next day I met up with a friend that lives on the island so he gave me a good tour while searching for a new outboard, which he ended up getting me a very good deal for a new Yamaha 5hp. My two crew finally got to surf at Cisco Beach while my friend and I hit up the Cisco Brewery which I was told was just completely redone and was a really good time.
Nantucket to Plymouth:
We left Nantucket at 0600 because of forecasts of 30+kt breeze and thunderstorms late morning. I was hoping to get to Woods Hole and then figure out if we should anchor up in Hadleys again or head up Buzzards Bay and see how far we could get. We departed Nantucket in ¼ mile visibility with thick fog and about 10kt SW breeze. We had radio contact with one of the ferries coming out of the jetties a few miles behind us and he said he had us on radar and was going to pass ½ mile to our east. He must have passed us at some point, but never heard or saw him again! Once we had Chappy on our beam the fog had pretty much lifted and I figured we were going to be in decent shelter in the Vineyard Sound even if the breeze did pick up…. Yeah I was wrong on that assumption. Within about 15 minutes the breeze picked up from 10 to steady 25 with a good storm forming over the Vineyard and heading our direction. We reefed our jib and took down our main before the worst of it got to us. When we just passed Vineyard Haven we were in steady 30kts of breeze and when the squall passed over us higher with gusts. We got the jib all the way down and managed to plug along with the current on our back through a very confused and steep sea. I kept on looking back at Vineyard Haven and looking ahead at Woods Hole opening wondering if I should turn back or keep on going. Once we made it more than half way I had pretty much made up my mind to keep on going. We got to the opening of Woods Hold about an hour later and luckily made it in just enough time before the current switched in Woods Hole Passage. It was a different world once inside the Woods Hole area and we got through the passage, anchored shortly outside of Hadleys to regroup, talked to a cruiser who was coming in from Buzzards Bay who said that it wasn’t too bad on the Buzzards Bay side so we decided to continue on. Once in Buzzards Bay there were decent 4ft waves on our quarter but with the breeze and swells behind us the boat handled fine. We were planning on stopping before the Canal but when we realized we had the tide in our favor and we started making 8kts we made our destination Plymouth. We buzzed through the Canal with no problems and once we got to the other side we were greeted with a picture perfect day of sunshine, light breeze and long rollers. The day really seemed like 4 different days in one. We made Plymouth at 1900, brought our dinghy with new engine to the dinghy dock next to the Mayflower and met my cousin ashore for dinner.
Plymouth to Boston:
Breeze was fresh and cool in the morning out of the NE but it died off after a few hours and had next to nothing the rest of the day. It was great to sail by Sciatuate, which is where I was born and my grandfather used to fish out of. Cruised into Boston Harbor without any difficulty (I forget the passage that we went through before entering the South Channel, but there was a large lighthouse on an island on our Stbd Side and another island and rocks to our port). We picked up a mooring for two nights at $40 a night through Waterboat Marina and had the best view of any anchorage/mooring yet. Right off of Long Wharf the city was just amazing at night and the crew and I were fully appreciating how far we had come and our present location. Met up with a bunch of friends on the second night and had a good night on the town (I was disappointed the Sox weren’t in town).
Boston to Salem:
Had two extra friends/crew aboard for the final leg, but unfortunately little to no breeze until we got inside the Marblehead area and were able to put up our jib. We passed what I think was the Flip Flop regatta off of Marblehead on our way up which was a great site of 100+ racing boats. We went into a dock for the first time since NYC and the ‘Marabelle Ann’ got a much deserved wash down and charge up on power. We brought the boat to the mooring the next morning where she is going to be until mid-September when we start bringing her back south to Annapolis.
It was sad to leave the boat to head back home for a night and then back to work so I can pay off many of the bills that the boat has wracked up. But she is in good hands with one of my crew and is getting the engine trouble and stuffing box taken care of by a mechanic up there now. Already looking forward to the trip to Annapolis and then getting her ready to head farther south and to the Bahamas in January.