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BarryL 08-21-2010 08:03 PM

Block Island Day 1

Back in June I wrote about my proposed trip to Block. A few things happened to delay the trip, but we're on our way.

We left Mt. Sinai today (Sat Aug 21) with our destination as Orient By The Sea marina near Orient Point. Tomorrow we sail for Block Island.

The trip today was not much fun. We departed at 9:30, high tide. The weather forecast was E winds at 5-10, moving SE in the afternoon. Out in the sound, we had NE wind at 10-15. With the tide against the wind the conditions were miserable. Short steep chop. Motorsailing with main up our speed was slow - 5 kts SOG, even less towards our destination.

After 30 minutes I was ready to give up but my wife wanted to push on. Two hours later I was looking for alternatives - Clinton or Westbrook CT on the CT side, or maybe Mattituck on the LI side.

An hour later the apparent wind was 18 kits, on the nose of course, and the seas were like a washing machine. All ports and hatches closed, spray covering the dodger. It was terrible.

Then, slowly, the wind started to calm down. At 13 kts it was bearable. By the time the wind was down to 10 kts and the seas calmed it was pleasant. Then the tide kicked in and our SOG zoomed to 8 kts for an hour.

The arrival at Orient By The Sea was uneventful, but this is the smallest marina I have ever been in. It took all of my boat driving experience just to get in and turned towards the dock. I left the S wind push me up against it. We tied up, and then the marina owner told us the dock hands gave us the wrong slip and we had go 'around back' to another slip.

Here we are but I hope we can get out tomorrow.

Cross your finger for decent weather. At least we only have 30 nm to go.


JohnRPollard 08-21-2010 10:08 PM

Barry, sounds like you're really paying your dues. On the bright side, it may make your arrival at Block more gratifying -- having fought so hard for it.

Here's wishing you fairer winds and tides tomorrow. Good luck, and keep us posted!

p.S. I'd love to see photos of B.I.;)

WanderingStar 08-22-2010 09:08 AM

HI Barry, I was thinking about you yesterday, thanks for the report. Our day was different, course makes all the difference. We got underway at 1110, setting sail outside 25 minutes later. The moderate NE was good to sail 010m closehauled. By the time we reached Milford the breeze had veered ten degrees. On the crossing we took some spray, but it was a great sail. Anchored in The Gulf, rowed into town (1.3nm). There was a street festival, Jane bought a toe ring. We had a great Mexican dinner (during an oyster festival? whatever) and rowed back. Up anchor at 1900, sail set 1930. The breeze was lighter, and had veered more. I could just lay for Mt Sinai. As darkness fell, the breeze continued to veer and lighten. A lovely night, but WS is not brilliant to windward in light air. By the time we passed Middle ground, I was making for Smithtown Bay, also being set west by the tide. I furled sail and motored home. We had a great day, I hope you have a great cruise. It was really nice to meet your family on friday. Fair winds!

BarryL 08-22-2010 07:33 PM

Block Island - Day Two - We Are Here

I case you care I am sending this from my slip at the Block Island Boat Basin. So we made it to Block Island.

The trip over was worse than the trip to Orient Point. When we checked the weather forecast this morning, it was bad - rain likely, chance of thunderstorms, wind SE at 15 kts or so.

So I knew it would not be a good trip, but we're on vacation so what the heck?

We were underway at 810, and the first half of the trip wasn't bad. Light rain, wind SE at 15, but the water wasn't too bad. Then the tide changed and wind against tide made for short, choppy seas. Still, after yesterday I knew the boat (and crew) could take it. So we kept on, motor sailing with full main and no head sail.

At one point I saw a squall line approach and I warned my wife that we were going to get hit. This line had lots of rain but not much wind. visibility dropped to a few feet but the heavy rain didn't last long - maybe 5 minutes.

When we were 10 miles away we spotted Block Island - great but we still had 2 hours to go. Then I saw a line of dark clouds to the south. Real dark.

When we were 5 miles away the sky got very dark. The line was here. This time the squall had lots of rain, AND lots of wind. I watched the gauge climb - 20, 24, 28, 30, 32. The water was blown flat. I could not see 10 feet in front of me. I wanted to lower the sail but I was not going to hand the wheel off to my wife or go forward to lower the sail. So all I could do was pinch up close to the wind. By keeping the boat around 10 degrees off the wind we weren't knocked down too much and the motion wasn't terrible.

The big squall ended after 15 minutes and we had under an hour to go. I was cold, wet, and miserable. We made it to New Harbor soon after and I was able to back into the slip and get tied up.

My wife and daughters took a hot shower while my son and I cleaned up the boat.

So we are here, but the weather isn't supposed to be great Monday and Tuesday. We'll do the best we can, a drink at the Oar will help me.

The trip home HAS to be better!


BarryL 08-22-2010 07:36 PM


Originally Posted by WanderingStar (Post 635247)
HI Barry, I was thinking about you yesterday, thanks for the report. Our day was different, course makes all the difference.

Hi John,

Thanks for the update. I was thinking that you were going to have a great sail to Milford. I was envious watching the boats sail west - they had a nice following sea and probably and apparent wind below 10 kts.

If I knew then what I know now, we would have sailed to Brandford or somewhere like that, spent the night and sailed home today.

20 / 20 hindsight, right.


CalebD 08-22-2010 07:51 PM

Glad you made it to Block. Weather today in NY area was not great with Small Craft Advisories on the Sound and Gale Warnings where you were.
General forecast for the next couple of days looks to be about the same until the big low over the northeast moves off. NOAA currently says: "As a low pressure system over south central New York state moves northeast, it will combine with another low off the Mid-Atlantic Coast south of Long Island after midnight. A series of low pressure waves will develop off the Mid-Atlantic Coast and pass east of Long Island through Wednesday. High pressure will build east across the area Thursday and Friday."
NOAA has been wrong before but I hope you're not in a hurry to get back. Block I. should be great this time of year. Enjoy.

WanderingStar 08-22-2010 08:19 PM

Barry, Sorry the weather is uncooperative. I was worried about your vessel and crew today. Glad you handled it all well, think of it as training. Even though there will be more rain, there will be breaks too. I hope you enjoy the rest, and get at least one glorious day. See you on return.

Bene505 08-22-2010 10:14 PM


It sure was/is nasty "out east". We're in Lake Montauk. I've seen wind at anchor before, but this has a lot of gusts to it from the side, our boat's rocking and heeling some. (Not much pitching, we have about 100 yards of fetch right now.)

Have fun exploring the island.

I'll be scarce this week. If you are in Montauk next weekend, I'll buy you a beer or two.


tweitz 08-23-2010 08:38 PM

Barry -
Glad you made it ok to Block, conditions out here in the Hamptons have been pretty ugly.

BarryL 08-28-2010 11:22 PM

All Done - We Are Home
Hi Guys,

Brief update on my Block Island 'vacation'. It was very wet and very windy. So windy that we could not stay on the boat Monday or Tuesday night. Instead I rented two rooms at a hotel in town. I didn't even expect my boat to the in the slip Tuesday morning, it was that bad Monday night. Other than one snapped dock line, the boat survived fine.

The trip home was much easier and better than the trip to Block. We departed BI Thursday morning and sailed to Spicers Marina in Noank. The weather got better as the day went on and we actually sailed for a bit.

We sailed home Friday. It was long (50nm) but the weather was nice and we sailed for 1/2 the trip and motorsailed the rest (wind too forward to sail the rest).

When we made it home the dingy was still there, but it was 1/2 full of water and the oars and oarlocks were gone. I keep a spare set of both on the boat so I was able to get home.

I was very happy with how the boat worked. It was nothing less than perfect. All the gear worked great: engine, sails, plumbing, electrical, etc. The inside was even dry by the time we made it home.

In case anyone is interested, I have a long write up and lots of pictures here:
Block Island Sailing Vacation - Sailing - Spot

There is a map and pics at the bottom.


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