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MARBLEHEAD HARBOR—Friday the 13th

November 13th, 2009 No comments

A winter sky hung over Marblehead Harbor on the morning of November 13th as the remnants of tropical storm Ida began pounding the New England coast.

Marblehead Light from Fort Sewall

Marblehead Light from Fort Sewall

Although the worst weather is at least 24 hours away, waves crashed along the shore as a precursor of what was to come.

Being on the waterfront has some disadvantages

Being on the waterfront has some disadvantages

Fort Sewall

Fort Sewall

Immense power is released by the waves

Immense power is released by the waves

As the wind builds overnight, so will the seas.  By tomorrow Front Street will be covered in rocks cast ashore by the waves.  Today just some spray.

Spray drenches Front Street

Spray drenches Front Street

The Barnacle Restaurant will filled with patrons tomorrow for the food and the show– as the waves crash into the large plate glass windows. 

Barnacle 2

Although most of the boats are out of the harbor by this time, and most of the fishing boats have moved up harbor for protection, there are a couple boats riding out this storm in harm’s way.

Friday 13th 017

On a day like today, it is nice to be on shore. 

Categories: Marblehead Tags:

The First Months

November 22nd, 2008 No comments

DESTINY: THE FIRST MONTHS

Destiny Prepares to Leave from Dolpin YC Dock

Destiny Prepares to Leave from Dolpin YC Dock

Destiny sailed out of Marblehead Harbor on August 14, 2008 as the EYC cannon announced colors. We were seen off by long time friend, Dudley Welch, who rowed out to say fair winds.

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The sky was gray, but quickly turned sunny as we approached Minot Light off Scituate Harbor enroute to Onset Harbor at the Buzzards Bay end of the Cape Cod Canal. By the time we reached Onset Harbor we were treated to a beautiful sunset, the first of many to come.

Final view of Marblehead Light

Final view of Marblehead Light

We arrived in Nantucket for Opera House Cup weekend from August 15th to 18th and enjoyed dinner and sailing with friends and watching the race.

John & Joan on Destiny

John & Joan on Destiny

Nantucket Farewell Dinner

Nantucket Farewell Dinner

Opera House Cup 2008

Opera House Cup 2008

Next we were off to New Bedford on August 18th for some refrigeration work and to have the new windlass installed. One thing you can count on is something breaking, and as Kent says “Boat stands for bring out another thousand.”

We left New Bedford on August 20th enroute to Block Island but the wind was on our nose and in keeping with our “go where the wind blows” philosophy we changed course for Stonington, CT and had a glorious, but long day making 7 kts. under sail most of the way.

Stonington, CT

Stonington, CT

Over the following two weeks we worked our way down Long Island Sound mostly motor sailing between the CT and NY shores due to strong currents and either no wind or unfavorable wind direction. We alternated long and short sailing days. From Stonington, CT we sailed just a couple of hours to our next port. We moored at Noank Village Boat Yard on August 21st and took a short dinghy ride up river to Mystic Seaport. While there we met Jorge and Isabel on an Amel 53 “Excalibur” who will be joining us on the Caribbean 1500 Rally.

 

The next day we crossed Long Island Sound (totally flat and with the current) through Plum Gut to an anchorage in Coecles Harbor on the west side of Shelter Island. We bicycled across the island to Deering Harbor and reprovisioned along the way. Jolie had her first onboard bath.

Over the next several days we made overnight stops at Branford, CT, Milford, CT (anchored off Charles Island), the Sagamore Yacht Club in Oyster Bay, N.Y., Byram, CT (anchored off Calf Island). We arrived in Manhasset, N.Y. on August 27th which was our last stop before NYC and spent a lay day resting and provisioning (although the two are mutually exclusive.) Our “provisioning expedition” included taking the dinghy up a creek, beaching it and walking to the nearby supermarket. We looked like a couple of homeless people pushing our cart full of groceries across the parking lot and busy highway to unload it on to the dinghy. Living on board has its challenges and grocery shopping and laundry are two.

On August 29th we left Manhasset early in the morning for one of the most exciting days so far which was motor sailing through Hell’s Gate where the East River meets Long Island Sound. Sailing up the East River, past the United Nations and arriving at the Hudson River with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island off the bow was a breath taking experience.

The Manhattan skyline is so different from the water, and we had a magical nighttime view of the city from our slip at the Lincoln Harbor Yacht Club in Weehawken, N. J. directly across the Hudson River from the Empire State Building.

We spent Labor Day Weekend with Kent’s family and celebrated our fifth anniversary on August 31st with a motor sail through NY Harbor. It was a glorious, sunny day.

On Labor Day, as family dispersed, we left Lincoln Harbor Yacht Club mid-day and sailed out the Hudson River, under the Verrazanno Bridge to Sandy Point, N.Y. where we anchored in Horseshoe Cove and belatedly celebrated our anniversary with a late afternoon swim and champagne.

From there we sailed down the Jersey coast, most notable for miles of sandy beach punctuated by water towers that marked the various shore towns. Our travels took us from Sandy Hook to Manasquan, N.J. and then to Atlantic City where Kent’s sister, Susie and her husband Richard joined us overnight and brought some packages. Susie and I drove to Cape May while Richard joined Kent on Destiny for the trip. In Cape May we hunkered down for the arrival of hurricane Hanna, which fortunately was a non-event.

Leaving Cape May we headed up the Delaware River, along with many large ships to the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. The C & D Canal is a much larger version of the Cape Cod Canal. You have to time your passage to the currents, and the scenery is not very interesting. We anchored overnight in Engineer’s Cove at Chesapeake City about two thirds of the way through the canal. The next day we exited the canal into Chesapeake Bay and then to Havre de Grace, MD at the mouth of the Susquehanna River through a thunder and lightning storm. We were met there by a representative of Ocean Options to give us an estimate on repair/replacement of our refrigeration which had died about the time we were in Atlantic City. It turned out to be replace not repair, and the work could not be scheduled for another two weeks in Annapolis.

So, we worked our way down the Chesapeake to Annapolis visiting numerous rivers and harbors. We traveled down the Sassafrass River to Georgetown, M.D. (where Susie and Richard once again met us with packages) and then had a lumpy trip to Rock Hall, M.D. where we spent two nights and attended the local Chicken Neckers Festival. An explanation of that event is best saved for telling in person. From Rock Hall on the Eastern Maryland shore we crossed the Chesapeake to an anchorage off Dobbins Island at the Magothy River.

By this time, we had been moving the boat almost daily and when we anchored just off the Maritime Museum in St. Michael’s on the Western M.D. shore where we chilled for three nights before heading back toward Annapolis.

At the Seven Seas Cruising Association Gam at Camp Letts on the West River from September 19th to 20th, we met some fellow cruisers and learned a lot.

After several days in the yard for the refrigeration work, we picked up a mooring in Annapolis where we spent a very rainy weekend with our 1500 Rally crew member, Galen Hake and his wife Elizabeth.

On October 1st we started up the Potomac River enroute to Washington. It took two rather boring days to get to Washington, but the view of the Washington Monument from Capital Yacht Club was worth every minute. We walked through the city on a balmy fall night taking in the Lincoln and Jefferson Monuments. Spending time with Kent’s sister Laurie and her children was a highlight of the visit.

As we left Washington on October 6th our final destination was Hampton, Virginia where we would prepare for the Caribbean 1500. The days are getting colder and we are using the cabin heat in the a.m. to take the chill off. After overnights along the Potomac and in Deltaville, VA we arrived in Hampton on October 9th where the Bluewater Yachting Center will be our “home” until we depart for Tortola.

We spent two weeks in Montana resting before returning to Hampton on October 27th to finish final preparations. It has been a hectic but exciting, and we continue to work during the day readying the boat and partying at night with fellow cruisers, many of whom like us are making this trip for the first time. There will be approximately 45 boats making the trip with us once the weather window opens. Our 11/2 departure date came and went and we are now hoping that the November 7th one will hold. In the meantime, we have made some new friends and learned a lot as the excitement and anticipation grows.

We have been blessed with mostly wonderful weather and more amazing sunrises/sunsets than we can capture in words or pictures. We are so grateful to have this opportunity, and hope that we can share this adventure with you, in person as well as on line.

Categories: Caribbean, Marblehead Tags:

BWSC 2008 WOMENS’ CRUISE

August 30th, 2008 Comments off

     On a sunny June day a group of enthusiastic members of the Blue Water Sailing Club gathered in Wickford, Rhode Island to begin a week long cruise through Narragansett Bay and environs.  The ages and range of sailing experience in this BWSC group varied greatly, but they had one thing in common in addition to their love of sailing—all were women who had left their families on shore to share a memorable week in the company of other like minded women combining their collective experience and bonding in a way that is unique in the BWSC community. 

Five boats ranging from 35 to 49 feet, made up the 2008 BWSC women’s cruise and each was skippered by a Captain/Owner and crewed by three or four other women.  Our arrival in any harbor did not go unnoticed.

Commodore Sue Patton and crew on Fiddler's Green leaving Wickford

Commodore Sue Patton and crew on Fiddler's Green leaving Wickford

Lambay Ready to Go

Capt. Bernie Gleeson's Lambay Ready to Go

 

Quintessence, a Hylas 49 was Captained by Cecily Grable

Quintessence, a Hylas 49 was Captained by Cecily Grable

 

Mise en Place Captained by Kim Vassello

Mise en Place Captained by Kim Vassello

Last but not least--Destiny gets ready to depart

Last but not least--Destiny gets ready to depart

      The Blue Water Sailing Club was organized in 1959 and as a virtual sailing community (www.bluewatersc.org.)  with no club house or dock to limit participation, the membership spans the entire East Coast from Maine to the Bahamas.  Members fly a blue burgee with a white seagull.  The club sponsors many cruises each season in addition to a wide range of educational programs throughout the non-boating season and is one of three sponsors of the Marion to Bermuda Race in odd years.

       The itinerary took us from Wickford, Rhode Island to Dutch Harbor on Jamestown Island, then to Cuttyhunk, a small island just 7 miles off the Massachusetts shore, then back to Newport and finally Bristol, Rhode Island.  With lay days in Cuttyhunk and Newport, there was time for socializing and sightseeing as well as hard sailing.

Destiny races to Cuttyhunk

Destiny loves the wind

      
      Four of the women captains had left a husband behind nervously awaiting the return of both his wife and boat.  In the case of three of the women, me included, it would be the first time ever that they had taken their boats alone with total responsibility as captain. 

Carol at wheel--I think I've got it!

Carol at wheel--I think I've got it!

     
      My experience was not dissimilar from many of the women who sailed with me this year, nor of the experience of the many women who participated in the BWSC Annual Women’s Cruise since its inception in 1997.  For the eleventh consecutive year, women of BWSC have taken their boats without “mates” for a week of cruising in a variety of New England venues.  Each woman who participated has her own story to tell of new skills learned, new insights gained and a sense of empowerment that comes from meeting a challenge.   Along the way we gained respect for ourselves, the respect of our spouses and the respect of other sailors who marveled at our tenacity.

2008 BWSC Women's Cruise Capts.--Carol, Bernie, Kem, Sue & Cecily

2008 BWSC Women's Cruise Capts.--Carol, Bernie, Kem, Sue & Cecily

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      As a new member of BWSC and first time Captain, I was motivated to participate in the women’s cruise by a desire to develop my self-confidence in handling the Bristol 45.5 center cockpit sloop, Destiny that my husband, Kent, and I had just moved aboard to begin our retirement dream of cruising the Caribbean and Mediterranean.   Of course, taking our “home” for a week meant that my husband would be “sleeping around” with friends while I was Captain on Destiny.  Taking on this challenge was not a small feat for me having come to sailing a mere six years ago. 
     
      When I first met Kent, an avid sailor for forty years, I was generous in my description of my sailing experience, which was limited to chartering crewed boats. The first time we sailed together, I was enraptured when he shut down the engine and we were charging along at 6 knots with the only sound that of water rushing past the hull.
     
      And so began the adventure that led me to the BWSC women’s cruise.  Kent and I joined BWSC in the fall of 2007 to take advantage of the Club’s many excellent education programs and meet people who had already enjoyed some of the experiences were we planning in the future such as traveling to the Caribbean.  During the winter we attended BWSC seminars in navigation, rigging, multi-hull cruising (even though we are seriously committed to mono-hull), and obtained our AED certification as part of a first aid course. 

 While I was motivated to captain Destiny for the women’s cruise, there was a lot to learn in only a few months. Before,  I had been content to let Kent do all the challenging stuff like setting the sails and running the various boat systems while I took the wheel to moor or dock the boat.  I felt much more in control when the engine was running since I had grown up around powerboats and spent most of my adult life owning one .  I also needed experienced crew willing to accompany a novice captain on her first solo adventure. 

      BWSC member Pat Marshall has sailed since she was a child.  Pat’s experience included racing in the Women’s Sailing Nationals, PHRF racing, Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race, extensive cruising in the areas from Newfoundland to the Chesapeake, a Panama Canal Passage to the Galapagos Islands, and numerous boat deliveries from the Virgin Islands to New England.  When Pat agreed to crew for me on Destiny and help me find additional crew, the commitment as made.

Pat Marshall trimming Destiny sails

Pat Marshall trimming Destiny sails

    
      With Pat’s encouragement and her help enlisting another long time BWSC member, Cathryn Griffith, to crew I became one of the five women Captains for the 2008 womens’ cruise.

Kathryn Plots Course

Cathryn Plots Course

     
      Cathryn, who was our navigator, had previously captained a Bristol 35.5 sloop for a decade and her credentials included a U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s license and several Marion to Bermuda Races. 
     
      Our final crew member was Betsy Gabrielson, another new BWSC member who with along with her husband sails a Hinkley Sou’wester 50 yawl named Lyra.

Betsy at the Wheel

Betsy at the Wheel

     
      Kent went into overdrive preparing Destiny for the trip.  He was determined not to leave anything to chance since he wouldn’t be there to take care of any problems that developed.  Thanks to his hard work and preparation, the only mechanical problem we had was a broken latch on the refrigerator door, which I was able to repair with a screw driver.

Kent exhausted from preparation

Kent exhausted from preparation

     
      When my crew arrived in Wickford for the start of the cruise and Kent left the boat, I felt adrift in the most literal sense.  Our itinerary included familiar ports, Cathryn was an experienced navigator and Pat a wonderful instructor, but I had never before set sail on Destiny without my husband.  My head was spinning with Kent’s last minute instructions and I reviewed the written operations checklists that I had prepared for every system and activity.

Destiny's Capt. and Crew

Destiny's Capt. and Crew

      That evening as we gathered for a group barbeque the air was electric with excitement.  People introduced themselves, shared their history with BWSC and the women’s cruise and reminisced about prior cruises.  Many of the women, like Janet Brown, were long term BWSC members who had participated in numerous women’s cruises both as crew and captains.  Others, like Lori Stott were accomplished sailors who had never cruised before.  What makes this experience unique, is women mentoring other women.
     
      The next day’s itinerary was intentionally easy to give everyone an opportunity to bond as a crew.  The sail from Wickford to Dutch Harbor was less than two hours so Pat suggested that we go just outside the bay where the wind and waves were a little more challenging and put me through my paces.  She knew just how far outside my comfort zone to push me, and I am told they could tell by the pitch of my voice the level of my stress. 

Pat was a wonderful mentor

Pat was a wonderful mentor

And Now we'll try wing on wing

And Now we'll try wing on wing

We did it!

We did it!

   
      Daily captain’s meetings aboard one of the boats included a weather briefing, discussion about departure times and information on the next destination.  Generally there would be a cocktail party each evening aboard one of the boats, which gave everyone an opportunity to get to know other crew members and share stories about the day’s adventures.  The custom was to bring your own glasses, drinks and hors d’oeurez to share.  The assortment of food was amazing, and the host boat crew generally went out of its way to be hospitable.  It was easy to identify the cocktail boat by the many women on deck and the raucous laughter.

Cocktails aboard Destiny

Cocktails aboard Destiny

     
      On cruising day two, Destiny challenged the Commodore’s boat Fiddler’s Green to a race to Cuttyhunk and our respective navigator’s worked out the details of a course and rules.  Although not an “official” club race, things were going very well for Destiny and we were well in the lead when Fiddler’s Green had to withdraw due to several seasick crew members.  The winds were a solid 15-18 but waves large and rolling and somewhat on the beam which made for a not so smooth ride.

Fiddler's Green Trailing Destiny to Cuttyhunk

Fiddler's Green Trailing Destiny to Cuttyhunk

     
      Cuttyhunk has a narrow channel and is known for strong currents, so entering and mooring can be a challenge.   All five BWSC boats were able to moor adjacent to one another, although it took me two passes and a rather tight maneuver to land the mooring.  When the wind caught my bow and started pushing me in a circle in a very tight area because I took the power off too soon making my approach, my mind was racing and all I could think about was not hitting another boat.  In retrospect, I know that making more than one approach to a mooring or dock is not uncommon, particularly in gusty wind.  I comforted myself by noting that no one on the surrounding boats had rushed to deck to fend me off, so it had at least appeared that I was in control.  In fact, I had an opportunity to talk to the skipper of a boat already moored adjacent to my mooring who told me that he had made two approaches as well and thought I had done a great job.  At times like this I wish Kent were here to see me, but then again maybe it is a good thing he isn’t.  I’m already nervous. 

Destiny Moored in Cuttyhunk

Destiny Moored in Cuttyhunk

     
      After a lay day in Cuttyhunk spent swimming off and between our boats, hiking and beaching, my crew and I had lobsters aboard and tossed the shells overboard with abandon.  We left for Newport on a day that was forecast to be foggy with little wind.  We have come to expect that the forecast and our actual conditions tend to be quite different. 

Lobster Dinner

Lobster Dinner

     Destiny left somewhat ahead of the other boats and arrived at the Ida Lewis Y.C. in Newport about 2:30 in the afternoon with wind blowing steady at 18 knots directly off the dock where we needed to land to take on water–another challenging test for me and my crew.  Thank goodness for a bow thruster and experienced dock hands.
     
      From a mooring directly in front of the New York Yacht Club, we enjoyed a glorious sunset followed by dinner aboard.  At 4:30 a.m. I was awakened by thunder and lightning as a front moved through.  I rushed topside to reattach the steering wheel which had been removed for our cocktail party the night before, and batten down the ports and hatches before returning to my berth. 

Newport sunset

Newport sunset

           By sunrise, our lay day in Newport was glorious and sunny.  After lunch ashore at the outdoor patio of the Black Pearl the crew went shopping and sightseeing while I prepared a dinner for Pat, Cathryn and Betsy.  After cocktails ashore at Ida Lewis Y. C. with the entire cruise, we adjourned to the boat to enjoy dinner topside and an amazing sunset behind the Jamestown-Newport Bridge.

   

Capts. and Crews

Capts. and Crews

      As the cruise neared its conclusion with only Newport to Bristol as the remaining leg the forecast was for morning fog.  This time the only disappointment is the accuracy of the forecast.  I awoke at sunrise to fog so dense that I couldn’t see the boat on the next mooring   At the captain’s meeting aboard Fiddler’s Green owned by BWSC Commodore Sue Patton, it was decided that each captain would decide based on their personal comfort when to leave for Bristol which was further inland from Newport.  After consulting with the launch driver and calling the Bristol Y.C. for an update on their conditions we decided that Destiny would leave between 11:30 and noon hoping to catch the window of best visibility. 
     
      After a crew meeting aboard Destiny and watching the Jamestown-Newport Bridge disappear then reappear but only partially, we decided that the visibility was about as good as it was going to get.   As we anticipated, there was patchy dense fog just outside Newport Harbor, but the visibility rapidly improved by the time we were under the Bridge.  Cathryn’s excellent navigation brought us through the foggy patches easily and we had a downwind sail to Bristol arriving in bright sunshine and gusty 18 kt. winds.
     
      I was feeling jubilant as we approached Bristol having nearly completed my weeklong adventure as captain, but Pat was quick to remind me that my job was not over until we were safely moored.  Having been in Bristol on prior occasions when the harbor was flat as a lake, I wasn’t mentally prepared for conditions that met us.  Maneuvering in the crowded harbor against wind and current was challenging and after three unsuccessful attempts to moor my stress level was peaking.  We finally determined that it was the mooring and not our skills that was the problem since the pickup line was wrapped around the mooring chain and required some untangling before our final attempt.
     
      As I turned off the engine, I breathed a sigh of relief.  I had done it.  I had captained the boat without my husband, albeit with much assistance from my fabulous crew who made me look good even when I screwed up.  I also learned, as I believe all the women who participated did, that I know a lot more than I think I know about sailing and managing boat systems. 

My Fabulous Crew

My Fabulous Crew

     
      I also have a greater appreciation for how hard it is to be “captain” and a new respect for the amount of time my husband spends keeping our boat running smoothly.  I don’t think I will routinely be checking or changing the oil in the engines, but I knew what to do on our cruise when fluid levels needed to be checked or the generator coughed and I had to remove the cover and tweak the starter to get it going. 
     
      Not everyone had such an uneventful trip.  Kem Vassello and the crew of Mis en Place a 35 ft. Island Packet had an alternator and regulator fail on the last day of the cruise and returned to her home port of Wickford under sail without an engine or electronics.  Best of all, her husband didn’t know what happened until she was safely at their dock.  
     
      The story doesn’t end with the conclusion of the cruise.  It just begins.  For me sailing will never be the same.  I have been empowered by this experience.  The next chapter will be the Caribbean 1500 Rally in November.  Kent now refers to me as “Co-captain” but we’re still working that out in practice.

Categories: Marblehead, Uncategorized Tags:

The Adventure Begins: 2007 Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race

September 17th, 2007 No comments
What better way to prepare for our retirement plan of living aboard Destiny than to do a long distance offshore race? At least that was the rationale behind our signing up for the 2007 Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race.
Destiny

Destiny

Preparation for the race started months in advance with a required safety seminar at MIT sponsored by the race organizers that covered everything from weather to first aid to customs and immigration considerations. The voluminous written materials were invaluable. . .and daunting. What had we gotten ourselves into? 
Next came preparing the boat, which included such upgrades as a new life raft and other safety equipment required by the race and which we would need for long distance cruising which was our ultimate goal. Many thousands of dollars later, we and the boat were ready to race. Our plan of a “shake down” cruise was moving forward.

We were fortunate to have Kent’s sons, Spencer and Tyler agree to crew for the race–a wonderful opportunity for the brothers Bradford to spend some mano/mano time together. Kent was thrilled to have them join us, and a little apprehensive to have “three of the most important people in his life”–to quote him–dependent on him as Captain of Destiny.

Capt. Bradford Awaits Start

Capt. Bradford Awaits Start

The Brothers Bradford

The Brothers Bradford

Joined by former boat partner, John Coller and long time friend, Bill Clarke, our crew was complete, except for Jolie of course who was “sea dog” extraordinaire for the trip.
Navigator John Coller

Navigator John Coller

Bill at the helm

Bill at the helm

Jolie aka Seadog

Jolie aka Seadog

The race began early on Sunday afternoon, with several classes departing ahead of us. By the time our class was scheduled to leave the wind had died and getting across the start line took some effort. Everyone was in good spirits and we were raring to go, so Kent put up the light air sail that we had borrowed from a friend for the race and we moved along at a decent pace. Then a few hours into the race a front came through with 20 kt. winds that built quickly. By the time the crew got the sail down it had ripped and became useless for the rest of the trip. What I had been assured would be a downwind race was upwind all the way, and so the adventure began as we slogged our way to Halifax.

So much for the light air sail

So much for the light air sail

 

Ty sets sails

Ty sets sails

 Over the next four days before our arrival in Halifax at 4 a.m. on Thursday we experienced driving rain and high winds, followed by beautiful sunrises, fog and no wind. As we approached the Nova Scotia coast our knot meter was reading zero and the strong Bay of Fundy currents were pushing us backwards. We drifted around on a sea as flat as a lake in fog.

Spencer "OMG"

Spencer "OMG"

Gorgeous Sunset

Gorgeous Sunset

A Hearty Breakfast for the Crew

A Hearty Breakfast for the Crew

Becalmed

Becalmed

Now Fog

Now Fog

Jolie & Ty Get some down time

Jolie & Ty Get some down time

Spencer & Dad Take 5

Spencer & Dad Take 5

On Tuesday evening, after consulting with John Coller our navigator and considering the conditions we were in it was decided that even if the wind came up and we could make decent speed we wouldn’t make Halifax by the cut off time for the race. Kent started up the main engine which promptly died. After he successfully replaced three filters, the engine still wouldn’t keep running, so he called the Canadian Navy vessel that was escorting the race for information on options if we needed assistance.

John does some naviguessing

John does some naviguessing

 

Tight Squeeze

Tight Squeeze

Yeh, I did it

Yeh, I did it

By this time it was approaching midnight, and the next thing we knew “Warship 702” was a dark shadow on the horizon behind us. Out of the dark came a high speed inflatable carrying men dressed in black and wearing green glow sticks. We later joked that we were boarded by the Canadian Navy but that it was a friendly boarding. Thanks to the chief mechanic on the warship yet another filter was changed and we were on our way, motor sailing to Halifax.

We arrived at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron, the termination point of the race at about 4 a.m. in the morning in dense fog and were greeted with a six-pack of beer–a race tradition.  We had spent four nights and four and a half days at sea and covered approximately 400 NM.  We were DNF for the race but happy to be in Halifax.

Halifax Arrival

Halifax Arrival

Celebratory Beer--we made it!

Celebratory Beer--we made it!

Destiny Moored at Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron

Destiny Moored at Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron

 

The crew stayed for post-race festivities and then departed for home.

 

Destiny's Crew at RNSYS

Destiny's Crew at RNSYS

Seeing the Boys off by Limo--nothing too good for our crew!

Seeing the Boys off by Limo--nothing too good for our crew!

Our return trip was most memorable for the one excruciatingly long day we spent in dense fog picking our way mark to mark from Halifax to Shelburne, Nova Scotia arriving at the Shelburne Yacht Club at midnight. Faced with successive days of fog and needing to return to Marblehead on schedule we aborted our plan to cruise back along the Maine coast and hired a crewman we met on the race to meet us in Shelburne and accompany us offshore to Marblehead—another three day offshore passage.

All in all, this adventure was as expected. We learned a lot about the boat, and about the additional maintenance that would be needed before we shove off permanently. Some repairs, like a new manual bilge pump, had to be taken care of before the return trip to Marblehead. We also learned a great deal about our sailing compatibility. Jolie and Carol did great off shore, although Jolie still likes terra firma under her paws. Carol  loved being out of sight of land. She did not love the fog, wind and rain, but with proper clothing it was tolerable. Our crew was great and reportedly enjoyed the adventure as much as we did.

Only once or twice did the thought “what were we thinking” come to mind.   It wouldn’t be the last time.

Categories: Marblehead Tags: