A foggy start

Soup in Newport gives way to sun in Mystic

We left Newport early to catch a favorable tide near our destination. Early mornings in spring and fall often mean fog. AIS and radar and GPS make navigating in fog possible but its still not something to be taken lightly. The big guys are easy to find and we passed several of them near Castle Hill in the channel leaving Newport. Its the small fishing boats without AIS and with poor radar signatures that I worry about.

Light fog in Newport just after sunrise.
I’m pretty sure there is a massive suspension bridge over there somewhere.

Light winds (from behind) and big swells (from the side) do not make for effective or comfortable sailing. Much of today was spent with the engine in gear and the yankee unfurled to provide a little roll-damping.

We followed the Rhode Island shoreline south from Pt. Judith for several hours to Watch Hill where a narrow passage with strong tidal currents leads into Fishers Island Sound. In the span of about an hour we left Rhode Island, entered and left New York (which claims Fishers Island), and ended up near a small island at the mouth of the Mystic (CT) river. Three states in an hour at a walking pace. Nice.

Watch Hill, RI and its lighthouse. Seems like a nice neighborhood.
Latimer Reef Light just north of Fishers Island. Not shown are the 15-20 small fishing boats working the rips around the shoal. Very pretty area – but busy even in mid-October.
Anchored in about 15 ft of water NE of Ram Island at the mouth of the Mystic River.

Our chosen anchorage near Ram Island is a little exposed to the NE but the winds tonight and tomorrow morning are supposed to be “light and variable.” If recent experience is any guide that is NOAA-speak for 15-20 from the SW. So we’ll be fine.

We’re due at a marina up the Mystic River tomorrow mid-morning to have work done on the refrigeration system. Hopefully that will only be a 1-2 day job. We’ll stay in a slip at a marina in downtown Mystic until its done.

Then its off off towards NYC with perhaps three more stops between here and there. Depending on the wind the next port will most likely be Port Jefferson (on the north shore of Long Island) or Milford, CT.

Thanks for leaving comments. Please let me know if you have any questions or would like me to explore anything specific in a future post.

Underway

Starting slowly: Cuttyhunk and Newport

Andante and Dinghy ready to go. Hard to tell from this angle but we’re sailing with a notable starboard list because I’ve only filled the fuel tank on one side of the boat.

After a nice dinner out Saturday night I stayed aboard at the dock and departed Red Brook Harbor early Sunday morning.

The first few legs of this trip are intentionally short (25-35 nm) to allow both me and the boat a chance to adjust. On the first day we rode a brisk NE wind down Buzzards Bay to Cuttyhunk for the night. This is one of may favorite local spots even though it is usually a challenging sail with normal summertime SW winds. And the harbor is often completely packed with visitors. Not so this time: With wind from behind it was only a few hours before I was snugly moored in Cuttyhunk Pond with very few neighbors. Good thing as heavy rain and strong (25-30 kt) wind arrived just after sunset and lasted most of the night. I sleep really well on the boat so the rocking and noise weren’t a problem.

View from the bow in Cuttyhunk Pond at sunset.

Monday morning we took off for Newport with strong winds and clear skies. The wind remained around 20 kt all day but the seas built as we got out of the lee of the Elizabeth Islands and into the part of Rhode Island sound that is wide open to the Atlantic.

I played with different sail combinations all day. Andante is a cutter – she carries two headsails in addition to her in-boom furling mainsail. Much of today we used both the yankee (a high-clewed 110% roller-furled genoa) and the smaller, hanked-on staysail with a double-reefed main. We had a great 3-sail broad reach for quite a while. Eventually our course required sailing dead downwind and the 6-8 ft quartering swells made it challenging to keep the sails full. We eventually made it to Newport an hour before sunset. I quickly hopped on a launch to get some groceries (greens!) and ice and made it back to the boat just in time for sunset.

Leaving Cuttyhunk with reefed main and staysail.
Andante and Dinghy in Newport. I was too lazy this evening to bag the staysail since its going up again first thing tomorrow morning.

I’ve figured out how to share more than just the last few days of positions. This link should allow you to see everywhere I go beginning on our departure date:

https://maps.findmespot.com/s/KBYB

(Note: I also changed the location of the Spot tracker in the boat for better performance. You can see that many more of the 10-minute tracking pings were successfully received on the second leg than on the first.)

Up next: Mystic, CT.