Nicely chilled

Refrigeration work complete. Onward.

We spent the last few days in Mystic undergoing a much-needed upgrade to Andante’s refrigeration system. After two days of ripping out the old and installing the new we now have a modern, efficient, and quiet 12V system (a Seafrost Tradewinds XP) that will keep our freezer and refrigerator boxes well-chilled when the engine is not in use. Yay cold drinks and firm cheese and not-so-funky mayonnaise. It was a messy job made somewhat more challenging by my living aboard during the work but the end result is worth it.

The entire galley had the be disassembled and the contents of all the lockers removed. The final result is a nice clean installation with even more storage space than before. But my shoes are still under the table.

The company that did the refrigeration work (Cool Boats LLC) secured us a slip in downtown Mystic between the railroad swing bridge (Amtrak trains several times per hour) and the old bascule drawbridge (endless parade of tourists). We were docked right between the two bridges and could watch the action all day long.

The Mystic River railroad bridge viewed from our dock. The bridge is normally closed to accommodate the frequent trains but swings open on request for boats.
Looking north from our dock is Main Street and the Mystic River highway bridge, a 1922 bascule drawbridge. A few afternoon clouds threatened but the weather was ideal our entire stay.
Andante at the dock for repairs. Tim from Cool Boats does nice work.

Upriver less than a mile is the Mystic Seaport Museum. There was a steady stream of beautiful wooden schooners passing just off our transom on the way to tie up at the museum.

The schooner Roseway passing off our stern.
And the schooner Harvey Gamage doing the same.
The schooner Argia moored just below the highway bridge. Tim, the technician that installed our new refrigeration system, used to captain this ship as well as others in the Mystic area and the Caribbean. It was fun talking with him while he worked.

After putting the interior of the boat back together late this morning we repositioned from downtown Mystic to West Harbor on Fisher Island. It was only about an hours steam down the river but it feels like an entirely different planet. Quiet, secluded, and a nice gentle breeze that doesn’t smell like boatyard and restaurants. And nice clear water.

Lately I’ve been noticing increased vibrations and noise when motoring at cruising speed. For some weeks I’ve suspected hard growth on the propeller and prop shaft but have been unable to do much about it because the visibility has been so bad. I took advantage of the clear water in Fishers Island Sound to investigate using the GoPro-on-a-stick contraption that Alex and I figured out earlier this summer. Once growth on the prop was confirmed I took advantage of the sunny, relatively calm afternoon, squeezed into my wetsuit, and went for a refreshing swim in the 60 degree water to scrape away all the growth with a putty knife. Mission accomplished in less than 5 minutes. I’m hopeful that this will lessen the vibrations since there is a lot of motoring in our future.

Video frame capture from a GoPro camera attached to the end of a pole lowered from Dinghy. There were several medium-sized barnacles on the prop blades.

We are anchored just outside of West Harbor positioned for a quick exit early tomorrow morning. There are supposed to be strong winds from the south that should make for good sailing. With an early start to avoid the strongest adverse currents we will try to sail about 50 miles west to Milford, CT. From there it will be just one more 40 nm hop to City Island, then into the East River and through New York Harbor to Sandy Hook. But one step at a time.

Note: I’ve put the link to the tracker on its own page accessible through the top menu.

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.