Betty Ann – 2011 Northbound

May 30th, 2011

This sailing trip started a little different than some of the others, this would include no planes, and a scheduled layover in Baltimore for a day to visit with a new crew member’s family.  The new member is my friend Kelly, and he arrived at my parent’s house in Rhode Island around 9:00 AM.  The plan is to drive his car to Baltimore where his sister Kerry and her boyfriend James live.  We’ll hang out that night and then get on the boat in Annapolis.  Then Kerry will drive Kelly’s car back north to visit with their family.

The drive down is hot, and Baltimore is even hotter.  We arrive at Kerry and James’ apartment complex to 100 degree temperatures and 99.999% humidity.  Jokes are made about my upcoming move to Texas…”You’d better get used to it.”

After a quick settling in we’re off to Fells Point, MD for some drinks.  Our first stop is Max’s where we have a round of Loose Cannon – Heavy Seas.  This would be a very easy place to stay for a bunch more rounds, but we have limited time and want to make the most of this night out.

Our next stop is Woody’s Rum Bar for Painkillers (James has a rum punch and then switches to Painkillers when he sees our positive reaction to the mix).  It’s hot out on the patio, but the view of the water and the iced beverages keep us cool.  We seem to have developed a bit of a hunger so we make a diagonal path over to Shuckers for Flying Dog Pale Ale, oysters, and a “small” fry, which was “as advertised”.  Seriously, it was a coffee cup dish of french fries.  No bother, our real meal is slowly cooking back at the apartment.

We head back to James and Kerry’s for a rib fest which included the ribs (obviously), Bud Lights, Corn, Potato Salad, and coleslaw with vinegar.  James knows how to send sailors off right!

We watch Idiocracy and then fall asleep eager for the next day and the beginning of a new sailing adventure.

May 31st, 2011

Position: 38 57.931 N 76 25.417 W 

We are inundated with bugs!  I decide it would be great fun to keep track of how many bugs we have each killed and have it on a sort of leaderboard.  I start keeping track but soon realize that this would be a full-time job with the pace that these guys are nailing bugs.  Final tally at end (after a couple hours) stands at:

Jim:  10

Archie: 2

Andrew: 1

Kelly: 0

There were more hits, but I justs stopped writing them down because it was taking me away from other “pressing” matters every five minutes.

We make our way up towards the Chesapeake Delaware canal and finally make it into it.  Our first scheduled stop will be at the familiar Summit North.  We hail on the radio but receive no reply on channels 16 or 9, but cell phones work.  So goes the modern in-shore boating experience.

The dockhand struggles with the two lines while getting us situated on the long finger pier, but soon he has us secure.  This was a very different experience than we would have later on with the handlers at Liberty Landing New Jersey.

Our spot on dock is literally as far as possible from the store, showers and restaurant.  We have to walk halfway around the rectangular marina to get anywhere.  Whatever, the lure of fresh hot showers is very strong.

We turn AC on and crack open some Yuenglings (we need to start drinking beer that easier to spell). I attempt some pictures of an egret but am unable to get a good shot.

In the meantime, Archie returns from his walk all the way over to the marina office (no small feat in this heat and humidity).  He comes with bad news: no restaurant or bar!  They are closed for the holiday!  What?  That’s BS!

We have a shipboard meal and Kelly and Archie do dishes. After that it’s time for books and showers.  Kelly opts for the marina showers, while I elect for the ship shower (after triple-checking for the valve in the forward compartment).  Yeah, that’s a very important little valve.  In a couple of the previous journeys, one of the crew who shall remain unnamed forgot to open this valve.  This valve stands between the shower catch basin and the holding tank (or overboard drain depending on configuration).  In any case, the important part is that if you do not open this valve then the contents of your shower and up all over the coats and other articles of clothing in the locker.  Archie is not amused when this happens.

The shower and beautiful air conditioning work and sleep arrives fast, as it usually does on these journeys.

June 1, 2011 : 09:12 AM

We all slept in this morning since we had to wait for tides anyway.  We take this opportunity to feed ourselves up and Archie cooks up a slamming breakfast of English Muffins, scrambled eggs, bacon and coffee.  Pretty much the perfect breakfast anytime, but even better while sailing.

Kelly and I do dishes and then go topsides to fill ship’s water.  The process goes fast because the hose has a lot of pressure (no joke).  After completing this task we head off to the store to buy snacks and make use of the “facilities”.

While waiting for the bathroom to open up I see a cat sunning itself on the rail.  I walk over to pet it and immediately wish that I had not.  Maybe 15 years ago this was a nice fluffy cat…currently this feline is in a state of decay and the fur feels dirty, greasy and clumped under my hand.  He looks at me with an expression that says “Yeah, I know…I’m gross.”

After taking care of business I head inside the store looking to score some munchies which are always seem to be in short supply on a sailing trip.  This is the worst-stocked store I’ve ever seen.  There are maybe two shelves of chips and stuff, except they’re all no-name chips and pretzels.  There are also a couple flavors of pork cracklins, but not much else.  I find something to buy and then head back outside.

On my way out there is a hot chick walking in.  She must be on her way to open the restaurant or something I think, for sure she’s not going to be operating the pumpout boat.

Back on the boat we check the forecast which is for HOT, HOT, HOT!  Oh, by the way….today’s going to be HOT!  The radio actually says that elderly and animals should not be outside.  Animals?  Really?

Anyway, they didn’t say anything about sailors staying inside so we cast off, exit Summit, and turn left back onto the CND.

The Bruins play today!  I have it on good authority that they’re going to go all the way this year.  That’s why back in the middle of the season I put down $15,000 on the Bruins winning the cup at 5000 : 1 odds…so far so good, we’ll see! [Edit…wow, I really wish I had done that].

It’s already hot in the sun and it’s only 10:00.  When there’s a breeze it becomes fairly comfortable, but without it one quickly becomes sticky-hot; the worst kind.  We are all (I assume, I know I am) looking forward to the Atlantic portion of the sail, hoping that the forecasted winds and cool Atlantic water will chill us down.

The trip down Delaware River is uneventful, our plan worked and the tide changed about one-third of the way down and sucked us down the river.  It’s always fun watching your GPS ground speed reach further and further ahead of your indicated through-the-water speed, that’s how you know the current is really moving you along in the direction you want.

I went down for a nap shortly after we entered the wide part of the Delaware.  While I was sleeping the topside crew began navigating through the “short route” around Cape May.

When I arrive back on deck, the Betty Ann has been settled on her course up the New Jersey coast.  That’s the best part about shipboard naps, it turns into time travel.

Dad makes burgers for dinner, which are awesome, but Archie is not too enthusiastic about the baked-on beef bits that are left on the griddle they were cooked on.  He was down in the galley for quite a while with the sound of scrubbing coming up from below.

After dinner the sun is beginning to set and the weather radio is going on about the possibility of thunderstorms and tornados.  We are very doubtful that we will see either because as far as we can tell there is nothing around us, and a quick check of the radar on my phone shows the closest activity is down in the DC area.  In any case, we decide to err on the side of caution and bring the sails in. [Unbeknownst to us, up in Massachusetts a tornado had already touched down at around 4:30PM killing four people.]

And then this…

When accidents happen on a boat, they usually happen quickly, and this was no exception.  The Betty Ann has roller furling on both the main sail and jib.  The way these work is that each sail has two lines, one to “pull the sail out” and one to “roll it back in”.  The line to bring the sail in is called the reefing line, and it’s also what keeps the sail safely stowed away.

What happened to us next borders on the unthinkable.  The reefing line for the main sail snapped and the main sail proceeded to come running back out to full set.  This is not good.

We sit dumbfounded as to what exactly we should do now.  The sun is going down, there is the possibility of thunderstorms and/or tornados.  Flying full sail is NOT the recommended sail plan for those conditions.

We decide that we have two options:

  1. Bring down the main sail, or
  2. Attempt a re-threading of the reefing line up the ‘reefing screw’, the contraption that spins to pull in the sail.

Winds are now 20 knots, and this, along with the wave action, would have made bringing in a large sail very difficult and dangerous.  Have you ever had an umbrella pulled out of your hands in a gust of wind?  Imagine that you have an umbrella the size of an a-frame on a house and think about trying to wrangle that to the deck of a rolling and pitching boat.

One concern with option number two is that the reefing line will be very hard to thread because it fits very snugly into the threads of the ‘reefing screw’.  This is where Kelly comes up with a fantastic idea to use a smaller diameter line.  It sounds obvious now as I write it (and maybe to you as you as you read this), but I can assure you that if he had not had that thought the rest of this story may have had a very different ending.  The crew decides that a re-threading attempt is in order.

Dad and Kelly don life jackets and harnesses, and after clipping into the jack lines (safety lines that run the length of the boat), go out on deck and up to the mast to attempt a re-threading.

After a few minutes inspection of the reefing corkscrew Kelly comes back to the cabin isinglass and shouts through for pliers and a screwdriver.  Pliers to pull the line, a screwdriver to push it.

Back in the cockpit Archie and I watch as they fiddle with the line and the furling corkscrew.

Another call comes back for allen wrenches.  Archie bounds down  the companionway ladder and returns moments later with the requested item.

Image not this cruise, but this is the “corkscrew”

They start working the new, smaller-diameter reefing line into the corkscrew from the bottom up.

I yell out, “Hey Dad!  Isn’t the end of the line in your left hand coming back to the cockpit?”

He nods, “Yeah?”

Time passes and they make a couple more wraps of line around the ‘corkscrew’.

I call out again, “Hey!”

“Yeah?” comes the reply through the wind outside.

“I think it might be easier to start at the top and work your way down?”  He looks back to the corkscrew and agrees.  Teamwork!  Had he continued it would have required passing the entire line through the corkscrew instead of threading it down to the bottom and leaving the rest on deck.

They get it wound up, set the locking bolt onto it with the allen wrench, and then send the remaining slack (from the top of the corkscrew) back to Archie and I in the cockpit.

We bring Betty Ann back into the wind (completely this time), and begin reefing again…

It works!  HUZZAH!  An extra round of grog for these men when we get to port!

With the sail in we can now turn back onto our intended course (we had been sailing forty-five degrees to the wind which in this case was sending us straight out to sea).  I put the boat in gear and begin out turn.  She seems very sluggish.  Oh well, we’re only going a couple knots and the rudder is hard over, maybe she’s just taking her time.  I add a little more throttle.

“Are you in gear?” Dad asks?

“Yeah, why?” I reply.

“It doesn’t seem like we’re moving.”

“Hmmmm, I think you might be right.”

The crew is stunned. We just fixed a major problem with our main sail and now we have another with our drivetrain?  This is impossible!  No really, the odds must be infinitesimally small and hugely improbable (kind of like my bet with the Bruins).

The crew begins troubleshooting in the cabin again.  We loft various ideas of what the trouble might be.  Did we lose the prop?  Is the shift linkage messed up?  Did something break in the transmission?  We shift back and forth between forward and reverse, and throttle up and down…nothing happens except for the engine revving up and down.

Dad and Archie go below to have a look.  Kelly and I stay topside and probably are both thinking the same thing; this is not good.  We have no sail out, and we have no propulsion.  This means we cannot steer and are currently just drifting with the wind (which is still blowing a steady 20 knots), and bouncing and rolling with the waves.

I think sailors, like athletes , are inherently superstitious.  Having two major problems in a row like this cannot bode well for our ship’s karma.  What did we do to make you angry Neptune?  Kelly and I sit in the cockpit waiting for word.

Kelly relays a command back to me from down below, “Shift into forward.”

A few moments pass.

“Back to neutral.”

A few moments pass.

“Shit into forward again.”  I am beginning to wonder what they’re looking at.  I have no other information except for what the state of the transmission should be in.   Thankfully Kelly relays another message back to me, this one a short description of the problem.  Kelly says, “They say they can see the shaft moving when you look in one door, but not when you look in another.”

Ok, apparently we have a magic shaft that only rotates when observed from certain locations, maybe it’s a quantum propeller shaft or something.  Whatever, I await further instruction.

Kelly relays another command, “DO NOT shift into gear!”

I wait another couple long minutes until a new command arrives, “Try it now.”

I shift into forward gear and turn to look behind me.  We have prop-wash!  Fuckin’ A!  Our crew has fixed and conquered another problem that would very likely have daunted a lesser crew.

I add more power and turn back to the north.  I wait until Archie is done with the dishes (he’s still grumbling about the messy griddle) to add full power and come completely back on course.  It felt good to be moving again and if I could do anything to ease Archie’s dish duty (especially after having been upside down fixing the propeller shaft), I was going to make that happen.

Tonight would be an overnight sail to New York City.  Our plan is to arrive in the early morning.  Dad draws up the watch schedule for the night.  It’s a pretty standard schedule.  I was at the wheel when the schedule was made, so it started off with me at the wheel from 8:00PM to 10:00PM, and then on standby from 10:00PM to 12:00AM when dad would be at the wheel.  Archie would relieve my dad at midnight and I would go to bed.  Kelly would be on helm 02:00AM to 04:00AM when I would arrive to relieve him, and he would go on standby until 06:00AM.  Explaining these watch schedules always sounds complicated, but in reality you only need to know one thing when you’re a crew member…who do I wake up.

During my time on deck there was a series of radio calls from United States Navy Warships informing us that they would be doing live fire and rudder tests.  Their position was well east of us, but after a couple rounds of these warnings a new voice came on the radio, this one in a very thick middle-eastern accent, “Please to be telling again what are the coordinates of the live fire?”

My dad and I had a good laugh at this and entertained ourselves by repeating this radio call between ourselves for the next hour or so.  You find any way you can to keep yourself alert during night watches.

Soon we noticed bright flashes off our starboard (right) side – the same general direction of the Navy ships’ reported positions.  We listen for a boom but hear none.  Soon there are flashes every few seconds.  We are hoping that these are the result of the live fire exercises, but were pretty sure that it was only heat lighting.  The storm continued through the rest of my watch, and I would find out later, the rest of the night.

As scheduled, at midnight I go below and leave Betty Ann in the capable hands of Archie and dad.  Minutes after going to sleep however a loud alarm pierces through the darkness of the saloon (the area of our boat that would normally be considered the “living room” or “dining room”, it serves both functions, currently it is also acting as “bedroom” to two sleepy sailors, Kelly and myself).

Kelly and I pop up out of our bunks, and look out into the blackness of the cabin.  I had never heard this alarm before, and certainly Kelly on his first cruise with the Betty ann never had either.  I had no idea what it was, but alarms are never good.  After the events of the evening I think we were both prepared for anything.  What now?  Bilge alarm?  Engine oil alarm?

The engine slows down and Kelly and I look at each other.  We looked like two meerkats on alert with our heads rotating around.  However, the alarm stops and we soon hear the engine RPMs increase  back to normal cruising power.  Satisfied that there is no emergency Kelly and I both crawl back into our bunks and drift back to sleep.

What seemed like a short thirty minutes later we are again awoken by the same alarm; I hope this isn’t going to be a recurring problem.  Actually, I always find that on overnight watches it seems to be when I’m off duty that stuff like this happens.  It’s either some loud noise, or the sails need to be changed, or the jib sheets decide to come free.  I suppose it’s just that human nature thing of “why do the bad things always seem to happen to me?” when in reality it just feels that way.

In any case, Kelly and I are already accustomed to this drill.  Instead of popping into meerkat pose we both just roll our heads and look up at the companionway.  This alarm ends like the first did and nothing happens.  We both return to sleep.

The two alarms are indicated on my watch schedule picture by two squiggly lines in the “12” box.

June 2, 2011 : 04:00 AM

I am back up on deck at 4AM to relieve Kelly at the wheel.  To my surprise the sky is already beginning to lighten.  I realize that this is because other cruises I have been on were always earlier in the year when sunrise comes later.  It is June instead of the May that this leg usually occurs on.

Kelly and I discuss the alarms from last night, but apart from that not much happened in these early morning hours.  A welcome respite from the drama of the last 12 hours.

Kelly snoozes like a complacent cat in the blue comfy chair while the sun rises.  When Kelly goes below and my dad comes on deck I decide that a snooze in the blue comfy chair is just what the doctor ordered.  The rising sun feels great on my chilled body and I soak up every last drop.  I continually re-position myself for maximum sun exposure as the sun rises and the boat makes minor course corrections.  After my “on standby” watch ends at 08:00AM I decide that I will continue my sleep down in the saloon.

June 2, 2011 : 09:00 AM

Awake at 09:00AM and come on deck to see the Verrazano bridge in the distance.  We are navigating through the entrance to New York harbor and Sandy Hook.  It is a veritable  cornucopia or red and green buoys, as well as permanent lights that mark the multiple channels to these two locations.  Kelly arrives on deck soon after I am up so I didn’t need to go wake him up after all.

Archie makes pancakes which are good and much-appreciated.  As we eat we watch some tugboats getting floated onto a giant floating drydock.  The winds are high which must be making their job all that much more difficult.

Soon after we see the Trump helicopter fly overhead and then up ahead something even more amazing.  There appears to be a tallship coming down the river towards us.  A little closer and we see her unfurl even more sails and soon she us cruising by on our starboard side.  A little research later on would reveal that this is the Maltese Falcon, a 289 foot privately-owned yacht.  Not really a tallship, but a modern sailing yacht equipped with an equally modern “tallship rig”.   Quite a sight to behold.

Soon afterwards we make our standard left-hand turn into Liberty Landing marina.  Remember those winds I mentioned?  We were a bit concerned about our upcoming arrival.  After some back-and-forth with the marina on the radio we discovered that were were assigned a spot that was going to be difficult to get into, with not much room for error.  We raced to complete the required lines for a “port side to tie up”.  It always seems that there is just enough time to get all the lines and fenders ready.  Maybe it’s some sort of conspiracy between boat capitans and marina crew, let’s see how fast these guys an do this.  In any case, it was lucky for us the dock crew was superb and despite the wind attempting to rip us away from the pier, their “capitan” shouted orders around and they quickly had us tied up and safe.

As usual, the boat crew is more than ready for a spot of shore leave.  First we need to tidy up though.  So we wash the boat, wash the people, and then get on a water taxi headed for Battery Park NYC!

Our first stop was PJ Chapman’s (I think that’s what it’s called) for beers where I started with a Sam Summer.  We soon realized that the showers we took back at the marina were unnecessary.  The wind from earlier in the day returned to haunt us as it picked up the water from the nearby waterfall and sprayed everyone nearby.

We paid our tab and took the short walk over to the Tower viewing site.  We also took this occasion to re-fill our wallets with cash at a nearby ATM.

Begin “March to Stone Street” for dinner…

After some aid by our smartphone GPSs and a helpful New York native we found Stone Street, or at least what we thought was our destination.  It didn’t look quite as it was described to us, a cobblestone street with outdoor seating from five or six restaurants.  We’re sailors though, and we saw a bar called Murphy’s and went in. While inside we learned that we were on the “wrong side” of Stone Street, ahhh, that explains it.  Since we were in Murphy’s we decided to have a few beers including a Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat (didn’t get high marks).  Do not recall what the other few beers were, but Kelly and I sampled a few from the bar’s menu.

The bartender was sympathetic to our cause of needing to get to the “restaurant side” of Stone Street and gave us directions.  “You need to walk around the Goldman Sachs building.  The rest of Stone Street is on the other side.” he said.

“Well,” I asked, “Can we just go through the building?”

“What?”  he guffawed, “You can’t walk through buildings!”

Now confident of our final destination and well-lubricated with libations, we resume our march to other side of stone street.  It turns out that we could have done exactly as I was thinking, we could have gone through the “lobby level” and ended up where we needed to be, whatever, no bother.

After a walk up and down the “real” Stone Street checking out the different outdoor seating availabilities, we decide on the Dubliner…might as well stay with the Irish theme.  We have more beer, and I had some pork short ribs which were awesome.

Soon afterwards my cousin Chris showed up and joined us for a few more rounds.  Seated behind us were some Wall Street types who were busy pounding their chests about whatever trades it was they had made that day.  They were loud but harmless enough, and part of the “New York Experience” I guess. As happens when the beers are flowing the time and conversation slipped by and suddenly it was time to go.  Chris led us back to a bridge that would get us back to Battery Park and our water taxis.

We stay inside the taxi where it is warm and soon we are delivered back to Liberty Landing.  We ramble back to the Betty ann where we all have good laughs over the “matchstick boat” story conclusion.  While burying ourselves into our blankets, dad and I come up with a grand bar scheme (a scheme that can only be conjured in the presence of alcohol and has little chance of ever being put into practice, especially after sobering).  Our scheme concerned a wedding party that we had observed earlier:

The Grand Bar Scheme

  1. Find a wedding at a marina.
  2. Show up dressed as a pirate.
  3. Announce:  “I be hired to tell ye of the ways of marriage!”
  4. “But first I be needing a glass with ice, for every marriage starts with a strong foundation, like a bed of rock.”
  5. [someone gets you a glass with ice] “Ahhh….thank you”
  6. “SECOND!  I be needing some RUM!  For every marriage needs some fire!  And you know what, throw some lime in there as well, that can represent the sour spots that will be overcome.”
  7. “Now boys, I’m sorry to tell ya, but the ladies be needin’ some flowery shite in there too, so throw in some pineapple juice and call it a day!”
  8. Repeat until you are found out.

June 3rd, 2011

We depart Liberty Landing and head up the East River.  I’ve been through this piece of water a few times now and I’m actually getting fairly familiar with it.  My first time through I was a little nervous, you hear all these stories about Hell’s Gate and tug boats and the like bearing down on you.  It turns out, like a lot of things in life, actually “doing the thing” is not nearly as bad as “thinking about doing the thing”.  The waters are actually pretty deep and the channels wider than they look on a chart.  There are a few points where you need to pay a little extra attention, but over all it’s not that bad.

The previous night Chris had mentioned that he would be able to see us from his apartment.  We call Chris to see if he can see us, but we are already past his location.  Apparently that was a grand bar scheme too.

We pass through Hell’s Gate, past Riker’s Island and past Execution rock into the Long Island Sound and suddenly is starts to feel like home, well, home waters anyway.

We discuss our options for the day; it’s early and we’re making good speed.  If we want to hit up Block Island it’d be nice to have as much time as possible to get there, so we decide to make for Clinton or Westbrook instead of the standard Port Jefferson.  This will make for a much shorter trip to the BI.

It’s now sometime after noon and I decide to go below and end up taking a long nap.  When I awake I head topside to see what progress we’ve made.

“We let you sleep, so we didn’t change sails.” says Archie.  We are just off Clinton!  Sweet!

The Clinton marina is actually three of four marines all operating out of one giant maze of docks and slips.  We make our way through this labyrinth and end up coming to a dead end near a bridge that we cannot pass (it’s only 5 feet off the water).  We hear a shout and see a dockhand motioning for us to tie up near him.   We finish making the boat secure, the deckhand seems to like us and says he told the office that we’re a 42′ boat (shorter equals less expensive as they charge by the foot).  Thanks!

Begin program:  Showers then off to find food and beer.

We hear that this place Bills has pretty good food and will be having a live band later on.  Sounds good to us!  We initially are seated outside on the deck and it is 100% gnats…nope, no thanks.  We walk back inside and four seats magically open up for us at the bar.  The stars have aligned for us!

We all order some drinks (I think Kelly and I started with beers and Jack and Cokes).  The band starts, they’re ragtime and really good.  Archie loves it and keeps calling friends to have a listen over the phone, holding his phone out to the band like a 13 year old girl at a Hanna Montana concert.  Can’t blame him though, we were all having a great time.

Kelly and I make friends with the ornery bartender Mike.  And guided by the music at our backs, we slip into an easy tempo of Jack and Cokes, Gin and Tonics, beer, Captain and Cokes, and Jack and Gingers…I think we covered all the bases there.

The night began to gain momentum and for a short bit the band was replaced by a high school band.  We didn’t think they would all fit in the fairly small playing area.  There was a tuba, a sousaphone, trombone, trumpet, keys and a drummer.  The trombone player and the drummer were twin sisters which was pretty cool.  The drummer looked very bored at times, maybe her other band is a metal band and she’s used to playing stuff much faster and louder.  We all enjoyed it though as they were also very good.

Scott Woodford appears for the last hour or so.  After the band stops and the bar is closing (something early like 11PM), we make plans to go out to breakfast with Scott.  He says he’ll pick us up the next morning.  Sounds like a plan.

We bounce our way back to the boat and I crash into my bunk with a water nearby, always a necessity to re-hydrate.

June 4, 2011 : 08:30AM

We may have had a large assortment of beverages last night, but we’re up on schedule and ready for breakfast.  We make the call to Scott and he tells us he’s on his way.  He appears in a big Black Cadillac and we depart for the Turtle Cafe.

The Turtle is a cool little joint with a good menu, more than the standard “bacon and eggs” (although you can get that too if you want.  I have an italian wrap, but the frittata is popular and pulls in both Kelly and Dad.  Laura offers to make a store run and all we can think of that we need is mayo and cheese. She doesn’t believe us at first, there must be something else you need she asks.  Nope, I think that’s it.  She is impressed at our apparent magic skill in managing our ship’s stores, but we seriously cannot think of anything else we need.

After breakfast we head back out to the Caddy to find its battery dead.  This is apparently a “known issue” with this particular vehicle so Scott makes a call and soon his son arrives in a truck with jumpers.  We have a leisurely ride back in the caddy, as we drive down the beach Scott gives us the details on how to get out of the harbor using the shorter “east passage”.  He also mentions how boats have run aground taking that route too.  It’s a slightly disconcerting combination of information.

After arriving back at the Betty Ann we all have our pictures taken in the caddy by Laura.  We also give a quick boat tour to Scott and Laura.  They are effusive in their praise of our water-based home, as everyone usually is when they see this beautiful boat.   We drop our lines and go, but not before I see Scott on the other side heading out on another sailboat to go out racing.  His boat would go on to win their race.

After we make it out the passage we turn left towards our next destination and find the wind nearly dead astern.  We set the sails “wing on wing” and also rig up the gybe preventer (a set of lines that prevents the boom from accidentally catching the wind on the wrong side and being blown across to the other side of the boat, a very dangerous occurrence both for the boat and the crew).  However we soon give up as the wind has slowed anyway.  We bring in the sails (we’re getting good at it anyway) and turn back to one-zero-eight degrees magnetic.

Some apples arrive topsides for a snack and we continue our march to Block Island.

June 4, 2011 : 04:00PM – Block Island!

Inside of New Harbor, Block Island we search for our mooring.  Archie has made preparations in advance with a friend to borrow a mooring.  We are told to search for a ball with GEIB printed on it.  All hands are on deck inspecting the mooring balls as they pass by…nothing…we can’t find it.  Finally Archie ends up spotting it from his position back at the helm, and before the three “young’ens” up on deck.

After making fast we use the air horn to hail the launch because the radio is unresponsive.   Our first stop is the Oar for 16oz Rum Punches, hummus + rare Tuna.  It turns out that our waitress is a wife of a family friend of Archie’s, so they talk for a bit before we decide to head out and explore this island a little more.  The rum punches were good, but not $8 good.

We grab a taxi over to Old Harbor and end up watching the Bruins period 1 at The National and enjoy more beverages (Captain & Coke, Gin Martinis, shot of Jameson, Captain & Ginger).  Archie returns from meeting with friends and we head back over to the Oar to watch more Bruins.

Our new waitress is a little rough around the edges in the social skills area, and Archie recommends to our crew at the table that maybe we can pay the waitress to go home.

Shortly before 11:30 we leave the Oar for the last launch.  We arrive to a dark empty dock.  Ehhh….what’s going on here…where’s the launch?  Kelly heads back into the Oar and explains our predicament.  Apparently the bartender called somebody named “Doyle” and then somebody called the harbormaster. While we wait we all head back into the bar to help them clean up by putting chairs on tables and the like.

Finally the launch driver [Buddy?] shows up and promptly exclaims “So let me get this straight.  You thought the last launch was at 11:30.  It’s now quarter past eleven, and you guys already called the cops on me?”

In any case we get our ride back to boat and all crash into our bunks.

June 5th, 2011

I awake to water bottles quenching my thirst and a blanket, very cozy.  Egg sandwiches are made and consumed before the mind has a chance to object.  Then we see the harbormaster coming over to us.  Uh oh, we all think…clearly he’s here to discuss the events from last night.  As it turns out it wasn’t that at all.  He just wanted to make sure that we had permission to use the mooring and that he was “pretty sure you guys were legit because you didn’t run and hide when you saw me coming.”

As is usually the case, I don’t have any journal entries for the last piece of the trip, in this case Block Island to point Judith.  There’s not much to it anyway, it’s only a 12 mile trip.  In any case, we made back without event and delivered the Betty Ann once more to her summer home in Point Judith.

 

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