June 22 - 29, 2003
Steve Blecher takes aboard Mel Converse and Rick & Sandy Van Mell as crew for a fun adventure from Westbrook, CT to Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, South Dartmouth, Newport, Stonington and back to Westbrook on Javelin, a 53' J-160.
(If you like, you can skip down through the prose and go straight to the pictures below!)
Sunday, June 22, 2003
Record June rain for Long Island Sound continued on Sunday morning June 22nd as we drove east to Westbrook. A stop at Dunkin Donuts satisfied the sugar fix from our 0645 driving departure, and it looked like the Camelot luck of the last cruise might hold for yet another. The rain decreased to a drizzle as we reached Pilots Point and loaded gear aboard Javelin. It had even stopped by the time we were at the fuel dock to top off the tanks and edge slowly out the channel at dead low tide.
Two short waypoints later we turned to windward and hoisted the 75' mainsail, and Javelin eased onto a beam reach. With jib unfurled her speed climbed until she was doing over 8 knots in 12 knots of wind, headed right down the rhumbline for The Race and Block Island Sound.
The last of the ebb tide added to her speed and soon she was flying at over 10 knots over the bottom at a comfortable 15-degree heel. Gray sky all around the horizon soon turned wet again - time for full wet gear. Cold and damp, with water dripping from the bill of the helmsman's hat and off the fingers of the hand on the wheel, yet Javelin surged ahead in her glory.
We cleared The Race, that seminal current locus where all of Long Island Sound empties into the Atlantic Ocean with each tide change, with the very last of the ebb at 1230 and made a minor course adjustment for Block Island. Having proved her wet strength for yet another day, Mother Nature smiled through a blue patch overhead and the rain stopped.
As we closed with Block Island we counted 47 sails approaching from the northeast. It was Block Island Race Week and about 240 boats were converging on the island both for serious racing and serious fun! As we closed the distance, the wind began to go light. The boats coming toward us were flying spinnakers as our wind went ever farther forward. Finally it was time to drop sails and power the last five miles into Block Island.
The harbor was busy with a wide assortment of boats. Some anchored outside in open water - those with the deepest keels. Some headed for moorings, some tied up alongside big power yachts which were to be the "bunkhouses" for the stripped out racing machines. We found a mooring and swung slowly into the wind. It was 1600.
The usual housekeeping proceeded apace. Steve, Rick & Mel has sailed together for over 40 years since they were all members of, and Commodores of, DCYC - the Dartmouth Corinthian Yacht Club, and knew the drill in their sleep. The mooring line was wrapped with chafing gear and moused in place to keep it from jumping out of the anchor chock. Putting on the main sail cover, coiling lines, recording the log readings, and stowing cushions took another 30 minutes. Then we settled in down below for a leisurely cocktail hour and, what has become traditional, our first-night-out steak and mashed potato dinner. The stereo supplied a steady background of the many folk songs Rick, Steve & Mel had sung for over 35 years. When asked where Steve got it, the answer was simple. "I simply gave Jeffery (Steve's son) a list when Napster was alive and well, and you're listening to the result." We turned in early - before 2200 - and slept soundly.
Monday, June 23, 2003
We knew we had to leave early. It was 80 more miles to Nantucket. Rick thought he heard the water pump going for Mel's famous Rocky Coast Roast. There was obviously some daylight visible through the hatch overhead. But a look at his watch showed 0500. "What," he inquired sticking his head from the forward cabin, "are we doing?" "Well," came the reply, "we have along way to go."
So, with a quick hair wash, toothbrush exercise, and pulling on the clothes already laid out the previous night, the orange juice was poured while Mel & Steve added hot water to instant oatmeal. All washed down with Mel's traditional coffee. By 0530 we were under way, headed out the channel from Block Island's Great Salt Pond and into a smooth and quiet morning. However, it's not a very good sign when the "sunrise" is in the west! Far to the west, at the edge of the clouds, light filtered into the sky. To the east a wall of gray again blocked the sun which technically rose shortly before 0600.
Under power we headed east, pointed to pass south of Martha's Vineyard, in the open Atlantic. As Block Island dropped astern, we were alone in a circle of water over 50 miles square. Not another boat or person in sight. Long swells from the south gracefully, but firmly, lifted Javelin. The current was again with us and we were doing over 8 knots across the bottom, but it was 51 miles before we would turn north through the Muskeget Shoals and enter the often treacherous waters of Nantucket Sound and the entrance to Nantucket Town.
Misty showers, more like cloud than thick fog, drifted across the boat. Wet gear time again. With two sets of electronics, a computer and GPS tracking our continuous position, navigation was not a challenge. As visibility reduced even a little more, perhaps down to under 2 miles at times, we turned on the radar. A black edge finally showed the outline of No Mans Land, a small island at the southwest corner of Martha's Vineyard, and eventually it emerged through the mist. The main island, just 6 miles away remained hidden.
It was fine time to reflect on where we were, particularly when reading various books on Nantucket whaling, sailing to the "spice islands" of Indonesia in the late 1500s, or circumnavigating the earth - single-handed! We knew where we were with excess precision. We had both power and sail to get us to our destination. But what was it like a simple 100 years ago - or even 300 years when these waters were first sailed? As we closed in on the Muskeget Channel the challenges were writ large.
We found the sea buoy at its southern end and rounded north. We were FIVE MILES from any land, just visible on this very benign day with little wind. But 200 yards abeam to port the rollers which we had ridden all day were curling into white foaming breakers. From 135 feet of water to 6 feet was less than two minutes running time if pointed in the wrong direction. What if…, the wind had been blowing and there were already whitecaps and breaking seas? What would have been our chances of finding this spot without a buoy and modern navigation? Ahead a nice, deep passage was perhaps a quarter mile wide - but again with breakers, particularly to port toward Martha's Vineyard, how would you have known where to steer.
Our computer and chart plotter showed each sounding as we passed along our route. We made a turn at a point on the water's surface - standing on deck there was absolutely no way to know how this spot was any different from any other, but it was deeper here. Yes, if the weather were clear you might have taken several bearings on relatively close Martha's Vineyard, Muskeget Island and a spot on Nantucket and perhaps plotted a nice fix. But then, we "only" draw 7 feet. The early whalers, from the late 1600s through early 1700s drew about the same, but then increased to double in size and draught. While the waters we steered through were 20-25 feet minimum, within less than two minutes sail the numbers were as low as 4 feet. We turned one waypoint and headed east again toward the harbor. Abeam was a small sand islet packed with perhaps 50-75 sea lions - a fun and enjoyable sight - but our electronic chart showed a depth of 4-6 feet, and no dry land, where the seals now lay!
And this was the least challenging side of Nantucket Island. No wonder ship lore is filled with the wrecks of vessels foundered on the miles of shoals to the northeast, east and southeast of the island. What courage, what luck, what skill found these hazards, one by one? The answer is the price of experience and the ships and lives lost to find them. And we complain if an airplane is late! It is this sobering reality that provides the mental fun of cruising. We each appreciate that, at any given moment, a fog can set in, the electronics can fail, the radar can go out - and sometimes all at once. Among us, Steve, Mel and Rick, we have about 150 years of experience on the water - yet for the last 20 miles into Nantucket all three of us were at a heightened focus for each course change, the depth readings, and the dangers on each side. We would be no match for the skippers of old who could throw the lead, smell the bottom sample picked up in the tallow of the lead and declare where they were - at night or in fog. How much skill have we lost when we think we have gained!!!!
By 1525 we were secure in the Nantucket Boat Basin. First class accommodations, a relatively new dock with power and water - and telephone and cable TV if we wanted it! (Why leave home if that's what you want?!) We scrubbed down fore and aft. We read over the glossy color brochures provided in the white tote bag gifted by the marina staff. We then walked into town - a main street as upscale, as yuppy, as touristy - as you could ask for. The cobblestones of Main Street were real - installed in the 1830s - but other than the uniformity of the shingled houses, there was hardly a trace of the whaling town that gave this island life. We found dinner at "Capt'n Tobeys", then returned to Javelin.
With our last energy we broke out the guitar and started through a "newer" songbook. Instead of the folk songs and '60s tunes we had sung for 35 years, we worked our way through perhaps 25 of 63 songs from the '70s and even a few '80s. The chords were rough, the timing had lots of sync problems, and the harmony needed work. But when we quit - at page 53 of 63 - we were glad we had tried. Steve was sawing logs by 2106, Sandy too, Mel was in his cabin, and Rick turned out the lights at 2135. It had been a long, but special day.
Tuesday, June 24, 2003
This was a day to explore Nantucket. After eggs with sausage for breakfast, Steve rented a car and we toured the island from end to end. Once home to up to 10,000 sheep (with a dozen "fulling mills" for the wool), the rolling majority of the island was covered with small pine trees and low scrub brush.
Originally well forested, the island had been denuded by the mid-1600s and the town had to pass a resolution that tree cutting, particularly for firewood, was prohibited. This self-destructive harvesting of timber is not surprising given even a sketch of the statistics of the whaling days of Nantucket. 50,000 oak barrels a year were needed to carry home the whale oil "tryed" aboard the 75 whaling ships that called Nantucket home port. Many had been built right on the island at Brant Point.
Today there is little evidence of those days. Once there were 94 farms on the island, now there are two. We stopped at one. There was some local hot-house produce, but it had been a long, cool and rainy spring and major crops had yet to flourish. The little store, however, was stocked with a gourmet assortment of jars, bottles and other prepared items to satiate the tastes of the upscale island and its tourists. Just down the road was the local Cisco brewery producing several kinds of beer, some wine, and distilled spirits. We sampled the beer, found it refreshing and brought back a half gallon jug to the boat - at $10 for the beer, plus a $5 "deposit" for the brown bottle, this was obviously no bargain. We never did get to taste the spirits because they only had a wholesale license, and we never made it to an island liquor store to find a bottle.
Having covered the western end of the island clear out to Madaket, and the farmers market in Cisco, we turned east and ran down the 8 miles of easting to 'Sconset for lunch in a little café. Looping up the eastern Shore through Squam, dead-ended at Wauwinet, we turned back east through Polpis to Nantucket Town. Now this may sound like a very civilized place, but at least half our total 54 miles of driving were on one lane sand roads. Driveways branched off and maybe you could see through the brush the standard cedar siding cottages, some quite large. "Towns" didn't have shops or stores, or even gas stations, they were simply scattered groups of cottages.
A small fish store, tucked away behind the base of Straight Wharf provided a beautiful fresh swordfish steak which Steve grilled to perfection. It was complemented by rice, fresh broccoli, and fresh baked rolls from the galley to complete our repast. It was a little warm and humid below, so we started up the generator, and the air conditioning had it nice and cool as we finished off the evening with reading and the standard early bedtime.
Wednesday, June 25, 2003
With a short hop to Martha's Vineyard planned for the day, we had time for laundry and larder replenishment shopping before departing at 1010. Hazy bright sun and 10-12 knots from the south-southeast made for perfect sailing. We hoisted the main right off the ferry dock, and sailed out of the harbor. With the wind aft we had the spinnaker ready to hoist about half way out the long channel, and it was flying before we reached the sea buoy. Javelin scampered along at eight knots with the foot of the asymmetrical spinnaker skimming a foot above the water. It was as delightful a point of sailing as one could ask for. It was neither too hot nor too cool, the sea was flat, and the bow wave sweetly hissed as we headed north from Nantucket Sound to its blurry merger with Vineyard Sound somewhere beyond Tuckernut Shoals.
We dropped the chute as we turned west, and close reached, at over 7 knots, toward the Vineyard. We cleared Cape Pogue on Chappaquiddick Island and sharpened up hard on the wind for a beat into the funnel-shaped passage leading into Edgartown Harbor. The wind was going light, and at one point our speed dropped under "the magic" four knots when power typically replaced sail. Steve held on, "Let's see what the next patch of breeze is like." A few minutes more and there was pressure again in the sails. Javelin climbed back to six knots at times as we tacked back and forth across the channel, tacking each time water depth dropped to 25 feet.
By 1330 we were off the Edgartown docks, but not a mooring was available, so we powered a mile up the harbor and dropped anchor at the base of Katama Bay. Edgartown Harbor is really the narrow waterway between Martha's Vineyard and Chappaquiddick Point on the island of the same name. To the south, there is actually a spit of dry land that connects the two "islands" so in fact they are, currently, one and the same piece of real estate. Katama Bay is bounded by this spit, but at various times hurricanes have opened and closed the spit so they were actually two separate islands.
Some afternoon reading and then we hailed the launch for a ride ashore to explore the town and have dinner. Sandy looked for a possible bead store, and noted the different character of the Vineyard from Nantucket. Nantucket, she felt, was more of a community; Edgartown, more like a mainland tourist town with a wider range of shops spread over more area. We found a "Black Dog" store and bought a T-shirt as requested by a California friend, then retired to Dave's Café for a fine dinner.
Ice cream on the waterfront watching an almost domesticated female mallard duck flap up onto the dock in search of tidbits. We obliged with scraps of cone, but had to ward off an equally brazen seagull who managed to swoop down to steal one piece. We boarded the 8 pm launch and watched the red sun sink through a few clouds before we were back aboard Javelin. Tunes from the stereo, some air conditioning, a little reading, then one by one we fell asleep.
Thursday, June 26, 2003
Not a breath of air stirred this morning. Hazy, hot sun confirmed the forecast of a 90-100 degree day for southern New England. While waiting in hopes of a little wind, we pulled the full 250 feet of ¾ inch nylon anchor line from the chain locker and refreshed the marks at 50 foot intervals. The first fifty feet, and forty-five feet of heavy chain were still resting on the bottom of the harbor.
This deception failed to stir the wind gods. So, we fed the excess line back into the anchor locker, and hoisted the remaining line and chain aboard. We hosed off the mud as it came over the bow roller, until the anchor pulled home with a clank and was fastened in its chock with a large pin. We slowly motored back through the harbor and took up our course back out to Vineyard Sound. We debated taking off the sail cover, but agreed that would appear to be presumptuous of the gods, so we left it on.
The seven knots of self-generated wind were refreshingly pleasant, and the thickened haze reduced the sun's heat a little. Our plan, enroute to South Dartmouth / Padanarum, was to stop for lunch at Tarpaulin Cove on the south side of Naushon Island. We arrived, thanks to our early departure, by 1040, and made a slow circle into the picturesque anchorage. As we slowed, the heat returned - slow bake would be a good description. All hands agreed that lunch under way, and maybe the hope of some breeze later in Buzzards Bay, was a better option.
Back on course, we passed Robinson's Hole - the narrowest of the three passages from Vineyard Sound into Buzzards Bay - because Steve did not relish the idea of tip-toeing among the many rocks represented by crosses on the chart. We had passed the most well known passage shortly after we had turned west at the top of the Vineyard - Woods Hole. Known for it's swift currents, fog, and sinuous channel, it is also a major ferry terminal to the islands and a port in its own right.
It was a straight shot through Quicks Hole between Nashawena and Cuttyhunk Islands. We emerged into Buzzards Bay but the wind gods remained asleep, so we powered on across toward Padanarum. A few ripples scratched the glassy surface as we neared shore, but we continued on in. After topping off the fuel tanks, we finally removed the sail cover and headed back out to chase the zephyrs and the forecast 5-10 knot sou'wester.
Javelin sensed the light air and slowly built momentum, increasing the apparent wind. This self-reinforcing effect is much like how ice boats can go faster than the wind, and Javelin liked the challenge. Under main and jib we were soon doing 5 knots in seven knots of wind. But this was not enough. We eased off, headed east, and set the chute. Speed built quickly to 7 knots with now 8 knots of wind. Javelin acted just like one as we sliced through the flat water.
We realized we were pointed at the head of Buzzards Bay, with our friends Jay & Hasty's house on Scraggy Neck was just 10 miles ahead. A cell phone call to their house didn't get an answer, so we tried their cell phone. Hasty answered, and Mel asked. "What's for cocktail hour - we could be there in a little over an hour!" "Great," replied Hasty, "but we're off New Jersey headed north and plan to be at Block Island tomorrow night." Ah, how we sailors do like to wander the watery highways is all directions!
We gybed the chute, but couldn't carry it back because the wind was shifting farther west. So down it came and we worked our way back a zig-zag course to Padanarum. Dinner preparations began shortly after we picked up our mooring. Steve's friend John Barmack came aboard a little before 7. We enjoyed sea stories, a spaghetti feed and even a few songs with the guitar before settling in for a good night's rest.
Friday, June 27, 2003
Though we had needed the air conditioning before bedtime, it was cool and delightful in the morning. The forecast notched the winds up to southwest 10-15 - or even higher - with possible thunderstorms and a shift to the northwest in the evening. Under way at 0726, we powered out into Buzzards Bay, set main and jib, and headed west. Again Javelin approached wind speed in the light going. Sandy took the helm and eased her into the groove, nudging the knot-clock up to seven knots as we close-reached toward Narraganset Bay.
By 0950 we were 7 miles from the buoy off Brenton Reef, the turning point into Narraganst Bay, doing 8.1 knots over the bottom with 9.3 knots of wind. The angle of heel is just 10 degrees, below it's as peaceful as your living room, and on deck the cool breeze beneath the building clouds filtering the sun set a very comfortable temperature. This is what great cruising is all about.
Ok, so there are some warts in paradise. A few fluky shifts, visibility down to less than two miles as the hazy sou'wester plays fickle. But we set the chute just outside Brenton Reef and tacked downwind toward Newport. Castle Hill slides past the starboard side. You're not sure if the point is named for the castle structure, or the several mansions that equally qualify. Amazing what was built before income taxes! In the haze it was as if we had stepped back in time. Three gaff-rigged schooners beat their way outbound. Then two old twelve meters, from Americas Cups in the 60s - 80s sailed out of Newport harbor as we passed. Three more followed as we gybed twice and turned up under the Newport Bridge.
Navy presence was evidenced by the imposing stone buildings of the Naval War College, and Mel identified the two Forrestal class aircraft carriers tied up there as the namesake Forrestal and the Saratoga.
Five gybes later we were at the junction among the Mount Hope Bridge to starboard, the channel up to Providence to port, and just ahead our destination, Bristol. We tied up at the Herreshoff Museum dock and went ashore for a tour. Cup winner America 3 graced the front lawn, next to a 1910, wooden, New York 50 - each a pace-setter in its day. Inside were dozens of wonderful wood boats. Sailors recognize the Herreshoff name for its Americas Cup defenders back before and through the 135' J Boats (no relations to Javelin being a J-160, however!) What was surprising was the number of designs and boats built for the Navy. These included the first boats that launched torpedoes - through a tube in the bow about two feet above the waterline. Over 100 military boats were built at the Bristol yard for the Navy. Yet it was the classic sailing boats of long ago, their pictures and their stories that were the real attraction. After a wonderful afternoon, we headed back for Newport at 1630.
We passed Fort Adams at the entrance to Newport Harbor at 1800, then circled the J Boat Endeavour for a few pictures. Towering above every boat in the harbor, she gleamed in the hazy bronze sun. Her blue hull and exquisite varnish work made her look like a brand new boat - refurbished, yes, but built 70 years ago.
Hailing Navette, the New York Yacht Club harbor tender, we were assigned mooring 707, and Navette led the way. We changed into shore clothes, had a short cocktail hour aboard, then again hailed the tender for a ride ashore for dinner at Harbor Court, NYYC's clubhouse at Newport. This stately old mansion was acquired by the club from Past Commodore John Brown in the 1980s. With some additions, it is a classic yacht club complete with towering gaff-rigged flagpole on the dock, manicured green lawn stretching up to the patio, and the stone building itself. Though we were (and have been!) well fed, Steve tried to encourage dessert, ordering fresh berries, and Mel acquiesced with an order of Key Lime pie.
Back aboard the wind was freshening from the southwest. The Newport Bridge lights hung like a necklace in the plum-dark sky left by the last of the light. After a long, fun day, with the promise of a weak cold front, and a northwester after midnight, there was little reading, and we were lights-out by 2200.
Saturday, June 28, 2003
As promised, the wind rattled the rigging and shifted northwest. With the ports and hatches open it was wonderful, cool sleeping. Mel's coffee was done early. Cereal downed without much fuss. Then we were underway at 0710 for Stonington, Connecticut.
With an ebb current to push us, we hoisted the main off Newport's Fort Adams, unrolled the jib, and bore away southwest. Javelin quickly leaped to speed and we were doing about 9 knots over the bottom on a crystal clear morning with 14 knots of northwest wind. We peeled off the miles to Point Judith, then rounded up for the 16 mile reach to Watch Hill. Closer to the wind, Javelin touched 10.4 knots over the bottom - we were going to cover our 28 miles in a hurry!
But the forecast was for the northerlies to go south by afternoon. The usual way for that to happen after a cold front is for the wind to veer through north, to northeast, east, southeast and then south. Two-thirds of the way to Watch Hill, it started shifting east. As it got lighter and we slowed, it was time to again set the spinnaker. Away we went, back up to 9 knots. It even went back north as we cleared Watch Hill point, so much so that we had to take it down the spinnaker right in the middle of the rather narrow fairway. Out came the jib again and we headed up to the last mark before Stonington.
Steve took one look around, declared it was too early to go in and sit at a dock all day. Why don't we turn around and go back out in the Sound and "play". Now some readers might think that we had been playing for quite some time already. But when you have a choice of slipping along under sail at 5, 6 or 7 knots with a fair wind, the dedicated sailor will choose it every time.
So we retraced our steps about 6 miles, and then the wind decided to take a holiday. In the usual calm before a wind shift, it died away to nothing. So we had lunch. An hour later it returned at 198 degrees - just west of south - blowing 7 knots. Away we went back toward Stonington, but this time on port tack rather than starboard. It was a great run back in as the wind increased and Javelin responded in her usual patrician manner.
This time the usual port arrival routine didn't play out according to Hoyle. Yes, the main came down, got furled, the jib got furled, engine on, fenders and dock lines ready. We approached Dodson's Marina in Stonington, got our dock assignment - then, slowly, came to a stop in the mud. It was low tide, and all the affirmations of the Dockmaster to the contrary, there was not seven feet of water for our keel. Knowing this possibility from previous trips, Steve backed us off the mud, and we tried the next place they suggested. Two bumps this time. We managed to get bow and stern lines ashore, yet warping line still were not able to pull us to the dock.
Now they started moving boats along the remaining dock spaces. We were told to try the original inside slip again - no luck. Then we managed to slide into the face of the main dock when one boat pulled out. Finally secure alongside, we rigged spring lines and electrical power, and were ready for the rest of the day. It was time to explore Stonington.
Water Street runs four to six blocks from the marina into the heart of town. Wonderful mature maple and mulberry trees shaded the streets. It was hard to tell if they were the same age as the houses, which bore indicia from the 1760's. But, to a house, they were in restored condition, down to the slate sidewalks and cellar doorways. We stopped at a deli for a final provision supply, including root beer for Mel, and ginger brew (they didn't have ginger beer) for Steve. Sandy went her way to check out the many antique and specialty stores, while the three Musketeers continued down Water Street.
The common, a small block square, looks out to the west into Stonington Harbor. A flagpole and two cannon on wheeled carriages would destroy houses if fired, but surely represent a time, almost 250 years ago, when they protected the harbor and the fishing fleets which gave this place its birth. On the eastern side it was flanked by a modest stone house, with a white fence. Steve walked up and rang the door - home of fellow J-160 owner Ben Blake. A long minute later he answered the door and we were welcomed inside. The last time Steve had seen it, renovation was still in progress, but now it was done. The interior held great pictures of his J-160 Atlantic, which he has sailed across the Atlantic. By the time we had climbed to the third floor, you could look out to the east across Stonington Neck to the shallow channel to the back side of Watch Hill. The view was almost eclipsed by the stunning woodwork of the room. Using the excess lumber Ben had selected for the interior of Atlantic when she was built, this room was paneled with varnished mahogany, teak and holly counters, and brass fitting and hinges on all the cabinet doors. You had stepped aboard a stateroom of an elegant yacht - three stories above the ground, with a master bed looking out over a waterway.
At short stop back at the boat, then we headed for the Water Street Café for dinner. Sandy was the vanguard, had ordered her white wine, but still could not be seated until the rest of us arrived. Fortunately, arrive we did while Sandy had gone to the head, and, at 5:40 pm we were seated at a table for four. There were three tables for four in the whole place. They had offered to push two tables for two together against the back wall, but we took this one at the junction between the bar and the little seating area.
It would be easy to write a whole book about the next two hours. Just describing the Café would include the range of unique light fixtures from tulip candelabras to high-tech, 24 volt figurines holding bulbs aimed at local art work on the walls. The whole place was probably narrower than Javelin. If that's an exaggeration, it isn't by much. In the front window there was one round table for four. Then a long bar on the right and a rail to the left with perhaps ten stools. At the back there was another round table for four - the one we had - then four tables for two on the back wall, two more for two on the right, and one for four before bumping into the wall separating this small space from the bar. The kitchen, was somewhere to the left and behind all this. The red and white awning outside shaded the only window from the westerly sun, so it was a bit dark without being coy. The tabletops were poured resin with swirls and other modern designs. The staff were locals, as were most of the clientele.
Water Street had opened at 5 pm. We were seated at 5:40. The front table and half the bar stools were already filled, as were three of the back tables when we filled the only remaining round table. One server, cell phone to her ear, wrote a name with chalk on the blackboard on the wall between the bar and these tables - perhaps three feet behind us. A modestly pregnant woman walked up and wrote a name and number of people on the board. Another couple eased back through the growing crowd, frowned at the growing list, but added their name too.
As we ordered and received our gazpacho, duck salad, tuna, ribs and London broil, others were seated behind us to fill the little tables lining the wall. An older mother and father and thirty-something daughter sipped beers in one corner. New parents with a well-behaved infant filled the corner - naturally capturing the attention of all around. At the bar, conversations were less important than the extent of eye contact. The staff knew some by name, yet treated all equally warmly. How had their various lives entwined; how close had their paths crossed? It was not hard to imagine that intimacies were known, even shared, but respected in the intercourse of the evening. The real story of the Water Street Café will have to wait for another day.
Without even emerging onto the street, we entered another door and indulged in ice cream cones for our walk back to the boat. We cheated the sunset gun by 12 minutes as we struck the colors at 8:01 pm. A picture or two, then all headed for their cabins - was this the earliest bedtime yet?!
Sunday, June 29, 2003
Eggs and sausage for breakfast on our last day. A rain shower got the deck wet as we awaited the 10:00 arrival of the Fulton family to carry Jim Fulton's ashes to sea off Watch Hill. Jim, and Priscilla, have been lifelong friends of Steve's and sailed many miles together on various boats. It had dried, with a broken overcast sky by the time they arrived, but there was almost no wind. We powered out about two miles east of Watch Hill to a calm area, remembered and toasted Jim with champagne, and scattered his ashes to sail forever off the coast where they lived and sailed.
We had sandwiches on the way back in, dropped them off in Stonington, and headed west for Westbrook. It was sunny by now, but the wind had yet to set in, so we powered through Fishers Island Sound. At the western end, just before New London, we set the main and jib and enjoyed a close reach in beautiful weather. The wind was variable, occasionally going light, so we added power when the speed dipped below 5 knots. But as the afternoon heat built along the shore, the seabreeze increased to 12 - 14 knots and hauled west of south.
There was not much left to do as we approached Javelin's home port. Our duffel bags were packed this morning, bunks stripped of sheets and stuffed in pillow cases along with towels. There were a few items to transfer from the icebox to an ice chest, plus topping off the fuel and water tanks before heading for the slip.
Another great cruise was all wrapped up.
Click on images to enlarge, click "Back" to return. Photos by Rick.
|Wet going to Nantucket.||Ferries have tonnage rights.||Long channel in.||Harbor approach.|
|Channel Range.||Brant Point Light.||Swordfish heads for the grill.||Javelin - early morning.|
|Old Nantucket lightship.||A brighter day.||The light, CG & ranges.||1st house on channel.|
|Steve's partner's summer house.||Sailing school.||Jar-Jar Binks & the chute.||Mel's turn.|
|Sandy has a sharp eye.||Captain Steve.||Beginning of Wind Farm.||Edgartown light.|
|A fine Concordia yawl.||Old fishing sloop...||...looking good.||Upper Edgartown harbor.|
|Scout.||Vineyard Haven light.||Tarpaulin Cove houses...||...and light.|
|An afternoon sail...||..that looked a little nuts!||The Afterguard.||Herreshoff Museum.|
|AC winner America 3.||An old New York 50.||Beautiful wood.||2003 AC shots.|
|At Herreshoff pier.||Ready to leave.||Approaching Newport Harbor.||J Boat Endeavour.|
|Note height of other masts.||Powerful at rest.||Grace.||Beauty.|
|Speed.||NYYC's Harbor Court.||Newport Castle Hill.||The Castle!|
|Newport Neck light.||Point Judith light.||Stonington bound.||Ready for sunset?|
|OK.||Sunday morning.||Crew instruction.||Jim Fulton goes to sea.|
|The audience.||Fulton daughters.||A toast.||Again.|
|Priscilla & Sandy.||The last watch.||Rolling home.|