Thursday, August 09, 2007


Photos, top to bottom:
Rachel at sunset in Onset
Birthday pancakes at Nashawena Island
Rachel atop Nashawena Island with Stardust in the background
Mayflower 2

August 2:
After chasing an “air leak” in the genset fuel system for the better part of a month, and replacing just about everything in the line, the genset shut down and would not start. I traced the problem to a failed fuel pump, and after replacing it with a spare I had on board it cranked right up! All it took was an intermittent problem finally becoming a permanent problem so it could be found.

August 3:
We tried to sail out of Newport, but the anchor chain was wrapped around something on the bottom in the “designated anchorage”. The chain came taut with 60 feet of chain still out so we knew the anchor wasn’t hung up. We pulled the chain with the engine from different angles, but it was still stuck. I could feel the anchor chain grind each time we pulled on it. Kathy, Rachel and I talked over the plan before I dove in with wetsuit, fins, and snorkel gear. Following the chain to the bottom I found it wrapped around a piece of an aluminum sunken boat with a big gash where the chain was trying to pull through it. If we had tugged for another 15 minutes it probably would have pulled free. After surfacing and another short talk, Rachel put Stardust in forward for 5 seconds to give me the slack necessary to free the chain which was easy to do 20 feet down with 6 feet of visibility.
We then sailed 23 miles on a broad reach in 15-20kt winds to Nashawena Island. Rachel, Whitefoot and I went ashore on the rocky beach and hiked to the top of a hill where we could see the ocean on the other side. The sticker bushes we had been threading our way over turned out to be blackberry bushes with ripe berries so we ate a bunch and Rachel even managed to save a few for Kathy.

August 4:
Your intrepid blogger turned 54 today, and the old buzzard celebrated with a pancake breakfast and then another broad reach up Buzzard’s Bay, running wing and wing a large part of the day into Onset, RI on the southwest side of the Cape Cod Canal. Onset had their annual Illumination Night which was about 2000 red flares all along the small 2 mile long harbor. I unwrapped presents with Whitefoots help and found shirts, books, magnetic chess and backgammon boards, and other goodies. Rachel and Kathy gave me a sextant with all the necessary tables and plotting paper! I’ve got the basics down, and have shot the sun, moon and a couple of stars. Learning the math and the tables is the slow part. But is sure gives one an appreciation of the skill required to do this on a pitching boat at sea!

August 5:
We motored up the Cape Cod Canal with a following current going 9-10kts. The north wind gave us a rough ride when we entered the Cape Cod Bay but we only had another 12 miles to go so we motored close to shore to reduce the wave action. We made Plymouth, Massachusets in the early afternoon and found a tight anchorage among the mooring balls ($45/night) close to town.

August 6-8
We toured the Mayflower 2, a replica of the original ship. It was built in England and sailed across the Atlantic to its home in Plymouth. Actors and actresses in period costume talked with us as if they were the pilgrims on the ship; very neat. A great way to learn about the story behind this historic ship and the epic voyage. Then we toured the historic Plymouth Plantation, a replica town of 1667, and a reproduced Wampanoag village of the same year. More actors answered questions and talked to us. Rachel will study American History this year in school, so this was a very timely event to visit. Yesterday was rainy so we enjoyed a rare day on board just reading and playing games. Today is nice and cool, and we’re doing laundry and errands, and updating the blog in a wifi coffee house.

Tomorrow we set sail for Boston and points north.


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