Monday, October 15, 2007

Cuttyhunk to Sachuest, NH

When we left Martha’s Vineyard, the current was with us but the wind was straight on the bow which produced 4 foot swells which the bow plunged through over and over. The fuel was 7” high in the 14” high tank, so we had 50 gallons of fuel, which I thought was plenty. But plunging through the waves, the fuel sloshed in the tank enough to starve the fuel pick-up for a second, which killed the engine. Guess where we were? In the Graveyard (named for all the shipwrecks in the area), just about to squeeze between the rocks in the Quicks Hole channel into Cuttyhunk Harbor! The 3 of us scrambled to hoist the sails and veer away from the channel, back into Vineyard Sound. Kathy and Rachel were awesome, no theatrics, just down to work getting the sails up. I bled the air out of the fuel line, and with the help of the sails keeping us heeled towards the fuel pick-up, we motor sailed through the channel, and into a nice little harbor in Cuttyhunk.

It is ridiculous that the 100 gallon fuel tank doesn’t have baffles in it to keep fuel over the pickups. I mean, a 100 gallon tank with only 50 gallons of useable fuel in it?

We anchored in Cuttyhunk Harbor, off to the side of all of the moorings which had “$40-Town Mooring” painted on them. At 11pm I heard a strange noise and went up top to investigate. We had dragged, and the noise was Stardust bumping the bottom. After putting on a few layers of clothes, Kathy and I moved the boat back where we came from, and tried to reanchor 3 times, unsuccessfully. But I did manage to snag the Delta anchor on something, as it wouldn’t come up. We put out the Bruce anchor just in case the Delta came loose in the night, and went back to sleep.

The next morning, after pulling the Delta from all angles, and driving in circles around the obstruction (with another pull after each circle), the anchor was still stuck fast. Time for the scuba gear. The girls helped me get psyched up for the cold water, and I plunged in and swam fast for the anchor chain. There was a steel pipe sticking up from the mud, with the anchor chain wrapped around it, and the anchor nestled up against it. It was easy to unwrap it, and Kathy pulled it into the boat with the windless. Are we having fun yet?

The wind was strong from the NW, our desired direction of travel (and it took me a while to warm up), so we stayed put and had school and watched football since it was Sunday. An hour before sunset we went ashore with Whitefoot and had a great walk around town and watched the sun go down from a hilltop.

This morning, the wind direction looked more northerly, so we left the cozy harbor, headed west for whatever destination the wind allowed. But it veered back to the west with sustained winds over 20kts and left us pounding through the waves again, but with sails up and engine off to avoid the previous problem. We tacked 4 times with reefed sails to cover 15 miles to Sachuest, NH, just east of Newport, but sailed twice that distance in 6 hours. We picked up a mooring in this open bay with good protection from the west and north winds. It was a nice sunset, Kathy fixed a baked chicken dinner, and the boat is very still. Kathy and Rachel are watching Dancing with the Stars. Tomorrow we’ll head for Newport and a fuel stop, 12 miles away, as long as the wind abates or turns.

Oh, I almost forgot. Dennis, we've sailed slightly more than 4000 miles.


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