Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Fast Trip up the Sound

June 23, 24, 25

An overnight run through Long Island Sound is quite an experience. Of course, any night run is more challenging. But, those night runs are usually offshore so traffic is limited to commercial stuff and other idiots like us blasting through the dark but, at least, with lights on, usually transmitting on AIS and actually keeping a watch. In the Sound, you can’t be sure of anything.

Night view. Our new B & G instruments. Split screen with
zoomed in chart on left, Zoomed out chart with Sirius
Weather overlay on the right. Sweet!
BTW, The storms missed us.
Our new instruments got a real workout. The radar was great at alerting us to fishing vessels and small boats that were not identified. And, yes, some without lights. There are commercial ships on the move. There are small sailboats that are only faint specks on the radar and occasional glimpses of a red, green or white light way off in the distance – and best seen with peripheral vision.

Fortunately, as predicted, the weather cleared up and settled down as the night went on. Sometime during Junie’s 8 – midnight shift the moon came out. By the middle of my 0000 – 0400 shift the wind had pretty much died. Dawn comes early that far east so by 4:30 you can see. I got back up at about 5:30 so Junie could rest up before we reached our intended anchorage at a spot called Old Cape Cod Canal.

Old Cape Cod Canal is appropriately named. At some point, they made a new canal cut just to the north and closed off the previous canal forming a nice little bay. It was a very easy approach in plenty of water and we were anchored and shut down by 9:00 am. The dinghy was dropped, and Tilly was running on the beach within an hour. There is really nothing to do nearby so we just sat – and it was nice.

The next morning, we decided to move across the canal to the village of Onset. We have been looking at this as a potential stop for several years. Our friend, Thierry, had also recommended it so we called and arranged for one of the town moorings. There is also a Brewer’s Marina so we could top off water, diesel and get a pump out. The trip from the anchorage to Onset is only 3 miles but you need to be careful of the currents that come ripping through the canal – up to 4 knots sometimes. We moved during slack tide and had zero drama.

The marina stop was very pleasant. There were three dockhands to help us tie up. There were no other boats during our morning stop. We took our time and filled everything. The staff was great and we talked to them for a long time. Then, we moved just around the island to the town mooring field. The put us in a great spot close to town. We packed up our laundry, and Tilly, and waited for the launch to come pick us up at our boat to deliver us to town.

Onset from the mooring.
Onset is cute and quaint, mostly. It was originally designed to be a stand-alone resort village back in the day. It has nice Victorian homes. There is a Village Market, Village Hardware, Village Laundry, Village… well, you get it. I overheard the announcer on a passing tour boat describe the early days when Benny Goodman, Guy Lombardo and other Big Bands performed there regularly – not that most people know who they are anymore.

Mmmm. Lobster!

The Village Laundry was conveniently located across the street from Cape Cod Lobster Rolls. They moved a table out to the sidewalk for us so we could eat while Tilly entertained the passers-by. First lobster of the trip! Naturally, it was not much later that we tracked down an ice cream shop.

There was an interesting incident that afternoon. One of the sailboats that was anchored on the other side of the island apparently drug its’ anchor and no one was aboard. Someone called the Harbormaster at Onset and the town crew, along with a Towboat US guy, moved the boat on to the mooring next to us. Eventually, the owner came back from his shore trip to find his boat somewhere else. And, no doubt, a Towboat US operator expecting to get paid. What followed was n early an hour of shouting, arm waving and intense body language. We have no idea what the outcome may have been, but it was entertaining.

Island in Onset Harbor
Onset was a really good stop for us. Very relaxing, easy access. One of the local transplants (I doubt there are any real locals) claims that some early founder of the village was into mystical stuff, way before New Age, and he believed that the area was harboring special powers that make it a happy place. Sure, why not?

We left fairly early the next morning to ‘run the canal’. As mentioned, the canal has a serious flow that reverses every 6 hours with the tide so you need to get your timing right. The current was already headed our direction as we made the left turn coming out of Onset and we were off and running.

Cape Cod Canal

We were making 9 – 10 knots with the engine just above idle speed. It was a fast trip. We were soon exiting into Cape Cod Bay and had enough breeze to sail for a while before the wind dropped and shifted. We wove through our first serious batches of lobster pots as we headed for Scituate, MA where we needed to stop and wait for some weather to pass. We have turned the corner and are headed for Maine!

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