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August 22, 2014

10

Heading North: Adjusting on the Fly!

by frankandems

We left Annapolis on August 15th heading north. Our PLAN was this:

We thought we’d make about 5 stops and take about 7 days to get into the tip of Long Island.

The original plan . . .

The original plan . . .

That’s not quite how it went down . . .

August 15th: Depart Annapolis for the Sassafras River in the northern portion of the Chesapeake Bay.

August 16th – 8:00am: Depart the Sassafras River heading through the canal intending to stop and anchor for the night at Reedy Island located across from the Salem power plant in the Delaware Bay – a relatively easy travel day.

Passing through the C&D Canal.

Passing through the C&D Canal.

But not so fast. As we continued to study the weather forecasts, the winds were not going to cooperate with our plan. We wanted to go offshore to Montauk, NY, but the winds were going to turn and come from the north later in the weekend. North is NOT what you want for an overnight offshore passage from southern New Jersey to Montauk, New York. Wind on your nose is not comfortable. If we stopped in Cape May or Atlantic City to wait for the winds to change back around to the south, we were potentially going to be waiting for days. Nope, we had a pretty small window of opportunity to make a run for it. And we were really going to be pushing it to try to head straight to Montauk. Could we beat the northerly wind there or not? That wasn’t something we wanted to try. The timeline continues:

August 16th – 9:30am: After being on the water for about 90 minutes, the decision was made to make a run for it and just KEEP ON GOING! While I was at the helm through the C&D Canal, Frank bustled around and made his preparations for an overnight passage up the New Jersey coast, making sure things were secured tightly up top and such. When he took the helm, I bustled around making my preparations while he cruised down the Delaware Bay: pre-making a good dinner while it was flat calm so all we would have to do is reheat it later while on the ocean, putting together peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the overnight munchies as well as trail mix and other snacks to keep in the cockpit overnight for the longer shifts.

Sights on the Delaware Bay.

Sights on the Delaware Bay.

Passing by the Salem Power Plant.

Passing by the Salem Power Plant.

Down the Delaware Bay and up the coast we went, passing Cape May at sunset, Ocean City in the evening to watch the ferris wheels rotating in the night, and Atlantic City around 11:00pm to see the lights that remain on in the city.

Sunset Over Cape May

Sunset Over Cape May

Overnight up the New Jersey Coast - lights from the shore town, an assist from the moon, dawn , and then (gratefully) sunrise.

Overnight up the New Jersey Coast – lights from the shore towns, an assist from the moon, dawn , and then (gratefully) sunrise.

We were rounding Sandy Hook at the top of the state by 11:00am the next morning. We motored hard. Overnight the winds were so light we didn’t get much help from the sail, but the ocean was pretty calm because of it, too. When we made the turn around Sandy Hook, the wind picked up and we motor sailed like we were being chased!! (We sort of were – by the northerlies threatening to move in!) Then we caught the currents PERFECTLY and FLEW through New York City. That was just as thrilling this time as it was last September. At one point we were going 12 knots with the current. For a sailboat, that’s really, really fast! (Power boaters are snickering at that comment.)

Ems at the wheel for the first part of NYC; Frank admiring the first sight of the city.

Ems at the wheel for the first part of NYC; Frank admiring the first sight of the city.

 

Lady Liberty and one pretty ship!

Lady Liberty and one pretty ship!

An awesome view!

An awesome view!

This picture pretty well sums up the feeling we get traversing the waters of New York City. Breathtaking.

This picture pretty well sums up the feeling we get traversing the waters of New York City. Breathtaking.

August 17th – 4:00 pm: Arrive on the other side of New York City at Port Washington to grab a mooring ball and collapse after our 32 hours straight of travel! Whew! We patted ourselves on the back pretty hard for adjusting on the fly and deciding to just keep on going! The decision to go through New York instead of going further offshore and up to Montauk kept us in more protected waters if the wind should shift and would get us in the Long Island Sound quicker. We were happy with our sudden change of plans! Adaptability based on conditions is a good thing for cruisers.

Leaving Port Washington the next morning.

Leaving Port Washington the next morning.

Great visibility leaving Port Washington - NYC visible behind us!

Great visibility leaving Port Washington – NYC visible behind us!

August 18th: Port Washington to Port Jefferson – about a 6 hour trip up the Long Island Sound. We actually got to sail – no engine – for about a whopping 45 minutes before losing our wind again. Amazing how little pure sailing we get to do when trying to get from point A to point B.

August 19th – 7:30am: Leave Port Jefferson for Orient, NY. That was a long slog up the sound into the wind. The winds were turning on us, but better to be here in the sound. The wind wasn’t too strong, but it made for a choppier day. But that’s okay, because we were almost to the cruising grounds we were aiming for! Once we hit the fish tail of Long Island, we considered ourselves THERE! Everywhere after this for the next many weeks will be very reasonable hops around the area.

Rounding Orient Point at Plum Gut.

Rounding Orient Point at Plum Gut.

We tried something a little different on the overnight passage. Rather than having a strict schedule of shifts (we did 3 hours before), we decided to loosely aim for 3.5 – 4 hour shifts, but with the agreement that, if the person in the cockpit was doing still feeling wide awake, and the person down below was sleeping well, the person at the helm we keep going until they got tired. That allowed both of us to get a little more solid sleep than we had on previous trips, although I was the greatest beneficiary of this, falling SOUNDLY asleep while Frank drove from midnight – 4:15am when he finally came down and shook me (gently) awake from a sound, sound sleep. By 4:30 I was ready to take the wheel and he went down below and slept until the sun woke him up hours later. It worked well for us.

The route we ended up taking instead. 4 nights, 3 stops, we're there!

The route we ended up taking instead. 4 nights, 3 stops, we’re there!

And so, we made it from Annapolis to the tip of Long Island in 5 days and 4 nights . . . ahead of the northerlies, and with the next 6 weeks ahead of us to relax and enjoy this beautiful region. Ahhhhh. It’s good to be back out on the water!

 

10 Comments Post a comment
  1. Kim Henderson
    Aug 23 2014

    I love reading your post. I feel like I’m with you. So glad everything is going so good.

    Love you

    Reply
  2. fredlipkin@comcast.net
    Aug 23 2014

    Wow – those pictures of the NY skyline and Lady Liberty are classics. When you were in Port Washington, you couldn’t have been more than 5 minutes from my mother’s place.

    Happy sailing – May the wind always be at your back!

    Reply
  3. Hank Naisby
    Aug 23 2014

    Great to hear of your adventures. Yes, cruisers must be flexible. As a sailor, I was quite impressed with your speed. I shivered as you described the area around Salem. I think my most terrifying moment (perhaps the only) was coming out of the canal at night and getting disoriented. I was sure we were going to get run down by a ship. I woke up the next morning anchored amid unlit dredge pipes. I was definitely being watched over. Luckily, Frank is a good navigator. Have a wonderful cruise.

    Reply
    • Aug 23 2014

      Yes Hank. He is. And by the way . . . so am I!!!! : )

      Reply
    • Nancy
      Aug 23 2014

      It’s a good thing Frank sails with Mary Marie.

      Reply
  4. Donna & Rich
    Aug 23 2014

    Kudos, you two. From our hearts, Donna and Rich

    Reply
  5. Loretta and Jim Elliott
    Aug 24 2014

    Glad you’re safe and sound and enjoying the ride . Love reading your blog. There’s nothing quite like seeing the Statue of Liberty from your own boat. I remember the day like it was yesterday. Fair winds. Loretta and Jim s/v Plan Sea

    Reply
  6. Harold Elmore
    Aug 26 2014

    Happy Birthday, Mary Marie!

    and safe sailing for you and Frank!

    *From:* Voyages of the Eleanor Q [mailto:comment-reply@wordpress.com] *Sent:* Friday, August 22, 2014 11:49 PM *To:* elmore_h@wvwc.edu *Subject:* [New post] Heading North: Adjusting on the Fly!

    frankandems posted: “We left Annapolis on August 15th heading north. Our PLAN was this: We thought we’d make about 5 stops and take about 7 days to get into the tip of Long Island. That’s not quite how it went down . . . August 15th: Depart Annapolis for the Sass”

    Reply
    • Aug 30 2014

      Thank you for remembering my birthday! So good to hear from you – always!

      Reply

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