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August 7, 2017


The Best Laid Plans… Sailing North

by frankandems

Do you know that famous literary quote, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry?” Since we have no mice aboard that I know of, I’ll alter it to say, “The best laid plans of sailors often get revised.” Such was the case for us last week when we set off for our cruise to New England. After watching and waiting for a weather window, we left on August 1st at 6:11am. (My best time of day – note the sarcasm).


Boarding the boat at dawn.


Beautiful Sunrise… a good omen.


Our favorite residents of #5 came out to wish us bon voyage.


Out of the “lake” and into the bay.


And passing under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge heading north.

Truth be told, we both were a little verklempt as we pulled away from the dock. We have been having such a good time in Annapolis, we kind of wondered if we had made the right decision to take off for a while. Frank uses an expression from his former fishing days to describe a moment like this: “You don’t leave fish to find fish.” But Eleanor Q has been sitting there staring at us, pleading to go out for more than a day sail or an overnight trip. “Let’s GO,” we could hear her saying. And she’s right. So off we went.

Plan A was to travel most of the day up the bay, proceed on through the C&D canal and anchor up on the Delaware side at Reedy Island. The next day we would transit down the Delaware Bay, up the NJ coast, through NYC and into Pt. Washington, all without stopping. We’ve done it once before – it does knock a big chunk off of the trip early and we wanted to get to Long Island Sound rather quickly. That second part would take about 1.5 days straight. We were set. Right? Day 1 executed as planned.


Anchored up at Reedy Island

Day 2 we headed down the Delaware and made it to Cape May in record time with favorable current. We rounded the tip of NJ in sunshine and a nice breeze, threw up the sails (unfurled them, not upchucked them), turned off the engine and stared at Frank’s home town, admiring the beach-goers, the light house and Cape May in all its glory.


A veritable traffic jam on the Delaware


Ems’ shift – check out the new enclosure! And Ems looking much more awake than earlier…

Yeah, 6am – not my best time of day…

Processed with MOLDIV

Left: The caffeine has NOT hit my bloodstream yet and I didn’t even get to brush my hair! Right: Try to look perky? I’ll show you perky, HONEY!(code for “asshole”) But let me get this damn hair out of my face first!


You know you’re almost to the Atlantic when you see the Cape May-Lewes ferries cross in front of you


Frank loving life as he admires his Cape May


The parasail captain brought his passengers in for a closer look at us. We waved at the flyers and they waved back!


More recreational vehicles off of Cape May


If you want to parasail in Cape May, I guess I would call this number…

We were just about to set up the coast on this beautiful day when we thought, “Hey, let’s take a quick peek at the radar map.” Good plan.


Okay, bad plan. Ah crap. Really? But it’s sunny and we’re sailing. It’s perfect (we whined, admittedly). We, of course, are the blue dot. Now, not that we haven’t been in thunderstorms on the boat before, and she can handle it… but there were more up the coast as well. When given a choice, do we really want to be in the ocean, overnight in thunderstorms? No, not really. There are very few “bail out” points on the NJ coast, but Cape May is certainly one of them, so we turned on the engine, took down the sails and made a hard turn to port and into the Cape May Inlet to settle in for the night. Sigh. The best laid plans… As it turned out, Plan B turned out to be a better plan in the long run. We had been running pretty ragged getting everything ready to go, so a decent night’s sleep and a better frame of mind to do our first overnighter in a couple of years was not a bad thing. Plan B was better than Plan A. Based on our NEW plan and timing the currents in NY, we didn’t have to leave until 11am the next morning. There is not much of an anchorage available in Cape May right now due to dredging equipment taking up a good portion of that space, but we found a little spot right beside the Coast Guard station, and right beside a piling with an osprey nest…


We had a surprise visitor land on top of us while sitting in the cockpit! An adolescent osprey got pushed out of the nest and this is where he landed!


Pretty sure he was saying, “What the hell just happened?? And who are you?”

That osprey made a serious “thud” when he landed… and didn’t look like he knew how to get off. We finally scared him enough with our incessant picture taking that he landed with a splash all splayed out in the water. Kids. He finally gathered himself and managed to take off out of the drink.


This is us running out of the restaurant and back to the dinghy to get to the boat before the storm does!


Amazingly, the dolphin and whale watching boats were still heading out!


How close were we to the Coast Guard station? THIS close.


The next morning we started getting back into our boat routine – morning coffee and checking in to the “nets” on the single side band radio.

Day 3 we set off for the 25-30 hour trip up the coast and through New York. That was truly one of the best pure sailing days we’ve had – definitely in the top 3. Perfect beam reach and sunny skies. Then we noticed this big, dark area forming in the sky in the distance. One again, the trusty radar map revealed another set of classic summer storms popping up all over, but still a ways away.


Storms to the left of us, freighters to the right, here I am – stuck in the middle with you! (Bonus points for getting the song reference… an easy one.)

We had time to make a call… bail in Atlantic City? Bail in Barnegat – an inlet that has been rumored to have shoaled up pretty badly? Shout out to my friend Hank for helping to get us some intel on Barnegat. In the end, we decided that we can’t run away from EVERY chance of thunderstorms or we’ll never get there! So we kept going and had EXCELLENT storm karma. We watched storms all around us, but other than 30 seconds of rain around Sandy Point, we got nuthin’. Nada. Zippo. Yippee. When we lost our wind in the evening, we turned the engine back on and had a blissfully uneventful overnight motor up the coast taking 3.5 hour watches. Got to Sandy Hook ahead of schedule, so pulled into the anchorage by – well why not – the Coast Guard station to take a 4 hour break to wait for favorable currents through NYC and to take a well deserved nap. All was well. We did not have to go to Plan C. (Shout out to cruiser friends, Loretta and Jim, who aptly named their boat “Plan Sea.” I get it!)

Here is a collage of the sights going up the Jersey coast…passing by Atlantic City, sunset over land, the night time lights of Seaside Heights, then dawn close to Sandy Hook, the storms darting around us, and then a little bit of sunrise just as we were pulling in to anchor for a few hours.

And one last poetic picture with which to end this episode…. (I had to use proper grammar there so the grammar police wouldn’t strike – aka my sisters)…


Frank spent 23 years working in Atlantic City… and there he goes sailing past it!

Yup – sailing past Atlantic City and his old office from many years ago. Poetic, don’t you think?

Think I’ll stop writing for now and crack open a beer – excellent plan. Next post: NYC, baby!


11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Caroline
    Aug 7 2017

    MM (a.k.a. EMS): Excellent blog entry. Most excellent, in fact. No grammar violations! And the answer to the question is: Stealer’s Wheels, “Stuck in the Middle With You”. xoxo

    • Aug 7 2017

      Well done, Caroline!

    • Christine
      Aug 7 2017

      A Scottish rock band – 1973. The osprey picture is National Geographic worthy! xo.

      • Aug 7 2017

        Frank took it and I cropped it. He was brave enough to stick his arm up there !

  2. Hank
    Aug 7 2017

    Great to read. I look forward to the next post. PS, Frank didn’t look real interested or nostalgic about AC.

  3. Aug 7 2017

    I got the song reference as well!! I knew the name of the song….not the band however!! Great to see you guys back at it!!! And totally understand about plan A, B and C!!!

  4. Loretta Elliott
    Aug 8 2017

    Sail on. Sail on my friends. Sounds like a wonderful trip so far. We just left NJ to drive home to FL. Boring!! Love your blog. Loretta and Jim s/v Plan Sea

  5. JoannaRose
    Aug 8 2017

    Wow….I am so happy for you two!! I love the water so much and miss being near it. Brian is the mountain lover. I am with you in spirit!! What an amzing adventure!! Thanks so much for sharing! πŸ˜‰

    Hugs…Love you both! πŸ˜‰


  6. Aug 8 2017

    Great post kiddo. Love to you and your capn tom and cathy

    • Aug 8 2017

      Ohhhhh!!! Hi guys!!!! Miss you lots. Need to catch up by phone soon. Xoxo

  7. Aug 8 2017

    Love your adventures! Beautifully captured in photos and written so well I almost feel like I’m a stow away! Love you both and as The Captain would say “Be Careful Out There”!


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