Friday, October 26, 2007

More sailing adventures (taken in part from a note to a friend)

(click to enlarge any photos)

Sailing isn't all blue days and balmy winds. Sometimes it can be downright scarey. We were 'weathered in' at Nantucket for twelve days while 50 knot winds blew in the Vineyard. The first two days there were good weather, so we planned to leave the next day to stay ahead of the cold months as we moved south at the rate of five knots (a bit over five miles an hour...hull speed of our 22 footer). That night a storm hit from the side of the harbor where the jetty is and no trees. Pitch black, and one by one, boats are slipping their anchors ahead of us, dragging back and hooking and uprooting other anchors. We could hear all thse sounds in the night, then the ghosts of boats slipping past us. We ran the engine to keep the strain off the anchor and just prayed nobody would come down on us or our anchor. By midnight, we were in the front line of boats still anchored. At dawn, we saw the other boats anchored en masse behind us. A few people found a dock slip the next day. The winds inside the harbor were more sheltered but a chop stayed.

map of Nantucket

We started to run out of ice and since the man I was traveling with (my future husband, then ex-husband) was more handy with heavy anchors and engine starting, I hailed the marina skiff...they charged 5 dollars for a ride to shore and back...took the backpack and went in for ice and some supplies. We couldn't do anymore sightseeing and leave the boat unattended. When I was in that ice, a huge power boat came in. A woman stepped out of the cabin all dressed up. Inside I could see a lounge chair and a TV!!! I asked how the seas were and she said 'you'll have to ask my husband. I was inside the whole time'. How anybody could be out in those seas and not have a clue was beyond me, but she was dressed more for dinner at a restarant than salty brine. (Sailors and 'stinkpotters' didn't tend to mix and match much out on the water).

Her husband was busy, so we decided to leave the next day despite reports still of high winds outside. Going down the jetty a big fishing boat passed us, hailed us and told us to turn back, that it was still too dangerous out there, then a coast guard boat flew by, leaving a crashing wake just as we were turning. Since we'd decided last minute to go for it, I hadn't finished securing things inside the cabin and the boat rocked from side to side,sending things flying. Monster jumped onto my lap, claws extended and I felt something warm and wet. I realized she'd peed out of fright. Then I realized that I'd peed out of fright, too. What a mess. We got back in, anchored, cleaned up the boat, cleaned me up and by the next day the weather was okay to leave.

photo of the infamous 'pee-er'

Another scary time was our night trip down the Jersey coast, with sails battened down and only the storm jib up, surfing the waves rolling out of the darkness behind us.

Down the fast moving East River beside Manhattan towards the Twin Towers and the Lady on out to Sandy Hook, N.J. We left early the next morning for the trip down the Jersey Coast.

Taken at twilight, before the storm hit.

I won't even get into when our new outboard failed us in Cape May, NJ, before heading up the Delaware Bay and down into the Chesapeake Bay where we spent a month. We had to stay in Cape May for a week in a dock since the holding ground there was horrid and we'd slipped the night before. We had to hitchhike a ride in a pickup truck to go get the motor, bring it back and mount it without dropping it into the water behind the boat.

This shows the size of our cabin. No room to stand. A small V-berth for sleeping was beyond my feet. The photo was taken as we moved into the cooler months.

A couple of slices of the endless adventures of that six month trip!


Annie Wicking and Loman Austen said...

Wow thank you for sharing part of your life with us. It must have been quite frighten being in a boat in a storm.

Best wishes, thank you for the cup of tea and a chat.

Speak to you again soon,


Middle Ditch said...

Hi Pris

Thank you for your comment on Middle Ditch 6. Tomorrow [Sunday] we are coming together to record episodes 12-14. 18 have been written so far. I have never been on a boat like the one you write about and I must say that I don't have sea legs. When I go by ferry to Holland to see my family I dread high winds and rolling waves. You are very courageous.


pepektheassassin said...

What an adventure! Thanks for sharing.