Seven days and five hours after she rolled into New England Boatworks on a truck, Esmeralde headed out onto Narragansett Bay for the first time. We were joined by my brother Charlie, his wife Maria and son Bret, all seasoned sailors. This trawler business is new for all of us, but we’re adaptable! Best of all, they arrived with a lovely bottle of Veuve Cliquot, which we stashed in the fridge until we were organized and under way.
In many ways, it felt like we were taking the boat out for the first time. I can’t explain this, but so often since the boat has arrived home, I’ve had this sense that “it’s the first time,” in spite of the fact that we cruised aboard her for a month in the PNW. Regardless, it was fun to get re-aquainted with the systems and remember how everything works. (It was also how astonishing how quickly we forget how everything works.)
It was a beautiful late spring evening, clear, sunny, breezy, and a bit chilly. We passed through the skinny channel entrance, then gradually warmed her up as we headed downwind, north up the bay towards our guests’ home port of Bristol. Everyone quickly found their way up to the flybridge. Bruce decided to show off a bit, and wound her up to full-tilt, where she topped out at 19-ish knots. Fun to be back in home waters with the new boat.
As we approached Bristol Harbor, we backed off on the throttle and retrieved the bottle of bubbly from the galley. Perfect evening for a civilized stroll through Bristol. Bret’s boss for the summer was out in a 19-foot Whaler getting the evening beer-can racing series under way. We buzzed him, and gave him a taste of our horns — which aren’t for the faint of heart. He offered to switch places with Bret for the next couple of hours; Bret declined. We continued on our way.
Sightseeing was good. The Herreshoff Museum was up and running for the summer, although the docks were bare, as it is still early. We hope to come back up here from time to time during the season. Maria is on the Board of the Museum and might grease the skids to get us a nice spot for an evening layover. Bret drove Esmeralde through the harbor, and we enjoyed a leisurely pace as we worked through the bottle of champagne. The boat behaved nicely. All systems seemed to be on-point (more on that later).
As we reached the head of the harbor and headed south again, the brisk breeze chilled us down quickly so we retreated to the pilot house which, surprisingly, accommodated all of us quite comfortably. Charlie took over at the helm. We cruised over to Prudence Island and ducked into Potter’s Cove, a favorite early and late-season overnight spot, then ran down the coast of the island where Bret pointed out his favorite camping spots.
After a pleasant two hours or so on the bay, we headed back to the barn. She does her evening cruises quite well: we were pleased. We made it back into our slip without incident. With another hour before sunset we couldn’t resist topping off the evening with a trip to the flybridge. The boat is back in commission: Life is Good.