Although we still have a long project list (doesn’t every boat?), we have headed out for our first east coast cruise in the new tug. It is bizarre traveling these well-known home waters in a power boat when I have spent my entire life exploring them in a sailboat. The Twilight Zone. Our priorities have changed, our decision-making parameters are adjusting, the passages are faster and the destinations are different.
We are looking at three days of warm, moist southwest flow, including the soggy remnants of tropical storm Cindy on Saturday morning. Our options are heading east to Cuttyhunk and the Cape & Islands, or west to Block Island and Long Island Sound. We chose to go west, mostly because we did so little of it in the sailboat. That Tug thing: it has impact.
We head down Narragansett Bay, under the Newport Bridge, past The Dumplings and Clingstone, then out into Rhode Island Sound. The southerly varies from seven knots to 27 knots, and the sea State outside the bay is, at best, “confused”. We had to tinker with the throttle to try to keep things comfortable. Eight to nine knots was happy in the bay, but once outside we needed 12 to 15 to keep her solid. So much better at higher speeds in these conditions, but a little noisy.
We decided to head for Block Island — one of our favorite destinations — to shorten the run a bit and avoid being caught in the strong foul current running out of Long Island Sound.
Block was damp, windy, humid, and a little bit crowded as it was the last day of Race Week. There were no town moorings available, but fortunately we could grab one of the two CCA moorings.
When we went ashore with the dogs, we discovered that the dinghy dock, which was always under-sized for summer crowds, had been cut in half this season. Not good news. No space for us, and it was dead-low so we couldn’t get the dinghy in even if we had wanted to try. We end up going around past Paine’s to the beach. Everything felt a little bit depressing: gray, crowded, inefficient, not exactly welcoming.
We spent a quiet evening on board, a simple supper, and last damp, windy, foggy pup-run ashore at the new Champlains dinghy dock (we’ll see how that works out as the season goes on), and an early bedtime.
Saturday dawned even damper and windier than the evening before, and after a quick morning trip ashore with the dogs we retreated to the boat to wait for the arrival of the remnants of tropical storm Cindy. And arrive it did, around 10:00 a.m. We were spared the worst of it, which hammered the mainland, but we did get our share of thunder, lightning and buckets of rain. It was nice to get rinsed off, and Bruce’s newly-installed dinghy bilge pump worked like a champ.
By mid-day the sun began to break through. As advertised, the clearing happened fast. As soon as the rain stopped we saddled up the dogs and went ashore to try to get a walk in before it got too hot. It was great to stretch all twelve legs, but we had to be careful. Black dogs don’t do well in the hot sun, especially when they are seven and nine years old, have shaggy thick coats, and are only about six inches from the hot black pavement. Add to that Pepper recovering from pneumonia, and you understand our caution.
We did make it into town, and it was beautiful. Not only did the skies clear out completely by the time we got there, but the new air mass was dry and significantly cooler. Not cool enough to walk the dogs round-trip, but so refreshing. After puttering about town we took a taxi back to the Boat Basin and returned to the boat to do something Bruce has hankered after for a very loooong time: hang out on the FlyBridge and watch the summertime activity in Great Salt Pond. It was a beautiful, relaxing afternoon.
We chose to spend the evening aboard once again. While there are a lot of places to eat out on Block Island, it is expensive and the food isn’t really very good anywhere. We’ll save that activity for later, when we can enjoy it with friends. A pleasant evening. We’ll likely head off in the morning.
A note for those who are curious: while all the town moorings were taken when we arrived on Friday afternoon, it was largely due to Race Week. There were plenty of moorings available on Saturday night. According to the Harbor master, the moorings will fill up by Tuesday the 27th or Wednesday the 28th, and be packed through the week of the 4th.