Picking good conditions for a first day of a long trip is a great thing to do if you can pull it off. We made it happen this time.
October 13, 2021
Portsmouth, RI to Stonington, CT
Our departure dates are always a moving target. We set a goal date, but stuff always happens to cause us to shift earlier or later. This time, a howling storm off the coast caused us to pause for a day or three to let things quiet down before we cast off.
The weather on Narragansett Bay for this three day delay was delightful. Nice fresh northerly breeze, moderate temps and clear, cool air. Perfect fall weather for local cruising. However, our plan was to head out into Rhode Island Sound and hang a right into Long Island Sound. Out there it it was blowing 20 – 25 knots, gusting to 30+, with seas in the six to eight foot range. We could have done it and we would have been fine, but we’ve found over the years that for the first day out in a while, it’s much better to pick calm conditions and not make it too hard or long a day.
The storm finally inched off to the east. We cast off our lines at 9:55 on Tuesday, October 12. Heavy morning fog (odd for mid-October) was just lifting. The light northerly was cool and pleasant. The puppies, just five months old, were walked (tired out a bit!) and we had the itch to get moving. It’s always better with all the signals pointing up, not down.
It really was a pleasant day and lifted our spirits about the trip that lies ahead. Pre-departure tension melted away as we fell quickly into boat routine. Everything was running well and we were comfortable. Nice things when you are under way.
We motored out of New England Boatworks, doing all the regular systems checks as we went. The West Passage was calm and the only other boats out were commercial shipping and fishing. As we passed Beavertail and proceeded out onto Rhode Island Sound the old storm swell began to rise, but it wasn’t too bad — just a little lumpy and rolly, enough to make Ollie drool a bit but that’s about it. Although our mood for this trip is to travel at slow trawler speeds, we did push down the throttle to give us a little stability until we rounded Point Judith and things settled down.
Our destination for the day was Stonington, CT, where we planned to meet my Mom for dinner. After passing Napatree Point and the beautiful historic Ocean House hotel, conditions turned flat and spectacularly beautiful. Stonington Harbor was sparkling in the fall light, and the mooring field was, as usual, filled with lovely yachts. The dock crew at Dodson’s was friendly, professional and efficient. We fueled up and settled in.
Mom arrived in time for a nice stroll around Water Street, then we settled in for dinner at the Dog Watch Cafe, which is one of our favorites and which welcomes pups! It was a rare lovely warm fall evening, and a pleasant way to end our first day as we look forward to another excellent travel day on Long Island Sound tomorrow.
It is really good to be moving.