Proving ourselves to ourselves   Leave a comment

Well, we’re not in Block Island. We are also not in stifling Chesapeake Bay any more. We are not in the middle of the ocean either. Yesterday we picked up a mooring at the 79th St. Boat Basin in the Hudson River off Manhattan. Sailing all the way back to RI offshore didn’t quite go as planned, although nothing actually went wrong. We bailed out along the Jersey coast, an option we’d kept open in case one night of sailing completely wore us out, which it did. At least we proved that we could handle the real ocean with real waves (and some wind, at least) for 2 days and a night. I feel that much more confident that we’re gaining experience and becoming more capable sailors.
I don’t have any pictures uploaded yet. There wasn’t much to take pictures of to be honest. I documented the lack of land in sight and Lee took some pictures of the frightening bug that landed on the boat somewhere along Virginia.
There wasn’t much wind for the first 2/2 of our 2 day, one night passage. We sailed a bit in the beginning but things got so light as we turned North out of the Chesapeake that we ended up motoring most of the day. The wind was dead behind us and so were the waves. It was a long, hot day. We sailed wing on wing for a while in the evening and then the wind died again right before we started our night watches so we took the sails down and started up the engine.
My parents warned me about night watches. “It was excruciating” my mom said of her one experience standing watch at night. My dad said we would be very tired and there would be ships going VERY fast out there to run us over. It wasn’t as bad as either of them made it out to be. I actually thought the night went by rather quickly. The moon was full and the ocean was bright. We tried to do 3 hours on, 3 hours off but got kind of a late start so I was already tired for the first watch. I lasted from about 10 to midnight and then Lee relieved me. He wasn’t sleeping anyway. Our man overboard alarm was keeping us on our toes –  going off every once in a while because it lost the signal from our little transmitters. I couldn’t help but think of the boy who cried wolf. We definitely took all the alarms seriously when one of us was on deck at night.
I didn’t sleep at all while I was in the bunk, even though I was really tired. I read my book, listened to my ipod, anxiously watched the horizon and radar for freighters, and eventually watched the sunrise. I definitely didn’t get any sleep though, and Lee wasn’t much better off. Based on our fatigue and the fact that at the rate we were going, we’d be crossing NY harbor’s shipping lanes the next night we decided to reach over to Atlantic City. That was when the sailing got good! We surfed the swells in 12-15 knots of wind and made good time back to land.
After one night of total exhaustion in Atlantic City we headed North again early the next morning, sailing and motoring up the coast to Sandy Hook, NJ. Since my brother and his girlfriend were going to be in NYC that week we figured we might as well stop and visit them (it was a pleasant outcome of our interrupted passage).
Sandy hook afforded excellent shelter for one night but we were really after a mooring at the 79th st. Boat Basin. We braved the tumultuous waters of NY harbor (the roughest we’ve ever seen) yesterday and picked up the only remaining transient mooring here shortly after noon. This is by far the most spectacular place we’ve ever stayed. The mooring field borders Riverside Park and has an incredible view up and down the Hudson River. The current is strong and the shore facilities are grungy but the subway is close by and we feel like we’ve got the best deal on lodging in New York City.
We wandered with Thomas, Christina, and their friend Jon yesterday. They graciously let is take showers in the hotel room before we visited the Tenement Museum (very cool, well worth it), picked up some fabulous gelato next door to the museum, and wandered some more before settling down to dinner at a Thai restaurant. Dinner was delicious, nice an spicy, and there is frozen yogurt on every block here! My cravings for frozen yogurt never end.
I’m not sure what we’re doing today, or when we’re leaving. Hopefully Thomas and Christina can come see the boat today. I could also just explore the city forever.

Posted June 27, 2010 by Rachel in Uncategorized

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