22 July 2015

Sailing Newport to Marblehead

Showering on Starboard Tack, Racing Jeroboam, & Starving for Voltage

Third Beach Sakonnet River to Red Brook Pocasset (or not... again)
Bob awoke Linda abruptly Saturday morning at 0530 announcing that he would like to haul anchor and set sail.  Linda fumbled to the cockpit in her PJs to steer Argon gently as Bob worked the windlass and we were off.  We motored for just the first 45 minutes or so in to substantial chop as the current came in to the Sakonnet but we knew we'd be greeted with 10-14kt southerly winds in Buzzards Bay and a current in our favor for a nice 40nm sail.  We had our sights on anchoring in another favorite harbor, Red Brook, by early afternoon.  This would have been around 38nm distance.

Sakonnet Light as we leave Third Beach (just east of Newport) banging in to chop and current before smoothing out once off the wind and in to a favorable current in Buzzards Bay.
Conditions were superb as we hummed along at 7-8kts.  However, this certainly was not wine and cheese sailing by any means but rather very active sailing with constant helm work.  Given that we were on mostly a beam reach we were not heeled dramatically but our house was fairly un-vertical all day.

Bob sporting his new Helly Hansen jacket as he tightens up the genoa in 16kt winds.  The overcast skies and slightly chilly temps were actually a welcome reprieve from copious sunshine.
Linda went down below several hours in the sail to shower and had a heck of a time with the tilt and chop.  In addition, the head is on the port side with the drain towards center, thus our starboard tack resulted in a bit of water overflow in the head. Oh well, boats are designed to get wet, even a bit on the inside.

Starboard tack all day; several hours in to our sail with brisk winds continuing.
Given our early departure and the swift progress, we found ourselves in sight of the Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge by 1000 and realized we would be anchored in Red Brook well before noon. Therefore, we checked the canal current and afternoon wind forecast in Cape Cod Bay and decided to keep going all the way to Provincetown nearly doubling our planned leg to 65+nm.
We bypassed our planned Pocassett / Red Brook anchorage and instead caught the current in the Cape Cod Canal
Cape Cod Bay side of the canal at Sandwhich.  Still overcast and with excellent southerly winds 15-20kts.

Continuing to work the helm in Cape Cod Bay about 60nm in to our day.
Track of our 60+nm trip averaging well over 7kts!

Although we preferred to anchor, we decided on the security of a mooring in this fairly deep harbor and to opt for a dry launch ride to land instead of a wet dinghy trip in the high winds.  The wind was blowing near 20kts as we turned in to PTown Harbor, called for a ball, and fumbled a bit in the crowded mooring field near the breakwater.  The launch driver saw us circling with uncertainty and offered us an alternative mooring that was a bit less crowded.  Linda felt a bit deflated as it's just a mooring... we can certainly pick up a mooring even in high winds, right?!?  We eventually got settled and secured with a double bridle.

Bob exhausted after an exhilarating day of sailing that started at 0500.  He was too tired to drink the glass of rum waiting next to him. Little did we know that one of the sailboats moored next to us (just out of sight in this picture) would be our competitor the very next day as we sailed to Marblehead.
Our original plan was to stay put in PTown for Bob's scheduled workdays.  During a leisurely dinner in town at The Mews Restaurant a bit north of the main tourist section of Commercial Street, we discussed options for the upcoming days and again examined wind and weather.  We could take a chance on Thursday being good to sail back to Boston, or we could capitalize on Sunday's conditions and sail somewhere to the North Shore where Bob could settle in for his work days.  We chose the latter and left early the next morning.

Racing Jeroboam
We departed PTown in some fog motoring in to the wind past Long Point.  In addition to making swift headway in to the wind, we needed to run the diesel a bit as we have been struggling to keep our batteries charged sufficiently ever since leaving Sag Harbor about 10 days ago.  More on this later.
Given the early morning fog, we had the radar fired up for a little while. We have high quality Navionics charts loaded on our Chart Plotter. A frustrating feature of  Navionics is the speckling of little pink birds to designate wildlife preserves.  Hmmm put RED objects all over a nautical chart.  Great idea!  To be more fun, they use exactly the same pink as Raymarine chose for the radar traces. This makes picking out the little pink potentially oncoming vessels a bit difficult.  Please Navionics - Nix the freekin' pink birds already!

Still a bit foggy as we pass Race Point but clearer skies were not far off.  This is also where we started to see some whales.
Linda's view skyward while relaxing on the fore deck after the fog had cleared.

Bob working the helm.  Linda, well, not working.
Shortly after rounding Long Point and passing Race Point, we spotted a sailboat behind us with a spinnaker flying.  When two sailboats are heading in roughly the same direction, at some level there is a race - whether or not the skipper admits it. This boat had AIS so we were able to see her name, size, speed and course. Bob noticed the speed of the boat first and could see that it was consistently doing 1+kt faster than us. At this point, we were not flying our spinnaker but had main and genoa out. Bob looked again later and saw that AIS was reporting she was 115 feet long with a 26 foot beam. (I think when they filled in the MMSI application for AIS, they may have filled in feet where they were asking for meters.)  "Oh - he's a huge sailboat. Of course he's going to go faster".  Finally we noticed the name. The boat name, Jeroboam, sounded very familiar and after some searching through neurons, Linda recalled that this 35' boat was in the New Year's Day race with Constitution Yacht Club (Linda & Bob crewed on another boat on New Year's Day), and she had had an e mail correspondence with the Captain/owner earlier in the year about an open ocean seminar.
We soon realized that the sailboat a couple miles off our stern and gaining on us was a locally well-known racing boat with a very seasoned skipper / racer, Jonathan Green.  We starting using AIS to monitor Jeroboam's distance and speed, and (given our broad reach direction) to anticipate wind changes that would come our way.  Initially Jeroboam was sailing one knot faster than Argon - we had to change this.  Here, Bob just had to get a picture of one of the rare moments when we were going faster than them.

Jeroboam is a Beneteau Oceanis 351 looking pretty with her spinnaker and stay sail.
After loosing ground the initial hour or so pre-spinnaker, the wind finally got around behind us enough to be comfortably flying our spinnaker too. From then on Argon maintained her .5nm or so gap with Jeroboam the remainder of the 30nm ride.  The wind continued to clock around behind us and we were both having trouble keeping our chutes full. We should have "put more in the bank" earlier in the day. Both vessels remained on a port tack trying to keep the sails full and speed up while sailing more downwind than we would like. We both jibed just before reaching The Breakers and headed due north for a short starboard run before dousing the spinnaker near Marblehead Harbor.
We deployed Argon's spinnaker when the wind got around behind us more.  
What was the result of our race?  Well, we got to Marblehead first but Jeroboam got there faster.  They left PTown probably nearly an hour after us and were only about 5 minutes behind us after the 42 miles. We've never officially entered Argon into any race and had a handicap established. The owner's manual says our PHRF (Performance Handicap Racing Fleet) rating is "84 estimated". A Beneteau Oceanis 351 has a higher PHRF rating than a Tartan 4000.  However, we were happy to be practicing our relatively novice racing skills and racing attitude by sailing Argon well enough to not allow Jeroboam to pass during this eight plus hour sail.  We reached out via e mail to Jonathan once in Marblehead to thank him for keeping us on our toes and briefly joined him and some other local sailors at The Barrelman for drinks. This little competition further sparked Linda's interest in participating in the 2016 Newport to Bermuda race.

Marblehead - Sailboat Heaven
Marblehead is a bit like a mini Newport with a tad less sailing cockiness (just a tad).  Power boats are definitely the minority with most of the sparse engines working to deliver lobsters to all of us.
Hundreds of kids out sailing dinghies for Junior Race Week in Salem Sound.  This town endeavors to embed the sailing bug while they are very young.

Marblehead Harbor crowded with masts - a lovely sight.

Linda's home study area while Bob works below.

Another beautiful sunset set looking out towards Salem.

Marblehead Harbor abounds with stand up paddle boards, kayaks, and floating craft of all sorts.
We enjoyed an evening of pizza and conversation with our friends Brenton, Jillien and family who live in town.  We met Brenton, owner of Black Rock Sailing School several years ago at the New England Boat Show and have taken ASA classes from him (and some private docking lessons as well).  His school is fantastic and we always enjoy getting together socially.

Brenton Lochridge is the owner and lead instructor of Black Rock sailing school in Boston, Marblehead, Warwick RI and BVI.  We have taken several sailing classes with Brenton over the years including ASA 104 Coastal Cruising, ASA 105 Navigation, and private docking lessons.  We highly recommend Black Rock Sailing School!!

Starving for Voltage
We mentioned a couple of posts ago about our rookie error mismanaging our electrical consumption. Ever since Sag Harbor we have struggled to keep the main battery at a reasonable charge and have resorted to running the engine simply to get the voltage up.  We have not been plugged in to shore power since NYC two weeks ago but this really should not be an issue if we monitor and control our usage.  However, between Bob's kick ass-hot running-electron sucking lap top cranking during his work days, and with frequent bursts of amps sucked up by the refrigerator, the alternator of the diesel is just not sufficient.  (Not to mention our two other lap tops, two phones, iPad, etc.)  For any sort of serious cruising in our future, in addition to learning to live with less power, we will definitely need to supplement at least with solar (and perhaps also wind).   Needing shore power will not work both for accessibility and expense.

After anchoring and mooring for two weeks, we secured one of the few dock slips in Marblehead and gorged on voltage all afternoon.  Bob was able to keep working his programming magic for Atlas without constantly running the engine to feed his computer.

The 116.2 VAC input and a proper charger made our batteries feel oh so much better.

Normally when we plug in to short power there is "bulk charging" for just a few seconds or minute.  Our batteries were so starved that the "bulk charging" (at 80+ amps) did not switch to floating charge (as shown above) for about 10 hours.  Our batteries are now fat and happy again.  We beat on Battery 1 pretty good this trip. Hopefully it's not damaged or else Bob will have to sell another kidney.
Several boat projects loom in our near future:  solar panels, potentially wind generator, satellite, supplemental heating for winter (do not want to think about winter too much yet), etc.  But for a few more days we continue to just enjoy Argon and sailing around in our home.

17 July 2015

Sailing Block Island and Newport

 Rhode Island and a Day of Quips

Block Island and Aldo Bakery
Having missed flanking storms once again, we arrived in Great Salt Pond Tuesday evening, looked around a bit for a place to drop the hook, setting in 23 feet for the night.  We are very impressed at the generous amount of space left for anchoring in this well-protected harbor.  In addition, amentities such as launch, water/ice, and popular Aldo Bakery service the entire harbor including anchored boats (anchored boaters are sometimes thought of as freeloaders even though we spend plenty of money on land).

We purchased Italian stuffed bread Tuesday night and pastries Wednesday morning from the Aldo Bakery skiff that makes rounds to all the moored and anchored boats selling their goods.
Who Has Superior Itinerary Planning Skills?
After studying wind, distance, and current, Linda recommended a 1045 departure from Great Salt Pond the next morning.  The current would be turning in our favor at about 1130 and the wind would start to pick up about then at which time Linda thought we could hoist the spinnaker for a downwind, gentle sail to Newport.  But by 0800, Bob was itching to get moving and since we've had mixed luck with the accuracy of wind forecasts (we use a combination of GRIB files and general weather reports), Bob recommended we haul anchor and get moving.  We ended up motoring the entire 20+nm journey, mostly in heavy fog, and against a current... arriving at the opening of Newport Harbor just as the fog lifted and a nice wind was at our back.  Oh, well.  Next time Linda might be more forceful in her recommended sail plan.

Awoke to a misty and foggy morning.

Very still,foggy, and beautiful in Great Salt Pond Block Island.
We left by 0800 hoping the fog would be short lived but it thickened as we ventured deeper in to the sound.  Visibility was was down to just a couple hundred feet at some points in the journey as we motored from Block Island to Newport.  We initiated sound signals to alert nearby boaters of our presence. Our radar was on and we were both on very high alert keeping watch and listening.  We strongly prefer sailing in fog when possible as we can listen better for power boats but the air was completely still.  We adjusted the gain and range of the radar a few times as we seemed to not be seeing some of the nearby vessels and were taken by surprise more than once when a power boat was suddenly way too close for comfort.  Even the green can navigation aid that Linda could see us approaching on the GPS came in to sight suddenly and very near.  It was most definitely not a relaxing journey for the first couple of hours until the fog began to lighten up.
Sound signal for motoring vessels in fog is one prolonged blast every two minutes.  If we were sailing not under power, we would have been sounding one prolonged followed by two short blasts to announce us as a sailing vessel.  We have come to favor this manually pumped horn over the more common cans of sounds.  
Cocky Newport (we mean this with affection)

Point Judith as we start to enter Newport Harbor (and the fog lifts and the wind picks up.... about 2 hours too late; or rather, we were a couple hours too early).
Newport is a favorite destination and this was our second sailing trip here this season (the former trip was in May for the Volvo Ocean Race; see prior blog post Overnight Sail to Newport May 2015).  Newport harbor is busy with a strong domination of sailboats vs. power boats and many high end racing boats.  There is a strut and cockiness that the serious sailors bring to the culture and tone of Newport.

Upon arriving, we stopped by Newport Yachting Center, topped off the diesel, filled our water tanks, disposed of garbage, and gave the deck & hull a good rinse before securing a mooring from Old Port.  The weather was very hot again so we took a swim off the back of Argon before venturing in to town on the dinghy.  Speaking of the dinghy.....

Bob no longer hates the dinghy.  Our new dinghy, Neon, in a very nice AB brand with an aluminum V bottom.  We have a 6hp motor that our power boat friends probably laugh at but suits us just fine and is much more powerful than our prior 3.5hp.  In this pic Bob is scrubbing Neon's bottom to keep her looking spiffy.
In addition, the dreaded davits which we thought would be in the way, look awful, and generally be an inconvenience are actually terrific.  After a bit of practice and fumbling, we now have a method that easily hoists the 150lb Neon keeping her secure in even moderately rough seas; and she is very easy to let down. Check out our davit project pic here Davits for Argon .  And, kudos to Kato Marine who were terrific to work with.  Thus Bob no longer hates the dinghy. And having a dinghy, especially on longer sails, is great for exploring nooks and crannies in harbors and avoiding the sometimes costly launch trips with limited hours of operation.

Back to Newport....
Given that we are in bustling Newport, we opted not to cook on the boat.  We had two thumbs up dinners Wednesday and Thursday night, both away from the America Cup / Thames Street main touristy area:
  • Perro Salado:  We've visited here many times now Perro's is a favorite go to place.
  • Malt:  On Broadway among the tattoo parlors, smoke shops, and consignment shops.  The anti-Newport neighborhood.
We were happy to have Linda's niece, Sam, take a drive over and visit us in Newport for the day.
Sam and Bob enjoying the dinghy ride in to town.

Sam relaxing on Argon before she and Linda ventured back in to town to get their nails done.  Sam opted for blue fingers nails and Linda for pink toe nails.
Not sure if many of our readers know both Bob and Sam personally, but they they both have a similar type of slightly off-kilter humor and throw puns back and forth as if they are a seasoned theatrical routine.  By the afternoon they were quipping back and forth non-stop with one liners and puns.
Sam:  "Why are rock bands called rock bands?  Because they get stoned."
Bob:  "No, because they are taken for granite."

The Bob and Sam Show Thursday's at 9:00p.m.  Try the veal.

Bono is apparently in town among his Boston concerts with his mega yacht, ROCKIT.  U2 can become a rock star, get stoned, and be taken for grantie.  Get it?  Ha.  (Linda is not so good at this.)
We did a lot of walking around Newport including a stroll through the impressive Newport Shipyard that boasts many enormous and opulent sailing vessels and a few mega power boats.
Sam and Bob standing alongside Zenji.  Note the deck hands on the vessels and how huge the boat is.  Zenji is a184 foot ketch / cutter built by Perini Navi that used to be owned by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison.  It sold for about $25 million and is now a charter boat.  You can charter Zenji for only $200,000 per week including a crew of 8 to sail her and serve you.

Massive travel lift at Newport Shipyard to haul boats out of the water and put them back in.  The diameter of the tires are taller than Sam.

Beautiful dusk, Newport Harbor off stern of Argon.

Newport Bridge in the background.

Off to Quissett Harbor, or Not
We left Newport early Friday morning initially intending to do a 40nm slow downwind sail to Quissett Harbor (part of West Falmouth, just north of Woods Hold on the Cape).  But the wind did not want to kick up so we hooked to port and tucked in to another of our favorite spots, Third Beach, at the western entrance of the Sakonnet River.  We anchored by noon and had a kick back lazy day.
Little bit of spinnaker sailing in to the Sakonnet River. It was Linda's turn to rig and she did just fine.

Watching wind surfers around Third Beach wondering if we are still young enough to try one of these days.
Beach stroll late in the day.

Kicking back at anchor.  Another good night to sleep under the stars.
We examined the conditions and decided to plan to send off early Saturday morning for a long sail to Red Brook in Pocassett Cape Cod as we aim to be north of the canal by Sunday.  Plans certainly could change.

14 July 2015

Sailing - Managing Electricity

Long Island and Electron Management

Week Two of Summery 2015
We mentioned  a couple of posts ago that we have a few General Principles for our Summery 2015 Trip:
  • Maximize sailing to motoring ratio.  Being mostly met but we'd like to further improve.
  • Minimize pre-set "have to be x by y" and let the wind and our moods dictate where we go and when.  Being mostly met.  
  • Relax, reflect, re-energize, and re-connect.  Check.
We continue to abide by these GPs and are very much sailing when and where the conditions and our mood dictate.  When we departed City Island NY on Thursday, the wind was very light but enough to keep us humming along at 5 kts.
Although the wind was on our nose and we needed to tack to make eastward distance, it was so relaxing that we just sailed for hours with no destination, knowing that there were plenty of options on both the eastern NY/western CT and Long coasts.

Looking at harbor options in both Connecticut and Long Island New York.
We were enjoying sailing so much that we eventually set our sights on anchoring in Port Jefferson with an estimated late night arrival time of 2300.  And, since we splurged on four (expensive) dock nights at Liberty Landing, we were looking to practice our frugal anchoring skills in many upcoming harbors  However, we needed to change our plans, again.... sounds like a theme, eh? :-).

A Storms A-brewin'
We had not checked the weather forecast for several hours and were comfortably sailing along when we heard an alert on VHF channel 16 indicating severe thunderstorms heading east/northeast towards New York City.  We were sailing in the western part of Long Island Sound less than 15 miles from NYC.
Severe thunderstorms coming our way.  Had to change plans and find a closer harbor with protection from the southwest.  We quickly turned south to tuck in to Lloyd Harbor off Huntington Bay arriving about 2000.
We set the anchor in the sparsely occupied harbor careful to avoid the charted cable area and had good protection from the storm approaching from the southwest.  However, other than some modest wind and rain, the storm was unimpressive.  But we spent a nice evening at anchor cooking on board.  We examined the weather, wind and currents for Friday and decided on another early morning departure at 0500 assuming a long sail eastward to the Shelter Island area of Long Island.

Near Perfect Leg from Huntington Bay to Plum Gut
Our alarm went off at 0445 and we lifted anchor at 0505.  Fantastic sailing conditions dominated our trip eastward on Friday.

Watching the sunrise as we set sail with perfect 10-14 kt winds out of the north with a favorable current as we head east for a 60 nm leg.
We oscillated a bit between the jib and the genoa as the winds shifted in magnitude but we were able to average well more than 7 kts as we rode the current.  The only issue is that we were a bit lax in studying the tricky transit between Plum Island and Orient Point (called Plum Gut) and, despite the brisk pace all morning, we were about an hour off in our estimated arrival to Plum Gut.  Plum Gut, like The Race just to it's northeast, has dramatic changes in depth and severe currents.  The simplistic geological explanation is that Long Island Sound was originally a fresh water lake.  About 3500 years ago, the eastern part of the lake was breached and became connected with the Atlantic Ocean.  The breach areas have strong currents and it is important for smaller vessels to time transits and navigate these gouges carefully.

When we realized we were off in our timing to Plum Gut, we were incentivized to be even more fastidious than usual about our sail trim to squeeze out every tenth of a knot out of Argon.
Instead of arriving at or near slack current, we found ourselves fighting against lots of chop and almost 3 kts of current.  We also had double duty ferry traffic to contend with.  We were only an hour and a half late for slack, but in this area, that's pretty late. Wind was light and so at least we did not have wind opposing current to deal with.  Actually the ferry wakes were probably the source of most of the turbulence.
After plowing through Plum Gut's brisk current, we were rewarded with an introduction to the beautiful and expansive area around Shelter Island.
Exploring Shelter Island Counter Clockwise
We played each day by ear and kept toying with whether to keep our stay in the Shelter Island area brief (i.e. one night) or extend to several nights.  We figured that it was unlikely we would be back along the Long Island coast any time in the next couple of years so we ended up doing a multi day harbor hopping loop around Shelter Island stopping at the following places:
  • Coecles Harbor
  • Dering Harbor and Greenport
  • West Neck Harbor
  • Sag Harbor
The track below shows our 80nm leg on Friday 10 July with Bob's super duper whiz-bang sailing tracker (also available for weddings and bat mitzvahs) including our multi-day loop around Shelter Island and the above harbors.

Coecles Harbor:  A+++

Greeted at the narrow inlet to Coecles Harbor by swimmers along the channel.

This about sums up this anchorage - priceless.

Coecles Harbor proved to be quite lovely and serene.
Blue Blazers in Dering Harbor
We are members of the Tartan Owners of New England (TONE) but had not yet participated in any of their events.  We knew there was a TONE gathering at one of the harbors of Shelter Island so we decided to see if we could be a last minute addition to the group.  We were eagerly welcomed and hopped over to Dering Harbor at Shelter Island Yacht Club (SIYC) on Saturday where there were about 8 other Tartans moored as part of the event.  Bob is generally not very keen on yacht clubs and he was quite, uh, unenthusiastic and unprepared regarding the dress code.  We were assured that Bob could borrow a jacket from the club.

Bob showing off his borrowed blue blazer from the yacht club.  It actually fit him perfectly and Linda was tempted to ask if we could purchase it.
Very efficient and busy ferries x4 shuttling between Shelter Island and Greenport continuously.  We visited Greenport in the afternoon.
West Neck Harbor:  Definitely Achieved a 10 on the Relaxation Scale
We left our SIYC mooring early Sunday catching a favorable current in a very light breeze allowing Argon to amble around the contours of the island at a lazy 2-3 kts.  Upon strong recommendation from several of our dinner companions the prior night, our destination was a small inlet partially enclosed by Shell Beach.

Shell Beach loops around the southern part of West Neck Harbor and is known for its shimmering peach and pink shells.

Navigation aid made from beer kegs marking the channel to West Neck Harbor at the very tip of Shell Beach - definitely important to keep this green can well to port went entering.   

Sunfish race West Neck Harbor.

Bob programs to relax.

Linda reads her Kindle to relax.

And Linda swims to relax.

Bob Being Cranky
As lovely and spectacular as Long Island is, it's apparent that there is a different boating culture around here. Different = rude, dangerous and generally inconsiderate of others.  No-Wake is just a suggestion. We noticed also that the Ferrys rarely use sound signals when departing to alert surrounding boaters. Even when not in No-wake zones, we're getting used to power boats plowing up huge wakes as they blow by us much closer than necessary at 20 kts.  We saw one sailboat about to enter a very narrow shallow channel at West Neck only to be passed by a very fast trawler throwing up huge wakes. The sailor shook his fist a bit and did a loop before attempting the entrance again.

This kind of thing happens very rarely around Boston in our experience.  For one thing, the no-wake areas are pretty aggressively enforced, but generally power boaters around us tend to "get it" when it comes to their affect on the craft around them and are much more considerate.

We got passed by a 130-ish footer called Blind Date just as we were in two of the Shelter Island Ferry paths.  Blind Date threw up the biggest wakes of the trip thus far. One actually broke over our transom. I never do this but I hailed him on 16 "thanks for the wake, Blind Date""Sorry Capt".  Ok, well at least he's sorry.  I was surprised he was still in VHF range when he answered.

 Blind Date threw up wakes so big that they crashed in over our transom and in to the cockpit.
We saw Blind Date later on a slip in Sag Harbor.  As we passed by in our dinghy Bob threw up as big of a wake as could be mustered with 6 horse power.  Oh, well.

Sag Harbor
Sag Harbor used to be a major whaling port with a much more salty persona than today's affluent shopping and dining town that is part of the very upscale Hamptons.  The preponderance of mega yachts reminds one of Nantucket.  As we have splurged on high end dock slips much of the first 10 ten days of this trip, we seek now to to focus more on finding protected, quiet (and free) anchorages.  Although moorings are plentiful outside the breakwater of Sag Harbor, there is also a ample room for anchoring at least midweek.

Anchor set and snubber secure outside the breakwater of Sag Harbor.
After exploring the town by foot Sunday evening in search of a restaurant that did not have $50 entrees, we settled on an excellent Japanese restaurant Sen .  Bob's choice of Monday's restaurant was also a winner, Page at 63 Main .  Time to do more cooking on Argon to stem the cash outflow.

Quintessential is a catamaran anchored off our stern:  98' lenth, 52' beam.  Note the dwarfing of the tiny people on the fore deck.  
We stayed anchored in Sag Harbor for two nights so Bob could get in a couple more work days in his floating cubicle.  Linda continues her work hiatus but made lots of headway all day Monday from the boat checking off a long list of home logistics (banking, insurance adjustments, paying bills, etc.).

After examining winds, weather, currents and calendar, we decided to depart Sag Harbor and Long Island at about 1100 Tuesday targeting Block Island with Linda semi-solo sailing so Bob can work while underway.  We think there will be decent 4G service to keep Bob connected for the first 4 or 5 hours of the journey.

However, upon waking extremely early Tuesday morning, we encountered a couple of problems....

Still Working on Anchoring Skills
As winds shifted, the swing of boats brought our neighbor very close to covering our anchor.  In hindsight, we should have known this was a risk and should have moved our anchor the prior day.

We tried not to make too much noise as we carefully moved along side the much larger Campai on our port side to re-set our anchor.
Electron (mis)Management
We made a rookie error yesterday in not managing our power consumption closely enough.  With Bob working all day from his very powerful lap top along with all sorts of other lap tops and gadgets sucking up electrons, we ran down our two main batteries a bit too much sending the low voltage alarm off at 0530 just as we were changing anchor spots (the windlass likely set us over the threshold).  Not a big issue as we can just run the engine and let the alternator do its job.  However, we were temporarily concerned and confused when the charging display was not registering.

Running the engine to get the voltage up.  Initially the voltage change seemed to be much too slow.  Time to seriously start thinking about solar panels.

Examining the manual to confirm the expected displays on the charger and inverter.  Bob has stored all of the many Tartan 4000 manuals and documents on Google Docs for easy access.
We are frustrated by the relatively high energy consuming anchor light and really need to get Linda up to the top of the mast to swap in a LED.  We have also been considering adding solar and/or wind for additional amperage and are still researching and asking other sailors about the pros and cons of each but at least one of these options is surely in our future.

Semi-Solo Sailing to Block Island
We departed Tuesday promptly at 1100 with Linda at the helm while Bob continued his workday down below.
Dangerous Gardiner's Point Ruins about a mile off shore with very shallow waters up to the island.

After a frustratingly slow start, the wind picked up upon rounding Gardiner's Island as the Sound opened up and it was full on making 8+ kts and Linda handling all the sails and steering for most of the 40 nm journey.

Linda sails while Bob works below.  Brisk wind and choppy seas did resulted in tilted and rocky work conditions.

After several hours of choppy water and spells of 4 - 5 foot swells, Bob needs to come up for air and to settle is stomach. 

Feeling much better and with calmer seas.  Approximately six hours in to the journey.

Beautiful skies but something is brewing.

Weather radar showed a couple of pockets of severe thunderstorms as we approached Block Island.  We motored the final five miles and prepare to get hit by some weather, but once again, we were spared the severe part of the systems.
We arrived at the anchorage in Great Salt Pond Block Island dropping the hook before 1800 and in time to purchase some stuffed bread from the visiting Adiamo Bakery boat.  It occurred to us that Block Island, two weeks in to our trip, is the first familiar harbor we have stopped at; all of our other ports of call have been new experiences.  We settle in for a relaxing evening at anchor, and at home.  Time to cook dinner on board, examine the wind & weather forecast, work on the blog, and talk about what we might want to do or where we might want to go tomorrow.

Another track from Bob's super duper whiz-bang sailing tracker application showing the Sag Harbor to Block Island leg.