Friday, September 14, 2007

NYC to Cape May, NJ

Another Blemish for Poor Cielo...

A couple things happen when the NYC Parks Department runs a marina and mooring field. One is that you can get a mooring in NYC for only $30/night. Another is that idiots place the moorings. We came back to the boat late Saturday night to find a sickening sight. The propped-up outboard motor of the 22' boat next to ours had gotten tangled in our mooring line and then spent the next god know how many hours digging huge gouges into our lovely pristine gel coat. It also knocked our 66 lb anchor off its mount and took a lovely chunk of teak with it. Yes, you read all that correctly. There wasn't enough room for A 22' FOOT BOAT to swing properly. I should have known better. Actually, I did know better. We were both concerned about how close we were to the other boat when we first moored, but thought to ourselves "Surely the marina operators, the same ones who directed us to this mooring and knew the details of our boat, surely they know that there is enough room here to swing." We were wrong. Of course, at the time we didn't know the marina was run by the Parks Dept. Once we recovered from the initial shock and dismay further inspection revealed that damage is only cosmetic, and we can repair it when we haul out next week in Havre de Grace, MD to repair the other, more sinister wounds that we inflicted upon her rudder. Also, in all fairness, the folks at the Boat Basin were extremely nice, helpful folks. We should have just remembered to look out for ourselves.

Heading South...

After a couple days back in NYC, yesterday at noon we left our rollicking and rolling mooring at the 79th Street Boat Basin and headed down the Hudson with the outgoing tide - Cape May, NJ bound. One hundred twenty-five miles that would take us back past lower Manhattan, under the Verrazzano bridge, out into the North Atlantic and down the NJ shoreline. Based on the forecasted E winds of 5-10 knots we expected the trip to take us between 24-30 hours. That's right - our first overnight ocean passage!


Wait for Weather?? (or) BAD Monkey!

We had waited for that weather forecast. East winds of 5-10 knots at night with 10 knots both Thursday and Friday wasn't perfect, but it would suffice. Why not take it easy for our first overnighter? So as we were motoring down the Hudson River into S winds of 15-20 knots I was confused. The last front had passed and we were to have three solid days of stable air mass. So WTF were we motoring into? Must be some localized NYC air. Nope. Out into the Atlantic we went, into a solid SSE 15-20 knots of air. We continually wait for weather, and NOAA is consistently way out in left field on the forecast. Not just a little, a LOT. When I find whatever monkey NOAA is paying to do their forecasting I'm going to have some words with that little primate.

Look Ma, No Lights...

So we motor-sailed the first 40 miles until the NJ shoreline opens up to the southwest. At a bit before sunset off went the engine, on went the running lights....hmmmmm. Slight problem with the running lights. Our dinghy (on davits for the short, purportedly calm trip) was blocking our stern light. Not good. I need to move that stern light, but I certainly couldn't do it then. Nobody's keen on skirting 90 miles of heavy barge and shipping traffic with no light on your butt. I also didn't notice any red and green glow reflecting from our running lights on the bow. A quick inspection revealed another casualty from the mooring incident - when the other boat knocked our anchor off, it smashed it up into our running lights and completely demolished them. No lights at all. Now we're really screwed. It's already dark, and we really don't want to skirt said 90 miles of barge and shipping traffice with NO lights. Turning around and heading back into NY Harbor with no lights is almost certainly even worse. Fortunately Lizz remembered the LED flashlight style running lights we have for the dinghy. A little duct tape and we were in business!

Sleepless on the Settee...

With the weather not being exactly what was forecasted, we ended up being close-hauled virtually the entire way. Sleeping below on the settee (sofa) in 15-20 knots of air while sailing to windward is like trying to sleep in a washing machine with marching band playing "Crack, Splash, Creak, Groan, Bang" in your ear. Above decks was beautiful - Cielo was booming along in the darkness at 6-7 knots, under a star-strewn moonless sky, throwing out a constant glow of phosphorescent sparkles in her wake. We did 3 hours on, 3 off watches. I took the 9-12 and 3-6 watches, Lizz the 12-3 and 6-9. We both did great, with one exception where one of us had to call the other for help. It wasn't Lizz. That's right - Lizz handled her watches with ease but just before the end of my first watch I nearly shat myself when I couldn't identify a series of oncoming lights. It turns out it was a trawler with nets in tow passing in front of our bow and a tug pushing a barge passing us port to port. I managed to figure it out, but not before waking Lizz from what was probably the most sleep she'd had up to that point.

When it was all said and done it was a good trip down. We smoked through the 125 miles in 21 hours, and arrived in Cape May at 9:30 this morning. We're currently anchored off the Coast Guard station listening to a lot of chanting and shouting by the coasties. What the Coast Guard station needs with a marching band I don't know, but I do know they'll be ready to play for whatever comes their way. If the forecast holds, we'll head out of here Sunday and up the Delaware Bay. Monday we'll go through the canal and over to Tidewater Marina in Havre de Grace for a week or so to patch up our home.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Michael said...

fabulous -- they say carry lots of spares but who would have thought you'd need spare running lights! Enjoy the great seafood in Cape May -- and the bathrooms/showers are great at Utch's Marina. see you in Annapolis!

September 15, 2007 at 10:02 AM  
Blogger Kyle said...

Sounds like lizz was the hero in this episode. She saved the day with the lights and identifying the boats! FYI... I will be bringing an LED headlamp with me incase the lights go out on the crossing.

September 17, 2007 at 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Earl said...

wow, that is intense. No lights, dark sea. If Scott had brought his led rave gloves, you could have used those.

September 28, 2007 at 12:08 AM  

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