Entries in sail boat delivery captain (1)

Sunday
Aug052012

Timing The Race Tides: Delivery from CT to RI

CYS was hired by a yacht brokerage firm to take care in the short delivery of the 1968 Swan36 "Barbara Anne" from Stamford, CT to Jamestown, RI. This boat will be hauled and surveyed in preparation for sale out of the Jamestown Boat Yard; an expert in restoring and maintaining both new and classic Swans.

Since this boat had not been sailing in over a year and over-wintered in CT in the water, CYS first did a sea trial of this boat to prove systems and seaworthyness. A few issues were found after this trial, remedied, and the boat was deemed ready enough for the trip to Rhode Island!

Key to any delivery up Long Island Sound, but especially in this older small sailboat is timing the ebb and flow from the sound. We were lucky in both weather and tides, and pushed out from the Harbor House Marina in Stamford Harbor at 0430. The first few hours we enjoyed flat seas, warm air, and some favorable tide as we motored east. The tide however turned around 0800 that morning, and we spent the next tide cycle in an unfavorable flooding current. For this trip, a stint against the tide is unavoidable for a small vessel with max pushing speed of 6 kts in flat water.

Early in the afternoon the tide went slack, then began turning favorable during the ebb. The afternoon breeze first blew in from the east, but eventually clocked to the south which allowed us to gain a bit of speed on an easy reach. With just under 70 miles up to The Race from Stamford, the pull of the current within 10 or so miles of this narrow stretch between Fisher's Island and Montauk Long Island was a wonderful agent of speed! It is hard to believe but as we passed through The Race we were doing 9 and 10 kts over the bottom, not bad old girl! For anyone that has passed through this during the full tidal rush, it is quite a scary thing in a small boat. You begin to see white caps from a ways out and then the waves and visible currents seemingly running from several directions. The feeling is a chaotic one in the rip of it; eddies, and even on a flat day, sizable waves! We managed getting through with a firm grip on the helm, and had a nice view of Fisher's Island Light to port:

More favorable tide drew us past Fisher's Island towards Point Judith. We thought we were going to get a perfect sunset and evening sail on Block Island Sound, but then the fog rolled in. This fog was of Maine caliber thickness. The air was so water-soaked, anything in it ended up with a mist of water droplets! This was not a great place to lose viability due to the traffic in and out of Point Judith, a popular spot for pleasure boats and big ferries going to Block Island. We had two close encounters with small power boats FLYING through the fog, thankfully catching a glimpse of us at the last minute and slowing down to avoid us. Due to our slow speed and their maniacally fast speeds, the reality is that avoiding incident seemed entirely in these powerboaters' hands (yikes!). Regardless, we put out regular radio calls alerting anyone that would listen that we were passing through the traffic lanes in the lil Barabara Anne!

We pushed on into the dark and fog up towards Naragansett Bay which was uneventful besides the lights and markers that once in close range, popped out the fog surprisingly. Coming into Jamestown in the dark and fog is not ideal. We were lucky enough to weave through the rocks and moored boats to the docks, parking her for the night. Early today I brought the boat out to mooring where she will wait to be hauled this coming week. I met some nice folks at JBY, had some breakfast and then jumped on a bus back to Portland. A great trip and another delivery logged for CYS!