Thursday, November 09, 2006

Stamford, CT, to Throg’s Neck, NY

18.0 nm
Wind: NW 10-15 knots
Seas: Building to two feet
Maximum speed: 7.7 knots
Average speed: 5.1 knots
Latitude: 40°48.73’N
Longitude: 073°47.75’W

New York, New York! The Big Apple! We’re finally here! And it’s crazy. We’re anchored off of the Throg’s Neck Bridge, just north of the East River. Tomorrow we head down with the tide past Manhattan, through Hell Gate. We’re anchored right where our guidebook told us to, in a protected cove cut off by the western part of the bridge, but we’re the only sailboat in sight. As Karl said, it’s pretty crazy camping in New York City. I was just out, washing dishes off the stern, wearing a tank top because it’s been seventy degrees all day, and listening to the semi-trucks zooming by on the highway honk their horns at me. I just put a mussel noodle casserole into the oven (same as tuna, but with canned marinated mussels instead), and we’re getting ready to chow down after a sleigh ride down from Connecticut.

It was the first day that conditions have been ideal for sailing. We were on a beam reach (the wind was coming from the side), which is the fastest point of sail, a current of a little more than a knot was with us, we had all our sail set, which was just enough but not too much, and we careened on into the New York Harbor under full sail. It was pretty amazing. Even on a beam reach, there were a couple of times I felt our heeling get a little beyond my comfort level, which meant the wind was pretty strong. We would have had to tie a couple of reefs in if we were beating.

We’ve never sailed that fast, though. It was absolutely exhilarating. The sun beating down, the wind and water carrying us along—it was amazing. Karl saw the GPS hit 8.0 knots, a full knot above our hull speed, but it only recorded 7.7, so that’s all I’m giving us. That’s only two-tenths less than with the motor in full gear! It’s just nice to know, after all our frustration, that this old girl can really sail. The conditions just haven’t been right, and we really don’t have the sail area she needs for light air.

There continue to be some difficult things, though. We tried to dinghy up to a marina when we got in, to do all the town stuff that we have yet to do. Buy some more fresh food, maybe some diesel, some motor oil for the engine, get some water (because the stuff Karl got from the yacht club tastes like absolute crap, and I can already feel myself dehydrating), do some laundry—I still haven’t had a shower, which is beginning to affect my contentment. But they said there was no place for us to dinghy up to! The only thing they could offer us was a slip for the night, which we would have to pay for, of course, and I don’t think that would have even provided us with all the resources we needed.

We ended up rowing back by a members-only yacht club, and they were nice enough to give us good, old-fashioned Bronx chicken cutlet heroes, as well as some motor oil Jerry Gearbox had lying around in his locker. (Thanks Jerry!) But still, what I want is a good, old-fashioned Appalachian Trail town stop, where we can get some town food, get all cleaned up, and get our fill of civilization so we can head off into the wilds and not have to mess with people for another ten days or so. As it is, we’re just going to have to keep messing around until we can find some place where we can get everything done.

We just can’t figure out this marina thing. Do you need to call ahead? Do yacht clubs work the same as marinas? Do we need to hail them on the VHF? Do we have to buy a spot from them to get services? I just don’t understand. I thought it would be simpler than this. And to make things more frustrating, I can’t get internet access, so I have going on two weeks of unposted blog entries. It begins to make it difficult to get motivated to write them.

Still, life is good. Tomorrow, Manhattan, and the next day—the world!

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