Saturday, October 10, 2020

Newport and Here We Blow Again

Intermezzo is lying in Newport Harbor, anchored not far from when we were here in August. (It was warmer then.) We are sitting out yet another cold front that starting blowing this morning and is supposed to continue into the night. The wind is currently blowing a steady 25 knots with gusts over 30. The forecast calls for gusts up to 40 knots. This time I am ready!

The passage here from Hadley Harbor started out, as Lisa described it, "Quite sporting." As we left the shelter of the anchorage and ventured out into Buzzards Bay, the wind was blowing 20-25 knots from the north, right into the Woods Hole inlet. I think there must have been a current flowing against the wind, as the waves were steep and square. It was a very bumpy and wet ride.

Once I turned east and we were out of the effects of the inlet, the seas calmed quite a bit. We were able to sail most of the way to Newport, though the wind was fickle towards the end and we had to turn on an engine a couple ways to maintain speed.

An exhausted land bird landed on Intermezzo along the way. First it tried to cling to the leech of the jib, but got shaken off. Then it tried perching on the stack pack for the main, but I don't think it felt safe there with limited visibility. The it tried hanging on the the aluminum foil for the jib, but slid down the slippery metal like a fireman on a pole. Finally, it just sat down in the sun on the trampoline, its feathers all fluffed out for warmth. It rode with us for about an hour, got rested and warm and took off back to land. I'm guessing it got blown out to sea by the previous night's gale and had been flying for a long time. Glad to have helped the little critter out.

There were lots of boats out sailing as we entered Narragansett Bay, the wind piping up and people enjoying an afternoon's sail on all sorts of boats, schooners, big racing sloops, small dinghies and learn-to-sail rental boats. I had lowered the sails as I entered the bay as I sensed the wind was dying. I felt conspicuously nonsailor-like as  I motored up the bay to the harbor while everyone else was under sail.

When we arrived in the harbor, we went to the fuel dock to fill up with diesel and then to a nice big spot in which to drop our anchor.

This time I let out plenty of chain right at the start to give us a nice 7:1 scope.  Then I rigged up the backup anchor and a backup anchor bridle. If it blows 40 knots, I'm more than ready.

For those interested, here's how I set up the backup anchor (see the photos below):

  1. I set the Fortress FX-37 anchor on the bow roller, securing it with a sail tie with a quick-release knot.
  2. I attached 25 feet of 3/8" G40 High Test chain to the anchor with a 7/16" Crosby shackle. I flake the chain into a sturdy canvas bag which sits on the trampoline close to the anchor.
  3. I attach 275 feet of 3/4" Novablue double braided polyester anchor rode to the chain with another shackle. (I use polyester rope instead of nylon for anchor rodes due to its lower stretch and problems reported with three strand nylon unraveling and/or heating up under load.)
  4. I cleat off the anchor rode to the center cleat in the windlass locker, flaked out to the proper length for the depth of water we are in.
  5. Now the anchor is ready to deploy by just releasing the sail tie and letting it fall from the bow roller with the chain and rope rode following it.
  6. I stow the remaining length of rope rode in plastic tub on deck with the bitter end tied to the base of the mast with thin stuff. We can easily let out more rode if needed or, if the shit hits the fan, cut and run.  I would quickly tie a fender onto the rode if we did this so I could come back and get it. (The polyester double braid is expensive!)

Tomorrow the wind is supposed to be from the northeast at 10-15 knots, with gusts to 20. Perfect for sailing to Block Island if the forecast is correct. If it is, my sister Alison and nephew Griffin will be joining us for the trip. They visited Intermezzo when we were here in August but had to settle for a dinghy tour of the harbor and its megayachts. This time they'll get the real deal. 

I've been using my time productively while waiting out (yet another) blow. I just finished checking and lubricating the steering system. All looks good.

Back to ticking things off on the unending to-do list.

Our cold, weary, feathered hitchhiker getting a rest

The backup anchor, chain, and double braid rope rode, ready to go

The desired length of anchor rode cleated off in the windlass locker, the remaining flaked into a tub, the bitter end tied with light line to the base of the mast