Following on the heels of the Fiesty Girl delivery, I helped my long time friend Jesse Falsone take his Tartan 37 north for the summer. It was just the two of us. I had hoped to do this trip with him last year (one or the other or both ways), but the Snipe scene in June and September was already on the schedule. So this year I was able to slip it in between the June Snipe circuit and Snipe Nationals in San Diego. We hit the weather and the current perfectly for a really nice trip. Here’s a nice example sailing up the New Jersey Coast:
We left the Magothy River just north of Annapolis on Saturday June 25th and as is typical in the Chesapeake, we ended up motoring all the way up the bay to the Elk River and into the C&D Canal with favorable current.
Our plan was to stop midway in the canal at the Summit North Marina for the night and leave at 3am just before the tide turned. We had a nice dinner at the restaurant there and hit the sack ready for the early morning. We bucked a little current in the first hour but once it turned we had a good boost out the canal and down the bay and we were greeted with a beautiful sunrise.
The breeze after daybreak built and we had a great sail almost all the way to Cape May with a good 1-1.5 knot current boost. We had to motor over to Cape May and took the inside line right up against the beach, but once past, were able to set the kite and start the fantastic sail up the New Jersey coast (the above video). The forecast was for 15-20 knots from the south building to 25-30, so we knew we would have a great run up to Ambrose Light and into New York Harbor.
As the evening progressed, the breeze built to the expected 15-20 and at dusk we dropped the kite and put the jib out wing and wing just to gear down a little. I got a few one hour chunks of sleep during the day and evening and about 11:30 we jibed from starboard to port (of course being hailed by a cargo ship right in the middle to insure we gave them plenty of room – we did and would have without their hail) but once the jibe was over, Jesse went below and I stood the graveyard shift. Things were very stable with the breeze never getting higher than the low 20s but the ocean swells were building and the surfs were getting ever faster 8, 9, 10, 11+ knots! Not bad. The new autohelm he named Starbuck did a great job despite the Tartan 37’s IOR inspired pinched in rear end. I had to keep a good lookout and had to alter course just a few times just to give shipping traffic nice wide berth.
At first light we saw the tell tail Varrazzano-Narrows Bridge lights and we took the jib down and beam reached into New York harbor. I was dead tired by this point so laid down for an hour and a half for a much needed nap, but work refreshed as we went under the bridge.
We were really excited because had the run up the coast not been so fast, we would have had to anchor in NY Harbor for 6 hours to wait for the favorable current up the East River. But fortunately, we hit it exactly right as the current was starting it max just as we hit the river and we rocketed through at mostly 9 and up to 11 knots. It was really fun seeing the bridges and other sights from the water, something I had not seen before.
Jesse went below to nap while I took us through the river and I had to wake him when we got to Manhasset Bay. We cleaned things up and I had a much anticipated couple of 10am IPAs. We relaxed and crashed for a few hours. It rained most of the day and we just chilled on the hook, having a simple sunset dinner as the rain moved away and hit the sack early.
The next day we motored over to Port Jefferson, the end point of my part of the delivery. We were essentially a day ahead of schedule, so we dropped the hook and Jesse gave me a tour of the greater Port Jeff harbor (he grew up here). I’ve been a number of places on Long Island but never here. It’s a really nice body of water comprised of Port Jefferson Harbor, Setauket Harbor, Little Bay and Conscience Bay and it reminds me of a place like Hyannis or Vineyard Haven, probably because of the ferry to Bridgeport CT. Again, we had a really nice dinner and sunset and we just relaxed.
The next day, we moved over to a mooring in Port Jefferson Harbor and went ashore to look around and have lunch. That afternoon we met and old friend of Jesse’s and had dinner with his family, a really nice group of folks and I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, this was the end of the trip for me as I had to get home to prepare to drive to San Diego for the Snipe Nationals. In the morning he took us to Islip for my flight out and to pick up the replacement crew (Jesse’s GF). She was getting off the plane I was getting on and despite my never having met her before, I recognized her from pictures and said TAG, you’re it! Fortunately, it was an uneventful flight to Baltimore with great weather. All in all a great trip. Great sailing and some good philosophical conversation, something the two of us have always shared, despite our somewhat divergent views on many fundamental things – sailing is not one of them – but that’s what makes life interesting.