Sailing Log:  9/30/04

emptyingout.jpg (39354 bytes)With the end of the season only a few very short days hence (haulout on Monday, October 4), I understood the need to go sailing whenever the weather dictated.  Today was one of those days:  bright, crisp (even cold, overnight and into the morning before the sun took hold), and with pleasing winds.

The anchorage was starting to take on its late season look, with many empty moorings and lots of boats that were awaiting haulout, stripped of sails, gear, and life.

chartlet930.jpg (254765 bytes)
Approximate Route Chart
(Course line is not exact, but I tried to show the various tacks, etc.)

sailfromanchorage.jpg (43664 bytes)As it turned out, the winds were pretty light to start, but there was more than enough to sail away from the mooring.  What wind there was was true southeast, and winds like this, in the immediate area, tend to be strongest in certain places:  specifically along the southern end of Clapboard Island, which is the most open to the sea through a narrow pass between Cow and Diamond Islands, and where also there is frequently a land-based thermal effect on the winds.  (This is most notable directly in the lee of the island, however). 

husseyinside.jpg (39100 bytes)With obvious holes visible on the water all around the narrow bands of wind, I concentrated on tacking continually into shore as much as possible, within the constraints of the navigable water.  Frequent tacks are sort of fun when the wind is light, but one tires quickly if the wind is heavier (I tend to try and avoid it then).  Today, it was a joy.  I had no distinct plan as to where I was headed, but eventually it seemed clear that I was following the wind bands up to Hussey Sound, which is oriented almost exactly towards the southeast.

nextstopportugal.jpg (43413 bytes)The tide was flooding, and the Hussey features very strong currents down its deep center.  Racers in the area know that to avoid an adverse tide in the sound, one must tack along one of the shores--preferably the Long Island shore, which is quite out of the strong current.  To get there, however, one needs to sail straight across the sound at the point where the current is strongest (at least from the direction I was coming from), so in very light winds I continued sailing across the sound, dodging lobster pots sideways as the 2-knot current swept me back into the center of the bay.  Halfway across, it was obvious that I was not going to be able to sail outside of one particular lobster boat that was fishing there, so I tacked directly into the face of the current, in about the strongest point.  (Ouch!)  This was a killer, but I remained on the tack only long enough to get around the lobster boat, after which I gratefully tacked back towards Long Island.

longiclose.jpg (36021 bytes)I short-tacked along the Long Island beach, enjoying the lack of current.  Outside, I noted that there were some good sized swells crashing on the outer island rocks, probably leftover from the remnants of Hurricane Jeanne, which had passed offshore earlier in the week.  Long Island is home to a number of classic island Victorian cottages, the sorts of homes that should be on an island (not McMansions).  While the houses are too tightly packed together for my taste, I'm sure it's a pleasant community of which to be a part.

cloudscow.jpg (41824 bytes)
Once clear of College Island, marking the end of my current-free sailing, I sailed across the sound on port tack towards Pumpkin Nob on the other side.  However, the winds were light, the adverse current was strong, and the water was relatively confused, a combination of lobster boat wakes, current, and the underlying swell from offshore.  I abandoned any plans to continue further out, and instead tacked around to begin a downwind run, this time with all that current in my favor.  My speed soon blossomed to around 5 knots, after struggling upwind at 2-3 knots.

I tacked downwind in a light breeze, staying right on the verge of a band of clouds that had swept in from the south; I had my flannel shirt on and off a half-dozen times as the sun peeked in and out.  As I rounded the northern end of Clapboard, the wind, which had seemed to be fizzling out, suddenly strengthened to a perfect 15 knots, so I eschewed the thought of heading to the mooring and instead hardened up and enjoyed a great beat up the inside of the island, back towards The Brothers and Portland.  On the south side of the island, the wind again lightened, so I turned and sailed pleasantly back to the mooring.

I picked up the mooring under sail, but the tide had wrapped the pendants slightly around the chain, and I couldn't get the line immediately on board.  Annoyingly, this caused my otherwise fine mooring attempt to go wrong, as the tension on the line snubbed the bow, and the stern swung around (with the main still up).  No harm was done, but I hate it when the boat ends up sailing in a circle around the mooring ball.  In any event, I soon had the line untangled and properly secured, and I enjoyed putting the sails away and cleaning up the boat, as well as taking care of a few end-of-season chores.  Depending on the weather over the next couple days, it seemed as possible as not that today could have been the last sail of the season.  A good one it was. 

One way or another, I'd be back on board Sunday, either to sail the boat partway to the Royal River for a late season overnight cruise before Monday's haulout, or else to remove the sails and such to prepare for Monday.

Glissando, Pearson  Triton #381

We recommend viewing this site with your screen resolution set to 1024 x 768 or larger.  Problems?  Email the webmaster.

1999-2014 by Timothy C. Lackey.  All rights reserved.  No duplication of any portion of this website allowed without express permission.  Permission may be obtained by emailing the webmaster.