Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Back to New Jersey

Where the East River is concerned the focus is the state of the tide and that would favor all afternoon. Silent Maid could leave Oyster Bay in a somewhat relaxed fashion and catch the tide through New York arriving at Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City before sunset.  The crew had time for breakfast at the mooring before suiting up in foul weather gear and getting out on deck to tuck a pair of reefs in before hoisting. We would sail off the mooring and tack out of the harbor before heading downwind on the strength of a Northeaster. We did motor sail a little as we went by the storied Seawanhaka Yacht Club, I was beginning to think our breakfast may have been a little too leisurely.  I've never been much of a breakfast person and have had to  cut eggs out of the diet. But the rest of the crew shouldn't  be denied their omelets because of their Skipper's limitations.

Things were a little wild out on the Sound with sizable rollers to surf, wind speeds in the upper twenties and boat speeds above seven, punching eight. There was rain, heavy at times. The crew was happy except Wendy who found the motion a little intense. I just had to steer for a little while before tucking in the third reef, what a ride! But I did have to remember how many times we had fixed the steering which was under considerable strain now as the helmsman had to adjust for the quartering seas. The boat would ride up the backs of the waves, hit a peak speed as she crested them in a slather of foam then buried her bow at the bottom of the downhill slide. With all of the weight of the sail on one side it took a great deal of push on the wheel to keep her going downwind. Who cares about a little rain when on a carnival attraction like this?

Once past Execution Rocks, cute name, and nearing the Throgs Neck bridge the wind and sea lost their force and the current became the dominant feature. Before the Whitestone Bridge we had shaken out two reefs, and not long after another. An occasional gust would remind us of what lay just outside the city but soon we were just motoring. We slowed down at one point to pull Maid Service alongside to bail her.  We wanted our transit of the East to read like a tourist brochure, not a big adventurous sea story involving swamped dinghies big currents and commercial traffic. Manhattan is always a sight, but in a northeaster when there is mist and cloud swirling among the tall buildings, the sights might be the best. We got accolades from a few pedestrians and a horn from a tow truck adding to Silent Maid's list of unusual compliments.

We tried sailing a couple times but it was not to be, the winds were too squirrely and as we approached the zone of a zillion ferries down around the Battery we abandoned those efforts altogether.  Crossing the Hudson we rounded up before Ellis Island to take the sail then motored into Jersey City. One last shower drenched us as we approached the dock. There was still an hour of light left so those omelets had been worth it and the crew had certainly worked for them over the course of the day.


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  2. It was a a great thing to do cruising with your loved ones.