Sailing to Block Island

A panoramic view of the anchorage at Block Island, RI

A panoramic view of the anchorage at Block Island, RI

I took a day of vacation on Friday to sail to Block Island, RI and meet some friends from work. They had sailed there on Thursday from Newport on a 44′ boat owned by Dick Lemish. They had a 24 mile journey and made it in 4 hours.  I have a 22′ sailboat that can only do about half the speed and we had a 34 mile journey.

Early Friday morning in the Niantic River.

Early Friday morning in the Niantic River.

I decided not to sail alone, and one of the guys from my office, Adrian, took the day off to sail with me. I picked him up at 5:45 in the morning, and we were underway by 6:30.  We had an early start to catch the tide right at Race Rock (by afternoon there would have been a 4-knot current against us at the race).

We headed out on a calm morning, motoring all the way to Race Rock.  We put up sails as we passed Race Rock and sailed most of the remaining 18-miles to Block Island. The breeze picked up in the afternoon and soon we were flying towards the island at over 5-knots with just the main sail up and 6-foot swells from behind.

After a 9 hour, 34 mile sail, we arrived in time for afternoon drinks and a dinner of burgers and chips (and more beer). I was too tired to head into town with the rest, and fell asleep pretty early.  I slept on my boat, and Adrian camped out in the cockpit of the larger boat. I finally made my 2014 goal of an overnight on the sailboat.

The next morning we departed for home about 8 in the morning. We had a good westerly breeze that pushed us most of the way across Block Island Sound. We turned at Misquamicut State Beach, RI and headed west (under sails and motor). We passed east of Fishers Island, NY and bounced through the choppy waters off of Napatree Point into Fishers Island Sound. The breeze picked up so we killed the outboard and sailed back and forth across Fishers Island sound towards Long Island Sound and Niantic. We motored a bit when the wind died down, but for the most part we sailed until past the Thames River.

Adrian and I enjoying a beer after a long journey to Block Island, RI.

Adrian and I enjoying a beer after a long journey to Block Island, RI.

At about 4:30 we decided to motor the remainder of the trip (past Milestone nuclear power station and up the Niantic River). We pulled into the mooring at about 6pm after a 10 hour and 37-mile journey home.

Sunset at anchor in Great Salt Pond, Block Island, RI

Sunset at anchor in Great Salt Pond, Block Island, RI

 

A summary of our track to Block Island, RI from Niantic River, CT

A summary of our track to Block Island, RI from Niantic River, CT

 

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Pictures from the Curtis Family Week

My dad, my brother, and three nephews visited this past week.  All five of them stayed with us for the week. It was much too busy of a week to write all about it on a tired Sunday morning. Instead, I’ll upload pictures.

On Sunday, we stopped by Cows and Cones in Ledyard for Ice Cream.  Here is Will and his cousin, Brady, eating their ice cream.

On Sunday, we stopped by Cows and Cones in Ledyard for Ice Cream. Here is Will and his cousin, Brady, eating their ice cream.

On Monday, we headed into Boston. Here is a picture of the boys on the "T" (MBTA) heading into the city.

On Monday, we headed into Boston. Here is a picture of the boys on the “T” (MBTA) heading into the city.

On Tuesday, we headed north to Six Flags New England.  Brady doesn't like rides, so he stayed home with my dad.

On Tuesday, we headed north to Six Flags New England. Brady doesn’t like rides, so he stayed home with my dad.

Will and his cousin, Chase, on one of the smaller rides. Will became Chase's "best buddy" over the past week.

Will and his cousin, Chase, on one of the smaller rides at Six Flags. Will became Chase’s “best buddy” over the past week.

Chase in line with me for a ride at Six Flags. Looking sharp for the camera!

Chase in line with me for a ride at Six Flags. Looking sharp for the camera!

Wednesday was a quiet day. We took a trip in the afternoon to the Book Barn in Niantic to get some reading material for the boys. Here is Chase watching Ben play chess against Brady.

Wednesday was a quiet day. We took a trip in the afternoon to the Book Barn in Niantic to get some reading material for the boys. Here is Chase watching Ben play chess against Brady.

Thursday took us to Bluff Point Park and Fort Griswold Park during the day. Here the boys are enjoying the water at Bluff Point.

Thursday took us to Bluff Point Park and Fort Griswold Park during the day. Here the boys are enjoying the water at Bluff Point.

 

Thursday took us to Bluff Point Park and Fort Griswold Park during the day. In the evening we headed over to my Uncle Jim and Aunt Rhonda's house for a some dinner and pool time. Here are Will, Brady and Chase swimming with Susanna.

Thursday evening we headed over to my Uncle Jim and Aunt Rhonda’s house for a some dinner and pool time. Here are Will, Brady and Chase swimming with Susanna.

Friday and Saturday we headed to New York City. We spent most of Saturday exploring Central Park. Here is my dad watching the boys climb rocks at the park.

Friday and Saturday we headed to New York City. We spent most of Saturday exploring Central Park. Here is my dad watching the boys climb rocks at the park.

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This morning’s harvest

Thanks to Will, Ben and Brady for helping.

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The Summer Sliding Away

The summers here feel like a giant waterslide.  We jump on in early June and splash at the bottom in August. It is fun no doubt, but one big blur as the summer flies by.

The boys have a busy summer the weeks they are here, with only one week maybe free just before they return to school. The first week on the waterslide, the boys had soccer camp and my mom came and visited.

Will patiently waiting to board his flight to St. Louis.

Will patiently waiting to board his flight to St. Louis.

This week sends Will on a solo adventure to St. Louis to spend a week with my dad. I drove him to Boston this morning and watched him board a Southwest Airlines flight. It brings mixed emotions – I love that he is having an adventure; but it is also sad to see him starting to grow wings and fly farther from the nest. I think he was more nervous than he wanted to admit. Of course, I probably was as well. Now he is there, he has a fun week planned. He will get to see his cousins that he hasn’t seen in two years, maybe visit Six Flags and the City Museum, spend a night camping on a river, and maybe a bike ride if time can be found.

Ben is at Project Oceanology this week. He gets to spend the week out on Long Island Sound exploring the world living in the coastal waters. He also gets a whole week without his big brother bothering him at home. I think it is exciting for him to get a chance to a camp by himself, and not be overshadowed by his brother. Today he went to Pine Island and seined for fish along the shore, catching fluke and flounder.

We have one day off this weekend, Sunday. I think a day resting will be needed (though who knows, maybe a short trip to the North Lake beach will be fun).

When the boys return in August my brother, his kids, and my dad will visit for 8 days. Finally, in late August, we will have a week without any camps or visitors planned. The boys have asked for a day to just take it easy and play video games. I’m inclined to give it to them. We may also take the sailboat out for an overnight camp to Long Island – I’ll have to see how the weather is that week.

And after that we splash down into the next school year.

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Saturday morning sail (or motor)

Sailing around Black Point from Niantic Bay towards Long Ledge

Sailing around Black Point from Niantic Bay towards Long Ledge

It wasn’t sunny or windy. But it wasn’t rainy or cold. So it was a perfect day to take the boat down the Niantic River and out into the Long Island Sound, raise the sails, decide there wasn’t any wind, lower the sails, catch a right and motor over towards Rocky Neck State Park. Which is what we did.

We anchored for a little while not too far from Griswold Island next to Long Ledge. Susanna decided to test out the cold waters of Long Island Sound for a very short swim. I didn’t bring my bathing suit, but I still jumped in. And it was cold.

The wind picked up after lunch and I again raised the sails.  However it was a light wind and with the current in LIS heading west we were not making any progress towards home. I started the outboard and we motored home.  Overall we covered 15 miles in about 4 hours and 30 minutes.

Our day out on the water

Our day out on the water

 

 

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Blueberries and blueberries

Blueberries fresh from the garden.

Blueberries fresh from the garden.

It is blueberry season. We have six blueberry bushes (2 each of 3 different varieties), but have typically only gotten a significant number of berries from two of the plans. It is looking like we will get berries from all six this summer, though only two of the bushes have ripe berries this early.

Fresh blueberries for breakfast today.

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Workshop Day!

The 4th of July (or “Colonial Insubordination Day” as my friends in the Royal Navy like to call it) calls for hot weather, barbecue, beer and fireworks. However, this year, thanks to Hurricane Arthur, we get cold and rain, though as I write this, it sounds like someone is trying fireworks in the distance. Not sure what there is to see in the rain tonight.  And don’t worry; even cold, rainy nights can support beer.

Study storage shelves (plywood with red oak face-frame)

Study storage shelves (plywood with red oak face-frame)

Today I got an escape from my chores to spend the day in the workshop. I’m building outdoor toy boxes for Susanna’s preschool. Three boxes from 10 sheets of plywood, so I have lots of left over plywood scraps and decided to build a small (16″ wide x 12″ deep) storage shelf for the office. It is also a good chance to test out the finish that I plan for the toy boxes. The shelf was a quick, taking less than a day in the middle of another (larger) project and was a good reminder to prep surfaces as much as possible prior to assembly.  I finished the shelves with a coat of shellac followed by a coat of spar varnish. I’ll probably be lazy and only apply one coat of varnish to the shelves (unless they look like crap tomorrow after the varnish dries).

I’ll post pictures of the boxes when I get them done. I have one box (sides, top and bottom) glued up. Tomorrow I’ll sand the interior and put in the shelf. I need to mill more red oak for the face frame and door edging.  And when I’m done with the boxes, I’ll need to get back to finishing the dinghy build. At least the barn swallows are enjoying the half-finished dinghy in the garage as a place to hang out.

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More Pictures from Today

Benjamin sitting on the front porch

Benjamin sitting on the front porch

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Hanging out at the park

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“Row, Row, Row Your Boat”

Susanna and I took the “new” inflatable dinghy down to the river and spent a few minutes enjoying the evening on the sailboat.  We took Targa with us. He hates the water. So does Tucker. But Targa doesn’t get carsick, so he gets to the be the first to visit the boat.

Susanna and Targa enjoying the view from the mooring

Susanna and Targa enjoying the view from the mooring

Of course we had to row the dinghy from the launch to the mooring…

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