The planned route from the Thames River up the Niantic River
The planned route from the Thames River up the Niantic River

I had a great Father’s Day. I had been planning on putting the sailboat in the water today, but it was a long sail from the launch in the Thames River to the mooring up the Niantic River. I didn’t expect the boys to want to go, so I had originally planned to either do the trip by myself or have a friend along. But last weekend, Will and Ben decided they wanted to go for the trip. I warned them that it would be a 4 hour trip. And they still wanted to go.

This morning, Mark Matkovich helped me launch the boat and step the mast. The boys and I headed into Long Island Sound. The wind was blowing so we set up the mainsail and wandered west past New London, Ocean Beach, and then past Millstone nuclear power plant into Niantic Bay.

In the bay the wind dropped a bit and our speed slowed to under 3 knots. We decided to put up the jib and as the breeze picked up we made over 5 knots with the rail almost in the water.  The boys (and I) were a little nervous with the stronger gusts, but after a while we got more used to the sailing (yes, on an old O’Day 22, the headsail makes all the difference – I think in later years they modified the design to carry a bigger mainsail and smaller headsail).

Heading under the Rt 156 bridge into the Niantic River.
Heading under the Rt 156 bridge into the Niantic River.

In the bay, one of the spreaders came loose and fell down. We quickly dropped both sails and started the motor.

The Niantic Bridge (Amtrak Bascule Bridge) was already up (lots of traffic on the river on the weekend) and we can squeeze under the Rt. 156 bridge without needing it to raise.

We motored up the river to the mooring where Susanna was waiting for us. It only took three tries for Ben, Will and I to catch the mooring pendant after unloading at the dock. The entire sail took 5 hours and the planned route was 12 miles, so I’m guessing we sailed 13-14 miles (with tacking).

Susanna and I will have to step the mast one of these days to repair the spreader before we go sailing again. However, we should be all set to motor around the river to let the boys go swimming.   Now I just have to finish the dinghy to make use of the mooring easier.

A picture of the boat on its mooring in the Niantic River.
A picture of the boat on its mooring in the Niantic River.

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