Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The "Good" versus the "Not So Good"...

We arrived at the town dock at 7:30 am to find Larry waiting to take us to our boat. That was good. While loading the boat, Dylan decided to jump into the water soaking all of our clothes - this while still tied to the dock. Definitely not so good.

Upon dropping us off at the boat, Larry had one final set of instructions - "Keep her off the rocks" - definitely good.

We unhooked the mooring lines at 8:30 am - right on schedule. It was a beautiful morning and a bunch of friends waved goodbye at the town dock - all very good.

One planned stop in Rockland to top off our fuel at Journey's End Marina. We also picked up a SPOT Messenger and configured it over a cellular internet connection after leaving Rockland. The SPOT device sends our position to satellites every 10 minutes. The track that those positions create can be viewed by anyone so everyone can watch our progress or see exactly where we are. Our public tracking page is located here:

All good.

Leaving Rockland we experienced 2-4 foot rolling waves - we call them rollers. They rise slowly and fall slowly. It's a nice gently motion. More good. How much good do we deserve in a single day?

Two hours before sunset we arrived outside Monhegan Island. This is our final go/no-go position before heading overnight across the Gulf of Maine to Cape Cod. There was no change in the weather prediction and the 4 foot rollers continued. Even more good!

It turns out, we used up our allocation of good. About 2 hours after sunset, the period of the waves shortened from 8 seconds to 4 seconds (and less). This turns those nice gentle rollers into choppy, nasty, up-and-down motion. The waves were all coming on our nose too. Straight-at-you waves are the safest bad weather condition but they are mighty uncomfortable. We had 12 more hours of this type of weather to face. This was certainly in the not so good category. In fact, it was worth 10 not-so-goods.

Within 2 hours, Karen was sick. I felt queasy but was OK. The dogs had never been in bad weather and took it wonderfully. We gave them some preventative sea-sickness medication that would make them a little drowsy. They didn't like the motion but they were really great. Karen couldn't do her watches and I had to pilot all night in the dark against those waves with no sleep. Make that 50 not-so-goods. 10 isn't enough.

By 9:30 the next morning, we were in the protection of Cape Cod and the weather was light. I gave the helm to Karen so I could sleep for a couple of hours before piloting through the Cape Cod Canal with close maneuvers and other boats all around.

We eventually found our way to a calm cove off Cuttyhunk where we dropped the anchor, ate one of the three meals we missed, and tried to brush ourselves off. The anchorage was beautiful, the sunset was golden, and all was happy again inside aCappella. Very, very good.

That lasted all of 10 minutes - Hurricane Danny is aiming right at Long Island and set to hit in 3 days.

The not-so-goods won today but we've only just begun this joust.


Sheila and Bill Corbett said...

Hi Jeff and Karen!

Sorry to hear of your rough night but realize that in 24 hours you traveled about as far as I will in 4 days. In retrospect, can you point to anything in the weather predictions that would have led you to expect the rough conditions?

Where to hide from Danny? I grew up on Northport harbor (off Huntington bay). The head of the harbor is quite well protected as I recall. That big Rocna should certainly provide some comfort.


MV Red Head said...

Hey Bill -

Given that we were leaving from home with no deadline, we had all the time and information we needed. We knew the predictions were for 2-4 foot 8 second period waves. When we experienced that for 6 hours, it seemed accurate. The predictions for the following day in Massachusetts were 2-3 foot waves so we figured there was some calming coming - again, right along with our experience up until about 8 pm.

I can't help thinking that Hurricane Bill passing by just a couple of days earlier made all predictions a little less accurate than normal. Still, given the same experience at Monhegan, I would have voted to keep going.

I've anchored in Northport before - it is very protected. I'm still liking Sandy Hook though - it's a huge 7 mile place where I can let out a lot of scope and not worry about anyone coming near me. The latest prediction is for 23 MPH winds at Sandy Hook on Saturday which seems fairly mild. Right now (Thursday night) we're leaving for there tomorrow at 6:00 am. We'll continue to get updates enroute. I also like Great Kills but a lot of it has turned into a mooring field and I'd rather use my anchor. Tomorrow is our last day to move before the storm hits.


One More Time Around said...

That was quite an adventure. So the dogs did better than either of the 2 legged crew?

MV Red Head said...

Hi Jeff - the dogs always seem to do better in every situation!

Actually though, we're really happy. This was their first time ever in rough weather. We had wondered how they would get by it...but they just took it in stride. When the anchor was down and I was cleaning uo the bow, Dyna came out and rubbed against me like a cat. I think it was her way of asking if it was alright if we didn't ever go through that again!