Newport, RI to Norfolk, VA

Monday, October 19, 1998
Virginia, USA

036-50.640 N
076-17.520 W
Marine forecast for this location

Hi folks!

I just wanted to give everyone a brief update on where we are and what's been happening on my sailing trip. First off, my cell modem isn't working, so I can't send and receive mail on any regular basis. Today we're at a marina which is letting me use their phone line.

Anyhow, on Sunday, 10/11/1998 (note the 4 digits per Mr. Y2K), Marcia and I picked Alan (AJ) Smith up from Logan and headed to the boat. We got it ready to leave and had a nice dinner. On Monday, which happened to be Columbus day, AJ and I headed out of Portsmouth RI at 07:00 under perfect conditions. We had 15-20 Kts blowing from behind and we made stellar time. You couldn't ask for a nicer day. Sun, wind, and a good crew. The winds eventually died down and we had to motor, but we had the tide going with us down the Long Island Sound.

Our goal was to make it to Clinton Harbor, CT which is in the Sound. Because the winds were so good we decided to press on and anchor on the leeward side of Faulkner Island, which is a small island in the middle of the sound. We had a good nights sleep and were up and 05:00 the next day in order to make it through NY city the next day.

By 06:10 Tuesday morning (10/12/1998) we were underway to NY city. We knew that we had to make a lot of ground, so we decided to motor as the winds were somewhat light and we knew that we'd never make it under sail power. The weather had deteriorated and the forecast was for clouds, passing showers, and temps in the 50s. By about 3 PM we were starting to enter NY city. We passed under the Throgs Neck, Bronx-Whitestone, Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges. It was really quite a sight, and would only have been more been more impressive with blue skies. We had a lot of current in the East river going against us as we passed Manhattan. Believe me, it's an impressive sight to see all of those buildings from the water! Around 6 PM we docked at New Port Marina on the Jersey side of the river and had a great view of downtown NY. I expected that I was going to hook up with some UltraNet folks that night, but they had an RCN function that they had to attend. I was bummed at that, but oh well.

On Wednesday morning I was scheduled to have a photo shoot for "Your Business" magazine. They're doing a story on ex-Digital people who have gone off and started their own businesses. At about 07:00 they showed up and we loaded their gear onto the boat and headed out into the East river. AJ drove the boat while the photographer snapped away with NYC as a background. He shot for almost 2 hours, so I hope that something turned out! That was a lot of fun. By 09:15 we were underway and really enjoyed the cruise past the Statue of Liberty. We started off motoring, but the wind picked up by 11:00 and we had a great ride.

At about 3 PM we entered the river and docked at the Brielle Yacht club. They put us at a dock which would just hold our boat, and there was a large boat parked right in front of where we were going. I tried several times to get the boat in, but the river current kept grabbing the stern and pulling it around. AJ took over and had the same problem. He diagnosed it as the dock hand was pulling the bow in way too hard and pushing the stern out. I was glad to see that it wasn't just me!

Since we were in very early we decided to do some work on the boat. I had purchased a TV antenna, but it wasn't mounted. I hauled AJ up the mast in a boson's (sp?) chair and he mounted it. He also took the digital camera aloft and got some great pictures of the area.

On Thursday morning we headed out in time to catch the sunrise. The winds were great and we set sail right away. We were planning on reaching Atlantic City, NJ that day, but the winds were blowing so well that we decided to go on past that. I must say that the NJ sea coast looks a lot alike. Mile after mile of houses stacked right next to one another on low beaches. Some of the towns appear to have a lot of character, but it's hard to tell from a mile+ out at sea. There do seem to be a lot of amusement parks. We decided to pull into Great Egg Harbor and spend the night at the Graef boat yard.

We pulled in at 5 PM and were greeted at the dock by Joe, Debbie and Hunter Graef. As soon as the boat was tied up they offered us beers and Graef coozies (sp). Two hours later and many beers later we were well acquainted with these wonderful folks. Considering that the slip was $25, I think that they may have broken even! We sure made out, and made some nice friends.

On Friday we rounded Cape May to enter the Delaware bay. The winds were blowing nicely so were sailed a good portion of the day. Not much to report other that nice scenery. That night we pulled into the Cohansey river to anchor. We almost dropped anchor in front of a duck blind, but luckily AJ noted it before we did. I'm sure that the hunters would have net us know/1998_Sailing/Portsmouth_Florida/.

We had a great nights sleep and were off to the Chesapeake & Delaware canal. The canal looks very much like the Cape Cod canal, but the Maryland end is absolutely beautiful. It has to be one of the most scenic areas that I've encountered. Talk about great houses and wonderful vistas! The winds were on our nose so we were motoring. I mentioned to AJ that we should check the diesel that night. Later he relieved me from the helm, and I decided to check the diesel then. I went down and discover that we were on the big "E". I told him that we needed to get fuel, and within 5 minutes we ran out of fuel. We tried sailing, but the winds were too light. Luckily there was a marina nearby, and AJ tied the dinghy to the boat and powered us in. By 15:00 we had fuel and were pressing on. As it turns out, there aren't a lot of anchorages on the Chesapeake bay, but we made it to the Magothy river and anchored there at sunset.

On Sunday morning we were underway in time to see another sunrise. We had great winds, but they were right on our nose. The seas were very rough too. Let me tell you, the Chesapeake bay is huge! Lots of water and lots of room for waves to build up. We beat through 4 foot sees until almost sunset when we anchored on the leeward side of a small marsh island called Bloodsworth island. Let me tell you, this wasn't a pleasant day. The seas were fairly calm and we made dinner, watched the World Series game, and I made brownies. AJ was tired and retired early. I edited photos until about 10:30 when I fell asleep watching the game. Around 11:30 I woke up and headed to bed. I could tell that it was going to be a rough night and around 12:30 I awoke to hear that the line that we had attached to the boom to keep it from swinging had loosened and the boom was swinging back and forth. I tied it down and went back to bed. It was really rough as the current had twisted us abeam into the waves. AJ got up shortly thereafter and suggested that we get underway, as it was obvious that we wouldn't be getting much sleep there. So, at about 01:15 we had the anchor up and were headed out into the bay.

It was really quite exciting to be sailing into a very shallow bay with no light and waves crashing over the bow. AJ was up front with the spot light looking for crab traps and I was at the helm. At times the waves were crashing over AJ's knees and he had to hang on for dear life! It took is an hour or two to get into deep water so that we don't have to worry about crab pot lines fouling the propeller.

It's now Monday morning and we're sailing along with 15-20 Kt winds in the dark. There are 4 foot seas and the ride is very rough, but the view of the night sky is wonderful. AJ & I both spell each other so that we can get some sleep, and we continue to sail on throughout the day. By mid-afternoon the waves have died down and at about 15:30 we pulled into the Norfolk, VA, where I'm writing this.

Log ID: 1116

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