Abrupt End!

We had a long boring “sail” back west from Shelburne – left with a short weather window that had us pounding into big seas with not much wind, followed by slightly lower seas and a little wind. The swell is up because of a hurricane burning itself out just south of New England. If we didn’t take the window as presented, it looked like there’d be strong westerly winds for the next 7 days straight – keeping us in Shelburne…

3 days later, with another 65 hours on the engine, we were through the Cape Cod Canal and anchoring for an evening stop in Cuttyhunk.

The following morning, we weighed anchor at about 9:00am and set off for Newport. The wind was in our face at 15 knots or so, but we decided to sail rather than bash into it with the engine – and lo and behold a C&C 40 came out of Cutty at the same time under full sail. It was a race!

The C&C is something of a performance boat so despite being slightly smaller, we were nicely matched… She pointed higher than us, but speed was similar. As we headed on our first tack towards land, the winds began to drop a little so I decided to tack out to sea – the C&C kept going. We stayed on this tack for 8 – 10 miles and then the wind began to slacken so once again we tacked. I’d lost sight of the C&C in the haze, but sure enough, an hour or so later, there she was tacking towards us. We had not lost ground to her and were within a quarter mile. As we again tacked towards open water, the swell was right on our nose – and Toodle-oo! managed the swells rather better, so that by the time the wind died again and we’d decided to make another tack, we’d pretty much drawn level with her – though she was to windward of us still. Shortly after tacking, the C&C also tacked – we’re side by side, separated by maybe 1000 yards.

Then we got lucky!  We got an enormous lift – such that whereas I thought we were going to have to make another pair of tacks to make it into Newport, we were now heading directly for the entrance buoy at Bretton Reef. Then we got luckier still with another lift, which allowed us to ease sails just a little bit and we started to pull away from the C&C. Race won!

We arrived in Newport and tied up at Fort Adams where a Border Patrol guy came and checked us in, then we headed to the anchorage and as soon as it was set, the dinghy was launched and we were on our way for cocktails at 41 North!

Saturday morning, we headed to Bristol where we planned to anchor and then go to “Seniors Day” at Neal’s house. However, as we’re motoring in the flat calms, Laurie decided to pull up a floorboard to get some cleaning supplies and discovers that we’re leaking – fast! The seal around the propshaft has failed and we’re letting in lots of water whenever the prop is turning. We immediately called NEB (where we were planning to haul out next week anyway) and arranged to be hauled immediately. One hour after discovering the leak, we had loaded dinghy aboard, lowered both headsails, reversed into the travel lift and were now on the hard, no longer sinking! We made it to Senior Day just an hour or so later than planned. Amazing to think that just 8 days ago we were in St. Pierre!

Strange end to a wonderful summer voyage!

We’ll be living at the top of steps for a few days, getting the leak repaired and various other boat projects done and then we’ll begin our trip south – current plan: New York – Annapolis – Bermuda – Bahamas – Cuba and then on south through the Panama Canal and maybe all the way to Patagonia…



One thought on “Abrupt End!

  1. steve carter

    Thank God for Laurie and her cleaning habits!! It sounds like you were a few hours from an unfavorable turn of events. Great to hear you both are forever strengthening your sailing skills, between storms and boat malfunctions. What great preparation for the Pacific.

    Keep those lines coiled and the deck cleared Laurie… He needs you!


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