Daysailing on the Northeast River
7/10/19 Wednesday, 88-degrees, dry, SW 7-15kts - Two months have passed since we last sailed Grace. The days are hot and the nights warm now, so instead of going for a multi-day cruise, we’ve elected to daysail instead. This way, we can return home and revive in the air-conditioning when we’ve had our sailing fill.
Besides a dusting of grit, Grace is doing fine lying at the dock. Dobbs and I lifted Coquille off the foredeck and put her on the dinghy storage rack. We removed protective canvas covers from flag, tiller, and sail and rolled up the dodger window for better airflow. We opened all the cabin ports and faced the dorade vents forward. What a change from cruising in March, when we were desperately trying to maintain heat down below!
Dobbs backed Grace out of her slip and a gentle southerly breeze nudged our bow around to point out of the fairway, creating an easy exit without springing. We motored clear of the marinas and moorings and set sail. Our friend Joe was sailing his Hunter 23 JoAnnA south of Charlestown, so we headed over to say, “Hello”.
The breeze was perfect for Grace to sail with full sails, powered up nicely. We exchanged greetings with Joe and then broad-reached to Hances Point Yacht Club, past the mooring field, past NERYC, and north to Red 16.
We rounded the mark to port and beat back down the river. We spotted several small boats out enjoying the breeze - the 420’s from NERYC, a Hobie tri-hull, and a smart-looking ketch-rigged dory.
The last tack before lunch took us across the shallower water northwest of Green 7. We held our breath as Grace skimmed along with depth gauge reading 5.1’. That’s still plenty of water for us, but not if a log on the bottom decides to share the space, and submerged logs are a reality up here. We anchored in Cara Cove and ate sandwiches. I decided to jump over the side and check and clean Grace’s bottom. We use Interlux Ultra and it does an impressive job. After more than a year in the water and 2500 miles between here and Florida, the hull had just the lightest skim coat of algae, which I easily brushed away with a 3M pad. Dobbs lashed on one of the new low-friction fairleads I’ve been looking forward to trying as lead blocks on the genoa sheets. We’ve been using snatch blocks, and those work well when it’s time to switch to the jib and move the sheets to the inside tracks, but they’re clunky as lead blocks. During tacking, on the side that is cast off, the snatch blocks tended to flop forward and lie at an angle, acting like a brake. The fairleads are much better, and they clear up a bit more deck area too.
When you sail a centerboarder and pointing is not your strong suit, being good and fast at tacking makes a significant difference in how quickly you get to where you want to go. With our projects completed, we sailed back up and around Red 16 one more time. The wind had freshened, so I set the first reef in Grace’s main (it was Dobbs’ suggestion, and a good one). We beat home to Bay Boat Works and were tucking into our slip around 3:30pm.