It was a busy week. On Monday I spoke at the Block Island Maritime Institute and then left the island with three friends for a delivery of my Sabre 402 Whirlwind to Annapolis. We made departure at 2200 off the breakwater and set sail. Just 10 miles into the trip the wind died, the engine got the reluctant nod, and off we went.
It surprises me how much traffic is out in the ocean– fishing vessels, yachts, and commercial ships always seemed to be on the horizon. It was an easy night. At 0900 the wind filled from the east and we set the spinnaker. No engine and 7.5 knots, what a treat. On the horizon another boat popped up with a spinnaker flying. The race was on.
We slowly converged. It turned out to be a catamaran with no main flying. Steadily we gained bearing. I wondered if they were racing us. The competition kept morale up aboard Whirlwind. At 1600 the 14 knot wind started to die. Darn, back to motor-sailing. It was an easy night, and Chris Schein and I shared the 0400-0800 watch. Well before twilight we witnessed a full lunar eclipse. Spectacular.
Having run the engine for many hours, we began to worry about our fuel supply. I’d left Block Island with 50 gallons, and the gauge said we had over half a tank. I thought about going into Cape May to fuel, but the current was favorable. We worked Whirlwind along the shore, inside the nasty shoal, pushed by a 4 knot current, which we used all the way to the C&D Canal. After returning, we calculated that we burned .75 gallons per hour. All in all, a nice trip: 219 miles in 51 hours.
One day after arriving in Annapolis I drove to Stamford, Conn., for the annual Vineyard Race. I skippered a new New York YC Swan 42 in the IRC class. It was a pretty fast ride, we covered 238 miles in 30 hours, but the 66-foot Blue Yankee covered the same distance in 20, setting a new course record. That’s a record that could stand for many years, as the wind for this year’s race was perfect at 12-25 knots out of the north.
Aboard our 42 Mustang were Brandon Healy and Russ O’Reilly, who won the College National Sailing Championship for the College of Charleston in June. Both are highly skilled dinghy sailors new to big boats. At the helm they were fast, and it was a joy to see them excel so quickly. We went on to finish in the middle of the fleet.
Not a bad week. Next is the NYYC North Americans in Newport, Rhode Island.