Monday, August 25, 2014

Pre-Fall sailing at its best

Cooler weather on Saturday, combined with a 10-15 kt. NE wind cut the traffic in Boston Harbor significantly. A smattering of boats out fishing plus fewer sailboats than usual for a summer Saturday, made for traffic control a lot easier for us.

With Scituate as our destination I avoided the short tacking through Dorchester Bay and motor sailed until we passed Thompson Island and could take the turn into Western Way. From there it was an easy reach under the Long Island bridge and around Sunken Ledge.

About that time we heard a report of a dog lost overboard in Nantasket Roads, between Georges Island and Hull Gut. Yellow lab was on board, then not on board, and nowhere in sight. We didn't get there for an hour or so but didn't notice anything, no dog but also no search boats.

Hardening up to close hauled, we sailed almost to the anchorage at Peddocks Island, than tacked toward Rainsford. Our next tack took us to about Hull Gut, where the effect of wind vs. current was heaping up some nice waves. At least the current was favorable. With a good breeze, we punched easily through the head seas.

Four more tacks and we were outside, sailing close hauled toward the buoy marking Harding Ledge. We passed just inside of the mark, well outside of the ledge and had a spirited sail on a close reach to Minots Light and then on a broad reach to Scituate.

Those gentle right hand turns made life easier and the sailing faster as we headed down the coast. Ordinarily, with the prevailing SW summer breeze, it's exactly the opposite! Excluding the two hours it took to clear Boston Harbor on the beat, we probably made our best time ever to Scituate. Surely, the ten miles from Harding Ledge to Scituate could not be done more quickly... we were at 6+ kts. the whole way!

Mooring in Scituate was an uneventful comedy of errors. First assigned to and picking up the wrong mooring (the launch driver thought I said 48 feet!), we were escorted to a mooring closer in. First pass at pickup, our boat hook broke trying to pick up a tangled buoy (i.e., the pickup stick was lying flat). We went around again, dredging the #2 boat hook from a cockpit locker, put the bow right on the mooring ball, snagged the buoy, hauled it up and lost the mooring as the line securing the buoy parted. Around once again as the bow blew off, third time we managed to snag the mooring underneath and find the pendant. Safely moored.

As Bear and L headed ashore, I stayed on board to tidy up. I watched as a neighbor cast off her mooring and motored about two boat lengths before the outboard died. They did a slow drift through the mooring field, running under bare poles in a light breeze and landing safely on a dock several hundred yards downwind. There was no panic on board and no heroic efforts required to keep them safe.

We also listened as a boat heading to Scituate reported that they had lost their rudder, and later watched as they were towed in, also safe.

It was a great pre-Fall sailing day! Little traffic, beating first, reaching last, and interesting goings on inside Scituate harbor, where no blood was spilled and no boats were crunched. And as for the yellow lab, I checked twitter later; he was picked up by a passing boat and is just fine.