I left from Little Bay, which is right next to Monument Beach, MA, in two stages–First, I pulled up both of the anchors and exited the bay, and then I re-anchored just outside to clean and stow the rodes and dinghy and make the boat properly ready for sea. I needed a couple of hours to clean off all of the marine growth that had decided to attach itself to my anchor rodes during the weeks that I had been anchored in the area. I scrubbed all of the nylon (rope part) with a brush and rinsed it with buckets of saltwater. The chain only needed to be swished in the sea to remove the mud. I removed and stowed all of the chafe gear and put the dinghy on the cabin top. It was just after sunset when I finally got underway on my way out of Buzzard’s Bay even though I had arrived on the boat at 0830 that morning. The wind was light and out of the southeast, so I had to motor down the bay.
The wind continued to lighten throughout the night, soon leaving me motoring over a flat-calm sea bound for the Race at the eastern end of Long Island. I would have gone around Long Island but for the strong westerly and southwesterly winds predicted to arrive in 24 hours, which would not have been enough time for me to make port on that coast. With a fair current helping me down Buzzard’s Bay, I made good time. Slack water found me just off of the mouth of Narragansett Bay with the current soon to change in my favor again. That made for picture-perfect timing of the run down that body of water, as the fair current would then carry me through the Race, where a 4-knot push would be most welcome–doubling my speed over the ground instead of stopping my progress completely.
I decided that my first port would be North Cove in Old Saybrook, CT. I would get an anchor down well before sunset and then ride out the next day’s predicted foul weather. Instead, as I sailed up the Connecticut River past the first marina I saw a familiar boat tied to the dock–it was Dominion, the boat that belongs to Tim and Andrea, who had sold me their old hard dinghy a few weeks earlier. They had left Marion a couple of weeks ahead of me, so I was surprised to see them so soon. They waved me over, so I started the engine and pulled in to the marina behind their boat.
After getting Sirocco tied up I decided that I wouldn’t be comfortable there overnight due to a strong current pushing on her and straining her lines even in the relative calm of that evening. With the front that was due to come through that night I was sure to regret staying on the dock, so over Tim and Andrea’s slight protest I departed for North Cove just as dusk settled over the river. When I arrived at the narrow channel entrance to North Cove I found that the markers had been removed. I knew that the channel was very narrow and subject to shoaling. The sky was almost completely dark now and the ebb current was running strongly. I would have to “feel” my way in slowly.
I turned away from the main river channel where the entrance to the North Cove channel should be and slowed to dead ahead. With 12 feet of water showing on the sounder readout I continued forward. My method for staying in the channel was to wander slightly north and south until I saw the soundings begin to drop. If I was on the north side of the channel when the water started to shallow I would turn slightly to the south, and vice-versa. This kept me roughly in the deepest part of the channel. I was prepared to turn around or start poking in different directions if I ran out of water, but that didn’t happen. I had at least 9 feet of water all the way in, which was good for my nerves, as the tide was falling and bad weather on the way. Once I was safely inside North Cove I continued just until the water started to shallow, and then set the anchor. I know that North Cove is very shallow in places, so I didn’t want to push my luck.
The wind and rain arrived as predicted that night, but I slept soundly with the CQR anchor buried firmly in sticky mud. I estimate the maximum wind that night at around 30-35 knots, so it wasn’t terrible, but the weather change brought a blast of cold weather to remind me that winter was chasing me down the coast.