Here’s a unique perspective on the Dismal Swamp Canal–the view from the top of Idle Queen’s mast. Hope that you enjoy the latest video on the Setforsea YouTube channel!
We haven’t covered many miles in the month since arriving in Massachusetts; well, not by sea anyway. Idle Queen has been sitting mostly idle, tied to a graciously loaned mooring while her crew wonders what hurdles the new US health care law will have us jump through. That’s not all we’ve been up to, but this has been a time for doing things that don’t often fit into the cruising life–like reading a daily newspaper. Most of the focus for this downtime has been on trying to clear out the clutter aboard, visiting friends and family, and working on projects like finally putting together the little Dyer Midget that I bought back in North Carolina.
The Dyer Midget dinghy has turned out to be more difficult to put together than I had originally anticipated, but this is mostly because I feel obligated to rebuild it the way that Dyer intended, rather than just build new parts out of resin and fibers. Then again, everything takes three times longer than I ever think that it will. I bought this dinghy knowing that it would be a project. Someone else had taken it apart with the intent of restoring it, as many of the wooden parts had rotted away to nothing.
Now, the problem with this situation for me is that my woodworking skills are pretty much limited to building stands for outboard engines out of 2-by-6’s and bolts, or using loosely-fitted wood components as reinforcing for things built of fiberglass. The construction of the Dyer Midget involves closely-fitted pieces and steam-bent wood–both things that I have little experience with. The biggest problem has been fitting the strong wooden pieces to the fragile, unreinforced fiberglass shell–the floppy fiberglass risks being ripped apart as I torture resistant pieces of white oak into place to reinforce it. I keep telling myself that I will be rewarded with a tough, light boat by sticking with the wooden parts that the original design calls for, but I originally thought that I would have this project done in a week of spare time. It has already dragged out to three times my original projection. While good progress has been made, the end is not yet near.
Autumn has arrived with chilly, clear nights. Idle Queen is tugging at her mooring. Soon it will be time to commit to a plan for the winter, and that will probably involve sailing somewhere south to avoid freezing weather. In the meantime, we have been enjoying occasional perfect sailing days and the beautiful scenery of this part of the New England coast.
I have finally had the time to do a bit of video editing and just put up a new short film of Idle Queen sailing on a beautiful afternoon on Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island.
If you enjoy the videos, please subscribe to the Setforsea YouTube channel. The quality of the recent videos is much better than the older ones thanks to a better camera and the editor finally learning a few things about proper workflow. There is still plenty of room for improvement–something to look forward to! Your comments are welcome here or on the YouTube channel. Thanks.
You can also view the video directly on YouTube in a new window by following this link.
Well, we made it up to the Cape safely. When I last left off, we were just getting ready to head out from Hampton, VA. We were assured of a couple of days of good weather, but after that, there was a strong front forecast to push through the northern waters of our journey, bringing up to two days of contrary winds and unsettled weather.
So, here’s the short version of our travels from the time we left Hampton, VA– After leaving the anchorage across from the public pier, we motorsailed in light, but favorable conditions up to New York harbor, where we waited out two days of nasty weather before heading through Long Island Sound. After motoring through the East River, we grabbed a free town mooring for the night in Port Washington; filled up on overpriced diesel fuel; met some friendly and interesting people; and raised a few eyebrows sailing through the mooring area. We headed out with a fair tide early the next morning and sailed overnight to Newport, RI, where we dropped the hook and soaked up a little of the “sailing town” atmosphere (or was that just fog?).
The next morning, we pushed up to an anchorage near Bristol; and the following day made our appointment to pick up some parts for our Dyer Midget from the factory in Warren, RI. It was a memorable experience to be able to sail right up to the factory; pick up their guest mooring; and dinghy to their dock to get our parts. We got a tour of the manufacturing floor and many tips for how to put our dinghy back together properly–I would highly recommend a Dyer for the great support alone. They freely gave us several hours of their time and answered all of my many questions even though the Dyer that I own is probably 40 years old and was bought at a yard sale.
After loading our parts onto the already overloaded Idle Queen, we dropped the mooring and pushed against the tide for a few miles to overnight in the roomy anchorage in Bristol, RI. The weather was dreary, so we didn’t really feel like going any farther. The following day was lovely, though, so we sailed all day and pushed right past Newport to go directly to Monument Beach, MA; taking advantage of the typical Buzzard’s Bay southwest wind to hurry the last half of the passage along.
Now, Idle Queen is swinging patiently at a mooring while we take care of unloading some of the extra cargo we had carried north; take some time to visit the dentist (Unplanned. Ouch.); repair the “deflatable” Zodiac; rebuild the Dyer dinghy; and visit the area a bit.