1995 Sail

It's been several years I've that I have been sailing Long Island Sound in a 26' Pearson. It all started with meeting the Caption George Dubose in New York City. After years of being acquainted I finally went out and helped him work on the boat during the Winter. That one day working assured me a week on board the boat during the Summer.
After a time, that one week turned into the Captain; Paul, the navigator; other crew members and myself sailing to various destinations. Long Island Sound offers some of the finest ports in the world. Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, Newport and more are just one or two days sailing. The sailing of 1995 started out normally. We set the date well in advance. My wife & I are having a baby later this Summer and we wanted to have a trip early in the pregnancy. The full moon was on the 12th of June and we were underway for it. The captain couldn't sail during the week so we set off for Mystic on Saturday, planning on letting him off of Sunday. Mystic is a amusement park of sorts on the scale of Williamstown in Virginia. The place duplicates the old whaling ports. The town itself is quaint and full of Summer visitors.
We made port in the evening sand the navigator and I high tailed it to the whaling center. Me being a Melville buff was struck by the old nature of the amusement. Their was the whaling ship "Morgan" with numerous whaleboats drifting next to it. The surrounding buildings were all authentic and in the distance we heard some sailing songs. This weekend was the sea shanty song festival. The songs had a European feelings as they drifted my us in the late evening light. Soon it was dark and we were back to the ship preparing to go to dinner. The restaurant right off the bow was Capt. Daniels and although Capt. Daniels has been dead for a long time some entrepreneurs had dredged up his name and home and rebuilt it all the way down to the wrought nails. The dinner was light fare and we enjoyed the bill. The next day we left early looking to make Block island. But after sailing a close hauled, that is into the wind, we could not make our heading and fell off for Montauk. Montauk Harbor, is a fishing port for the most part and was celebrating the blessing of the ships as we arrived. Grills were fired up for the cookout and all was in preparation for a celebration. We heard the priests blessing across the loud speaker. Solemn and old his words were. The crew and I kept thinking that the priest would throw a crucifix into the water letting the young sailors dive to retrieve it. But later we learned that was only done in the movies. Afterwards the fishing boats parade around the harbor with colorful flags adorning the stays. Tradition has it that the fishing boats start a kind of warfare at sea. Using water balloons they launch them at each other. As the evening wears on the balloons turn to beer bottles and for awhile the town thought of doing away with the unruly blessing gone stray. But thankfully the ruckus has subsided and the event has calmed down a bit.
While in town we stayed at the fancy yacht club. Quite swanky, with ship models and sea paintings decorating the foyers all made in the orient yesterday, looking just like the hundreds of thousand of dollars paid for the real macoys. The crew set a strange shadow at the bar of stuffed shirts. The season hasn't started as of yet and the place was quite the scene because the only quest were a collection of Russian nuclear scientist who were figuring out what to do with all their scientific papers and a Japanese TV crew there for the US Open held in South Hampton. We took the Clubs shuttle into town and quickly established what was open and bought stores for the trip to Nantucket. We made it just in time and caught the shuttle back to the boat as the Captain caught the shuttle back to East Hampton and his wife.
The next day with all good purposes we set sail for Nantucket. The wind was out of the Southwest and from the weather reports from Nowa it would stay that way. The clouds were overcast and the full moon lit up the upper parts of the clouds barely lighting the sea for us. The rain was intermittent and we would let whoever was sleepiest sleep until he was awake. It turned out to be about three or four hours. We plotted our course from the LORAN and had the auto pilot on. Later in the evening the wind shifted to out of the Northeast and I feared the worse. A Northeaster was coming up and we had had no prior knowledge of it. It makes me thinks from now on I'm going to have a portable TV on board so we can see the weather satellite images on the news. My Dad in Florida knew more about our weather than the national weather service.
The wind held steady out of the NE most of the night and we were falling off our course of due East. By 1 or 2 in the morning a squall came up and for awhile the wind was strong out of the North. We made up some of our drift and still did not have to take in the large front sail. Later the wind returned to the NE and we settled into a long night of watching the large fishing boats work with their brilliant spotlights illuminating their decks. By morning we were just south of Muskegut Cut and spent several hours tacking our way to it. By 8am we were sailing through the small channel between Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. The water was choppy and the rain really set in for the first days of a three day Northeaster. We made port around three but not before tacking back and forth just below the entrance buoys. A few windsurfers sailed around us while we struggled for our harbor.
We received a real welcome from the Boat Basin. Soaked and tired we enjoyed the fresh hot coffee and my brother and I made a quick trip around the town looking for a nice warm spot to dry off. All the tourist had the same idea and on a rainy day it is impossible to find such a place so we just returned to the boat and relaxed.