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Norfolk to Rhode Island

By Anne Clement

May 10

How often do you get a forecast of quartering winds 15 knots for 5 days running just when you plan to sail offshore, no rain predicted, temperatures in the 80s during the day and 60s at night? Those kinds of forecasts usually only turn up when you have made final plans for land based activities.

So yesterday morning we headed out from Norfolk, New Jersey full of hope intending to sail offshore to Newport, Rhode Island. And here we are the morning after, motoring in flat calm towards Cape May just eager to get in before thick fog comes down. Not fair! We are near enough to the Delaware River now to have the pesky biting flies I always find here, and our jib is limp and useless this morning. At least Nev is resting well after his illness, and was able to take two short watches during the night allowing me a little sleep. Soon I will make a big corn bread on top of the stove to cheer us up. To hell with the South Beach Diet. I have lost weight according to Nev and my clothes, but somehow 6 days of dieting are enough. Carbohydrates were created for the seventh day along with the good rest we will have in Cape May.

May 11

Motorsailing again along the Jersey Coast. I phoned our friend Jim in Atlantic City and he will take me grocery shopping when we get in. Bless kind friends! Nev is sleeping and getting some strength back. After his severe bouts of fever last week, we agree that he will stay aboard as there is concern he may not be strong enough to climb back aboard on his own currently.

May 12

Motorsailing light winds along more of the Jersey coast and back on the diet. Flat, sandy shoreline with houses here and water towers, heading to New York Harbor and its rocky base for all those tall buildings. I would love to go back and take a college course in geology or geography to learn more about this Earth. The sun is warm and welcome on our skin and temperature perfect for sun bathing. This is excellent cure all for Nev.

May 13

I got out the tide tables for New York Harbor after yesterday afternoons's spectacular thunder storms and "the Force is with us" (meaning we will have a fair and quite strong tide). Unfortunately, we will also have the conditions for more thunder storms. We have hot weather inland sucking in cool ocean breezes heavy with haze and humidity. This feeds cloud development and afternoon forecasts are for severe thunder storms, hail, possible tornados, etc all over again. But these conditions are quite common in this area in the springtime, so we proceed regardless and I sometimes get quite upset during thunder storms including being (I admit) tearful about it all. Actually, I think we are a little safer on the water than the folks are on land where the clouds rise fastest. We will see...

One of the great wonders of sailing is the arrival in these conditions of so many butterflies, fancy bugs, small birds, and yesterday's BIG buzzy bee over an inch long. They hitch a ride with us until conditions moderate or we arrive in the next harbor and then fly away to new homes while we are busy sorting out leading lights, entrance buoys, and the best place to anchor. Meanwhile, I get a close look because they are just too tired to fly away. The details of their wings and bodies are fantastic and colors sparkle in the sun.

May 14

Sailing up Long Island Sound. Today we set out in a little fog thinking it would clear as per forecast. Well, it got thicker, a tug and tow appeared suddenly and then a power boat, then a sailboat and all of that was just too close for comfort with horns blasting at the last minute. We decided it was too dangerous without Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer, to guide us and so we headed for shallow water to drop the anchor and wait for better conditions. Sometimes we can almost see and that is worse because of all the big commercial traffic so near to New York. We will wait for 1+ miles visibility like sensible people and bless this boat's shallow draft helping us escape to the sidelines.

May 15

ALL UP AND GOING! Nev had just enough strength to operate winches with me tailing and we got the main and foremain sails up and drawing in light air up Long Island Sound. He will have a long road ahead to regain strength, but work is the only way and luckily there is plenty of that ahead with the new dinghy we plan to build for ourselves and the four year old grand daughter plus maybe a new boom for the foremain.

May 16

HOME! The entire voyage from central Florida took three weeks leaving us with plenty of time with family and projects here in New England. After major tidy up and various repairs to engines, electrics, and other systems, SUMMER TIME BEGINS with visitors, day sails, and lazy days.

Dates

My family visits in first week in July. Various visitors arrive all summer long. Meeting of Polynesian Catamaran Association (Wharram Design) hosted by us right here in early August. Details very soon. We visit our friend Jenny in September. We head south SLOWLY in August intending one month in Chesapeake. Jim and Pat join us for inside route behind Hatteras. Dec 3,4,5 Polynesian Catamaran Association meeting in Florida near Hobe Sound. Details soon.

Love, Ann and Nev

Peace Four

© Anne and Neville Clement, 2004