2001 Mystic Reports

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Course:      Coastal Cruising, Rock Hall to Mystic
Date:          July 17-25, 2001
Vessel:        IP420 HOT WATER
Students:     Bob Hutto, Glenda Hutton, Ashley Hutton
Captain:      Eric Petterson

Tuesday, July 17: We started the day by sharing experiences and expectations for the course. In this case the students were all members of one family - husband, wife and college-age daughter - Bob, Glenda and Ashley Hutton. While they had virtually identical experiences in terms of time on the water, they had vastly differing roles in these experiences. Thus they had very different needs and expectations. This course had already been planned to be different from the normal 106 class to meet these varying knowledge levels coming into the course, so no overnight sailing was planned. Assignments for the course were agreed upon with Bob being the Engineer, Glenda the Boatswain and Ashley the Emergency Coordinator. It was also agreed that we would rotate the Navigator position each day.  Since no overnight passages were planned, two hour watch schedules were set to ensure adequate time at the helm. The Huttons wanted to rotate the watches exclusively amongst themselves. With completion of everyone's tasks, the boat was ready for departure.

Wednesday, July 18: We left Spring Cove at 0830 with no wind and headed north up Chesapeake Bay in drizzle and light rain. This was a good first day allowing everyone to establish their roles as individual students as opposed to family roles. It was also a good day for the students to become familiar with the boat and its instruments, the ritual of log entries, and the routine of passage making. A variety of  navigational exercises were completed to track our progress towards the C&D canal. We arrived at the mouth of the C&D at 1600 and tied up at Schaeffers, Glenda planned the navigation for the next day down the Delaware, and we had dinner.

Thursday, July 19: At 0600 we left Schaeffers to catch the easterly current through the canal and to catch a mostly favorable current down the Delaware Bay. As we exited the canal the wind was up to 15 to 20 knots from the northeast and the sky was clearing, so we set sail for a great beam reach down Delaware Bay with winds building to 20-25. For instructional exercises we tracked the currents to compare with the predictions, did MOB maneuvers, and discussed the Nav rules. Our destination was Cape Henlopen, Breakwater Harbor. As we approached the harbor we passed near one of the Cape May-Lewes Ferrys and called them on VHF to establish passing agreements. The anchor was down safely behind the breakwater at 1620 in time to have dinner and enjoy a beautiful sunset.  Bob planned the navigation for the next day's passage to Atlantic City.

Friday, July 20: The day broke with clear skies and winds still from the northeast, as forecast.  But the seas were up to eight feet and the northeast wind of 20 knots was right on the nose. We departed the anchorage at 0630 and headed out. It was decided to motorsail with reefed main and the staysail. This was a bumpy and wet ride, which none of the students had ever experienced before. Bob tracked our navigation using dead reckoning, LOPs, and radar ranges. We arrived at the marina in Atlantic City with Ashley at the wheel and tied up at 1700. Ashley completed her navigational planning for the next day to Sandy Hook, NJ and showers were enjoyed by all to wash off the salt. After that a night exploring the boardwalk was enjoyed by all.

Saturday, July 21: An early start was called for in order to complete the passage to Sandy Hook, so we left at 0500 from Atlantic City, leaving the Absecon Inlet in the faint early morning light. The sky was clear but the wind was down to under 5 knots from the north-northeast so it was a motorboat ride again. We took this opportunity to practice MOB maneuvers under power. At 0900 we called HALIMEDA, another Maryland School boat that was currently making the opposite direction cruise from Mystic to Rock Hall, on the SSB radio. As it turned out, they had just passed us heading south down the coast of New Jersey. We also did a surprise MOB exercise. Around 1230 the wind veered around to the east and increased to 10 so we unfurled the sails and motorsailed. Finally around 1600 the wind picked up enough to be able to sail without the motor. At 1745 we dropped anchor off the scenic hills of Atlantic Highlands, NJ. Bob planned for the next day's navigation past New York City and through Hell Gate. 

Sunday, July 22: In order to arrive at Hell Gate with a minimal but favorable current, Bob scheduled our departure at 0630. Again we had no wind and motored off towards the Verazzano Narrows Bridge in the morning haze. We arrived at a point just off the Statue of Liberty with time to spare so we spent time for photos, then passed by Ellis Island, up the Hudson River a short distance, then around the Battery and up the East River. We reached Hell Gate at 1115 with only around a knotting of current, passing through uneventfully even with the challenge of meeting a tug and tow right in the middle of Hell Gate. After passing the Whitestone Bridge the wind finally picked up so that we could sail, so we sailed the rest of the way to City Island, even past City Island just to enjoy the sailing. The waters of Long Island Sound were almost invisible due to the number of sailboats out on a pretty Sunday afternoon. With Glenda at the wheel, we docked at City Island, Misinform's Marina around 1500. After showers and Glenda's navigational planning for the next day, we explored the town and had dinner on shore.

Monday, July 23: At 0815 we left the marina. Once more without wind, but wind was in the forecast. In the still air and lack of traffic (Monday morning), we practiced maneuvers under power including standing turns and Williamson turns. At 1400 the wind came up and we had a pleasant sail the remainder of the day. Glenda tracked our progress during the day by taking LOP bearings of various shore landmarks. Around 1700 we anchored behind Charles Island off Milford, CT. Ashley and Glenda jointly planned the last day's navigation.

Tuesday, July 24: - Left the anchorage at 0700 motoring in light wind on the stern. Around 1300 the wind came up then increased to 15-20 on the beam, resulting in some really great sailing. We conducted one last MOB under sail maneuvers. Passed two Naval Academy sailboats, up from Annapolis. They were both beating to windward under full sail.... a gorgeous sight. Around 1600 we arrived at Mystic harbor, furled the sails and motored in. After topping off the diesel and pumping out the holding tank, we arrived at the Amtrak bridge and had to hold for 10 minutes waiting for a bridge opening. Ashley gained some more experience holding the boat in one spot in the wind and current. Arrived at our marina at 1800.  After showers, we enjoyed a celebratory dinner in town, bid goodbye to each other and headed back to our homes and shore life. 

Captain Eric Petterson
aboard S/V HOT WATER
Mystic, CT
July 24, 2001

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