2002 Mystic Reports

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Course Advanced Coastal Cruising; Rock Hall to Mystic
Date July 9-16, 2002
Students: Tom & Mary Ann Bedwell and Alan & Arlene Thornton
Captain: Eric Petterson

The student crew, Tom & Mary Ann Bedwell and Alan & Arlene Thornton arrived at 0900. The morning was spent stowing personal gear, reviewing ships inventory and overall stowage, and getting the crew familiar with the boat and gear. After lunch we all went to the grocery to buy
provisions; then it was back to the boat to store everything away. Next was a walk-through of all ships systems and the rig. Lastly we discussed operating procedures, assignments and watch schedules. As navigation is a key aspect of this course, we agreed to have a rotational navigator
assignment, and do the navigation without the benefit of GPS for our coastal passages.

We left Spring Cove Marina at 0925, motoring out into a light 5-8 knot breeze from the north. Underway we did MOB maneuvers under power with Williamson and Race Track turns. Mary Ann was the navigator of the day and she was kept busy taking LOPs to track our progress. Many buoy numbers do not match the charts due to a recent CG renumbering. But the internet data pulled prior to our departure helped to sort things out. We arrived at the C&D canal at Engineers Cove at 1630, right at low tide. We "felt" our way into the anchorage slowly and set the anchor for the night at 1645.

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The navigator for today had several problems to deal with, including strong Delaware Bay currents, low tide upon leaving Engineer's Cove and the 55 foot bridges on the Cape May canal. Alan was the navigator and with his direction we left the anchorage prior to low tide at 0420,
sighting bald eagles in the early morning sunlight. We entered the bay at 0630 and set sail in 10-12 knots from the NNE. With this wind we had a delightful sail down the bay, arriving at the entrance to the Cape May canal at 1400, just prior to low tide. This gave us adequate clearance
under the bridges, which we passed on our way to Utsch's Marina, and were in our slip 1450.

We left Cape May at 1410 for the trip up the New Jersey coast in order to time our arrival into Atlantic Highlands. The navigator for this leg was Arlene and she also established the course about five miles offshore staying seaward of the offshore buoys. After leaving the inlet we set sail and sailed along the coast in 10-15 from the SE. This wind held until 0230 when we it died and we began motoring. Everyone was surprised to see how well they could steer a compass course and find the buoys without the GPS. As we approached northern New Jersey the shipping traffic picked up considerably and everyone got a chance at monitoring traffic using compass bearings. We rounded Sandy Hook and arrived at Atlantic Highlands at 1100 and picked up a mooring for the night.

With Tom as the navigator we left Atlantic Highlands at 0910. Winds were very light, and we tried to sail but within an hour gave up and motored. Made our way under the Verazzano Narrows Bridge into New York harbor with all of the other normal New York traffic... ferries, commercial shipping, recreational boaters, etc. Went by the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, lower Manhattan with a gaping void where the Twin Towers once stood, and up the East River under the Brooklyn Bridge. Our target was to arrive at Hell Gate at slack water, which our navigator hit with almost perfect precision. Finally we arrived at City Island and tied upin the marina at 1550.

The navigator for this first leg in Long Island Sound was Mary Ann and her job was to choose an acceptable anchorage for the forecast weather and the next day's run to Mystic. She chose Duck Island Roads, and we were off at 0500 to optimize currents. With no wind we were again forced
to resort to motoring, so we did knot tying exercises while underway. We reached our destination at 1435, dropping anchor off the shore for protection from the forecast W to NW winds behind a passing cold front. Thunderstorms were predicted, but we didn't have any.

Up anchor for the final leg of the passage at 0725 with Alan and Arlene as joint navigators. The winds had performed as predicted and we had a nice 12-15 knot wind from the north withgreat sailing all the way to Noank. Along the way we passed close to a New London ferry and called
on VHF to establish passing instructions. After a stop for fuel and pump-out we arrived at Noank Village Boatyard at 1345. Final distance logged for the trip was 339 nautical miles.

Captain Eric Petterson
Noank, CT
July 16, 2002

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