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  • Mystic Cruise #1, July 10 to 17, 1999

    This was an ASA106 Level Advanced Coastal Training Cruise conducted aboard LARKING ABOUT, an Island Packet 350 sailing yacht, from Mystic, CT to Nantucket Island and return. On board were Captain John Corsaut and four students crewmembers: Mark Mrozek from North Carolina, Joe Cagna from New Jersey, John Hubbard from Washington State and Dave Pinson from Virginia.

    The cruise started July 10th, 1999 from Mystic, sailed to Nantucket and returned to Mystic on July 17th covering a distance of more than 300 miles and making some stops along the way. This cruise provided an advanced, hands-on learning experience for sailors planning to do some extended, overnight cruising on their own. Our teaching objectives emphasize seamanship, preparation, teamwork and safety. 

    Saturday, July 10th- After extensive orientation and preps using guidelines of The Maryland School’s Offshore Training Cruises Manual, we left Mystic at 2300 hours to take advantage of fair tides and currents. Left port and wound our way down the Mystic River in the dark with a great deal of traffic about us; good training in nighttime navigation, watchstanding, sharp lookout, crew coordination, radio procedures, radar interpretation and more. Headed for Port Judith.

    Sunday, July 11th- Beautiful Day! Sailed and through Buzzards Bay, Wood’s Hole, Vineyard Sound and Nantucket Sound to Nantucket Harbor. What a beautiful, quaint harbor; many old, but magnificent boats moored here including the ENDEAVOR, a J-boat from the 1930’s America’s Cup races. After cruising the harbor, anchored in a pleasant cove; set double anchors with rodes 45 degrees apart. Prepared dinner on board and had a pleasant, relaxing time with shipmates retelling events of the previous day and polishing some new sea stories to retell friends back home.

    Monday, July 12th - Up early, breakfast and dinghy to Town Dock; spoke with Harbormaster. Spent day in Nantucket soaking up the atmosphere of this wonderful, quaint old whaling village. Took bus tour which included a running narrative from a charming senior citizen, a long time Nantucket resident. She drove bus through narrow, winding roads and kept us quite entertained. Visited Whaler’s Museum - a must see for Nantucket lore. Bargain-shopped for some huge, fresh lobsters; returned to LARKING ABOUT to prepare dinner and continue the Good Life.

    Tuesday, July 13th - A wet, cold day; a true Nor’wester set in with 25-32 knot winds. Headed for Martha’s Vineyard on a broad reach; truly Island Packet weather; LARKING ABOUT handled it like a champ! Made good time to Vineyard Haven. No dock space available at inner harbor; anchored and dinghied to town. Incidentally, it was to rough for the water taxi launch, so we used our dinghy. Caught bus to Oak Bluffs and Edgartown; dinner in town. A beautiful, old town; many bed & breakfasts inns, charming houses, shops and waterside restaurants and steeped in our vital history. Some buildings dating back to the 1600’s and 1700’s. The weather front passed and winds calmed down; dinghied back to yacht for a restful, pleasant sleep.

    Wednesday, July 14th- Bastille Day!! Rose early and headed for Cuttyhunk Island; light winds; currents a constant consideration. Practiced DR navigation techniques, fixes, running fixes, speed over ground (SOG) and estimated time of arrival (ETA). Anchored in Cuttyhunk Harbor at 1400 hours- an enchanting place, quite family oriented. A pier with raw bar and lobster fresh off the boat... an island pastry and ice cream shop... muffins baked daily by local residents... bed & boards inns... one restaurant, one market. Everyone gets around this hilly island with golf carts. "Cuttyhunkers" have been coming here for years. Kids who came as babies now run the stores. The lobsterman runs his boat and his wife runs the raw bar. A launch will deliver fresh seafood to your boat- just call on VHF!!! A beautiful view of the harbor and Atlantic as well as Martha’s Vineyard from the hills... you never want to leave...

    Thursday, July 15th- Departed Cuttyhunk early; headed for Newport. Again DR, running fixes, no GPS. Arrived Newport 1400 hours. Took mooring at Old Port Marine. Truly America’s sailing center. Beautiful sailboats from all over the world, large and small; WEATHERLY was there, an America’s Cup racer of years gone by, refurbished and available for charter. People of all ages sailing everything you can imagine; everyone working in the shops are somehow involved in sailing.

    Friday, July 16th- Exam Day. Conducted review for ASA exam; did laundry; went to town; sat for written exam. Sailed around magnificent Narragansett Bay... sailing review, intense tacks, gybes. MOB practice; polished techniques. Great Sailing!! Back to the mooring and out to dinner in Newport.

    Saturday, July 17th- Bade good-bye to new friends and left Newport heading for Mystic. In Fisher’s Sound practiced Williamson Turn, fueled up & headed back to the dock. Corrected and reviewed exams and headed for home port. Docked at Mystic; off-loaded gear; cleaned boat; departed for home. 

    What a wonderful week of sailing with a wonderful crew; everyone enjoyed each other’s company and really welded together into a good team. This was, indeed, a challenging, advanced cruise for experienced sailors in the near-coastal ocean, sometimes at night, with rotating watches, a variety of weather conditions, restricted visibility, ship traffic, radio & radar contact, navigational challenges, landfall, port entry, the need for careful and thoughtful seamanship, safety harnesses, foul weather gear, vigilance...

    And a great time was had by all!!!

    Captain John Corsaut
    New York
    July 18th, 1999

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