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  • Mystic Cruise #2, August 21-28, 1999

    Mystic to Rock Hall

    This was an Advanced Coastal Training Cruise from Mystic, Connecticut to Rock Hall, Maryland aboard LARKING ABOUT, an Island Packet 350 sailing yacht. Crew included Captain John Corsaut from New York City, Tom McKee from Allentown, PA, Leigh Toombs from Silver Spring, MD and Phil Shepherd from Falls Church, VA. Leigh previously completed basic and intermediate sailing classes with The Maryland School, and Phil previously sailed with us on an offshore training cruise from Norfolk to the Bahamas in 1996. Captain John filed the following summary report after the Mystic cruise:

    "Saturday, August 21: After arriving in Mystic and dealing with the cab service - sporadic since the casinos arrived in Foxwood - and talking a "local" into giving me a ride to the yachting services in West Mystic, I met the crew, Phil, Tom & Leigh and started cruise orientations and seminar discussions. We then plotted courses, plotted the strong currents in this area, provisioned the boat, shopped, had dinner and hit the sack.

    " Sunday morning, we left the dock with dinghy in tow, riding an ebb tide down the Mystic River with Phil on the helm, Leigh on lookout, and Tom working the charts to exit the harbor. At Sea Flower Reef, we headed to weather and set sail. After a nice shallow broad reach for 2 hours, we turned on the engine & motor sailed the rest of the way to Port Jefferson as the winds dropped. So we practiced coastal navigation and piloting skills making use of the GPS , hand bearing compass, running fixes, 3 point fixes, 2 point fixes, and estimated positions. 

    "Arrived in Port Jefferson & took a launch into town - the town was very busy as a ferry from Bridgeport had just arrived. We took a brief tour of the town, did some shopping & had dinner at the Village Gate Restaurant - great food, fresh fish, veggies & salad. Took the launch back - and so to bed. It was a great day although the weather was cold & damp.

    " Monday morning, Captain John took the dinghy into the Danforth Inn to check out shower facilities & Starbucks for coffee & muffins for the crew. After showers & breakfast, the crew prepared the navigation plan for Oyster Bay. We left the mooring, dodged the ferry from Bridgeport and set sail for Oyster Bay. Practiced Williamson Turns for MOB recoveries in Oyster Bay Harbor & headed for Town Dock. 

    "On the way, we saw beautiful homes and mansions, surrounded by rolling green hills & oyster beds and the beautiful Seawanakha Corinthian Yacht Club & approximate locations of Billy Joelís homes. After checking out the docks at Oyster Bay Marina, we motored to a secluded anchorage where we barbecued chicken onboard and watched an incredible sunset. After reviewing the ASA Advanced Coastal Standard, we hit the sack. What a beautiful moon and a great day!

    "Tuesday morning we raised anchor and headed for the NY Harbor to take advantage of the ebb at Hellís Gate with currents up to 4-1/2 knots. Nice cruise to get there - Glen Cove, Sandís Point where the Great Gatsby was filmed, past City Island, under the Throggís Neck & Whitestone Bridges, Hunts Point Market, Rikers Island, Mill Rock (Hellís Gate) where the Harlem River meets the East River. What a sight!! New York by water! The Chrysler Building, The Empire State Building, Brooklyn commercial shipping, a breathtaking shot of the Statue of Liberty under the Brooklyn Bridge, The South Street Seaport and finally the NY Harbor itself - what a sight! After a tasty fish dinner at the Sand Bar, we headed back to Liberty Landing for the night.

    Certainly a beautiful location with the Manhattan skyline on one side and the Statue of Liberty on the other. Great Day. Makes you proud to be an American!

    "Wednesday morning we left NY Harbor with the sun breaking over the New York skyline, headed out of the harbor past Ellis Island and steered close to the Statue of Liberty for a photo-op; the "Lady" was beautiful, especially with the sun shining from the East lighting up her face and torch. Heading out of Ambrose Channel under the Varazzano Bridge to Sandy Hook, the channel was jammed with fishing boats, both commercial and private, hauling in flounder and other fish - difficult to travel through the channel. At Sandy Hook we trimmed sails and headed south out into the Atlantic. The wind was just off our nose from the SE, so we motor sailed until the winds backed E and rose in strength. Great sailing on a close reach!

    "That afternoon, as Atlantic City hove into view, we began to pick up weather reports of squalls and thunderstorms. As the winds increased and visibility diminished, we headed for Absecon Inlet to Atlantic City. Two miles out, we turned at the channel markers & were met with sheets of rain and howling winds. With the winds behind us, we "surfed" through the inlet and finally arrived at the docks of Trump Marina. What a ride! We had a relaxing dinner and then a much needed sleep.

    "Thursday morning, we left Atlantic City after having a good nightís sleep. It was a gorgeous day with the passage of a cold front, and it was interesting to see the Inlet in daylight after surfing through it with rain in our eyes. Hung out clothes to dry and continued to motor sail down the New Jersey coast toward Cape May running ten miles or so offshore, so no land is in sight. What a feeling! Practiced MOB techniques although the winds were light at 8-10 kts. After an hour of this, we headed for Cape May Harbor. 

    "Cape May Harbor is very shallow in spots, although the Southern portion runs 15-18 feet. Motored past the Coast Guard Station down toward the historical part of town. Shrimp boats & lobsterman were plentiful. Docked at the Lobster House - a very popular spot in summer. Itís huge, with a full restaurant and Raw Bar-Take Out like a fish supermarket. Thereís a gaff-rigged schooner used for a waterside bar with snacks. We had New England Clam Chowder & headed back to an anchorage near the USCG Station. After working the current tables, we decided weíd leave by 0330 to hit the currents going up Delaware Bay. So we sautéed some chicken with mushrooms, veggies & rice & hit the sack. Beautiful anchorage, a full moon, and another great day!

    "In the wee hours of Friday morning we raised anchor and headed for the inlet. What a sight! The moon was high and the lights of the harbor were blinking. As we began our course, we noticed lightning & ominous clouds to the East. We cleared the shoals, entered the channel and headed up Delaware Bay with a strong flood current pushing us from behind to make 7-1/2 knots over ground. That afternoon we entered the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal, exited into Chesapeake Bay and pressed on toward Rock Hall. We continued navigation and piloting practice and took the ASA written exams. At Haven Harbor we fueled up, pumped out and headed for our home port at Spring Cove Marina in Rock Hall. What a wonderful trip & fine crew! A great cruise & a wonderful time was had by all."

    Captain John Corsaut
    Rock Hall, MD

    August 28, 1999

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