17 October 2021: Traffic Galore!
17 October 2021
Great Kills Harbor, Staten Island, NY, USA
Atlantic Highlands, NJ, USA
Cumulative Mileage (NM)
Crew on Board
Skipper, first mate, chef, entertainment and more; I guess that is solo sailing for you!
GENERAL WEATHER OBSERVATIONS
18 knots but no plans to throw up a sail.
Grey and overcast, ominous feeling.
The cold chill air that comes with northerly winds.
Dry, thank goodness!
The mooring ball drop is always easy. Let it go and unless there is a current pushing you the wrong way, you will likely drift away from it. Enough time to get back to the wheel and steer away.
I motored the narrow channel out of there, which winds questionably close to the beach but to our surprise on the way in (and my continued surprise on the way out) it is in fact deep enough there. I followed just outside of the channel 95% of the way to Atlantic Highlands as there was lots of bigger, faster traffic on the actual channel the whole way. I motored the entire way as it was a little blustery and I could not be bothered to sail for just over 10 nautical miles.
On arrival I pulled up to the dock and filled my fuel and water and dropped off my trash. The nice dock attendants also told me the secret to using the showers even though I would be anchoring and not paying for a mooring. A welcome treat for me!
I spent a very long time selecting my spot to anchor and was right at the back of the anchorage. This was for a couple of reasons:
- Protection – I wanted to be protected from the weather coming but I also knew I would have to pull anchor to depart and did not want to be right in the middle of the pack of boats and risk drifting back into them while pulling my anchor solo. I was still getting the feel for it all!
- Lack of Accurate Distance Measurement – when I looked at the charts and other boats and try and visualize what the radius of my swinging circle would be based on how much chain I put out, I envision needing huge amounts of space. When I try and visually estimate distance, I think a picture as 50ft radius as 150ft so you can imagine the kind of space I think I need versus what I actually need once I settle in and swing around a bit.
Eventually I found my spot and really made sure to back down on it well knowing the forecast ahead. I put out a 5:1 ratio (chain:depth), maybe a generous 5:1 ratio. But I do not like to go much more than that if I can help it. Two reasons, in crowded Caribbean ratios they are often so crowded that it is important everyone is following the same chain ratios and swinging the same. And it was a new to me anchor, chain and boat and I wanted to see how she held with the standard amount of chain. I knew I had a good set and given my choice of anchoring spot with plenty of room at the back, I could always put out more chain if I regretted it and was dragging.
At the moment it felt like every single movement of the boat, I got to practice some new skill. Whether docking with a new current or wind or obstacle or sussing out where to anchor or various other things, every little bit was an improvement to my skill set. I would happily stay put there for a few days and get some errands done before timing the jump south down the New Jersey coast (my first open Atlantic sailing on my own boat) to be done with the best forecast possible. It was a stretch of coast I had negative associations with from the last time heading south and I do not care to repeat any of it this time around.
“I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
– Louisa May Alcott