9 October 2021: Maiden Voyage
9 October 2021
Groton, CT, USA
Noank, CT, USA
Cumulative Mileage (NM)
Crew on Board
Debut sail as skipper
Sail trimmer and racer and Marie Kondo enthusiast, every boat needs of one these crew members on board!
Ed, Eddy, E-Dog or Fast Eddy as they call him in the sail racing world.
GENERAL WEATHER OBSERVATIONS
23 knots gusting to 27 knots
Overcast at best
A crisp, blustery fall day in New Engalnd
Dry, thank goodness!
The day started out a little chaotic as I was not yet done stowing everything on board.
Last night I returned to East Greenwich, Rhode Island to grab the last of my belongings to move aboard and did not get back until 11:30pm. My late night arrival in the dark to Shennecossett Yacht Club was derailed by a faulty gate card. Okay, maybe it was not faulty and more a lack of clear communication (I think it is safe to say that we now know the yacht clubs post purchase courtesy period is a 3 day/2 night stay and not the 3 day/3 night period that I was wishfully thinking it was). However, regardless of how it happened it resulted in me parking outside the yacht club and scaling the fence to get back to my new warm bed on my floating home.
That meant that I was forced go to straight to bed as the contents of the vehicle that I would have stayed up late to unpack and stow had a chain link fence between me and them and it was cold and dark.
So packing resumed this morning and Ed and Carolyn were due to arrive early to sail out of the marina for the first time with me in charge of a boat for the first time.
The crew for our maiden voyage arrived on time, but due to the last minute, weather related change of plans to stay in Connecticut instead of heading back to Rhode Island there were some car dropping logistics that needed to be attended to!
They dropped a few things at the boat and departed for Noank with both vehicles in order to leave one vehicle there and use the other to return to Groton. This gave me time to seem ever so slightly less unprepared when they returned to the boat and gave them a chance to check out the quaint town of Noank and scout out a location for an impromptu goodbye party that was to come the next day!
While they were gone, I downloaded OpenCPN on the Android Tablet (literally unboxed and placed on charge that morning) and managed to get the USA charts loaded and ready – despite never using the program and having to setup the tablet with my Android account first! Talk about user friendly, I couldn’t believe I was able to work it out in that time frame.
However, definitely a few things still needed to be safely secured before departure, especially given the forecast. Ed and Carolyn pitched in and though it was not perfect – i.e. all of my clothes just thrown into the v-berth – anything that would get tossed around while sailing was safely stowed.
A Blustery Fall Day
Given the forecast was 25 knots on the nose from the East, a forecast that previous owner Mike described as “sporty”, I was nervous. But we threw on our lifejackets, fired up the engine and prepared to depart.
The initial departure was less than impressive and definitely took three people. Just trying to avoid catching the dinghy suspended from the davits at the back from hitting the pilings on the dock was Ed’s full time job with Carolyn ensuring we were clear of the pilings further up the boat. However, the chaos with the dinghy meant that we were facing the wrong way down the fairway and given we did not know the marina well we did not want to head down to the end to turn around. So – at Ed’s suggestion – we backed down the fairway until an opening where we could swing around. It turned out to be a great suggestion that worked really well but needed to be done with a little bit of speed to ensure steerage in reverse.
We motored from there out of the bay without problems and then looked to raise the mainsail.
Since the wind was coming from the East and we were headed that general direction, we did not have to turn far to be nose to the wind to raise the mainsail. Given I was nervous with the new boat and the current wind speed (which confirmed the forecast was spot on), we raised the mainsail with one reef in it.
We turned up in to the wind and then looked to pull out some jib.
Given it had been so long since I had sailed, let alone a boat that was new and unfamiliar to me, we only pulled a little bit of jib out – maybe 1/3 of it. I still had to get over that initial gut clench you get when you first take a boat out for a sail and are not yet sure how far over you are comfortable with her heeling. But it all comes with time and this maiden voyage was not the time to fully test her out. Plus, this boat was a shoal draft and all I could think was “does that make it tippier!?”
Overall I was glad to have two experienced sailors aboard. It was the perfect introduction to my boat, doing first a few tacks together and then me doing one on my own (with these two wonderful humans there fore backup, which I did not need). Plus, there to celebrate these small wins! I do not think I could have said thank you enough to these two for making time on their weekend to be a part of this with me. It was a comfort and it was fun!
Short Sail to Anchor
The sail was short, unfortunate since I had crew there to get a feel for my boat but fortunate since it was windy!
However, the bay in Noank where our chosen anchorage was for the night was well protected so it was much nicer once we were in there. Given there is also a mooring field there, we motored around a bit to find a place spacious enough to drop and in the end realised (thanks to Carolyn’s spot picking skills) that just outside the mooring field to the south had plenty of room and enough depth. Bonus, that there was one other boat anchored there which also makes a newbie feel better about choosing a spot knowing that another boat chose it as well! You just hope that other boat captain is not incompetent and you are following the wrong crowd!
Ed was on the manual windlass dropping the anchor and me on the helm and Carolyn relaying messages between us. Given it was my first time, having Carolyn keep me posted on what was happening with Ed and the anchor was really helpful for me learning.
From almost a year of living on the hook on the last boat, this next bit of the anchoring routine was familiar to me. Snub the anchor, put the chain stopper on and back down on it and ensure you are set. Then mark your spot on your anchor alarm to monitor in case the wind changes or anchor pulls out it will alert you!
Then given it was already getting on in the day, we dropped the dinghy from the davits and mounted the engine and we set off for the Ram Island Yacht Club where one of the vehicles was waiting. Carolyn drove Ed to his car back at SYC in Groton so he could head home for the night and then Carolyn was coming back for girls night on the boat. We made a delicious dinner, Carolyn Marie Kondo organized my closet (since all of the clothes were thrown in to set off from the marina in time) and then we made up a spare bed for Carolyn for the night. She choose the main saloon as her bed so it was a first test run dropping the table to make a double bed!
“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
– Robert Frost