Pandora, on the move, if only briefly

Well, it’s Wednesday morning, it’s a beautiful sunny day and I am on dry land.  Hmm…

At least I was aboard Pandora for a few days, even if it involved a lot of motoring as I returned to the CT River from New Bedford MA over the weekend.   It’s hard to get a favorable wind to head west when the prevailing winds are from the SW and about the only time that winds have an easterly component is when there’s a front coming through.  Unfortunately, that comes with rain and clouds.  A great sunny day rarely has winds from the east in these parts.  I guess a weather man/person might say “never”.   Me, I can only surmise.

So, after overstaying my welcome with my friend Patty in Fairhaven, using her mooring for a few weeks, I retrieved Pandora and she’s now back on the CT River, if only for a short time.

Anyway, she’s now in CT for a bit of upgrades and maintenance prior to me and Brenda heading out to RI on a club cruise for two weeks at the end of the month.

Returning to the CT River, we were blessed with one of an easterly wind combined with a fair tide that carried us from New Bedford all the way to Essex and we were able to make that 70 mile run in a single day.  Of course, it helps to have the help of the tide in keeping things moving in the right direction.

While the wind was pretty good, we were headed with it so I still had to run the engine much of the way, albeit at a low speed.  I was happy to put some hours on my new Autoprop, which performed very well.  I will be interested to see what sort of mileage I get with that prop verses the evil Max Prop that gave me so much trauma.   I do get the impression that the improvement in performance is certainly in the 10% range with regards to fuel efficiency.  We’ll see.  Before I get all excited about “good” mileage, even with an efficient prop, we are talking about 6-7mpg.  Pretty pathetic, actually.  Good thing that Pandora’s a sailboat.  With wind, pretty good mpg.  I guess that would make Pandora a true “hybrid”.  That’s wind and diesel.  Many powerboats count their mileage in gallons-per-mile.   A boat burning 4-5 gallons per mile, going say, 11kts, would be getting less than ONE mile per gallon.   Pathetic actually.

Anyway, enough detail.  It’s been a while since I have made the run down Buzzard’s Bay, through Block Island Sound and into Long Island Sound. Having spent so many summers moving my boats through these waters , over the last 30+ years, but not recently, it’s a real treat to do it again.   I enjoyed seeing one of my favorite island homes perched on what is more of a rocky hump than an island at the entrance to Buzzard’s Bay.  I love the wind generator and the “ancient” columns.  It’s a nice contrast of the old and new.  Pretty nice spot.There are plenty of great spots to look at in passing Watch Hill and Fisher’s Island.  The old Simmon’s mansion, built by the founder of the Simmon’s Mattress company.  I guess old man Simmons sold a lot of beds.  Pretty good digs.  I was hoping to find some information on the mansion, perhaps the biggest on an island with lots of big homes, but alas, not much there except that it was built in 1934.  I guess that the depression was good for the mattress business.  It makes sense.  You’re depressed so you just sleep.   Good for Mr.  Simmons it would seem.   Interestingly, after all these years, they still make a mattress branded “Fisher Island”.    How quaint.   Anyway, nice house.Another beautiful building is the Ocean House Hotel, high up on a bluff in Watch Hill, this beautiful hotel is built on the grounds of a hotel that was built in the early 1900s.  The original hotel was open for many years but ultimately closed in 2003 as it was really beyond repair, a victim of age and changing tastes.  This is a postcard of the old hotel.  Pretty nice. It was always a destination of the wealthy but now you really have to have money to visit, and be particularly willing to part with it as the rooms start at $725 per night.  Yikes!!!   The original Ocean House had 159 rooms with the new facility only boasting 49 rooms and an additional 15 suites.  I guess that modern taste tends toward bigger if more expensive accommodations.   The Ocean House clearly continues to cater to the elite but now I guess the 1% crowd is an even smaller group.   I checked the availability for a room and it seems that there are plenty of  1%rs visiting as there isn’t anything available till September.   While the new hotel is very different, they designed it in keeping with the original spirit of the place.  Interestingly, it has the same number of windows, 247 if you are wondering.  I’d say that they have done a nice job of keeping the feel, and exclusivity, of the place.  Actually, it looks a lot more like the old hotel than this shot would suggest.  

This photo from the water shows how much it looks like the old hotel.  And indeed, that’s a lot of F$%@&*$ windows to wash. And, the porch, what a great spot to read the NY Times.

Speaking of the 1% and where they wile away their time reading, the homes on the point are pretty impressive.  And, at least a few residents must be concerned about their homes sliding into the ocean.  How about the biggest retaining wall you have probably ever seen?  I can’t even imagine how much that wall must have cost.  “Well Bob, if you have to ask you can’t afford it”.  Well put.A few years ago Brenda and I walked around on Watch Hill, near the hotel. Really nice homes.  Great gardens and wonderful views.   Nice neighborhood. While I had to motorsail the whole way from New Bedford to the CT River, it was very relaxing, even with the swell coming in from the east and even that mostly went away a few hours after the wind shifted from the east to the north.

I can’t even count the number of times I have passed through those waters in the 30+ years that I have been sailing between Cape Cod and Long Island Sound.  It was nice to do so again.

So, now it’s time to get serious about getting Pandora in order for running her south again in September.  The list is long.

However, first things first, and I have to cut the lawn.   “Get on it Bob!”

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