Monthly Archives: June 2009

>Visit to Watch Hill RI


We have spent the last two days at Watch Hill RI, located at the very eastern most point of Long Island Sound. From here we will probably head for Block Island. Our visit here allowed us to participate in a rendezvous with some friends from the Corinthians for a cocktail party at the Watch Hill Yacht Club. The club is located at he head of the harbor and commands a great view of the goings on as boats come and go from Watch Hill. The town is tucked along the water on the side of a hill. It’s very scenic and looks like a throwback to years ago. Here’s a shot of town and the yacht club. It’s really a pretty town.
We went for a walk on the beach and watched the waves crashing on the shore. It wasn’t a bright and sunny day but at least it wasn’t raining. As the waves ran up and down the beach they left wonderful patterns in the seaweed. These shots remind me of my son Christopher who loves taking pictures of detailed patterns in nature.

Aphrodite is an amazing old commuter yacht that was rebuilt in Brooklyn Maine a few years ago. Brenda and I saw it in the shop when we visited there. She is now ported out of Watch Hill and is clearly the bell of the harbor. I can’t even imagine what this restoration cost. She is amazing at 80′ of gleaming bronze and flawless varnish and paint. Click on Aphrodite and see some information about this remarkable boat. She has hosted Franklin Roosevelt, Spencer Tracey and Katherine Hepburn just to name a few. A real treasure.

>Wooden Boat Show in Mystic

>On Friday afternoon we visited the Wooden Boat Show held at Mystic Seaport. It’s been years since we have gone to this show in spite of my being a subscriber to the magazine, Wooden Boat for nearly 30 years. There should be a slideshow of the event on their site soon, I would think.

The show brings together wooden boat entusiasts from all over including private owners as well as vendors. The number of wonderful old and new wooden boats made it tough to say what I liked best. However, there were two large yachts in particular that are worth mentioning. Enticer is a vintage Trumpy yacht from the 30s that’s privately owned and also available for charter. The link above is a convenient way for you to arrange a charter for yourself. At only $14,000 per week plus, plus it’s a bargin for these trying economic times.

Interestingly, Enticer’s home port used to be Dolphin Cove in Stamford where Brenda’s parent’s Jack and Mary lived. It’s a small world.

The master suite on Enticer. Yes, a bit nicer than on Pandora.

A proper galley. Yes? I want one of these.

l loved this gadget. Well, it’s actually more than your run of the mill gadget as it’s a screw maker. The company exibiting had this machine making screws all day long. They said that they have something like 40 machines doing this all day long at their factory. The machine was a marvel as it picked up screw blanks, put them in a mandril and cut the threads. After that an arm picked the screw up and dropped it in a bin only to begin the process all over again. What a wonderful machine to watch. The machine was about 100 years old and a sight to behold. It’s hard to believe that someone can make a living selling fastenings made in the US these days. They are Goulet Specialties and are located right in CT. Unfortunately, they don’t have a photo of their machines running on their website.
Here’s a shot of another wonderful yacht that we were able to board at the show. Canim was open for inspection. Perhaps we will charter her one day. Not… Interested? Check her out at the Canim site. Don’t delay as prime weeks are going fast. So many boats to choose from. So little time…and money. Bummer about that. Besides, she only has three sleeping cabins. Totally unacceptable!!!
After leaving Mystic we headed over to Watch Hill, RI for a Corinthians rendesvous and cocktail party at the Watch Hill Yacht Club. It’s nice to have friends with connections. Today Brenda and I are planning to go for a walk on the ocean side of Napatree Point where Long Island Sound connects with Block Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. We may head over to Block Island on Monday or perhaps somewhere else. We will have to see what the weather holds. For sure it will include a bit of rain as it has for every other day for the last month. Well, you know what they say… a bad day on the water beats a good day at work.

>Guy’s weekend on the CT and Mystic Rivers

>Last weekend my son Rob spent some time on Pandora with two friends. We headed out in spite of a miserable weather forecast. It was really not looking too good with a better than 50% chance of rain each day. And it was raining cats and dogs as we drove into Mystic. However, as this trip involved one of my doc friends, Joe, flying in from Pittsburgh and the threat of having to reschedule for late September we took a chance and forged ahead.

The plan was to meet in Mystic CT on Thursday night after work. However, the forecast was for 100% rain followed by a 50% chance for the next few days. Yes, it was just pouring when we arrived in the early evening. As it was just too wet to get on board Pandora without getting soaked we opted for rooms at the lovely Day’s Inn Mystic. Actually, it was actually very nice and not expensive at all.
Joe and his son Luke arrived late due to delayed fights and trains but we all made it and were ready for our weekend out on the water.

I wanted to head over to Matituck Long Island and some winery visits but the idea of doing this in the rain just didn’t appeal. Instead we opted to head from Mystic to the CT River and up to Selden Creek, one of my son Rob’s favorite places anywhere. Rob had grown up visiting this place and he wanted to go in Pandora.
When I think about a 50% chance of rain I tend to think that it’s only about half likely to rain and even more likely, half no rain. Well, as luck would have it, at 10am on Friday morning the rain began to stop and we headed out to board Pandora. The rain actually held off and conveniently only came down at night. No problem there.

A short while later we headed down the river and out toward the western end of Fisher’s Island. In spite of (or more likely because of) a forecast of SE winds about 10-15kts, we entered the Sound against West winds of the same speed. Why is it that the weather guys are always wrong? This meant a beat against a 2kt tide and a headwind. Well, it was only about 15-18 miles to the River mouth, we were on. What a great sail it was.

Now, here’s something that you don’t see every day. A nuclear sub leaving New London. Wish we were closer. I’ll bet that they wouldn’t have felt the same way.

We reached the mouth of the river just as the tide was turning to give us a nudge up the river to Selden Creek.
About 8 miles up the river, Selden Creek is so narrow you can’t believe that the water is deep enough for a boat on the scale of Pandora. I kid you not when I say that the total width isn’t much more than 75-100′ from bank to bank. Fortunately, it’s quite deep with about 10′ of water all the way so after a three point turn going bank to bank, we set the hook.
The only way to anchor there is to set the main anchor off the bow and back toward a cliff on the shore that has a convenient ring cemented into the face. This way you can tuck along the bank and yet still be in water deep enough to stay out of trouble. Here’s a few great shots of where we were. What a great place.

All snug with an anchor and stern line tied to the cliff.

Now, here’s something that you don’t see every day, a mast in the trees. And yes, the trees were really that close.

Imagine this view of the marsh after dark. The entire surface carpeted with thousands (millions?) of lightning bugs. It was just amazing. We ate dinner in the cockpit and watched the scene unfold as it became dark. It was easily the most magical scene I had ever seen. Bummer that I couldn’t get a shot of it.

The view early the next morning without a breath of a breeze. Just amazing. Hard to believe that we were so close to salt water.

The forecast for Sunday included Gale Warnings so we headed back to Mystic to the mooring and a final dinner of local lobster.

In spite of the weather forecast we only saw rain in the evenings so I guess that the glass was indeed half full.

Brenda and I plan on boarding Pandora again later this week for a week of vacation over the 4th of July. We expect to take in the Wooden Boat Show at Mystic Seaport, a Corinthians rendezvous at Watch Hill and then we will be off to Block Island, Newport and ultimately to Wickford Rhode Island.

More to come and I can’t wait. The weather seems to be improving with a promising forecast for the weekend.
Wish us luck.

>Weekend in Montauk New York

>My younger son Chris and his friend and fellow physicist Mohan from U Rochester joined me for the weekend on Pandora. We rendezvoused in Mystic on Friday evening and had dinner at Mystic Pizza, made famous the the movie of the same name starring Julia Roberts. It’s certainly the only pizza joint in the country showing that movie in continuous loops 20 hours a day. I believe that was the role that launched Julia Roberts career. Chris, now living in NYC, the pizza capital of the universe, declared the pizza substandard but OK. It was made more palatable by the hot fudge sunday that soon followed.

On Saturday morning we left the mooring in Mystic early to catch the tide which was going to turn against us by 10am if we didn’t exit Long Island Sound before it begain flooding against us at 10am. The wind was 5-10 out of the East so it was favorable to take us to Montauk at the very most eastern tip of Long Island Sound. The last time I visited was about 25 years ago when Brenda and I went there on our first boat TAO, our 20′ catboat.
Montauk has always been primarily been a fishing town and I felt almost as out of place on this visit as I did when Brenda and I visited so many years ago. However, the accommodations aboard Pandora surely are a big step up now and she is more in scale with the size of the other boats in port (well, sort of). I’ll bet that there weren’t 10 sailboats in the entire port and everyone else is a big sport fisherman. When I say “in the port” I mean in the marina as there aren’t any moorings or any boats anchoring out at all.
I asked someone in one of the marina offices how business was and, just like in Greenport, was told that business is very slow. You have to wonder what will happen with all these businesses if this summer is a bust with the soft economy.
The harbor is large, about 1 mile wide but it’s shallow in most places (under 10′). Pandora was only one of 3 boats anchored out at all. Another negative about the harbor is that town is a good 5 miles and a cab ride away.
In spite of that the boys and I had a good visit, renting bikes and heading out to Montauk light. The sign at the light says that George Washington ordered the building of the light as the first lighthouse in New York State. It’s really quite impressive and situated on a high bluff.

Most lighthouses that we visit are very informally operated but in true New York State Historic Park Service fashion, they had a ticket booth, gift store and a large staff made up of dedicated middle age guides with wireless headsets and uniforms. The staff had everything a National Historic Landmark could want except perhaps knowledge of the site beyond what they got from the site informational flier. I was amused, while at the top of the light to hear one women’s question of “where did the light house keeper sleep” answered by a somewhat perplexed guide “I guess that he slept on the floor here”, pointing to the landing at the top of the stairs. She went on to explain that the keeper’s home was down the stairs and down the road a bit. Certainly he didn’t walk the 100 yards from his home to the light multiple times a day. She also, in a completely authoritative voice stated that the “light was very efficient and didn’t even need electricity to be seen”. A fact not hard to imagine as the light was commissioned in the 1700s, a long time prior to the advent of electricity.

The view from the top of the tower is really something and given the fact that the site itself is on the top of a very high bluff, you can easily see Block Island and CT. Unfortunately, for safety reasons, you can only peek out on the balcony but it’s great none the less.

My son Chris, a physics grad student at Columbia, had lots to say about the Fresnel lens
from the old light unit as it seems that the Frenchman Fresnel did some important work in optics back in the 1700s. This lens unit was a very impressive massive unit of bronze and glass. A true work of art and it must of have weighed a ton as it was over 6′ in diameter. The trip up to the top is not for the claustrophobic.
Not a great shot of a photo in the museum but this is of Oliver Osborn who’s family took the last
whale off of Wainscot Long Island back in 1907. He looks like a tough old bird. I knew that the Osborn clan always enjoyed the water.
Another famous visitor to the area was Teddy Roosevelt who’s Rough Riders came to the area following the Spanish American War to be quarantined due to yellow fever and malaria. I guess that’s why there are unexploded bombs in the woods, something that is clearly posted in signs all over the place once you are off the main road. The message is clear and not something that you see every day. Chris and Mohan were terrified.

>What blogs I follow

>While I am between cruises on Pandora I follow a number of sailing blogs and also listen to a terrific podcast from Martinique.

Speaking of Pandora, I am looking forward to next weekend when my younger son Chris and a college friend will join me for a weekend out of Mystic, where Pandora is now. The plan is to head out to Block Island for the weekend. I can’t wait!!

Two world class sailors, Steve and Linda Dashew are prolific writers, designers who have sailed all over the world. They have since traded in their sailboat and are cruising on a 90′ powerboat, the latest in their long line of fast, narrow energy efficient yachts. Their current boat “Wind Horse” is a 90′ very narrow, easily driven aluminum yacht that they are traveling the world on. They keep a regular blog and their most recent posting on June 2nd has them in Norway. Their blog has some really wonderful photos and some great tips on ocean cruising. Check them out at . For some really great photos of Wind Horse, check this out. What a boat.

What a terrific looking yacht Windhorse is…

Susan and Tom Maddigan have been cruising between New England and the Bahamas for several years and while they don’t post very often, they do have quite a bit of activity from their time on Brilliant. Check them out at

Tom and Susan have covered a lot of miles with Brilliant. The are on their way north now.

Listing to podcasts is a relatively new activity for me but I absolutely love Yacht Blast which is a weekly radio show from a station in Martinique in the Caribbean. What a great thing to listen to while thinking of warmer climes. The host Gary Brown covers a great many topics including local sailing news and major events and races around the world. Great fun. You can go to I-tunes or to this link. Gary posts each Monday and I have subscribed by doing to I-tunes and it automatically loads onto my I-pod each week.

I am always on the lookout for fun sailing podcasts to listen to so please let me know of any that you like.