The NYYC cruise, 163rd edition. Been there done that…

Well, it’s over, the 163rd cruise of the New York Yacht Club, my first, and I’m back home.  No, I haven’t joined the club as my involvement in the cruise was as a “hanger on” or tender to one of the race boats, Alix.  Here’s Alix before one of the races below.  Not much of an action shot, you say?  Perhaps not as I had to skedaddle to the next anchorage each day to be sure that I was able to get a good spot so they could tie up with me at the end of racing each day.Along with a good supply of moral and anchoring support, I also supplied water for the crew to shower aboard Pandora, well, at least until my water-maker stopped functioning about midway through the week.  Of course, that was in addition to an occasional rum punch and Klondike ice cream bar for the crew.  However, expect that the showers trumped everything else.  Nothing like a shower for the crew after a day of racing on the water but somehow ice cream aboard Pandora seemed to be a close second.

The whole experience was a lot of fun but, I’ll admit that it sometimes felt a bit like a “forced march” as the fleet made it’s way from harbor to harbor on a tight schedule and ALWAYS into the wind.  Isn’t that always the way, the wind on the nose?  To me, cruising on a tight schedule always feels like “you can’t get there from here”.

In only one week we covered a lot of ground, moving every day but one, beginning and ending at their clubhouse, Harbor Court in Newport, the NYYC “summer home” overlooking Newport Harbor.  It’s a spectacular venue.  Day one took us to Cuttyhunk Harbor, a place that holds a very special history for me as I have have visited it with every one of our boats, beginning way back in the early 80s on our 20′ catboat Tao.  It was also a spot I visited with my boys and dad a few years before he died. It was the last time he was aboard and a very special time for us all.  Here’s Dad,  Rob and Chris photographed with me at the highest point on the island.  This photo always makes me feel a bit teary.The crew of Pandora and Alix shared some of the famous Cuttyhunk oysters on in the harbor washed down by some “Pandora imported” Caribbean rum fueled rum punch. Our next stop was New Bedford, a somewhat gritty, but in a nice way, fishing port.  This is the view from the observation deck of the New Bedford Whaling Museum, where we had a terrific cocktail party. The food and drink flowed liberally.
As I entered the harbor earlier in the day, I was passed by Columbia, the reproduction of a Grand Banks fishing schooner built in Panama City FL.  I was aboard her for a tour in Antigua two winters ago.  She’s a wonderful yacht.  I wrote about her in this post. She’s even more impressive up close after her most recent refit. I particularly love this angle.  What beautiful lines. The next day, and yes, we were only there for one day, was to head to Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard.  Happily, we spent two days there, our only “lay day”.

This was where we had a reception, overlooking the harbor.  It seems that this “double lot” is owned by a NYYC member.  When Walter Cronkite was alive, he was his next door neighbor.   Nice digs. Really, really nice digs.   How about that double nice boat house?Pandora was on a mooring directly out in front of the place, tied up with Brilliant, another boat on the cruise.  Her owners also happen to be members of the Essex Yacht Club.   There family has deep ties to Edgartown, deep enough to snag a mooring in the most perfect spot imaginable it seems. We took a Edgartown Yacht Club launch to the reception.  There’s Pandora rafted with Brilliant on a mooring directly beyond the boathouse and to the right. Perfect location, right?It was a lovely summer evening and a perfect spot to survey the harbor.  Jacket and “Nantucket red” slacks required.   I now have both shorts and slacks in that particular color. The next day was a “lay day” so we could enjoy Edgartown, one of my favorite spots to visit before the “march” got underway again.  Interestingly, Pandora’s “sistership”, hull #2 of three, has a slip there for part of the summer.  She is owned by two attorneys from PA, one keeps a home in Edgartown and the other near three mile harbor, in the Hamptons.   She’s the same design as Pandora but different in many ways, including a much smaller hard dodger and none of the cruising gear that is so important on Pandora.  She is perfectly maintained.  I wish my decks were as perfect as hers.

I understand that she will be in 3 mile harbor later this season and I hope to raft up to her for an evening.  I expect that will be the very first time that two of the three boats will ever have been together.  I wonder if I can arrange for #1 to be there too?  That would be amazing.   Hmm…Craig and I took a walking tour of some of the historic homes in Edgartown, arranged through the Carnegie library, the headquarters of the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust that oversees a number of historic sites on the island.  They do wonderful work.  The background of the Carnegie is quite interesting as the building was one of thousands of libraries funded by the philanthropists in the early 20th century.

We visited a number of spots on our 90 min walking tour.  I have always admired this particular one, once owned by a prominent physician and now part of the trust.   I can not think of any porch that I’d rather spend time on than this one.  I took a long walk around town on my own.  There are so many lovely homes and beautiful gardens to admire.How about this ivy covered garage.   The gardens at many of the homes make it clear that they are not managed by their owners, who probably get plenty of “exercise” writing checks. Our next stop was Tarpaulin Cove on the west side of Naushon.   This cove, more of an “indent” on the eastern side of the island, was once a popular spot for schooners to anchor and wait for the tides around West Chop, Martha’s Vineyard, a place where the tide runs hard.    It is very secluded and while it’s private, as part of the Forbes Family Trust that controls the island, you can enjoy the long sandy beaches that rim the cove for nearly a mile.

There is only one home visible from the cove, and it is a lovely one at that.
And, of course, a charming lighthouse. Many of the boats on the cruise stopped in the cove for the night.Some of the yachts on the cruise were remarkable including this lovely yawl, Bolero.  She was built at the Nevins Yard in City Island, launched in 1949 for the Brown family.  The same Brown University family and once owners of the NYYC clubhouse, Harbor Court, in Newport.  This is indeed a famous yacht.  I met her current owner Ed, at a cocktail party the night we were in Tarpaulin Cove aboard Enticer, this beautiful 1935 Trumpy.    We spoke about Bolero and he offered me a tour which I enjoyed when we returned to Newport.  I’ll write about that visit in a subsequent post.  Man, what a boat. Anyway, back to Enticer.  Notice that there is a boat rafted up to her.  That’s Onawa, one of six identical boats built at the Abeking & Rasmussen yard in Germany.  The design was the original model for the America’s Cup 12 meter rule for members of the NYYC.    Onawa was launched in 1928 for Cameron Forbes of Boston, once an owner of the island where we were anchored.  The island is still in the Forbes family.

Both of these boats, Enticer and Onawa, are part of a “timeshare” program that you can “buy” for $200,000 and use them for a prescribed amount of time each year.  Interested?  Check out this link and she could be yours, sort of.

I was aboard Enticer a few years ago at the Wooden Boat Show and wrote about her in this post.

So, cocktails aboard Enticer… What an experience and quite different than when I saw her at the Wooden Boat Show.   On this visit my tender was “valet parked” by one of her crew.  They held my painter when I pulled up to her boarding platform and then she was whisked away only to be returned when I was ready to depart.   “Welcome aboard Enticer, would you care for a drink?”  Indeed, what an experience. Some of the crew of Alix, including my friend Craig  David, the owner and skipper of Alix, David, to the left. Onawa, rafted alongside, was open for tours.  I met her captain Barb and we talked about the history of the yacht.   She was headed to Nantucket for a charter the next week and there was some discussion about my helping out as crew.  I would have loved that but my schedule was too tight.  Alas, the busy life of a retired guy.  So much for the lazy days of summer.   Had I been available, would I have been invited?  I guess I’ll never know.   I really hope to visit Onawa again and take some proper photos for a post.   Until then, follow this link for some background about this amazing boat.The next morning the sun rose, framing one of the beautiful carbon cats that were on the cruise.  This one had passed me a few days earlier doing nearly 20kts.
A short while later Bolero sailed majestically out of the harbor, headed back to Newport.  Now, that’s another boat I hope to sail on someday.  Her captain, Casey, told me that she will be in the Caribbean this winter.   I will too.   Hmm…
Unlike Bolero, my run back to Newport wasn’t all that great, motorsailing into the wind.  The wrap-up dinner for the cruise was held, as was the opening night, at Harbor Court.  A cocktail party followed by a lobster dinner with all the trimmings.  Dinner was brought out family style by a line of waiters holding platters dramatically high over their heads, marching along in a line.  It was quite a spectacle and plenty tasty. Of course, each place had a printed menu in the unlikely event that you did not know what you were eating or perhaps forgot why you were there.  The Key Lime Tartlet, complete with some sort of crunchy green thing on top, “how dey do dat?”  lived up to it’s name.  Unfortunately, I was limited to only one piece.  Never the less, yum!!!So, there you have it a blow by blow, or as my father used to say “perhaps more than you want to know about penguins”, of the 163rd edition of the New York Yacht Club cruise and I was there.  There of course, largely due to the generous support of my “sponsor” David, surely helped along by the fact that he and his crew needed a shower.   Happy to oblige David.  Thanks for having me along.

Oh, just so you don’t think that the week was all fun and games, as I made my way back to Newport one of my fuel tanks started to leak and ended up spilling nearly 10 gallons of diesel into the bilge.  After hours of searching I was able to trace the leak to my aft 50 gallon fuel tank ripped up much of the cabin sole and removed it a few days ago.    It seems that someone left a stainless screw loose under the aluminum tank when Pandora was built in 2007.  Well, over the years the stainless screw,  a more “nobel” metal than the aluminum tank it was touching, ate a small hole in the bottom of the tank as a result of electrolysis.

Well, the tank is now out for repair  and I’ll put it back in tomorrow followed by  all the fuel I siphoned out of the tank into jugs.  Hopefully, the tank will be ok and not leak.  I will say that I did notice a small amount of fuel in the bilge from time to time and never thought much of it but I guess that the bouncy ride back to Newport and home must have jostled the tank enough to shift the screw and open up the hole just enough to substantially increase the leak.   What a mess.  The good news is that I wasn’t 500 miles from shore when it happened.

More to come on that project.  Oh yeah, and the repair of the watermaker.  It’s always something.  As they say, BOAT.  Break Out Another Thousand.

So, to close on a more serene note, well more serene than 10 gallons of diesel in the bilge, here’s the evening scene that greeted me as I headed up the CT River and Essex, where Pandora will be for about a week until she heads to Stamford for some paint work.  Once moored, Brenda joined me for cocktails as we enjoyed the growing twilight over the marshes.

A good week, except, of course, 10 gallons of diesel…

Nope, all good.

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