July 20, 2011
Today was a killer day of sailing. The original plan had been to kick back in Greenport for another day and maybe take a short sail around Shelter Island. However, I awoke to thick, pea soup fog on Wednesday morning, and the forecast was for fog again on Thursday morning. Earlier in the morning, an old, experienced power boater (in an old, sweet wooden yacht) left the slip next to me and then came back after trying to make it across to Mystic. My concern was that if the fog on Thursday delayed my departure I would miss the slack current through Plum Gut, so when the fog lifted around 1215, I decided to hightail it out of Greenport while I had the opportunity and maybe make Clinton, CT before dark.
What a good decision that was! We had great wind almost all the way. Left the dock at Greenport at 1245. Started out close-hauled, then mostly on a beam reach until Plum Gut, then on a close reach across most of the sound. I was hauling ass, making almost 7 kts for the first hour of the trip.
I had read so many horor stories about trying to transit Plum Gut when the current is opposing the wind that I was a little leery about this portion. Because of the timing with the fog, I was making it through right as the opposing current was starting. All was fine, except for about 1/4 mile of steep and confused waves. Of course, the wind gets fluky at the same time, so I started the engine to power through it. It was all over in a few minutes, but not without significant water washing over the bow and a lot of wallowing. Still, all in all, it was kind of fun and exhilerating.
Other than Plum Gut, we had very light seas. Maybe 1.5 feet off the port bow. Eventually the wind started to die down and shifted more southerly to a beam reach, and it finally died out about 2 miles from the channel entrance to Clinton. So I’m at the entrance to the Clinton harbor, and I’m up forward taking down the genoa when I notice that the water around me is all brown and sludgy. Hmmm, I think, that doesn’t look too pleasant. It gradually dawns on me that a rather large boat must have pumped out its holding tank right outside the channel entrance. If you ask me, the punishment for that ought to be to make the captain of the vessel swim through the entire sludge slick.
Arrived at the dock in Clinton at 1830. All in all, a great day sailing.
The marina here in Clinton is kind of like a KOA, including the slightly too warm, over-chlorinated swimming pool swarming with kids. Still, a lot of fun, and it was nice going for a swim when I got in. Later, I have dinner at the bar of a restaurant overlooking the water, and the big screen is playing the Yankees game (unfortunately, they lost to Twins, 4-9.)