It is now the middle of July and we have moved on, via Rhode Island to Massachusetts on our way to Nova Scotia.
We spent a great week in Newport, Rhode Island, and met up again with Mel and James. They have friends with a boat yard there, so decided it was a good place to have their ageing rigging refitted.

Entering Newport.

Entering Newport.

We were in Newport for Independence Day and went to hear the reading of the Declaration of Independence on the Colony House steps and the 21 gun salute.

Reading the declaration........they really hated King George, and we can't blame them!

Reading the declaration……..they really hated King George, and we can’t blame them!

All friends now!

All friends now!

It’s the first time I’ve understood what all the ‘independence’ fuss was about! Hearing all the grievances the colony had against King George and all the ‘taxation without representation’ that they were expected to put up with, I don’t blame the instigating their own USexit!

21 gun salute.

21 gun salute.

Missed me!

Missed me!

While we were in Newport we got in touch with Joe and Annie,  friends we first met in Trinidad. They happened to be back in Rhode Island to prepare their house for the market, before moving permanently onto Little Wing and sailing across the Pacific.
We met up with them for a day and the drove around the island like consummate tour guides.We stopped off en route at the garden that Annie had worked in for 25 years. What a special garden with wonderful sea views.
To round off the 4th of July celebrations we invited Joe and Annie and James and Mel  onboard for dinner,  followed by a fireworks display from Fort Adams, right next to our anchorage.
Before leaving Newport, we went to our second baseball game …….. with a difference! We were actually sitting in the netted-off seating area at the rear of the Mudville pub. When the  baseball ground was built it was built around the pub, so we sat and enjoyed the game and got a good explanation of the rules and finer tactics from some of our fellow drinkers, one of whom just happened to be the owner of the local team…..The Gulls.

Marcus getting ready for a 'home run' for the Gulls!

Marcus getting ready for a ‘home run’ for the Gulls!

We enjoyed our time in Newport and may well call in again on our way back south,

View from Fort Adams.

View from Fort Adams.

……..but the summer is moving along and we had to set off on our way to the Cape Cod canal.

We decided to split the journey and do day sails, so we headed for the island of Cuttyhunk, which it is supposed to be beautiful……Despite our good plan, we didn’t actually get to see it! We  arrived in thick fog and, after three abortive attempts to get the anchor to set, we decided to picked up a mooring for the night. In the morning, we were shaken awake….the wind had picked up and the mooring was very bouncy. When we had touched bottom a couple of times we decided it was time to cast off and leave before we did any damage and anyone ventured out to take our money!
Next stop was Mattapoisett, back on the mainland, and our first port in the state of Massachusetts. This was a delightful anchorage. In its heyday the town had been a major ship building centre for the whaling industry. It boasted at least eight  ship yards on the foreshore, each with its own quay. The quays are now used for mooring pleasure craft during the summer months and one houses the ‘transients’ dinghy dock where we tied up.
Today, the town has an unspoilt and under exploited air about it. It is a quiet summer holiday home for the wealthy and a dormitory town for locals who work in the larger towns in the area.
We spent a couple of days here and enjoyed live music in the pub and the park and also got to see a local Square Dance group setting up in the car park for their weekly shindig complete with costumes.

Square dancers getting ready.

Square dancers getting ready.

Square dancing is a bit like a barn dance with callers, but not a wisp of hay to be seen.

Our next stop was supposed to be Provincetown on Cape Cod, but just before we got to the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal, the engine overheating alarm went off. After shutting down the engine and setting the sails, we discovered the fan belt had broken, so the water pump that cools the engine wasn’t being turned. We diverted half a mile east to Bourne, dropped the anchor and got down to the not so simple task of replacing the fan belt. Four hours and a lot of mental and physical effort later, all was replaced and a bracket holding the alternator, that had seemingly come adrift was reattached.
The following day we caught the tide up through the canal and out across the bay to Provincetown. We knew before we arrived that ‘PTown’ is known as a gay town. We are used to the gay and cosmopolitan feel of Brighton, but this was like Brighton on steroids!

Provincetown Harbour.

Provincetown Harbour.

It turned out that we had arrived in the middle of Bear week. This is a week when the biggest and hairiest gay men descend on the town from all over the world, all sporting beards and as much body hair on show as possible. The atmosphere was great and everyone was relaxed and friendly.

Some of the Bears heading down to the nightly 'tea dance'?

Some of the Bears heading down to the nightly ‘tea dance’?

The thing that we didn’t know about PTown before arriving was that this is where the Mayflower dropped anchor when she first made land in America. The ship anchored here for 30 days, while they sent smaller boats across the bay to find a better site for their settlement………Plymouth. It was whilst they were at anchor here that they wrote their first ‘compact’ to govern themselves in their new colony.

The Pilgrims tower from the SE.....bike ride!

The Pilgrims tower from the SE…..bike ride!

We spent a good couple of hours going up the tower, that was built to commemorate the founding fathers some 150 years ago, and looking around the museum.

Names of new towns founded in Their new homeland!

Names of new towns founded in their new homeland!

The Pilgrim Fathers came from East Anglia.

The Pilgrim Fathers came from East Anglia.

It’s wonderful to get to know  the history of the places we visit and to understand the part that the British had in developing the colony! Here in New England, it’s not just the place names……Harwich, Plymouth, Boston, Yarmouth that remind us of England, it’s also the architecture and the underlying culture, based around the fishing, farming and boat  building industries that brought British settlers here in the 1700s. Perhaps it’s because of the familiarity that are enjoying the east coast far more than we ever thought we would!!

Jack's wharf. One of the many artist's studios in PTown.

Jack’s wharf. One of the many artist’s studios in PTown.

On our first evening ashore in PTown, we were in a bar,  chatting to our ‘server’ who it transpired lived on a sailing boat in the Harbour with her boyfriend. A few minutes later her boyfriend arrived……..it was Clay Davenport, the young crew/carer of the 92yr old, Vern, aboard ‘Jolly Friends’, who we met and befriended back in Trinidad!!

The last time we saw Clay was around his 30th birthday, when he was planning to escape to Grenada and start to get his sailing qualifications. Here we are, 2 years on and he has his captain’s ticket and is doing the summer season as captain on a day charter yacht in PTown.
What a small place this yachting world is!!

After enjoying four days of ‘people watching’ and digesting the local art and history, we entertained Clay and his girlfriend, Alex, to a farewell dinner aboard IK.

Clay and Alex.

Clay and Alex.

On the morning of St Swithan’s day, we topped up with fuel and water and set off, under clear blue skies, for Nova Scotia.

The Calm before the Storm.

The Calm before the Storm.

After a couple of hours, we saw what we thought was a fog bank coming towards us…….it turned out to be a thunderstorm! Stupidly we thought it would pass behind us, so we continued making good speed away from it with full main and motor……..BIG mistake!!
The storm veered towards us and we were caught with the toe rail under water and  47knts of wind in the sail. Under the strain, the outhaul line wore through and parted company with the clew of the mainsail leaving the sail to flog itself against the shrouds, before we could get up safely on deck to wind it in. The result is three tears in the last third of the canvas. Luckily the clew seems to have escaped damage.

Our poor mainsail :(

Our poor mainsail :(

Needless to say we aborted our course to Nova Scotia and returned to PTown to regroup and try to find a sailmaker.
Having phoned our friends, Joe and Annie back in Newport, they suggested looking for a sail loft further north in Cape Ann. Thanks to the Internet we have found a sail maker, whose grandmother’s surname is Haywood!, in Gloucester on Cape Ann.
We set off the following morning and arrived here last Saturday.

Our first evening at anchor in Gloucester.

Our first evening at anchor in Gloucester.

We spent Sunday  exploring our first proper fishing town…….it’s got real people doing real jobs and there are none of the ‘ersatz’ manicured tourist waterfront properties that we have experienced so far.
Tomorrow our ‘near namesake’ is coming over, on his day off,  to take a look at the damage to the mainsail and help us get the sail down and over to his sail loft……fingers crossed all goes well and we can continue soon.
There are much worse places to be sat waiting for tide and time!!

I’m still having problems loading photos, so rather than delay posting this now out of date entry, I shall upload it sans pics and hope to sort the problem out and update as soon as possible!

We are now a fleet of our own!!
Blew Beyond lead the way and set off from Porstmouth, before White Gold and IK…..we were delayed while Jim, Paula and Marcus tried to mend the leak in the fuel system….I offered the occasional helpful thought in between trips to the laundry room!

Three heads are better than one!

Three heads are better than one!

We eventually set off together, dodging the odd warship and headed for Cape May.
We sailed overnight and dropped anchor in what we thought was a quiet anchorage……it turned out there was a military boot camp next to us. Loud shouting and chorused responses from the squadies, plus early and late renditions of the Star Spangled Banner and bugle calls, were the backdrop to our stay!
Cape May is another picture postcard town that relies on tourism and fishing for its livelihood. We took the bikes and set off like the Famous Five ( or rather Six) and explored the town, bars and sea front.

Bikes aboard and away we went.

Bikes aboard and away we went.

Cape May High Street.

Cape May High Street.

Quaint Cape May.

Quaint Cape May.

Out along the front to the beach. $5 a head to step onto the sand!! We stuck to the prom.!

Out along the front to the beach. $5 a head to step onto the sand!! We stuck to the prom.!

I managed to find a glove puppet……WHY? you may well ask!…..Well, I spoke with an Australian back in Brighton and he said having a puppet was an immediate way to engage with children in the Pacific Islands, where language is a real barrier to integrating with the locals. He said their puppet was a guaranteed introduction to everywhere they went.

Jim entertaining a rather old kid and himself!

Jim entertaining a rather old kid and himself!

 

It is now the end of June and a lot has happened since I began this instalment of the blog.
We left Cape May and made our way up to New York. Timing the tide is as important as in the Solent and luckily we’d left ourselves enough leeway………just before the entrance to the Hudson River, we discovered that the pipe to the water filter, under the sink, had come loose and a fair proportion of our 750 litres of fresh water had been pouring out into the front bilge……the one that we have to manually drain!!! After an hour of fixing up a spare water pump and hoses to reach down into the bottom of the forward bilge and then up and over into the self draining aft bilge, we were on our way.

First glimpse of Manhattan.

First glimpse of Manhattan.

Getting closer!

Getting closer!

It has long been a dream to sail past the Statue of Liberty and one that we have finally achieved twice.

Us & SoL

SoL (2)

Many, many photos later we pulled up to a mooring buoy right at the far end of the 79th Street Yacht Basin, which is right below Central Park.

79th Street Yact Basin.

79th Street Yact Basin.

These moorings are for up to 40ft boats and cost just $30 a night, as opposed to the $200+ it would have cost in a ‘cheap’ Marina!! After claiming that we were a 43’ boat and being told we would have to anchor, Marcus then remembered that we were only 40’!! Luckily the dock master understood his ‘lapse of memory’ and let us stay. Luckily he didn’t venture down to the end of the moorings to check or he’d have been horrified at the extra 9’ we had not admitted to! We stayed for two nights and waved off ‘Gaia’ and ‘Emma’, who were legitimately on the moorings, as they started their Atlantic voyages back to Norway.

Fire boat saluting something......maybe Gaia on her way to the Azores?

Fire boat saluting something……maybe Gaia on her way to the Azores?

We left in their wake and headed south again, past the Statue of Liberty, to round the bottom of Manhattan and headed up the East River, through Hell Gate…..

Hell Gate bridge.

Hell Gate bridge.

 

9.6 knots of current......get the tides wrong at your peril!

9.6 knots of current……get the tides wrong at your peril!

………and on into Long Island sound and Port Washington which lies on the north shore of Long Island.

Sights on the way to Long Island Sound.

Manhatten (18)

Concorde!? We had no idea Manhattan had one of them!

Concorde!? We had no idea Manhattan had one of them!

Street or Avenue?

Street or Avenue?

A passing barge, with our name on it!

A passing barge, with our name on it!

Literally!!

Literally!!

 

From Port Washington there was a 40 min train service into the centre of NYC, so we had the best of both worlds…..a quiet small town with free anchorage and the city to visit at will. Unlike England, the trains run throughout the night, so there was never that 9 o’clock rush to get home!
We met up with Blew Beyond and White Gold, who are both bound for Newport, Rhode Island and joined in James’ birthday celebrations at Hooters!!

Hooters waitresses singing to James!

Hooters waitresses singing to James!

For our wedding anniversary, we took a day to sight see some of the city and went up the Top of the Rock, to Times Square and Grand Central Station and generally strolled around Manhattan.

 

 Our wedding anniversary outing. 32 years........you get less for murder!

Our wedding anniversary outing. 32 years……..you get less for murder!

Top of the Rock looking over Central Park

Top of the Rock looking over Central Park

Times Square.

Times Square.

TimesSquare......both of us on the big screen!

TimesSquare……both of us on the big screen!

Times Square. Marcus on the big screen.

Times Square. Marcus on the big screen.

Inside Grand Central.

Inside Grand Central.

We also met up with ‘Jenni’s Cara’ and she took us to the High Line; a mile and a half of disused elevated railway that used to run between the Fashion and Meat districts of the city. The track has been turned into a park with water features, shrubs, aromatic raised beds and sculptures and is a great example of what can be done with an ‘eyesore’.

With Carla on the High Line.

With Carla on the High Line.

Every one was out and about on the High Line!

Every one was out and about on the High Line!

Cara was our own tour guide and took us around the area where she works, which is more low rise and tree lined than we expected for NYC!

Doing lunch with Carla.

Doing lunch with Carla.

Sunset in Port Washington.

Sunset in Port Washington.

Although we are now in Newport ourselves, we delayed moving with ‘the fleet’ so that I could fly back to Blighty for my mum’s 97th birthday and a trip with her and my two sisters to Suffolk to celebrate. We had a great time, despite some bracing winds and it was good to reconnect.
Two weeks was really too little time, but with the pressure of needing to move the boat at the right times and seasons, meant that this was a fleeting visit. I managed to visit Nigel and Bridget and Dan. Again it was good to see them and catch up with their lives……hopefully next trip will be long enough to visit all our other friends and family!