Friday, February 14, 2014

Sailing Past Lady Liberty – A Dream Fulfilled (Day 2)

          (Continued from the previous post)

          I rose Saturday morning a little before 6:00 AM, grabbed my camera, and climbed out of the cabin to catch an early morning pre-sunrise photo of Manhattan.  The view was spectacular.  The air was cool, crisp, and the sky was clear, but barely a breeze was blowing.
Marina Morning View of Manhattan
          I rousted Harry out of his sleeping bag and we walked to the nearest Starbucks, just a couple blocks from the Marina.  Arriving a few minutes before its opening, we patiently waited outside.  When the doors finally opened, we were the first two customers.

            Having finished my breakfast sandwich before we returned to the boat, I continued to drink my Venti Vanilla Latte as we prepared to set off on our return sail.  I turned on the radio and depth gauge, started the outboard, untied the mooring lines, shoved off, and finally climbed aboard.  As I steered us out of the marina back into the Hudson, we motored for a few minutes before attempting to raise the sails.
Sailing South Toward Manhattan
            Even though there was little wind, I decided to raise the main sail to take advantage of what little breeze we had.  After two pulls on the main halyard I was surprised how easily the main sail was rising, until I realized that the main sail was not rising but the halyard was!  Apparently the shackle, attached to the head when I lowered the sail the night before, not being under tension and being vibrated by the rocking of the boat, had opened and come off.  I was about to lose the Halyard up the mast!
            Spouting an expletive deleted, I grabbed the nearby boat hook and after three or four tries wedged the halyard’s shackle between the boathook and the mast and carefully dragged the shackle and halyard down the mast until I could grab it with my hand.  Potential disaster had been averted!  Lesson learned?  Make sure the shackled is firmly secured to the head!  Check it before attempting to raise the main.
Me and Lady Liberty
          About an hour later, around 8 AM, we again set our eyes upon lady liberty from the cockpit of Mischief. With little wind and wanting to avoid the crisscrossing Staten Island Ferries, I started up the outboard and we motor sailed across the ferry lanes.
            As soon as we cleared the ferry channel I shut down the outboard and we were once again under sail, making slow but steady progress toward The Narrows and Verrazano Bridge.
Sailing South Toward the Verrazano
           As we sailed under the Verrazano Bridge around 10:25 AM, fellow blogger Tugster was in the area photographing boat traffic.  Harry texted him to ask him to look for us and take photos of us if he saw us.  Even though Tugster was not sure he found us, he did and he caught us on camera, which was quite a thrill.
(photo – mischief)
            After passing under the western side of the Verrazano Bridge we were making good progress just to the west of Ambrose channel, but with a little wind and strong ebb tide, too much progress. As we sailed on a broad reach across the channel the current was carrying us too far south.  We needed to either motor sail now across the channel in order to make it into Jamaica Bay or else motor sail later, totally against the current, to make it into the bay.
            We decided to start the outboard and motor sail across the channel and it was a good thing we did because the wind started decreasing.  By the time we were off the beach at Coney Island, around 11 AM, the wind had died.

Mischief Seen Through Tugster's Lens
     With a hot August midday sun overhead and no wind, we decided to anchor off the beach of Coney Island, drop the sails, and enjoy a swim in Jamaica Bay followed by warm fresh water showers thanks to the solar showers that had been lying on the foredeck all morning.  The swim was refreshing and the shower cleansing and we followed them with lunch.
            About two hour after anchoring the wind started picking up, so we raised the sails and around 1 PM began the final leg of our adventure. The wind kept building and sooner than later we found ourselves heeling 15 degrees to starboard as we approached the Marine parkway Bridge.
            By 2 PM we were headed into Mill Basin toward the only draw bridge on the Belt Parkway.  Fortunately, Mischief’s mast is low enough to sail under the parkway without the drawbridge raising.  Otherwise, I would guilty every time I sailed, knowing my fun was contributing to a traffic back up on the Belt
Approaching the Belt Pkwy
        With a favorable wind we were not only able to sail under the Belt but all the way through Mil Basin.  I finally started the outboard around 2:45 PM so we could easily maneuver through the marina and into Mischief’s slip.  Fifteen minutes later Mischief’s sails were down and we were securely tied off to the slips cleats. 
          After another thirty minutes of packing, tidying up, and making sure all was secure, Harry and I celebrated the conclusion of our sail with a tradition shot of rum toast. After eight and a half hours and twenty-seven miles since we cast off that morning, my dream sailing up New York Harbor, past Lady Liberty, and up the Hudson was a dream fulfilled.
            Having sailed forty miles over twelve hours the day before, our entire trip covered sixty-seven miles.  We had been on the water over twenty hours.   I had slept overnight on board Mischief for the first time.  We had motor sailed more than I had wanted but had still had enjoyed some fine sailing.
            We loaded our gear into Harry’s car and he drove me home as we ended our adventure.  It was not the last time Harry and I would be on board Mischief, but that is another story waiting to be told.

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