We have been busy and on the move for the last few days, but we have a couple of days to rest at the Delaware City Marina as we wait for some wet weather to pass.
After clearing the bridge at Tappan Zee in the afternoon, the US Coast Guard assured us that despite the bridge crew chasing us off in the morning, only the main span of the bridge was closed. I hope they manage the next 70 closures better.
We headed down the Hudson with a plan to stop at the George Washington Bridge for the night. As we approached, we realized we could get to the City and still have some light. We arrived at Liberty Landing Marina just as it was getting dark, though getting dark is not something that happens in NYC. We refueled and pulled around the corner to anchor for free at Ellis Island. The view was something else, but that said so was the rolling and the noise from the party boats on a Friday night.
The next day we head out of the Verrazano–Narrows Bridge and slipped in to Raritan Bay, the water behind Sandy Hook just south of Staten Island. We booked a mooring ball at the Raritan Yacht Club on the recommendation of a member we met at the Toronto Boat Show.
RYC’s set up is great. Despite being almost wiped out in Sandy with the loss of 58 boats and most of their docks and a lot of the shore-side facilities we found a great club, they have rebuilt their docks and the temporary bathrooms in a trailer are nicer than the average yacht club. They have a launch service to take you to and from the boat, removing the need to tender in and out.
The club is located in Perth Amboy, a small, largely Hispanic community. The town has a nice vibe, the housing is well kept, however the business area along the main street has been gutted by out of town malls and consists mostly of dollar stores and nail parlors. It is quite eye opening to be in the US but also be in an entirely Spanish speaking environment. I am wondering when the US will be forced to get serious about bilingualism in government, not under Clinton or Trump for sure, but the next President is going to have to consider a way forward.
We picked up 2 crew members to help us with the offshore passage around New Jersey to Delaware City. Tom and Shannon came to us through a post on Ocean Crew Link, Shannon, an experienced sailor, came as a watch leader, and Tom, who is learning the ropes, as help for Kathleen’s shifts.
The weather forecast for the passage was reasonable and we set sail about 9:00pm to head out of Raritan Bay. Tide timing for getting into the Delaware Bay put departure from NY Harbor and entrance to Delaware Bay at night. This is challenging as big ships don’t like little boats getting in their way. Our first encounter with a big ship was in the first hour and we carefully picked our way out of Raritan Bay and out of the harbour approaches to a clear area, well away from the traffic separation lanes.
The first night was mainly motoring, by lunch time we had the sails up and some really great sailing as we went slowly down the New Jersey coast. The path was away from the path of most traffic but we did see a few large ships.
The wind built through the day and by 10:00 pm we were double reefed and starting to face larger seas. The wind built past the forecast 20kts to 25 but it was steady and from the south east so, although close hauled, we only did 2 tacks the entire trip. The overnight was on the tough side, I (Matthew) was not feeling great although the stugeron and Kathleen’s seasickness protocol worked and I was able to function throughout the night. Shannon and I took the overnight, with one of us occasionally trying to sleep or at least nap in the cockpit while the other stayed on watch. The night was long and hard work but as we turned the boat north into Delaware Bay, the ride got easier and with the wind on our beam we flew up into the bay. Coming into a bay at night is challenging, we were lucky in having little commercial traffic, a tanker and a Dole banana boat were the only ones we saw on the approach. Kathleen and Tom took over from us after first light and there was some well-earned sleep for Shannon and I.
The wind shifted to North West and we motored up the bay to Delaware City where we are now waiting for the rain to pass before we head into Annapolis, a day’s sail from here. We will be at the show next week and we are looking forward to catching up with friends new and old.