Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Vacation Sailing Adventure Part 1

Day 1 Saturday 11 July 2009

The day started out with nearly getting run off I-95 by an obviously drunk driver. We watched him weave in and out of traffic in front of us. We got on the horn and called the Rhode Island State Police. We got transferred to this station and to that one, and were assured that a cruiser would come out and intercept the guy. We watched him take swigs from behind the wheel, and nearly hit a half dozen other cars. Before we knew it, we’d followed the car into Massachusetts and called the state police three other times on the way to report on the driver’s position. We considered our citizenly duty complete and hoped that Tipsy McDrinkerton didn’t kill anyone once he’d gotten off the highway.

We ran errands for the remainder of the day, then left the dock at around 3:00. We left Greenwich Bay and headed south to Jamestown, RI. Jamestown is an island in the middle of Narragansett Bay that has a few great restaurants, many many humongous houses, and a few of our favorite dive sites. This time we picked up a mooring on the west side of the island in Dutch Harbor. Not the same Dutch that the guys from Deadliest Catch go to, but whatever, it was still all good. We’d never stayed on the west side of the island, so it was nice to be somewhere different, yet still have the center of town in walking distance. I discovered my new favorite drink at our favorite restaurant, Tricia’s. The drink, called the Purple Nurple, tastes just like grape kool-aid and went down way too fast.

At 2 AM I felt water dripping against my arm. I woke up and realized that it was raining and the windows in our stateroom were open. I reached up, closed them, and hunkered back into my nest. Not two seconds later Todd called out to me from the cockpit “Beej! I need your help!”

I stumbled through the galley and up the stairs into the cockpit, where Todd was closing the panels on the cockpit enclosure. I helped him close the remaining curtains, and held the flashlight for him while he finished. At that point I realized I was standing in my cockpit stark naked. I frantically turned around and made a dash for the stairs into the cabin muttering “Stupid Purple Nurples.”

Day 2 Sunday 12 July 2009

We puttered around Jamestown in the morning, then let go of the mooring to sail around the north side of the island. The wind was coming directly from the south, and we stretched out the main sail (big sail in the middle of the boat) and the jib (big sail on the very front of the boat) and let the wind effortlessly shove us north.

I made a new friend along the way, called the Auto Pilot. All you have to do is set a course and it keeps a straight course on that bearing. Of course, you can’t set the auto pilot and go below to make a sandwich, because you still have to watch where you’re going, but it’s nice not having to do the little corrections to keep the boat on course.

We rounded the north of the island, which put the wind across the boat from the right. We reset the sails and made our way across the northern tip of the island. Eventually we tacked our way south to the other side of Jamestown, then started of the diesel to motor in for the rest of the way. I watched the Newport Bridge pass over as we motored beneath it and still noticed my mouth falling open at the sight. I have a thing about travelling under bridges, and have scads of photos of our mast against the backdrop of the underside of various bridges. Just anyone can drive over a bridge any old time. But it’s something else entirely to sail under a bridge.

We picked up a mooring on the east side of the island, headed in for dinner at Tricia’s again, then watched a jazz band play on the town green. We people watched while we listened to the music then headed back to the boat to bring the dogs ashore for their nightly walk. They made friends and flirted with anyone holding an ice cream cone from the local stand, in hopes that some sucker would take pity on them and give them a lick. No dice, guys.

Sleeping on the boat has been great so far. We go to bed earlier and wake up earlier on the boat because we alter our routine to match the sun. We don’t stay up late watching TV (though we might watch a movie on the laptop) and we just don’t have the same distractions to keep us from sleeping. Todd, typically a light sleeper, sleeps much better with a more natural rhythm. Reason # 45436 for cancelling the cable at home.

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Blogger Ginny said...

Now I want to sleep on a boat. Badly. Maybe I can get Owen to sit on the end of the bed and bounce up and down till I fall asleep?

July 20, 2009 at 12:24 AM  
Blogger BJ Knapp said...

Ginny, I actually tried that at home. It's not the same. LOL.

July 20, 2009 at 7:58 AM  
Anonymous crisitunity said...

I must have tried calling the state police about insane motorcyclers on 91 in CT/MA half a dozen times, and I don't think anything ever happened. I wish states would come up with some kind of tip line number for this purpose - drunks and bad drivers - instead of us not knowing where to call and nothing happening when we do.

Also, for my money, the new Newport bridge is pretty awe-inspiring no matter what angle you see it from. (I still call it the new one because when I lived there 20+ years ago there was only the old one.)

July 20, 2009 at 2:19 PM  
Blogger BJ Knapp said...

Crisitunity, I worked near Newport for a year and had to drive over the bridge every day. It never got old.

And what is it about route 91? People drive like maniacs on that road. My teenage self included.

July 21, 2009 at 3:29 PM  

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