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Ahoy from Portsmouth, RI, the terminus of this voyage!
I'm happy to report that we're "home" and that this year's trip is done. It's been 9 years since BlueJacket was back in her home waters and it feels nice to be there.
We stayed in New Bedford/Fairhaven longer than expected. On Saturday morning we pulled the anchor at about 7 AM and headed out of the well protected harbor. The forecasts had the winds building out of the SW starting around noon and we wanted to get to Newport before it got too nasty. Well, the forecasts were off by a few hours. Within half an hour of leaving, we had 25 kts of wind and it was building. I looked at Sue and said "Lets just turn around and wait this one out." By 8 AM we were anchored back in the harbor and the winds were still building. I lowered the dinghy so that we could go into town and explore, but it got so rough in the harbor that we decided to stay aboard. The picture to the right is inside of the harbor.
As the day progressed, the winds picked up even more and we saw 34 kts inside of the harbor! The wind generator was cranking out amps like it's never done before. It was outputting in excess of 30 amps, which it never did in the Caribbean due to heat issues. I guess that having 30 degree lower temperatures does have some advantages. In the middle of the afternoon I checked some buoy data in Buzzards Bay and saw that it was reporting 37 kts with 8.5' seas. We were very glad to be sitting where we were!
The winds died overnight and early the next morning we left again. It's amazing what a difference 24 hours can make. We had 10-15 kts out of the SW (I'll let you guess which direction we were headed) and the seas were 2-3'. We motored along until we made a right hand turn into the Sakonnet river and then we rolled out the sails and had a glorious sail up the Sakonnet. The Sakonnet is one of the prettiest rivers that I've ever sailed on. It's relatively unspoiled with condominiums or industry and in some areas you have old homes perched atop hills with huge lawns gracefully rolling down to the water's edge. I've often said that I would love to live there.
The sail up the Sakonnet was probably the nicest sail that we had during this entire trip. We started off very close to the wind, but we fell off as we worked our way up the river. We had 10-15 kts of wind, flat water, sunshine and warmth. It was wonderful! It was about a 12 mile trip to the marina, but we just sailed on by and played around for another hour or so.
Mid-afternoon we pulled into a slip at Brewer's Sakonnet marina and immediately began trying to remove the salt crust that had built up on the boat over the past few days. It was amazing how much salt had built up and how hard it was to get everything clean. What was really cool was that the dock had arranged a welcome home party for us under the guise of an end of the year dock party! We had a great time and met a lot of very nice people.
Now we're in the process of getting the boat ready to be stored for the winter. I'm writing this from home in Marlborough as we had a full car load of stuff that we brought home. We'll be headed back to the boat this morning to continue the process.
-- Geoff & Sue