Thursday, June 27, 2013

Arriving at Bristol

[Kyle]It was only a short trip for the remainder of our journey to our next semi-permanent home in Bristol, Rhode Island (RI). There was barely enough time to warm up and then cool down the engines, so we didn’t bother with the sails. I was so pleased to find that Begonia was now 50% faster at all power settings. I can’t wait to see how she sails!

In Bristol, we found the usual: The harbor was full of moorings anywhere remotely close to where we wanted to go ashore. Our guidebook (why do we keep buying these things?) indicated there were a few places within the mooring field with space for anchoring, but to check with the harbormaster for advice as some of them have poor holding. The mooring field had grown significantly since the this year's guide book was written. We actually managed to find the harbormaster aboard his boat in the mooring field. We asked about anchoring and he advised us to get way out of the mooring field and “outside the line”.


We headed back south and anchored a long way from anything useful. This was going to be a perfect scenario for using our electric dinghy motor. Several different sailing schools were crisscrossing the bay in their dinghies, inspiring us to skip the motor and make our initial reconnaissance under sail ourselves. Our “guide” said there was a public dinghy dock in town, but was maddeningly vague about its exact location. We had been unable to find it passing the waterfront in Begonia earlier, so we decided that would be our first goal (after a nap).

By the time I had the sailing kit on the Pudgy set up with a reef in the sail for the strong winds, chop was starting to build in the harbor. What we had originally envisioned as a quick, pleasant sail ended up being an upwind bash into the building whitecaps. Progress upwind was painfully slow. Every time we felt like we had finally made some progress, we would just miss passing ahead of one moored boat or another and would have to drop back to pass astern, losing all of our gain. Tacking against the chop lost further ground, and Maryanne in the bow was repeatedly drenched.

By the time we did find the well-hidden dinghy dock, we arrived in the pretty tourist town shell-shocked and soaking wet. Our initial plan had been to sail downwind past the waterfront to look for a rumored second dinghy dock, and then tack back home. Our new plan was to search from ashore on foot as we dried off, and then just walk back upwind to the dinghy and go straight home.

Town Kids happily ignore the 'No Swimming' signs posted by the dock, while the town is prepared for the July 4th parade with a freshly marked route line

We found it. It’s basically on the far corner of the bay from Begonia, so we’re unlikely to use it. We took the main road back along the upcoming 4th of July parade route admiring the little shops and the tidy homes. We took our time, as we were trying to avoid the inevitable sail home.

After exploring the town stores, Kyle decides his support will go first to the local ice cream shack

By the time we were back in the dinghy, conditions had calmed down a bit. We made it home quickly on one not-too-upwind tack. We were beat and called it a day right then and there.

No comments: