Gone Sailing for a Year

September 2015 - July 2016
A 295-day adventure by Kir Read more
  • 164footprints
  • 14countries
  • 295days
  • 883photos
  • 0videos
  • 5.4kmiles
  • 709miles
  • Day One Onset Harbor

    September 20, 2015 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    Finally! finally finally finally! We’re off the dock, it’s been a long slog of boat project on top of project. Kirsten & I quit our jobs right before our wedding in early July and for much of the time since then it sure hasn’t felt like we’ve been unemployed. But all the hard work is finally behind us and we’ve shoved off the dock.

    Our first goal is to make it to Newport, RI in three days to catch a bus to Providence, RI to see a favorite band perform – Lord Huron.

    Leaving Boston this morning was bittersweet, but made easier by a wonderful send-off party a few days ago and a good friend Justin joining us for the first couple days. Our first day of weather and the immediate forecast is perfect, moderate north-easterlies & sunny warm skies. Today we covered about 45nm, from Boston to the Cape Cod Canal, then through the canal to Onset. All went well on our first day, we got into Onset shortly before sunset as planned and were greeted by a beautiful and auspicious first sunset.
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  • Day 5


    September 25, 2015 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Two days ago we pulled into Newport Harbor after a comfortable but a little slow 40nm day from Onset to Newport. Our friend Justin got a good chunk of The Martian read on the bow
    beneath the spinnaker as we glided at 4-5kts westward into Rhode Island and
    past the enormous mansions. The wind for the passage was out of the north east but it was fairly light, peaking at around 14kts mid-morning but then diminishing to 8-12kts for most of the day before dying in the evening. Since we were going west the wind was coming from behind us and was too light for our normal sails to fill properly and propel the boat. These are spinnaker conditions!

    Gaia has an old asymmetrical spinnaker from a prior owner – I have no idea of it’s history, but it’s at least 10 years old. But it hasn’t been used much, and aside from some color bleeding & rust stains, it works pretty well. It has a sock which is a big fabric tube that slides down over top of the sail when it’s not in use, this lets us easily hoist the sail to the top of the mast before it fills with air. Once the sail is deployed, the sock gets bunched up at the top of the mast. When we’re ready to collapse the sail, we can pull the sock down to collapse the sail and make it easy to recover. I love flying the spinnaker – it means it’s a peaceful calm day and spinnaker runs are some of the most enjoyable sailing in my opinion. I haven’t used the spinnaker much on Gaia in all the years I’ve owned her, but now that we have a new feathering propeller, the boat is vastly more capable of making meaningful progress in light wind (more on this topic in a later post).

    Yesterday we spent the day in Newport Harbor, then took a RIPTA (Rhode Island’s bus system) bus to Providence (for $2 each way!) to see a favorite band, Lord Huron. It was an excellent show and we didn’t get back to the boat until around 2am.
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  • Day 7

    Block Island, Maze Wins Again

    September 27, 2015 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    We sailed to Block Island from Newport. Not much to report aside from the usual unusual Mike & Kirsten-ism; my over-exaggeration of waves and Mikes sudden awareness that If Gaia is gaining on another vessel…. we can race them (and he goes from a wine and cheese cruising mentality of ‘we get there when we get there’ to barking commands ‘Trim the gennie! Edge up the traveler windward! We got em!’).
    There were 4 foot seas and rounding the Northern tip of Block Island was, as always, a welcoming view. There’s a shallow spit of land that curves out like an arm from the Block Island bluffs that are even more beautiful from the top. We anchored in the salt pond, which has a VERY narrow cut of water that funnels into the harbor. It was my third time letting out the anchor, which can be, as I learned, a delicate process of lowering at the right moment and letting the boat rest to get your bearings. Mike tied different colored string on the anchor rode every 10 feet so you can see how much rode you have sitting out. This is a GREAT idea and I highly recommend it to anyone anchoring…. But do note that over time the first 80 feet becomes coated in mud and the old neon colors before are brown. So when Mike asked me how much rode we had out half way through… I dunnno…( I guess I need to practice counting or something).

    BI Sat/ Sun
    ulia and Amy ventured out to the great BI of RI! Our friends still remember us! And they brought beer!!! Saturday morning meeting Julia & Amy was the first time Mike & I came ashore. I had forgotten how timeless and close everything was for walking distance. A 15 minute walk and we met them from the ferry ride over. Our first order of business was to get some serious boat napping & relaxing in, afterall, they did take the first ferry in to BI. We then had ourselves a classic BI beachday. Frisbee, beer, meandering, beach. The day ended in a wet dinghy adventure to cocktails at the infamous ‘Oar’ and somehow… about 4 hours later… we emerged for another dingy adventure across the great pond.
    Sunday we made it our mission to find the maze. The maze is for lack of words, really neat. It’s an intricately woven network of grassy paths that lead you to the BI bluffs, a few ponds, beaches, and always seems to end and begin in private property to some extent. P.S.I have never gone into the maze and not found myself lost at some point. The larger the group, the better the confusion. With a happy go lucky crew of Amy, Julia, Mike, and myself…. This was by far the closest we have ever come to not getting lost. We did, however, manage to miss their expected ferry back home… but nbd. We were all in BI.
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  • Day 7

    Lunar Event of the Century!

    September 27, 2015 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Or something to that effect…. and we only managed to snap these shots with our new hotshot camera. It was a super blood moon lunar eclipse and they only happen 5 times a century. So what else does one do but sit outside with a blanket & hot cocoa, listening to Dark Side of the Moon.Read more

  • Day 9

    Old Saybrook, Jumpy Fish

    September 29, 2015 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    We were going to spend a few more days reveling in Block Island but there was a weeks worth of rain in the weeks forecast and with the only good wind to bring us into the Long Island Sound being on a Monday… we left early.
    En route we were pleasantly surprised to make friends with the local navy submarine (of Groton possibly?). And we timed the current perfectly for Race Point and got a 3 knot turbocharge! We flew into Old Saybrook and settled into a free mooring field and very well protected from the prevailing Northerly winds. I’ll let the pictures do the talking…
    The anchorage was a shallow protected marshland and during low tide all you could hear was the jumping of fish flopping out of the water. It sounded like rain from below. There goes the peace and silence.
    And then there were these (Ospreys) jerks! Amazing hunters but loved to try and perch themselves ontop of your newly installed windex. …you guessed it… one of these guys broke our windex.
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  • Day 13

    Running Aground in Mamaroneck

    October 3, 2015 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 10 °C

    A cold front kept us cooped up for a few days in CT. Turns out we prefer sailing in nicer conditions as opposed to rainy ones. But behind the low Joaquinpressure system of rain was this little cat 4 storm, Joaquin, gaining strength and hitting the Bahamas and moving forward/ northerly, easterly, westerly….. really to anyones guess. This had us looking at safe havens to park the boat… just in case it came flying our way. Our good family friend John Stoffel and wife Bo told us to stop shuffling our feet and get on over to Mamaroneck Harbor Orienta Yacht Club stat. So we did.

    We were able to fill up on water, food, and propane. Propane can be a pesky trip so we were really grateful. Mike was fighting a cold and I was limping after running 6 miles and re-injuring the ball of my foot. I *think* I’ve finally learned I’m not meant to run long distances. So sickly Mike & wobbly Kirsten found a Starbucks to burrow into for the day and used all the free wifi and all the electricity to recharge all the devices. Again, we were grateful.

    You know the phrase ‘there are two kinds of sailors. Those who have gone aground and those who will.’ …. I had always disliked this phrase. Because I was above this phrase… I had never been aground and I had no intention of doing so; to infer otherwise was nonsense to me. After admitting this to the reader, I’d like to tell you a change in regard to the above statement. I have been aground and now welcome all those who have not yet been aground to jump over the line and join the party. BUT in my defense, I was following captain mikes direction despite my own recollection of the terrain being too shallow for Gaia to wander into. There was little concern because we made a soft sand landing on a rising tide. We were able to reverse out of the situation. (Thank you NEW propeller for the extra boost). So just behind the red nun where there’s a faint circular whirl of water….. yeah, that’s where we hit Mamaroneck but at least we filled up on all provisions & had excellent company!
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  • Day 18

    Tour of the East River and Hudson

    October 8, 2015 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    Timing the currents for the East River & Hudson River are important. Particularly when you’re looking at a 3 knot current that could either be turbo-boosting you down the river or knocking you back up… I was thrilled to be back in the greatest city; there really is an electricity in the air. The cultures, the food, and most of all the people. We anchored overnight by the Throgs Neck Bridge.
    The next morning we motored down the East River then up the Hudson. We caught the slack before the ebb tide (about an hr past slack) which gave us that amazing 3 knot powerboost on the East River.
    First bridge was the Throgs Neck designed by Othmar Amman in 1961 & built to relieve traffic congestion.
    The second bridge we went under was the Bronx WhiteStone Bridge constructed in 1939 also by Othmar Amman.
    The 3rd main bridge we approached is the Triborough Bridge (Robert F Kennedy)opened in 1936 and funded by the New Deal. It began construction on Black Friday 1929 and was redesigned by…. you guessed it Othmar Amman; his new design saved millions $$ and allowed for the project to continue onward.
    Fourth bridge is the Queensboro Bridge: And I thought the Roosevelt Tram was pretty neat-o
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