Rough water ahead

Trip Start Jun 22, 2007
Trip End Sep 25, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Rhode Island
Tuesday, September 4, 2007

We knew from the forecast that winds would be coming up from the southwest at 15-20 with gusts to 25+ and 4 foot seas.  Small craft warnings too boot.  So when we woke to see clear skies and flags flapping horizontally it was no surprise.  Sue and I took a look at the charts and it appeared that we make Newport RI with winds off the nose.  Given our choice to head west, this looked like the best choice. 

As we made our plans we could see the Labor Day "boat parade" as boats leaved the inner harbor at a steady every 500'.   We saw many less capable boats heading to see and turning west.  It seems everyone had to get home after Labor Day so we would be joining them.

Having been out in lumpy conditions we know what to do: tie down everything and stow anything that can fly.  This would include the galley, TV and anything setting out that could break.  So we hauled anchor by 0900 and went to sea.   It would be around 50 miles to Newport so it would be around a 7 hour day.  

The forecasts were right and before long we were hitting the full force of the seas and winds and were making only 5.5 kts...way short of our normal 7kts.  One thing about the marine forecast  is that the "fine print" of the marine forecast is that if the seas are predicted to be 4', there will be a number of 8' seas.  We found this to really be the case as First Forty went up and down in hard...up....down...crash...crash.  At times, sea spray runs the length of the boat.  We run the windshield wipers to maintain visibility.   At no time was it dangerous for us to be out there, but it was very rough.  Had we been going with the seas it might have been much easier, but this was a long, hard slog for most of the day. 

By the time we got ready to turn north toward Newport harbor, we could see some smaller sailboats really struggling.  As sailboats have right of way over power, we had to keep clear of them as we turned more off the heavy seas.  It was about that time that First Forty took a couple of really big waves on beam and the big boat rolled heavily only to be caught by the computer controlled stabilizers.  Even though we came up nicely, going over 25-30 degrees is a big roll.  We were happy to get downwind and have the waves on our stern. 

By 330, we called "Old port moorings" in Newport and hoped we could get a ball.  We had used Old port before and had a great location near the main part of town.  After being on "standby" for nearly 15 minutes, we were told to proceed to ball 15.  Soon we were safely tied up after a lumpy ride. 

Later we had a great dinner and an early bed.  We were glad to be back in Newport after a successful and terrific cruise to Maine.
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