By Dejan Radeka
I closed on my new (to me) 30 on June 10th. The boat was located at Oak Leaf Marina in Old Saybrook, CT. I spent that weekend cleaning, organizing, and going over systems and gear. In terms of electronics the boat is very well equipped, with Raymarine radar, chart plotter-GPS, a plethora of speed/depth/wind instruments, and hydraulic autopilot. Little did I know then, how invaluable this equipment would be.
I spent the intervening week planning the delivery run. I even took a canvas bag full of charts, the 2017 Eldridge, and a “New England Cruising Guide” on a short business trip; spreading the charts out across the hotel room a couple of evenings!
It is just under 60 miles from the marina in Old Saybrook to my mooring in the Sakonnet River in Middletown, RI. Based on the tides for the proposed delivery weekend (June 17-18) I decided to split the run into two parts over two days.
There were several factors to think about. The Ebb was really early each day (5:42am and 6:42am), and you need to make it to the convergence point off Newport before the next Flood, if you don’t want to buck tides. That is a bit tough to do in the 6 hour window. Indeed Eldridge actually shows a countering Flood starting inside (west) of Pt Judith at 5 hours past the Ebb at the Race so it really isn’t possible in a 6.5 knot boat, even with the strong Ebb boosting you down LI Sound.
I did not want to spend a night in Pt Judith “harbor of refuge” because I hate that place, it is not comfortable at all. I also thought about running out to Block Island as a first leg, but decided against that just in case I encountered any gear or systems problems on the first big run. So I decided to go to Stonington, CT as the first leg (about 25 miles), and then do the balance from Stonington to home (about 33 miles) on the second day. Stonington is a nice little town, with good restaurants and shops, and is a nice layover. I called Dodson’s Boatyard and reserved a mooring for Saturday night. They charge $50 and you get free launch service and showers.
“Interesting” would not begin to describe our trip..
I got all of the gear, provisions, dinghy, etc loaded up in and on the car on Friday the 16th. My wife dropped my daughter and I at the marina on Friday night with the dinghy, gear food etc. We slept on the boat and woke up at 5am to catch the 5:42 ebb. We were a bit bleary eyed and hit snooze a couple of times but managed to get up, eat and get organized, and drop the dock lines by 6:15am. I hailed the railroad bridge, they opened almost immediately and we were out under the bridge by about 6:30am.
Visibility was about 1/4-1/2 mile going out of the river. There was no wind and we were under power with sails furled. Seas were calm. No sooner did we get past that last breakwater and buoy, when the fog socked in. At that point I turned to look back at the buoy as it disappeared into the murk, turned to look at my daughter, and she said “now what?”
Well, I took a good close look at that chart plotter screen and decided to just try the next buoy! I also fired up the radar. The Raymarine has a really nice “overlay” feature, which overlays the radar scan (in a dark pink color) over the chart/GPS view. We found the next buoy in short order, and so we proceeded.
We also found a tremendous number of small fishing boats. You would be amazed at how many people fish out on LI Sound and Fisher’s Island Sound in the fog! These boats show up on the radar as the tiniest pink dot and are very easy to miss.
Our watch system incorporated four key elements; 1) watching the radar/plotter, 2) visual watch ahead to port and starboard, 3) listening for horns, and 4) monitoring VHF channel 16 traffic.
All of the commercial traffic is really good about making security announcements, especially in limited visibility conditions. To assess their relative threat, I kept a paper chart up on deck so that I could quickly assess their position and course relative to our position and course. For anyone out front, we would watch the radar.
I did end up hailing the Cross Sound Ferry Mary Ellen when we were off New London because I was certain we would be crossing their course. They acknowledged our position and advised us to hold our course. We passed at about 150 yards.
We made that first leg run down the Sound and down Fisher’s Island Sound under power with no wind, and to Stonington, in 4 hours, completely using the chart plotter with the radar overlay view. Visibility was no more than 100 feet.
We had to pick our way into Stonington using the radar and could only see detail once we got into the outer harbor and approaching the inner harbor. Dodson’s is in the inner harbor and so we had a nice quiet mooring there. They monitor channel 78 and they are very efficient at guiding you in. Their mooring field is a very well laid out grid. We were settled in by 11:30 or so and took a nice nap, followed by tuna sandwiches for lunch.
My wife drove to Stonington in the afternoon to switch off with my daughter and my daughter drove home. We had a nice afternoon in town and a nice dinner at the restaurant right on the dock.
Sunday morning’s Ebb (at the Race) was 6:42am. The fog was so thick when I woke up at 6am I could barely see the next boat. I did a quick calculation with a check of Elridge and the chart and decided we could go back to sleep for another hour or so, hoping for a little lift of the fog, and try to leave around 9. We could still make Point Judith in time for the turn of the tide. We ended up dropping the mooring at 9:30am and made our way out into the same pea soup for the run home. Getting past Watch Hill was a pain. There was a very sloppy swell and chop, and an amazing number of small fishing boats sitting around barely visible. This area is strewn with reefs and you really have to pay attention to get out of there. We were rolling a lot but I did not want to distract from our concentration to put the main up. We waited until we were well clear of Watch Hill to raise the main and dampen the roll.
Once we got settled in we had one startling moment. My wife saw two blips on the radar, ahead of us. I heard to boats talking on the VHF, and based on their very loose description of their location and course I figured they were our two blips. The surprise came when my wife suddenly said “do you see that?” “What?” was my reply. We strained into the murk when we saw a faint red and blue blob. It very quickly took shape to become a spinnaker! We were basically on a head on course with the other sailboat! I quickly disengaged our autopilot and made a quick turn to starboard (and upwind). They ghosted by, with 4-5 guys on deck peering through the murk. All I could muster was “having fun yet?”
By the way, they were 40 feet, and the other sailboat, which was about 50 feet (we found him too, on the radar) came across as very small blips too, which surprised me.
The rest of the run down to PJ was uneventful. The PJ Fast Ferry passed astern of us. He had announced his approach on VHF and I knew to look for him. We mostly motor sailed with main and jib up. We even got 45 min of “real” sailing, killing the engine when the wind popped up. PJ to Sakonnet was similar but with a very sloppy following sea. The autopilot did not like it and I had to hand steer the last 2.5 hours. We didn’t “see” any other boats between Newport and Sakonnet. The fog was really dense heading into the Sakonnet River and our cove. We had to use the radar to find the boats on the moorings and pick our way in one by one.
The second leg was 6 hours. All in all not too bad, though pretty exhausting. In hindsight I probably should have thought twice about pushing through on this run but as we all deal with work schedules etc I forged ahead. Had the electronics failed, I did have the courses plotted out ahead, but it would have been really tough navigation with the limited visibility. In the event we’re looking forward to a fun summer with the new boat.
Finally our racing season begins!
Here are plans for racing this summer on Narragansett Bay. For those who sail on the Bay who did not receive the email about summer racing, here are the season’s racing plans. For everyone else who might be interested in organizing a local one design fleet, here is the Bristol fleet’s model that has worked well.
Jon Goff, the SSA Race Committee chairperson, sent this email to Narragansett Bay SS23 owners:
Sea Sprite Sailors,
The 2017 Annual Sea Sprite Association Meeting And Dinner held on April 7th at the Bristol YC was a great success and enjoyed by all. The setting was gorgeous, the food by Amos House delicious, and of course the people were fun.
After drinks and dinner, the meeting began. Carter presented the 2016 financial statement, and a summary of the organizational and financial status of the SSA. The following is the summary:
STATE OF THE ASSOCIATION
Bank balance grew over one year from $3,532.07 to $4,342.71 by December 31, 2016. Income came from mostly membership as well as a small contribution from Will Sofrin fine print contract and from race fees for the SS Regatta. Expenses were high due to a 3 year charge for our next cycle of web-site hosting of $467.28. Upon review of the past 4 years of operating expenses our annual unreimbursed cost are $688. We still have no one filling the position of Treasurer authorized in 2015.
66 members paid dues, almost the same as last year’s count of 64. We have 145 members who have paid at least one year of dues, up from 120 last year. They hail from 27 states including 2 Canadian provinces, up 4 from last year. Dues stayed at $25 for a fourth year in a row. Benefits remained the same (Jamestown Distributors, Thurston Sails, listings in Classifieds).
We remain a registered, tax-exempt non-profit organization. We pay $22 / yr to RI for our non-profit status (and no state taxes) and no further payment for registration with the IRS. Classifieds are active, with 8 boats for sale and 33 sold (10 and 24 in 2015). Visitors to the website (that includes the Forums) are down from 14,200 in 2015 to 12,000 for 2016. A few posts were written, but the emphasis on racing was subdued. Despite calls (from me) for posts on any SS subject, non were forthcoming
We sailed the annual SS 23 Regatta at BYC with 8 boats racing. The Wednesday evening Millard racing series at BYC had 12 SS23 register with 7 to 10 boats on the line each race. We were invited to rejoin the Herreshoff Classic Boat Regatta with unbundled entry fees, and had 7 boats race. MOHOSA was pushed as an additional racing venue, but only one SS23 entered. We again ran a fun self starting race around Hog Island in early September with 7 boats entering and enjoyed a post-race barbecue at Lou and Karen Merino’s. The SSA contributed $100 to the post-Hog barbecue, and approximately $30 to the SS 23 Regatta. We also gave a free membership to the Herreshoff Marine Museum, and waived the race fee for their entry into the SS 23 Regatta. No one contested new class rules(!!!). No other racing from other locals has been reported.
We then moved on to new issues.
Dues…will remain at $25 for 2017.
Donations To Organizations…Our mission is to promote interest and participation in the Sea Sprite class of sailing yachts. Our goal of having enough money in the bank account to cover 7 years of operating expenses has been met. The BOD discussed options on how best to begin supporting our Mission Statement. They voted to work with the Herreshoff Museum to help upkeep their fleet of SS23 in their sailing school. In addition to posting on the website a call for donations of SS23 equipment, the SSA will donate $350 to the Herresmhoff Marine Museum for SS23 fleet upkeep. We will continue to give the Museum a free SSA membership, and free entry into the SS Regatta.
Racing…For Narragansett Bay in RI…The SS Regatta will be held Sunday, July 16. Bristol YC will be the organizing authority. MOHOSA participation in early August is encouraged. Around The Hog with post race barbecue will be held in early September. Millard Series each Wednesday evening starts May 31st. Best racer on Narragansett Bay selection criteria will be promulgated by Race Chair. For racing elsewhere…everyone is encouraged to race in local one-design fleet racing, PHRF fleets, etc.
Burgee…The BOD has authorized the purchase from SSA funds to buy burgees to sell to membership. Work is in progress to find a supplier. We also need to find a member to help with sales and distributions. Any volunteers??
Fine Art Prints…We have changed our arrangement with Will Sofrin. From now on, he will offer 10% off sales price to members rather than give the SSA a 10% commission. The price reduction now becomes a membership benefit.
Public Relations…We hope to explore PR possibilities with articles in papers, magazines, etc., about the boat, racing, and cruising. Anyone who would like to help spread the word locally and/or nationally contact Carter.
Awards…And the winners are:
Nancy BelleTrophy…for the Best Sailor on Narragansett Bay…Jonathan Enright
Sea Sprite Regatta 2016……Carter Hall
Brown Award…for sportsmanship on the race course and contribution to the SSA…Ruth Souto
Denise Award…for leadership and contribution to the SSA…Bob Catani.
And more pictures from a fine evening:
And that was it for the Spring Meeting! Feel free to contact Carter with thoughts, questions, ideas, etc. Have a great 2017 sailing season!!
I hope you are thinking of cover removal, varnish, and bottom paint these days. There is, truly, a whiff of Spring in the air (maybe it is the odor of the varnish).
This post is a request for spare parts. The Herresmhoff Marine Museum in Bristol runs a great sailing program. They own a fleet of Herresmhoff 12 1/2’s, and are expanding to include added bigger boats as the school grows to include more advanced sailors, older folks, and even rentals for the day. To that end, last year they accepted in donations three SS23’s to add to their growing boat inventory.
As you know, our boats are older craft, and often in need of repair. Kirk Cusic, Director of the Herresmhoff sailing program, has recently inventoried the donated boats and found the following immediate needs:
Bow chock needs to be replaced as well as the wooden support it mounts to.
Roller furler’s drum is broken and needs to be replaced by itself or replaced with a regular head stay.
Jib car track is broken and needs to be replaced.
Running rigging, lines of any sort.
The Sea Sprite Association Board of Directors meet 3 weeks ago, and authorized an effort to assist Kirk in maintaining their fleet of SS23. We offered the Herresmhoff Marine Museum the following:
Outreach to SS23 sailors across the country via a website posting for used parts. Kirk’s immediate needs are listed above. In addition, anyone having a box of old
blocks/winches/shackles, old lines, standing rigging, sails, special racing gear, or anything else used over the years and no longer needed are encouraged to drop such items off at the Museum or mail them to Kirk at the Museum.
A Contribution of $350 this year to be used for maintenance of the SS23’s in the Museum’s sailing school fleet after donations are received and inventoried.
Remember, your donations will be made to the Herresmhoff Marine Museum, a non-profit organization, and are tax deductible. To coordinate a donation or to ask questions , please contact Kirk either by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (401) 253-5000.
If notification of dues arrives in my mailbox, it must be Spring. Well, Spring it is not quite yet, but the dues notice is here anyways! As reliable as a robin. So, very quickly:
Dues are $25 for 2017, unchanged for years. BOD met last week and decided to continue dues at current levels. We now have about $4,300 in the account, enough to cover 7 years of operating expenses if dues dried up completely. We will give $350 this summer to the Herresmhoff Sailing School to help maintain their fleet of aging (aren’t they all?) SS23’s. Other ideas for donations/expenditures welcomed.
Benefits for members continue. Members receive a 10% discount at Jamestown Distributors, Thurston Sails, and Will Sofrin Fine Art Prints (new this year) along with ability to advertise your boat for sale on the website when that awful day comes.
Your dues support the SSA and our website with its communications and documentation efforts.
Thanks to everyone who has supported the organization with one or more dues payment in the past. Check the website at SSA website/membership to find out how to join/rejoin.
Many thanks. Carter
Good Old Boat featured Ms Lynne G and her owners Joel and Lynne Schuman in its March, 2016 magazine. It is a great story. As you might remember, her rehab is carefully documented by Tim Lacky, from Maine, who did the restoration. Bill Jacobs has written a fine article, and he and Good Old Boat have generously given us permission to post his work on our website.
Click on the link below to bring up the article.
As part of my winter project to post descriptions of rehabs for reference by Sea Sprite owners, here are 2 more recent major SS23 restorations done by Tim Lackey in Whitfield, Maine. They are Ms Lynn G, owned by Joel Schuman of Eagle Harbor, Wisconsin, and Aventura, owned by Peter Krause of MacMahan Island, Maine. Tim does fine work, and posts terrific documentation of the entire project.
His site is Lackey Sailing. From his home page click on Projects Log to get to links for Ms Lynn G and for Aventura. Alternatively you can get to the project documentation for each boat from the Restorations category on the right-hand menu on the home page of the Sea Sprite Association website.
Many of you know the work done by Chance Smith on Heritage, his SS23, from his postings on our Forum. Chance’s work is meticulous, and his documentation is beautiful. He believes we are all stewards of our boats. It shows in his work.
Chance posted many posts on our Forum for several years. You can reference them by going to the SS23 Forum, and typing “Heritage” into the Search box at the top right-hand location. You can get to this site as well by clicking here: Search SS23 Forum link
In addition, he wrote several posts for a forum on the Pearson-Ariel website describing his work on through-hulls, cockpit drains, brass portholes, and the cabin sole. Click on the following link to get to his postings on their site:
Norm Grant is a Rhode Island based photographer who among other subjects has taken some gorgeous pictures of sailboat racing on Narragansett Bay. He has been a photographer for 30 years, currently producing video for the Community College of Rhode Island and shooting freelance photo and video assignments. He welcomes inquiries for event photography, documentaries, or corporate videos, and can be reached through his website at http:////normangrant.zenfolio.com
He has kindly lent our website numerous photos of Sea Sprite 23’s sailing in local races in the upper Narragansett Bay. The images below are from Bristol YC races in 2010 and 2013 as well as from the Mount Hope Sailing Association races in 2013 and the Herreshoff Regatta from 2010. You will also see a few of them cropped and used as web site headers. If you use any of these pictures from our site, please give him appropriate credit. If you would like prints, they can be ordered from his website.
By the way, if you would like to while away some time in the cold (or even warm) weather season, go to his website and scroll through his galleries. He has some spectacular shoots of PHRF yachts and big boat Herreshoff classics racing in the Upper Narraganset Bay.
SEA SPRITE RACING PICTURES FROM NORM GRANT. Single click on photo for full size screen.
I know sea sprites are spread out across the country, but for those of us owning boats in New England, racing in the annual Sea Sprite Regatta is always a possibility. Particularly for those sailing on Narragansett Bay in RI. So here is a post from Jon Goff, SSA Race Committee chairman:
Sea Sprite Sailors,
The summer is here and racing in the Millard Series (Bristol YC) has been more competitive than ever!! The top five boats are all within 1.25 points of each other and first place has been shared between 3 boats over 5 races…
The first of two weekend races is right around the corner!! Come join the fun on Sunday, July 16th for the The Sea Sprite Annual Regatta hosted by Bristol Yacht Club. Format for the day is two races with a windward / leeward course. The scheduled time of the warning signal for the first race is 1300. The starting rendezvous area is in Bristol Harbor, west of the Town Pier. Sailing Instructions are here: Notice of Race, Sailing Instructions and Registration are all on the SeaSprite Association Website. REGISTRATION IS DUE net Thursday, July 13th.
Also continue to Save the Date: September 9th – Around the Hog
Fair Winds and Favorable shifts!!!
Best, Jon Goff
The original engine on the SS28 was the M-11. Bob Russell sent the SSA on article written by an owner describing his rebuild of an original M-11 in December of 2002. I am not sure how many of these engines are still installed, but if you have one, you might like the article. It is a great story as well about diving in on boat projects. The article is located under Technical under SS28/30/34. Here is the link: M-11 Rebuild
HelloMy name is Bob Russell and a friend of mine, Chad Martin and myself founded the Association many a year ago. Looks like Assoc still going strong. Keep up the good work.I am attaching a 18 page Manuel about the removal and rebuilding the M-11 from the 28′ Sea Sprite. I think I gave it to the association a long time ago but before it gets lost on the computer, I thought I would send it again if you wanted to include it on the web site.Any questions, please feel free to call 529-8264Fair windsBob Russell