Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Shakedown Cruise

June 22....That was the day.  For many months now, we knew it was coming.  "You guys should come to Block Island!" That's what our friends Don and Lisa said many moons ago. "Sure, sounds great!" That was our reply.  Sounds all well and good, but as the days passed and it grew closer, my apprehension increased.  Bud was still very excited, but I was trying to think of people we could drag along with us.  After all, this would be our first big cruise, not to mention our first overnight sail.  A few weeks before we were to leave, it was apparent that it would be just the two of us...alone.  I decided to embrace it. We could do this. We were going with a buddy boat, so that was comforting. When we met with Capt'n Don a day before the trip, I was expecting some direction, some chart plotting, some tips, SOMETHING....Nope. "Out the inlet, heading of 75 degrees to Block Island." THAT WAS IT?  Not so comforting.  Oh well, here we go! 
Saturday, June 22 turned out to be a beautiful day. We left the inlet at 10:00am and headed, you guessed it, 75 degrees.  The ocean was beautiful. No turning back now.  We saw a bunch of dolphins, a sun dial and even a shark! Smooth sailing. Catamarans are notoriously fast boats, but when you live aboard it's a different story. We have so much weight on this boat, not to mention a dirty bottom!  We did OK keeping up with our buddy boat for a while but lost sight of him some time after sunset.  Not a problem, remember... 75 degrees.  We made it through the night under a beautiful full moon.  We took 2 hour watches which seemed to work out well.  By the way, we love love love our autopilot! (We call him Otto... get it, Otto Pilot!)  We spotted our buddy boat right before heading into Block Island, perfect timing. I think he was afraid he lost us in the fog! Did I mention Capt'n Bud caught a nice blue fish! (and proceeded to slaughter...I mean filet it right in the cockpit) We managed to season and marinate the filets and have everything cleaned up before heading into Great Salt Pond, Block Island. By 9:00am we were moored and enjoying breakfast. Twenty-three hours...we did it! And apparently we made good time!
Block Island was beautiful. It was Race Week, so there were tons of boats and sailors, and we met some great people. We even rented scooters and toured the island with some good friends.  It was nice to relax for a few days, but Wednesday came and we were off again.  Headed for Old Saybrook, CT. Unfortunately the wind was out of the south and it was a day of motoring. As was the next day to Southport, CT.  But that's OK, they were two really neat towns. One nice thing about traveling in our home is that we also travel with our garage.  We have 2 really convenient fold up bikes which allow us to see more in less time. Friday we headed to City Island, NY.  Nice long showers at the yacht club, and a walk into town for an outstanding dinner. After a drink at the club it was early to bed. We left City Island at 5:30am in order to have an easy time through Hell Gate. What a cool ride through the city and down the East River.  It was a bit choppy in the NY Harbor, but SeaQuest handled it with ease.  We passed Sandy Hook at 9:30am, and the seas grew. There were swells about 10'...I swore they were bigger, but I think I exaggerate about the seas like Bud exaggerates about the size of the fish he caught! We made it home and anchored at Treasure Island for the night. I'm not sure why I say we made it home, we are always "home". That's what we love about living aboard!
What a great trip! It was definitely a good shakedown cruise...broken Windex, radar tripped out, saltwater in the bilge, high seas....the important thing is we handled it all in stride, and it was the confidence builder we needed. Confidence in our boat, and confidence in our crew.
I know I haven't mentioned the other two members of our crew, Bud thinks it's best to let Kaya have a say!
That's right, I think I deserve a say! My furry little life was turned upside down 10 months ago, but I must say, I think I settled in on the boat quite nicely. I love living here at the dock, and I don't even mind my annoying little brother Chase much anymore. We love going out at night and hanging out topside.  Yup, the dock is nice. But then came the sailing! Not a big fan the first few times. I couldn't even keep my lunch down.  Then all of a sudden last Saturday my Mom tried to feed me this really nasty tasting pink pill...I think she called it benadryl. I heard her talking to the vet about it last week. Well, I did not appreciate that. I thought I did pretty good , I made it almost all the way to Block Island before I tossed my cookies. It was nice to relax for a few days, but once we started to move again my tummy started to rumble.  I guess my Mom noticed (could've been the drool dripping from my usually adorable little face), because she scooped me up, wrapped me in a towel and brought me outside with her. I actually started to feel a little better.  She held me almost all day and made sure I was OK.  I even sat by myself for a while.  The next day Mom didn't even need to hold me, though I did like to be covered with a towel. By the last day, I became quite comfortable in the little cubby you see above. Mom tried to shove me in there a few days before, but I wasn't ready.  She had the right idea though, it was way comfy! Mom knows best!  So now I think I am a true sailing kitty, out on the open sea, the wind blowing through my fur... As for my little brother, he's a wuss, he doesn't leave Mom and Dad's bed until we dock or anchor. Oh, and I think there's something you should know! There were a lot of times during our sail that Mom and Dad BOTH walked away from that steering wheel! They say this pilot named Otto is driving, but I don't see him. I think I might have to learn how to drive this thing!