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Discussion in 'Sea Ray Lifestyle & Cruising' started by Alex F, Jan 21, 2013.
Joe & Alex, Great job on the movie trailers...love them!
Sunday – Breaking the raft and heading to Block:
The weather was looking pretty good, so we started to work on breaking the raft around 8:30-9:00am. The night before we had our last check point and it was determined that only 2-3 boats needed to fuel up at Montauk. So, we decided that Todd and Neil will head out first. Since I was involved with helping breaking up the raft I decided that it’ll be quicker for me to get fuel at Coecles Harbor. They don’t have gas (diesel only), so folks with Gas boats needed to make a stop in Montauk, as planned.
Working as a team we had couple of dinghies out to retrieve stern and few main anchors.
Greg decided to show Martha what it feels like tubing in a dinghy.
All the boat successfully separated from the raft, all the anchors retrieved without any mishaps and we were ready to heat the road. Haverstraw gang and few other boats (who didn’t want to wait for the helicopter) decided to get a head start so we ended up with couple of separate groups.
Here are few shots of our group underway:
It took some effort to get the helicopter find us (the pilot doesn’t have VHF and he could only text on his cell). They had to make a run to mainland for refueling, so we had some idling time. Anyway, it worked out fine and we had our share of the photo shoot with Block in the background. After we lined up we made a wide circle about 1nm from the BI inlet and then headed inside.
To be continued….
Enjoying our stay in Block:
Upon the entrance to the BI we started seeking a good spot for the raft. Those that know the area can imagine that this place is packed. So, it’s a challenge finding enough room in shallow water. After making couple of circles we found a decent spot and began forming new raft.
The BI SeaTow boat was pretty busy. There was always something going on. Here’s a boat that was trying to take off and got something stuck on his anchor. There was a trawler that just couldn’t retrieve his anchor as it was stuck. The bottom line is that the Salt Pond harbor is constant “entertainment”.
The new raft at BI has been formed and the water toys deployed. Some quick rain cell is passing by:
After enjoying the rest of the day on water it was time to take a dinghy caravan ride for a group dinner:
Couple of shots in the restaurant:
On the way back it was a bit windy and kids needed some extra comfort……..LOL
A new day is on the horizon and it’s time to head to the dinghy beach. It looks like there’s a dinghy race:
Unlike Shelter Island, in Block no one sets the stern anchors in the Salt Pond harbor. So, we had to rely on the main anchors and allow the raft spin along with other boats around. The first two days of our stay were on the windy side and the wind was shifting as well. Here’s a quick shot of how the raft was doing the 180deg spin. I made few marks to have better idea on the situation.
Here’s a quick shot few days later showing how the raft did pretty much a full 360deg swing.
As scheduled, Jonathan and Milena threw an excellent party on their boat. We decided to make slight modification and made the cocktail party transition in to a BBQ dinner party, which was a great success.
We had an unexpected visitor, Sekhar decided to take his smaller center consol with 150HP for a quick spin from Mystic and come for the party.
More and more dinghies are coming in to join our party.
Soon enough Mike had to get back home and needed to retrieve his anchor. We figured that using a dingy it would be easier. Oh well, let me tell you that I’ve seen different type of anchor crossing, but what Mike’s anchor formed was a fist one for me. Since the wind was shifting in a course of few days his anchor managed to cross under our anchors and then over our anchors with his anchor being stuck under his boat. If I was drawing a picture it would look like a big U with our anchor lines inside that U.
In this pic you can see the line on our pulpits and under out chains.
How do you deal with this situation? This is one of those extreme cases where we had to un-tie his line from the anchor locker, bring it all back around and make the pull from the cleat straight up.
After Mike left we made the decision to reposition the raft as it looked like our anchors were crossing as well. This was a lot of fun. Our plan was to reposition as ONE big float of 5 boats. For some this could have sounded like a huge problem, but for a team of captains that knows how to work together, having a good plan followed by a great execution, this was just a walk in the park.
For those that have never been in this situation, here’s how we did it:
We had two dedicated boats (closer to the end, but not necessary the end boats) operating as port and stbd sides. They were Mirage and Inspiration. We had two end boats fire up their engines just as a backup, in case if we’ll need to use them.
We had another team on Baby TAZ to oversee, communicate and assist in freeing up the anchors.
Our admirals supervised by Captain Ron stayed on the bows and sterns to have a good 360deg visual to make sure that we stay clear of any obstruction or boats.
As always, communication was the key. All stations were using VHF to communicate. Lady TAZ and I used hailers to communicate with people on the bows.
Our first goal was to raise the anchors, then move the raft to a safer location and drop/reset the anchors. We started raising the anchors one at the time until we could clearly see which were crossing and how. Joe and I were keeping the raft stationary while Greg and Jonathan were directing the anchors situation. With some common sense and excellent teamwork all anchors were safely retrieved and we moved the raft to a different spot. I thought it would be more fun to set the anchors at 45deg like mega yachts deploy them, but since Sea Ray gives you lousy 200’ there isn’t much room to play. So, we decided to deploy Greg’s anchor on the fly (his boat was kind of the middle one) and take the others out by dinghy.
Few pix of the event:
I’ll include few clips in the movie.
To be continued….
What would be vacationing in Block without water activities? Here are few shots of the kids having some fun (btw, what we had going on with our raft/flotilla I don’t think you can get all of it even in some 5 star resorts):
Few shots of the gang hanging out on the beach:
As Greg and Jonathan mentioned earlier the group had a great time doing horse back riding during a sunset on the beach. That was a lot of fun as well.
As most can imagine, everything couldn’t just go perfect, so we had our share of interesting moments. I’ll start with the jellies, I’ve never seen them in BI, but for some reason we were hammered with jellies in the Salt Pond. My generator shutdown first and this was just an introduction to what was waiting for us in the next several days. The funniest thing was seeing one boat after the other having gennies shutdown. But, having such great group of friends around this was just another small bump on the road. Everyone was helping each other making the recovery process a breeze. We shared tools and parts. Whatever was needed, we had it all. There was only one time when my cleaning process didn’t go as expected. This was the time when my genny shutdown on the day we had scheduled a party. I went to do my usual cleaning routine, but the monster jelly just wouldn’t clear the scoop strainer and the seacock. Since I didn’t have the genny running for some time, I knew that the batteries needed to get charged, so my focus was to get the genny back in business. After few attempts, it was clear that most likely I’d have to dive under, but it was getting dark and I really wasn’t in the mood for a dive that night. So, I did a swap and used the A/C intake (my A/C seacock is right next to the genny one). The nights were usually on the chilly side so I needed heat more than I needed A/C.
This was a good call since during the night everything cleared itself.
Few shots of us working:
Being in Block for almost a week means that you can’t expect the weather to be perfect either. So, there was one day where we had to keep our eyes and ears open while the winds were blowing over 20kts with gusts to over 25kts with some nice rain showers. This is nothing in our local waters with depths around 5’, but here the shallow water means 25’-30’ and the lousy 200’ of line SR gives us barely makes it a 7:1 ratio. Not the best situation when it’s blowing, so we needed to use Greg’s (fortress 55 with about 300’ of line) storm anchor to be comfortable.
Securing the raft was not the only focus, our concern was also the boats around us. It’s a common thing in Block for boats to run loose when it’s blowing. So, we had to get creative. I fired up my radar and created guard zones. The fact that the place was packed didn’t help, as our safe zone was pretty small, before the alarm was going off with nearby boats swinging hard into us. So, for that day we were operating like a cruise ship anchored with radar spinning and catching approaching targets. BTW, I switched it all to manual and adjusted the settings to a much higher sensitivity making sure we don’t miss any target.
The group planned to watch a movie on Greg’s boat while the storm cells were passing by. In order to know what’s going on with the radar, we used Greg’s voice activated small handheld VHF radio and placed it next to my MFD. This way we could hear the beeping alert on the receiving end in Greg’s salon. As a plan B, we asked the smaller kids (who just wanted to play and didn’t watch the movie) to play on my boat and keep their ears open for the beeping noise.
It worked like a charm. The kids felt a sense of responsibility and would come to us when the alarm was going off as the launch service would be passing too close to our raft.
Todd and Neil heading to Newport:
Upon approach of the inlet, they had to back off and let the local cruise ship enter the channel.
A few words about the change of plans. It’s obvious that as the flotilla departure date was getting closer, everyone had a lot of running around to do. Since Shelter Island is a good distance away for most people, it took some time (some folks spent a night to break the trip up) for people to get there. Once in Shelter Island, at least half of the day was no good, due to the weather which delayed things. We stayed in SI only for one night and I think we’ll need to adjust that in the future. So, when the group got to Block and had a wonderful time, no one was willing to end it. Therefore a mutual decision was made to skip Newport and just take our time to enjoy Block. When I came on this trip I came with certain expectations and one of them was to be flexible and go with the flow. This approach made everything much easier. Having few boats that were still determined to continue on to Newport, I just had to go with majority of votes, so I stayed in Block.
Entertainment – oh good Lord, we had a special performance by Captain Joe and Jonathan that we’ll never forget. I’ve paid for standup comedy many times, but their performance was among the best. I don’t remember the last time the whole group was laughing with tears in their eyes and stomachs hurting from laughing too much. In addition, we had a guest star performance of Joe’s friend Tim (btw he was the one to draw the actual image of what we had as an idea on the t-shirts).
All in all, we stayed in Block from Sun until Sat. We were scheduled to head to Greenport on Fri, but due to stormy weather this was postponed until Sat. Few folks even stayed additional night and headed home Sun. This was first time for us to spend so many days in one port, but we were that glad we did. The time we had with our group of friends was just priceless. Everyone enjoyed every minute of our stay in a very relaxed fashion. We had a mixture of more active and more relaxed days and it worked out great. I couldn’t ask for better group to share my vacation time with. We were like one big family. When it was time to say good-bye, there were tears in our eyes. As Joe said, we felt like being in an airport saying good-bye to family members that were flying away.
Few words about the boats. As you can imagine living on your boat for 10 days or more, makes you learn more about it, but living on it on an anchor for a week, makes you learn even more.
First I have to mention and express a huge thank you to the Lady TAZ crew. Being rafted for a week adds some complexity with things like water supply. But, Greg was determined to finish his DIY installation of the water maker that provided the whole raft with an unlimited water non-stop all week long. His system is simply amazing. Lady TAZ wasn’t popular just for the water maker, Greg had so much stuff, that it was like having a floating warehouse next door 24/7.
The primary areas of trouble, I would list as follows:
Battery trouble – other than Greg, everyone else ran their generators on as needed (a couple of hours in the morning and a couple of hours in the evening). Apparently, doing this for many days, puts a bit of a toll on the batteries. As a coincidence, my older set on the port side decided that it’s time to surrender. “Perfect timing” being in the middle of the trip. This is when for the first time I heard “brrr-brrr…click-ckick-click” when I attempted to start generator one morning. So, with port bank going dead, the boat drained the other bank and my genny was useless. Thank you Sea Ray for such a “wonderful” design. How did I get it up and running? I always had in the back of my mind, the bow thruster batteries. So, I figured in the worst case scenario, I’ll jump it. The main thing is not to forget that those two batteries are wired for 24VDC, so before jumping you need to disconnect them. To jump it, you only need one wire for a positive terminal, so if you don’t have automotive jumper cables don’t go crazy. I used simple 12 or 10 gauge stranded spare wire and I was back in business.
However, this experience now pushes me to add another item on my to-do list, which is adding a dedicated battery for the generator.
Fuel transfer – not everyone fueled up but had enough fuel (so we thought). Since we removed one port from the itinerary, fuel management had to be adjusted. Most boats were doing fine, but we quickly learned how the lack of fuel, switch over from one tank to another would play a huge roll. Luckily my boat has the feature to select the tank I want to feed the generator from, but if I recall no other boats in the raft had this. Greg’s 480DB has a feature of switching fuel supply to the mains (he can run both from either tank), which helps with his fuel management. You would think that gas boats need these features even more, but no such luck.
Anchor lines/chains being too short – During the high winds we laid out all of our rode. I have 200’ all chain. I didn’t look at the specs, but from what we saw 480DB, 360DB and 330EC all had the same 200’ of rode. This was barely making 7:1 scope while anchored in 25’-30’ of water.
In case anyone from Sea Ray is reading this, I have couple of questions:
If at some point in time, your engineers have finally figured out that it was a good idea to install a dedicated battery on some models, what would be a logical reason not to do it on all boats say 30’ and over, or those that you put a “Yacht Certification” sticker?
When your engineers were choosing the anchor rode, did they think that everyone is a day boater and will anchor in 5-10’ of water only?
When your engineers designed the fuel switch system, what was the logic to have model A only have the switch for the generator feed and model B only for the mains? Was it so difficult to install both, giving people all the options for fuel management?
I hope you saved a lot of money by not including these very basic but vital items on the larger yachts for which ask us to pay in a range of $500K to $1mill.
I guess between our posts, pix and movie trailers you get an idea of what our experience was like. We’re also planning to make a video to mix some clips and pix. As for everything else, what took place during the Flotilla stays with the Flotilla.
Great pics and thanks for sharing them with us.
PS, Where are the scooter pics ??.
Alex, fantastic post. The images and description really captured the moments. Looks like it was a really fun time.
Thanks for taking the time to put that together.
I tried so hard to get a scooter rental but between weather and activities it jUst never happened. The worst part of my trip was appon my arrival home I found out the company that supplies us with the steal we hang screwed up the sizes and I didn't have work until today.so I spent the last 8 days on my boat anyway just arriving to my bed last night. I could have stayed in block for 8 more days....!! Oh well
To our fellow CSR Flotilla friends....Liz and I are still here in Boston having a great time in and around Boston Harbor. We arrived from here from Newport RI on the 10th and its been just spectacular up this way.
We plan to depart back for Haverstraw NY on the 10th of Sept with planned stops at Ptown, Oak Bluffs, Watch Hill, and Port Jefferson....perhaps Manhasset Bay(if needed).
Looking forward to the return journey and hopefully, some cooperating seas/weather. Thanks again, Alex for the organization of the flotilla and to everyone else who made it possible.
Tom & Liz.
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Wow I'm def extremely jealous. Good for u enjoy the ride and have a safe trip
It was great meeting you & Liz on the trip! Safe journey back home! Hopefully I'll see you guys in Port Jefferson!
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Hey Todd...if you are around, maybe we can stop in for some of those ribs! Send me your contact details and we'll keep you posted as to our progress.
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Tom, this is great!
We did Boston and few other ports in July. Boston was awesome, it's very different when visiting by water. I'd love to go back there. Let me know when you're in LIS area, maybe we can meet some place.
If you need any tips on any of the ports you're going to, feel free to PM me. Whatever you do, don't underestimate Buzzards Bay during SW winds, especially if it was blowing for couple of days. Have fun with the rest of the trip and safe traveling.
Just received my boat pix pictures. And wow do they do a good job. My boat looks brand new. Very impressed
Cool, I am still waiting. I hope they got some good shots of mine.
Just picked my pix up at the post office today. Wow the boat looks so cool cruising the Block Island Sound. Nice job
Now I have to decide which one I'll keep. At $250 each the rest will go back.
C'mon guys. Do some scanning and posting! I wanna see!
Are you allowed to post the one your buying if you haven't paid for it "technically" yet??
What can they do? Arrest you? ;-)
Federal Copyright violation.
If you post the photo, arrest yourself.