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Discussion in 'Sea Ray Lifestyle & Cruising' started by Alex F, Dec 13, 2015.
well said....Prayers for all that are STRANDED on Block island.....is there nothing we can do?
Oh the humanity, how very tragic ... prayers indeed :smt001
If anyone is still planning on cruising around Vineyard Sound this weekend, we'll be in a slip at Hyannis Marina from Friday - Sunday. If we're not on the boat, we can probably be found at one of the onsite bar/restaurants... Trader Ed's by the pool, or Tugboats overlooking the harbor. If you do stop by the boat, we'll make you a Painkiller just like the ones on Jost Van Dyke at the Soggy Dollar Bar...
Where are you finding pusser's locally?
You had me at Jost Van Dyke
Enjoying our time on Block Island. We wish we could have gotten to Martha's Vineyard, but I guess that will have to be next year!
But, we have been having a great time. Weather is now beautiful and we could not ask to be with a better group of people! Oh yeah, the mudslides don't hurt either!
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They stock the "British Navy Daily Ration" (Pusser's Rum) at Wine's & More in Wareham Crossing. I know, it's hard to find around here. They had about 4 bottles left as of yesterday afternoon, just saying
Will you guys still be there tomorrow? We are leaving for Block tomorrow around 11am. So around 1 we will arrive. Hope to meet up with guys again. We'll be anchoring with friends somewhere around dinghy beach.
Yes, we'll probably still be here throughout the weekend. We're right next to the recreational area (pink buoys), just east of CG beach.
Perhaps we're the lone representative who made Hyannis? We're on D Dock in Sea Ray country, Hyannis Marina. Great spot. Nice full service marina, couple onsite bars/restaurants, pool, courtesy cars to make a provision run.
We adjusted our plans when the rest of the group bailed. We are going out in the little boat local to our house tonight and then getting some work done on the addition I am putting onto the house tomorrow. We will be down on the cape tomorrow afternoon on the boat hopefully after the t-storms go through. Hyannis is a great spot, hit Black cat for lunch or dinner it is a good place for food and atmosphere.
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Here are some random pictures from the trip:
Me and my boy
Coast Guard beach in Block Island:
The Block Island Raftup:
This is the image I had on my radar when leaving Block Island. Can anyone say packed!!
Running from Block to Montauk:
In Greenport, the last port of call:
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Great friends, great trip
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That's a keeper...
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It’s amazing how time flies when you’re having fun. We had some big plans and started penciling down ideas for our trip by the end of December. It feels like yesterday and I just can’t believe that the trip is already over, but with some awesome memories.
I have to say that this year’s Flotilla had few challenges where the weather was a major player. What looked like a pretty good upcoming day’s forecast turned the travel day into another test for our captains. This is what I was going into when we left Norwalk.
To our “luck” out of nowhere, a Northeaster had developed in the area for the next few days. As you can imagine, most of us heading to Shelter Island had the seas on the nose. This obviously left good number of people, who wanted to travel on Fri, staying home at least until the storm passes. Sat definitely looked much better for travelling. Anyway, I made a decision to get a head start keeping close eye on the developing cells. If it got uncomfortable, I had a plan B. 3-4’ers on the nose and a little rain doesn’t disrupt Inspiration’s cruise. Winds having mostly Eastern component, I didn’t have much land protection from either LI or CT side. However, I was expecting to hug the LI shore past Mattituck. My theory worked nicely, the closer we got to Orient Point the better the ride became.
We made our usual stop in Greenport to pick up food for the feast, top off the fuel and water. Stocks & Blonds waited for us in GP, so we continued from GP to SI together. After the storm rolled through, it actually turned out to be a beautiful day and evening.
Jonathan played it safe and travelled on Thursday. Harold, Ron and Anthony toughened it up and travelled on Fri. When Dave and I got to the SI, guys had the raft going already.
We enjoyed our evening and were getting ready for the rest of the group arrival in the earlier part of Sat. I thought we had a great spot, close enough to Taylor’s Isl, making it convenient to transport everything and everyone between the raft and the TI for the feast. Oh well, bright and early Sat am we got a visit from a harbor patrol asking us to move the raft further away. Apparently, the designated anchorage area is much further out. What a bummer. However, I was actually glad that it happened while we had only about 7-8 boats rafted. I’d hate to move a raft of 20. So, not to waste any time, we had a quick captain’s meeting where I proposed moving the raft as one, in “trimaran” fashion. This means having two end boats and one in the middle providing the propulsion. So, boys and girls that was a time for anchoring 101.
Here’s a quick summary of the event. We (raft of 7-8 boats), having about 4 anchors down, moved as one. Nice and easy, we retrieved all deployed anchors. Then, we moved our raft to desired location and dropped the same 4 anchors, properly setting by backing down on them.
As always, having experienced captains by the helm and proper communication was the key to a perfectly synchronized operation.
Here are few pics
Jonathan had the drone ready, but for some reason it refused to function during the perfect youtube moment.
The timing worked out perfectly. As we repositioned, the rest of the group started to enter the harbor and had only few min of wait time. Some actually helped up to block the desired spot as we were moving. Shortly after, the raft started rapidly growing, having more and more boats joining.
Larry’s Whaler came handy just on time as well. As the boats tied up, we used the whaler to ride their anchors out, making it a bit easier on the captains.
The raft was growing as the day went by.
After doing some water activities it was time to get the feast going and do the official flotilla kick off. I have to say that the weather continued playing tricks with us. It was overcast with cells building up around us. There was a big one heading our way, with expectation to land by around 7-7:30pm. It was a tough call, but we decided to do the feast anyway. Having the house on the Island available for us, we had an option of utilizing the porch and have place to hide if we get caught in heavy rain. Let the feast begin!!!
As was hinted earlier, there were pirates on the island who brought some treasures and it was up to the kids to find them. BTW, a huge thanks and compliments to Harold and Arlene for making their very entertaining contribution. Between cool costumes and all game related items, kids had a blast.
More random pics from the feast.
As the night was settling and we started losing daylight, with clouds building up, it was time to transfer the party back to the boats. As we were gathering up on the dinghy dock the scene felt like we’re on a cruise ship waiting to be shuttled back.
Unfortunately, the weather kept creating some “roadblocks”, having some overcast, dropped temp and increased wind, but made best of it regardless.
One of my anchor light bulbs went out, so I went on the roof to replace it and while there I snapped couple pics.
Having a big group traveling on a long trip, there’s always something to be fixed.
It was too windy for the dinghy poker run, but with few brave kids we still managed the paddle board racing.
Some random pics as we enjoyed the day at the raft.
As the day went by we kept an eye on the weather. With Northeaster brewing in the area our captain’s meeting on Sun eve was focused on the overall approach. In our case, commonly used sites like NOAA or those who use NOAA as data provider, simply dropped the ball (what a shocker…LOL). I always check 3-4 different sources to gather best overall pic and I knew that 99% we weren’t going to make MV. For this reason, I expressed my opinion to seriously consider having Block as our plan B. Based on my observation, the predicted by NOAA 3’ers (which was just a surface chop), didn’t account for SE 4-5’ short rollers, which we were about to face once we lose land protection past the Montauk point. The conclusion from the captain’s meeting Sun eve was to proceed to Montauk and once we get exposed to the fully open water, determine the seas state and ability of smaller vessels to handle them. If it’s bearable, we’ll shoot for MV, if not, Block is our destination.
We enjoyed the rest of the Sun evening and shortly after we went to bed, we got a taste of NOAA’s missing a storm cell in the forecast. In short, we had white caps with constant 1.5’-2’ers in the SI harbor, generating a total washing machine affect. Only couple people were able to sleep in forward berth. Those that didn’t have an option of using their mid stateroom berths had to sleep in their cockpits. I remember waking up at 4am and thinking to myself, “if this how NOAA’s predict to be 3’ers in the open water later in the morning, we’re not even making Block”.
Once again, the teamwork was perfect. We have few early risers who helped the group by pulling stern anchors out. This allowed us to stay pretty close to scheduled departure time frame. Those who needed to get fuel in Montauk took off a little earlier. We had some big boats doing the same, so they were able to break the seas for smaller boats. So far so good, the group has left SI harbor. I trawled for a while waiting for others to catch up. Then we jumped on plane and headed toward Montauk.
As mentioned earlier in the thread, I always take the southern route heading east for number of reasons. Maximizing travel time in protected waters is #1. On this day, my approach paid off big time. Although we had head seas about 3’ers close together, the ride was not too bad. Our plan was to slow down to trawling speed as we get closer to Montauk, so we could wait for the group that was refueling. Just as we were slowly passing Lake Montauk inlet, we started noticing the seas getting rougher. It didn’t take more than 10-15min for the ride to be very uncomfortable in trawling mode. So, we communicated with the group and had let them know that we have to jump on plane. Knowing that there were couple of larger boats (Harmony and Zuzus come to mind) as part of the refueling group, I felt relatively comfortable for smaller boats. So, we jumped on plane and headed eastbound.
Oh boy, here we go….Thank you NOAA once again for giving us misleading forecast. On the bright side, my other sources were spot on. The minute we passed Montauk Point (AKA “The End”), there was the end of being in protected water. With ENE wind the 3’ers were the surface chop on the nose with solid 5-6’ers close together coming from South, which was momentum the ocean developed from previous days. The 50+’ers bridge boats could only go at around 15-16kts. Considering that on the leg between Montauk and Block, we were on the receiving end, so the seas were the roughest closer to Montauk shore. It only took 5-10 min to make the final call that MV trip is not happening and we’re heading to Block, and hopefully no one will bailout, b/c we’re in nasty seas. It actually worked out very nicely that I lead the group slightly ahead, b/c we could provide periodic reports to the group behind us and it was comforting to them. The biggest relief for them was that after about 10NM east, it’s started to calm down and the closer we got to Block it became better and better.
But, before we get to the relief part, I have to tell a story. I will not name the boat and just refer to it as a 50’er. The moral of the story is simply to share the experience and point out valuable lesson, which could save someone else’s day. We’re (a caravan of 50’ers) about 3-4NM out of Montauk point cruising (or shall I say jumping up and down) at 15-16kts in 5-6’ers with occasionally easily 7’ers. What do you think is happening to the boats? That’s right, anything that’s not secured is flying around. So, if you didn’t store some things properly you’re going to have a big mess. This is the time where we can use it as a classic example what primary navigation is. Those who thought on using iPads had to forget about them, unless they’re secured (glued or velcroed). Everyone in my group seemed to be well prepared, so no bad reports were coming through. Some crews took motion sickness medicine before the trip.
So far so good, I know my boat can take this all day long. In fact, we had to deal with this for 200 miles on our trip to Eleuthera back in April. So I figured what’s 17NM between Montauk and Block, “…walk in the park…”. All of a sudden, one of our captains yells on the radio “I lost my dinghy….I lost my dinghy…..”. We were in constant communication with everyone and periodically had some jokes here and there, to help boost the moral state. So, we thought it was a joke. Next thing we know the last 50’er is turning 180* and there’s white little thing jumping in the seas. Well, this one was as real as it gets. A roughly 1000LBs center console tender has flown off a 50’er platform and is now bouncing as a cork in 5-6’ers close together choppy seas. We turned around and headed for monitoring and to provide necessary assistance. It was obviously no longer about the comfort, it’s about the safety.
The next 15-20min were probably the longest for the crew in the situation. The task at hand was just to catch the tender and secure it to the mothership with adequate line. The critical part here is that the line must be at least 50-75’ long. Unless it’s a monster line, it’ll snap in just few minutes. Trust me on this one. So, the only choice the crew had was to tie couple of long dock lines together as one and attach it to the tender. Long story short, the tender was now attached and in towing mode at a very slow speed.
Lesson #2 (I’ll get to lesson #1 later), while the crew was in the heat of the moment involved in retrieval process, the mothership was left in neutral. Can you imagine what that yacht looked like being left in neutral in 5-6’ers? That’s right, it’ turned broadside to the seas and you get sick just by looking at it, never mind being in it. So, needless to say, some secured stuff got loose and crew became sick, and obviously terrified. The key in this situation is to keep the mothership properly positioned in relation to the seas.
My suggestion in this case would be:
Once you’re close to the tender and see that she floats fine and not in a risk of sinking, keep the big boat into the seas. If seas allow, you can also try pointing the bow with the seas while traveling with the seas, for maximum comfort and minimizing bouncing around. Otherwise, keep the bow in to the seas.
It obviously takes time to get the lines ready for towing, as no one was prepared for the situation to take place. So, the “idle time” in this case is just as important.
Set the autopilot or have a crew member take the wheel and maintain desired course, keep the boat idling or just slightly above idle in gear, and do what’s necessary.
Once you’re ready, then approach the tender for making the final contact to attached the tow line.
P.S. wearing PFDs for the crew, especially those who’s performing tender recover, goes without saying.
The excitement is over, everyone and everything is safe. The tender has been retrieved and we can maintain our course to Block. As we got closer to the island, it started blocking the seas and the ride was getting better. This was definitely positive news which I’ve communicated with a group who was slightly behind us, due to refueling. The rest of the trip was uneventful and in a little while we have entered the Salt Pond. We scanned the anchorage area and Beach Inn dropped the first hook to reserve the spot, while Dave and I took a quick ride to get water and some fuel.
The biggest question came up, are we staying in Block just for a quick overnight or several days, is MV still on the radar? Based on my observation, the Northeaster was hanging in the region for good 3 days. This meant that the next favorable travel day would be Thursday. I personally didn’t see a point going all the way to MV just for couple days, as majority had to get back on Sunday. Thus, it was clear to me that it makes sense to stay in Block for a while.
We’re “stuck here” on the “Northeast Caribbean” Party Island that has anything you want out of vacation destination. This is a true jewel of the region for cruisers. I’ll be happy to get stuck here for a week or so. We anticipated losing some boats count after the weekend at Shelter, as some could only do the weekend. But, it turns out that we had friends coming to Block this week. There were about 6 or so boats from Norwalk and some from MA area, including Mike (JV II).
It’s time to relax and enjoy what Block has to offer. Mudslides anyone?...
Before I move on to our activities in Block, I’m sure many people wondered, what was the reason for the dinghy incident? I was puzzled myself about this as we’re talking about a 50’er with integrated swim platform. There’s not much play when a tender is strapped in the chocks. So, I asked the captain provide some more details about the way the tender was secured and what straps have been used. If I recall correctly, it turns out that only 3 straps were used (2 for the stern and one for the bow). I’ve seen exactly the same setup many times on similar vessels. More on this a bit later.
Now moving on to the type of straps being used. This is when pieces of the puzzle started to connect. Here’s the pic.
The top two straps are the type of straps being used. The bottom one, with slightly faded black color strap is what I use for my rig. Both types (mine and from the other vessel) are made by the same brand. But, we can clearly see the difference. Three major items that come to mind, the thickness, open S-hook, and unknown rating. We looked all over the package (these are brand new straps the owner just bought and had the rest of the package content still on board) and didn’t find load rating anywhere. My straps, on the other hand, have a stamp 750LBs right on the SS hook. I guess for most of us, just seeing this type of rating provides a good comfort level, knowing that theoretically a single strap is rated to almost match the total weight of a tender (which is around 850lbs).
We talked about the prep work for the ride and the captain told me that the straps were so tight that he couldn’t get a single click out of the ratchets. From what he could see, there was nothing else he could have done more at the time.
So after I’ve collected enough data, I had my personal conclusion on the situation. Over the years I’ve learned that things are very different when you get in rough water. Something that looks as secured and solid become violently loose and not stable in short time. This is when having overrated/oversized rig pays off big time. We all have experience tying all kinds of things down for various situations. But, when it comes to rough water cruising, we have to realize the power of dynamic load, which takes place when a vessel starts jumping up and down in the seas. After bouncing for an hour or so in 3-4’ers during our trip between Shelter Isl and Montauk, the straps were getting stretched out creating “extra play”. When we entered the rougher condition past Montauk, the dynamic load significantly increased, and as we can see in the pic, the SS S-hook simply opened up. From there on there’s no recovery, unless you catch the extra movement on time and have a chance to make necessary adjustments. The other item is having only 3 straps. I’ve seen the same exactly tying method (the two stern straps are not truly crisscrossed) on many vessels with integrated platform, but IMO, for rough water this is not the most secured way of doing it.
Lesson #1: IMO it should be to ensure that you have 100% secured way of tying up your tender using adequate straps setup. If needed, install extra D-rings or whatever is necessary to provide crisscross tying option for the bow and stern of the tender.
Lesson #3: Anytime you’re cruising in rough seas, make sure to keep a close eye on the tender. This is where extra equipment like stern view camera could save the day.
Like I said earlier, the main purpose of the story is to share the experience, and hopefully it’ll help some of the readers in the future. There number of things to learn from this experience and I’m glad that the story ended on a positive note, having crew safe, no damages to the tender or the mothership.
Despite the fact that traveling conditions weren’t favorable, it didn’t stop us enjoy our stay in Block.
Some random pics…
Biking and riding Segway around the island day:
It was very cool to stop along the way to pick some fresh wild berries.
We stopped for lunch at Panes Marina and I walked the dock to take some pics on how the docking is arranged here. I’d love to see when the last boat has to leave.
Happy hour at Spring House:
Time for bumper boats:
Night dinghy cruise around the harbor:
The Wine Tasting event:
Day everyone went to the CG beach:
Another Group Dinner:
I guess this is self-explanatory why this one is called the “Dinghy Beach”
Before the Northeaster left the region, we had to keep a close eye as the wind was shifting from NE to SSE. Since we didn’t want to use stern anchors, we decided to reposition the raft with the wind, as they called for SSE for several days. The anchorage was packed, so during the captains meeting, the decision was made to split in groups of 3 and let those groups swing by utilizing one anchor. Then, after the wind shift we have reconnected again.
Few pics while we were separated in groups of 3 boats.
As the weekend was approaching and some crews had to start heading closer to their home ports, they made the decision to head to Montauk for a night or two, some wanted to make another stop in Greenport, and then make the final jump home.
Few pics from Montauk:
There were few of us who planned to spend some extra time in Block and later go to Watch Hill RI (Napatree Beach), with the day stop in Sand City, then followed by Mystic.
Few pics from WH and Mystic:
On our way home there was a big storm headed our way. About 2hrs from Norwalk I was able to snap few pics where there was some son breaking through storm clouds and right next to it was pouring rain.
Before you know it, the 2016 Northeast Flotilla has come to an end. However, despite some twists and lack of cooperation from the weather, the trip was full of fun and exciting activities. I’d like to thank everyone who could make it. We enjoyed the company of new people who joined us at the Shelter Isl for the feast. I give a lot of credit to the some new crews who jumped into the action and contributed their assistance during some of the events. All in all, we have an outstanding group of people who know how to work as a team, when the things get rough and will not leave a fellow boater hanging. Those who couldn’t make the trip, you have been missed and we hope to see you next time.
I can’t wait for the next flotilla.
Alex, I always enjoy your post so much. Thanks for taking the time to report/post. Almost felt like I was there.
Nice write up Alex. Looks like another successful flotilla despite mother nature's curveballs!
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Wow. Quite an adventure. Who's buying the rights to the movie? ;-)
I have a bunch of drone footage that I will eventually get to. I'm not that computer literate so it's gunna take me some time. Another thing I don't have.
Every year I look forward to the write up. Looks like a great trip, thank you for sharing.