One adventure ends and another begins

Thanks to everyone who followed along our adventures this past summer. Last weekend was Columbus Day Weekend, marking the end of the sailing season in New England. Brandon, Scruffy, and I woke up early on a foggy Saturday morning to take part in Newport Yacht Club’s annual Mitchell Regatta, a pursuit race to Block Island held every Memorial Day and Columbus Day Weekend as a way to bookend your season.

We were the 8th start among 21 boats making us the fastest of the slow boats. Pau Hana, my dad’s Catalina 36, is by the handicap rules, one minute slower than us over 20 miles so he was granted the opportunity to start just one minute ahead. After a one hour delay to let the fog lift and the wind fill in, we were off like a herd of turtles bound for the island off the coast in about 5 knots of breeze. About 6 hours later, we all arrived. The mighty Persistence held her title as the Champions of Class 1 passing all the other slow boats, but most importantly beating my dad by about 10 minutes.

Sunday in the AM there is a Bloody Mary contest. Brandon makes a mean Bloody which this year we even added a little Pineapple Juice and bacon alongside your celery. However, someone else used Bacon Infused Vodka and Candied Bacon so we did not win…

Sunday was a little rainy so just relaxed on the boat. In the afternoon before Awards, there is an Appetizer contest. I regard this as the most important competition of the regatta. There are awards for both taste and presentation.  Last year, I won with Stout, Bacon, Buffalo Chicken Mac N Cheese served in mini solo cups surrounding a mini keg of New Castle. (I have noticed that anything with booze, spice, bacon, and cheese always wins so I combined them all!) This year I made meatloaf cupcakes. Little mini meatloaf, topped with mashed potatoes and a small piece of bacon.  While delicious, I didn’t take into account how cold they would get on a plate so quickly. So we didn’t win this year 🙁

Brandon and I looked hard at the forecast all weekend and Monday looked to be pretty gross so we decided to head home around 5pm on Sunday. It took us 3 hours dock to dock which is HUGE for a 34-foot boat. The wind and tide were with us.

It was a little sad as we put we put her back on the mooring at Jamestown Boat Yard that night. We had a great season, we would always liked to have sailed more and had nicer weather but the ol’ Persistence did us well this summer and already looking forward to the next one.

What’s Next? Keep following!

On Tuesday, I boarded a flight bound for Alicante, Spain. My next adventure is working with Vestas 11th Hour Racing, one of the teams for the Volvo Ocean Race and the PR manager which basically means I will be handling all the media side of the team like Press Releases, Interview Requests, and general Media Relations. The race goes around the world starting next week from Spain to Portugal to South Africa to Australia to Hong Kong to New Zealand to Brazil to NEWPORT to England to Sweden to the Netherlands between now and end of June.  The team I am working is focused on using thier platform to spread a message of sustainability and ocean health, which is also a passion of mine so I am super excited to help educate the world on steps they can take to help our planet.

While I am super sad to be leaving Scruffy and Brandon at home on this adventure. Brandon will be joining me in Austraila and I will be flying home between the Stopovers. So while racking up miles, and in between my jet-lagged moments. Be sure to follow along here and the team online!




Summer of Work, Wind, and Rain

Summer has been flying by and the weather it has brought has not been a typical New England summer. I almost feel like I am living back in San Francisco as more gray foggy days plague our sunny ones.  Despite the weather, we are making the best of it sailing and working on our own and other boats. The most important thing to always remember is how lucky we are to have these great opportunities and continue to work hard and play hard to enjoy them.

Scruffy ready to work
Dinner onboard in Jamestown.

Designer Series – July 21-23, 2017

The weekend after the Marblehead-Halifax Race, I ran an event called the Designer Series Rendezvous in Bristol, Rhode Island.  The idea of the event is to bring together yachts all designed by the same person in a weekend of activities. Our inaugural year honored Ted Hood, legendary yachtsmen, sailmaker, and boat designer. This event has taken exactly a year to plan and my client and I were thrilled with the results. We had over 25 yachts represented from Mr. Hood’s first design: a 40-ft Wooden Sloop, Robin, to his America’s Cup Challenger 12-meter, Nefertiti, to his last yacht, a 116-ft Sloop, Whisper and then all those in between.

Flying my drone of the event at sunset in Bristol, Rhode Island

Brandon even managed one of the Little Harbors that wanted to attend the event at Jamestown Boat Yard, so it was still a family affair to get this event off the ground.

Swan-devous – July 27-29, 2017

The next weekend was the Swan Owner’s Association Rendezvous. As Brandon’s boat yard and work focused a lot of these prestigious Finnish yachts, this was a chance for them to reunite. I sailed with our friends Bob and Kristen Beltrano on their, Swan 60, Nai’a.  We have raced with them in the past both in this weekend and in the Carribean.Friday we attempted to race out to Block Island but there was no wind so we motored there but did get to cruise a little.

Kristen on our way out Block Island onboard Nai’a

Friday we attempted to race out to Block Island but there was no wind until much later in the day so the racing was canceled so we motored there but did get to cruise a little with the sea breeze filled. We got a mooring and the event hosted a Lobster dinner at Ballards under a beautiful sunset.

Sunset over Block Island from Ballards

Saturday was a North Easter in July! We all bundled up in our full foul weather gear and life jackets to race back upwind to Jamestown under a double reefed main and reefed jib. Sitting at the helm, I watched the B&G instruments hit 40 knots multiple times. We were safe but it was not the most comfortable of rides.

Sailing back in 30-40 knots on Nai’a in July

I learned an important lesson on fire safety on yachts as we hit the dock and immediately we smelled that putrid smell of an electrical fire. Due to the big breeze, the bow thruster on Nai’a had been going full on for about 10 minutes as we docked and due to a faulty connection, the hydraulic motor started burning up. However, in the initial mintues, we didn’t know if it was a fire or not on board. I realized in a moment that I didn’t know where the fire hydrants were. Luckily, aside from the smell and the motor needing repairs, everything was fine but now I know to always ask and learn where fire hydrants are even if it’s just a day sail.

Sunday we raced around the Island in a NorthWesterly (Also odd for a sunny summer day in the summer).  The weekend wrapped with a party on Clingstone, also known as the house on the rocks. The best part was we won! Nai’a claimed the Highland Fling Award, named for a famous Swan racing program.

Winners! Clockwise from Upper Left: Walter, Andrew, Brandon, Bob, Maria, Moose, Me, and Kristen.

Jamestown Boat Yard helps maintain the work boat for the house so, in exchange, the yard rents the house for a week each summer. It’s such a unique place. There is no connection to the mainland so it runs on just solar, wind, and collected rain water. The inside is just as rustic as the outside.  Monday night, we all went out just to have a cookout and relax to watch the two sunsets. Why two? because you can get one sunset on the lower deck, then run upstairs and get a second sunset on the deck on the roof!

Views from Clingstone

Finally getting away again

After two weekends of “working,” we were finally able to get away on our own boat. We had no plans except to provision for the weekend and head out of the harbor. In the end, we decided on Block Island because it was blowing from the SouthEast and we could actually make it there on one tack. We left around 5pm on Friday and were dropping anchor and cooking Steak Tips and Corn by 9pm.

Boys sailing past Castle Hill on the way to Block Island
Boys cruising to Block Island
Scruffy and I on the way to Block Island just after sunset.

Saturday followed the trend for the last few weeks of just being miserable. It was windy and rainy and except for a quick trip to the beach to give Scruffy a walk, we didn’t leave the boat until 5pm. Brandon and the little dog caught up on sleep in the Vberth and I caught up on work thanks to the power of an unlimited data hotspot and the inverter.

Friends of ours rented a house on Block Island and by 5pm it was a gorgeous evening so we loaded the folding bikes into the dinghy and went ashore to have dinner with them. I brought some Tuna Steaks from Dave’s Market and had them marinating all day in Ginger Teriyaki sauce. MMmmm….

Saturday night, was a night of waking up to check on the mooring field quite a lot. Block Island gets really crowded on summer weekends and when the wind shifts in the middle of the night, it can get interesting if one boat doesn’t swing the same as everyone else. Despite a giant catamaran getting closer than comfort to another boat close to us, it was all fine.

Rainy days are for napping and working in the V-Berth.

Sunday, we biked up to Mansion Beach and ClayHead on the NorthEast corner of the island.  It was a beautiful day to be at the beach. Before heading back to Jamestown, we biked to Mahgoney Shoals at Paynes for a mudslide because you can’t come to Block and not have a mudslide. After lunch back on the boat, we were pulling up the anchor and sailing back. It was a Westerly (another weird thing for summer in New England) so once again, we sailed on Port Tack the entire way back to Jamestown.

Strong Westerly in Block Island on Sunday morning.
Mansion Beach and Clay Head on Block Island
Balsamic Chicken Salad wraps with fruit and chips. Scruffy wants in…



This would be great for the blog

It’s been an ongoing joke onboard Persistence, our C&C34 that we have had for nearly 4 years that “this would be great for the blog.” So here it is, a few years late but not too soon, a blog on the adventures of two 30-something sailors and their little dog, Scruffy.

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

I start this blog sitting in a bean bag chair with a glass of white wine left over from a dinner party on board last weekend back in our home port of Jamestown, Rhode Island.  I am looking at the sea wall of Sag Harbor, NY. Scruffy, our 8-year-old Silky Terrier, is snoozing in his bed behind me in the shade of the boom. He likes to make himself comfortable. Brandon just got back on board from a swim/snorkel where he found a couple of scallops. I plan to cook those up with butter and garlic tonight with a little more of that white wine for dinner.

This is our first time cruising to Sag Harbor and Long Island. We have taken a mini 4th of July vacation to find new places to cruise and thought given our 5-day break, we’d venture beyond our usual Block Island and Cuttyhunk 20 mile jaunts and go a little further.

We left Narragansett Bay on a whim on the evening of Thursday, June 29th.  Our plan was to try and leave early Friday if the forecast was right as it was looking to blow from the Southwest and Long Island is exactly south and west. The backup plan was to just turn downwind and head to any of the Elizabethan islands. We accepted full well that everywhere would be crowded for an extended 4th weekend.

However, after sailing myself on Thursday as part of a weekly J24 series in Newport. The wind was down so we decided to “send it” to Block Island go get a jump on the projected wind.  The boat was already provisioned so Brandon scooped me right on the docks of Sail Newport around 8 pm and off we went.

The wind was nice and calm so I went down below and brewed some coffee in anticipation of a late night. Then I made some beef stir fry for dinner. Sadly, we were lured into a false sense of calm as the wind picked up by Point Judith and we slogged upwind in the dark for four more hours. Both of us have pretty solid stomachs, but l let’s just say we both got to taste that stir fry again…

Scruffy loves the boat….Most of the time… It took hugging him the entire way to Block Island coupled with a half of a doggy anxiety pill to get him there.  By 2:00 am we were pulling into the Great Salt Pond. Luckily, for us we have been here countless times, I even lived here most of my college summers, so we are comfortable in the anchorage.  We actually found a private mooring and assumed no one was coming to grab it at that time of night.

Once we were settled, both of our sea sicknesses immediately dissipated. Of course, cruising with a dog means sleep is still a dinghy ride to shore and back away. By 3 am, it was finally lights out.

Friday morning we didn’t get up until nearly 11 am, I felt hungover from the seasickness.  We are fortunate to have a dog with a camel’s bladder so it wasn’t until nearly2 pm after I made breakfast bowls of eggs, sausage, onions, peppers, beans, and avacado that we made it ashore. It was still blowing well over twenty knots so we decided to stay another night instead of trudging upwind again.

My parents gave us folding bikes last Christmas so we loaded those for the first time in the dinghy. They fit perfectly in the sail bags for our main and jib as not scratch the floor boards and bodies. We went to shore, put scruffy in the milk crate we affixed to the back of Brandon’s bike and headed to town for errands. Brandon needed a hat as we left in a hurry and his was in the car. I also left my sunnies on the J 24.

Having bikes is awesome! It gives us the ability to quickly venture with the dog a little more than we could. After some errands, we went to Paynes and Mahagony Shoals for a mudslide because you can’t come to block island and not have a mudslide…

Then we headed back to the boat around 5 pm, we were both still exhausted from the adventure the night before, so we took naps then arose 8 pm8pm to have some gourmet dinner of Annie’s Mac and Cheese with some leftover chicken. We took Scruffy in for one last relief then promptly went back to sleep.  All in all, we did a lot of sleeping on Block Island but it was grey and windy, so what else is there?

We woke up leisurely on Saturday and I made blueberry pancakes, took Scruffy to the beach to tire him out before heading out again. the wind was down to 15 knots now but we decided to head towards the forks of Long Island which would be a close reach. The funniest part of our dog walk was Scruffy was thirsty and we found a half filled water bottle. I opened and took a whiff, it was Bacardi… I almost vomited on the beach.

We left around 11am from Block and headed 270º W to Shelter island.  It took us 5 hours to go 31 miles which is great for us.  We had a reef in the entire time. The wind would go from 17 down to 12 and the sun would peak through just long enough to get our hopes up before disappearing again.

We anchored in Coecles Harbor on Shelter island around 4:30 pm. The cruising guide informed us that this is one of two allowed anchorages on the island. There’s nothing here but an anchorage. The land is a nature conservancy for birds so kept to the shoreline to walk Scruffy.

That night I made bruschetta as an appetizer with Gin and Tonics made with my favorite gin, Barr Hill gin from Vermont. For dinner, we had boat stuffies. Brandon dove in Block Island next the boat and I kept them In the fridge.  To mKe them, we fire up the grill and put them in cold.  You keep an eye on them and as soon as they open, you dump the clam juice in a bowl and shuck out the meat. I cooked up some onions, garlic, peppers, and sun dried tomatoes down below the. Mix the juice, clam meat, cooked veggies, bread crumbs, paprika, worchestire sauce, and a little cayenne pepper with an egg to make the batter.  Then I put the batter into the shells in the boat oven for however long it takes to drink a G&T. When they are just crispy on top, grab a fork and eat em up.  No hot sauce needed, the cayenne is just the kick to balance the salty brine.

After dinner, we turned the V-berth into a movie theater. We have a mini projector that can connect to an ipad and using a white shirt, we can watch House of Cards all night long. However, once all three of us snuggled and got the Netflix going (I downloaded it prior) we were asleep before the opening credits were over.

I awoke around 8 am on Sunday to blue skies and calm wind! Something we hadn’t seen since Thursday. I love cruising but my biggest peeve is when everything is just a little moist. So when I woke up to dry conditions, I got everything clothes pinned to the lifelines to dry. A dry towel can make all the difference on board.

I brewed up some coffees and we took Scruffy back into the Nature Conservancy shore walking him North around the spit that makes the channel.  I wish I had my camera because the little guy just laid down in the water for a while like a mermaid. I called him a mer-dog.

We headed back the boat and soon after setting sail for Sag Harbor just 5 miles away. It was a light westerly which made for a lovely Sail. We anchored outside the break wall next to one of Brandon’s customers, a Swan 53 called Auroa. Francesco, the owner, came over to say hi.  Poor Scruffy was so excited to see him that he fell overboard as he wagged his body so hard as he approached by dinghy.  Aurora broke free of her mooring last fall here in Sag Harbor and ended up on the sea wall so we have gotten to know Francesco this winter as his boat was at the yard getting repairs.

He invited us on a sail, but having just arrived, we decided to go ashore to check out Sag Harbor.  We loaded the bikes and Scruffy once again and docked on the town docks.  We biked around a little to see the homes. My dad texted me the night before and said “you’d like Sag, it’s quiant.” He’s right.

Like I mentioned, having the bikes are great because they extend what is possible while cruising. Last summer, we went to Fishers Island for a weekend and we were stuck walking within a mile or so of where we landed. If you’ve ever even to Fishers, there’s not much within a mile of the Yacht Club.  That is when we thought bikes would be helpful in our pursuit of exploring the places we cruise. So thank you, parents, for these great Christmas presents!

We are also thankful our little dog puts up with all our adventuring antics. We affixed a milk crate to the back of Brandon’s bike and lined it with a towel, attached a harness, and off we went. We practiced last weekend in the neighborhood first to make sure he could handle it. He basically just sits in it and sniffs the air.

So back in Sag Harbor, we went for a ride then locked up the bikes and walked Main Street.  Scruffy met a lot of other dogs.  Sag is very pet friendly. Every shop and restaurant has a dog bowl our front. Like some of us may bar crawl in a town, Scruffy did a dog bowl crawl. Sampling every dog bowl in town.  Thank goodness for his kennel cough vaccine…

Around 3 pm we came back to the boat, I went for a swim and then Brandon tossed me our float. Scruffy doesn’t like it when we go swimming. He cries and barks and plays lifeguard. So Brandon put his life jacket on and lowered him the float. Then he was happy:

After I got out, I decided it was about time to start this blog. So if you have read this far then you are a true friend. I’m now own to Rosé and Brandon has rigged us new jack lines.

I have also been watching these crazy skimboard/ jet skis/ don’t-know-what thingies flying around us. See photo.

Now I’m off to make scallops and pasta. The plan is to head to Fishers tomorrow on our way home.