S/V Charlotte
Ft. Lauderdale to Newport 2007

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Ft. Lauderdale to Newport, RI-May 2007

On May 1st Charlotte departed Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for a 1200nm passage to Rhode Island.  Joining Pete for the trip were friends Tom Collins, Peter Simon, and Bob Strong.  Tom is a Neurologist from Bellevue, WA who had helped Pete deliver a Hallberg-Rassy  46 from Seattle to San Francisco four years ago.  Pete had met Peter Simon when helping him purchase a 70’ custom cruising sled which he lives aboard and sails out of San Diego.  Bob is a friend from Seattle who currently owns an Eastbay 47 but is exploring the world of sail and anticipates the move to canvas soon.

After topping off the fuel tank Charlotte departed Pt. Everglades inlet at noon.  With an eye on beating a strong cold front around Cape Hatteras, the engine was kept running at 1900 rpm’s and thanks to a strong fair gulfstream current sog number stayed above ten knots all the way to Cape Hatteras.  Except for the first night out when we were able to beam reach for a few hours, winds stayed light until just south of Cape Hatteras when strong easterly winds found us exiting the gulfstream early to escape steep seas.  Later that day, when north of Cape Hatteras winds eased and we set a course for Rhode Island again.   As we approached Long Island and dodged the fish boats in the canyons, the strong cold front hit bringing high steady thirty knot winds with gust to 48 knots; right out of the northeast.  With reefed main and staysail, we tacked to starboard and motorsailed towards the south shore of Long Island to find relief from the seas.  This tactic worked as seas flattened when just a few hundred yards off of Fire Island where we tacked to port and stayed right off the beach motorsailing and enjoying house watching along the Hamptons.  Rounding Montauk Point at 1800 we bore off for Lake Montauk where we anchored for the night.  The final passage to Newport found us motoring in light winds until Castle Hill where we set sail and enjoyed beating into Newport Harbor.

Overall, it was a very fast trip thanks to a large diesel tank and the Gulfstream.  While we all had hoped to sail more we were thankful for arriving quickly and safely just ahead of other northbound yachts who were overtaken by an intense low originating off the Carolinas which sunk two boats and caused others to be abandoned.  Happy hour swims in the gulfstream off the Carolinas were probably a high point for me.  Thanks to Tom, Bob, and Peter for accompanying me on Charlotte’s first ocean passage.