Hingham to Hull; Saturday, May 3, 2003
We bought our sailboat in November, but by May we had yet to take her for a sail. As I explained to my nervous wife how to release the dock lines we prepared to for our maiden voyage. It was nothing much really, just a nice sail around Boston Harbor, then an overnight in Hull, Massachusetts, at the entrance to Hingham Bay, but since we were departing from Hingham, this wasn’t the most ambitious plan. We just wanted to start to get to know our new friend a little.
After a few nervous looks Jen jumped off the dock onto the boat and we were off, motoring out of Hewitt’s Cove toward open water. After a long motor we raised sail while we rounded Hull’s windmill and quickly got up to five knots. The wind was light as we continued on toward the Boston Headlight. After about a half hour the wind died and we were forced to take down our sails and motor around the harbor islands. As we neared Graves Light the wind picked up again, so we raised our sails and continued with our shakedown. But as quickly as it came back it died again. By now we had been out for a couple of hours and we decided to head back in through erratic winds and alternating between sails and motor.
Being early May there weren’t many boats out–our attempts to raise a harbor master on the radio fell on deaf ears and as we headed into Hull Harbor unannounced. We wondered what to do. Not having a dingy on board yet we wanted to be able to tie up to a dock, at least for a while, before grabbing a mooring that would certainly not be used by anyone until the true boating season started. Once inside the harbor I drove around in circles trying to get a sense of where to go. My wife had no idea what I was doing and was thoroughly confused. Knowing that whoever was on shore was certain to be watching me I knew I had to come up with a plan.
After aborting my first landing attempt, we decided to tie up to a floating dock in front of a nondiscrept one-story gray building. We pulled up to the dock quite smoothly and sat back to admire our handwork. There were a few people around the dock and we hoped that they would not ask us to move along, our aim was to stay tied up for the night so we could walk around and check out Hull.
My wife, wanting to avoid using the facilities on the boat, went down the dock to find a better option. On her way, she asked a man if we were ok to tie our boat up.
“Sure nobody should bother you there,” he said, followed by “bars open inside.”
After cleaning up the boat we decided to go up to the bar and find out if there was a place to eat close by. We stepped into the large open room with a bar in the far corner. As we entered, everyone at the bar turned there heads to inspect us. It felt like an audition–like in the movies when a stranger enters the room and the record scratches to silence; not phased I stepped right up to the bar clandestinely eyeing what the locals were enjoying and ordered two for us. To neither of our surprise, it was Budweiser–the King of Beers. As soon as we cracked our cold ones, the nice gentlemen who Jen had spoken with earlier immediately turned around and asked where we were from.
This was the beginning of what was to become our long introduction to the good folks of the Nantasket Beach Saltwater Club. We were signed in as official guests of the club and given permission to lay up on the dock for the night. The members told us that we may be better off on the inside of the dock as the lobster man tend to head out early in the morning and tend to ignore the “No Wake” buoys. We headed down to move the boat only to find that most of the bar had come down to help us drag Bumbré around the dock. As a group, we made quick work of the move and were soon back at the bar swapping stories.
The Saltwater Club, as it is known by the members, would never be confused with other yacht clubs of Massachussetts. It is housed in a simple one story shingled building, painted gray, and situated right next to the much more upscale Hull Yacht Club. In faded paint you can still see the name of the Saltwater Club as it was once proudly announced. Inside the building, which used to be the Hull Post Office, is a large room filled with folding chairs and tables, and housed at one end is the bar. Inside the Saltwater Club is a close knit group of locals from the Hull area who share a love of sailing and other water activities, but without the seriousness and exclusivity of other yacht clubs.
As we sat listening to the exploits of our new friends, we were impressed by the sense of community. After a few beers we decided to order some dinner from a local restuarant and enjoy our first meal on the boat. We were welcomed back after dinner like old friends, as the members regaled us with more and more stories. The night wore and the bar was near closing; as we said our goodbyes, we were encouraged to join the club. By that time we were only considering getting into our bed, which was just a short walk down dock.
Sunday May 4, 2003
We woke up on a chilly morning, only rocking slightly when the lobstermen headed out early. We had a little breakfast and decided to walk up Telegraph Hill to Fort Revere. Then we got ready for the quick trip back to Hingham. We headed out of the harbor with the sun in our faces; looking back we, felt sad to be leaving a place that in such a short time had shown us so much hospitality. We felt very fortunate to be able to come out and experience it before the crowds of July and August made some of that goodwill inaccessible.
Forced Movement: Hingham to South Dartmouth; May 16, 2003 – May 18, 2003
Harman Stinson (Captain)
Miles travelled: 350 (approximately)
Engine hours: 11
Sailing hours: 11
Friday, May 16, 2003
After having the luxury of a slip for a whole month Hewitt’s Cove Marine started to fill up with boats going in the water. We knew we had to move soon, but all week we had been looking at the weather and it did not look good. All weekend we were due to have a northeast blow and anyone from New England knows that a northeast wind usually means high seas.
Our plan was to head out midday on Friday to hopefully make it down to Scituate or Plymouth that night. By the time we drove to our temporary marina, the skies were gray and uminous, but we decided to head out anyway to see what it was like outside the protection of the harbor.
Once on the water, the wind picked up and the seas were high even with the barrier of the harbor islands and Hull. This–combined with the fact that, to my surprise, I had forgotten our charts at home–forced us back into the marina where we were faced with the broker who sold us our boat. I knew what he was going to say before he even said it. We had used up our free ride and if we stayed any longer we would have to start paying the marina. Our options were few: we were told that to stay in the marina we would have to move to a mooring at a cost of over fifty dollars a day. This was too much for us, and we headed home to collect the charts, check the weather report, and try again tomorrow.
Saturday, May 17, 2003
The next day the weather report talked of 4- to 6-foot seas but with a dying wind in the afternoon. I somehow convinced a very nervous Jen that we should just go for it. So we untied the lines at around 10 o’clock and headed out. The sky was gray and there was an occassional sprinkle of rain. The 20-knot winds did nothing to improve Jen’s confidence but we plugged on. Unfortunally we had to bash into the wind until we got around Hull, where we could get the sails up. As slow as it was heading into the wind toward the Boston Headlight, we continued on our way. But once we started to head south, the waves really picked up. We put up the main and settled into our positions, me at the helm and Jen sitting in the companionway ready to duck below at the first sight of any water over the bow.
I steered through the wind and waves singing and laughing, trying to make light of what, for my wife, was a very uncomfortable situation. We were closing in on Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse. At about 12:45 we rounded the lighthouse, where the waves were between 4 and 8 feet and were close together and tended to toss the 28-foot Bumbré around quiet a bit. This combined with the standard noises, gets Jen nervous about the sound of water below. So she took the wheel while I got below to stick my head in the bilges and close any outflows that may have been left open.
With no leaks found, I have broken rule one in avoiding seasickness: never go below in rough weather. Feeling a little queasy I decide that maybe forcing some lunch down might help. This meant I’d have broken rule number two as well, to keep properly hydradated and eat during a long voyage. Soon after my snack I decided it would be better to get to the windward side of the boat to purge whatever I might need. After getting rid of the stomach contents, I felt much better, except I now needed a good tooth brushing.
As the afternoon went on, the sun started to shine, and the weather broke as we closed in on Plymouth. We had read that it was a long hall down the Plymouth River to Plymouth Harbor, but as we headed in we relized we were also heading against the tide. Our long journey in had just begun. We negotiated the thousands of lobster pots near the breakwater and started in, heading toward the Duxbury Pier Light, also know as Bug Light.
As we rounded Bug Light we started to get out of the tide a bit and make better progress. Avoiding the shallow tidal pools and marshes that line the channel to the harbor we went around the breakwater and started looking for a mooring. Our slow progress into the harbor meant it took almost 2 hours to get inside the breakwater. Once there, we grabbed a Plymouth Yacht Club mooring at about 6:30 P.M., ending a long day of bashing down the coast in the strong wind and waves.
We were tired and hungry and after eating dinner we quickly headed back to the boat, too tired to check out Plymouth more closely than a brief walk into town and a meal at the Weathervane. Back at the boat we were quickly tucked into the cold forepeak and asleep before we knew it.
Sunday, May 18, 2003
The next day, we enjoyed a sunny morning in the harbor. Since the tide in the Cape Cod Canal was going to be against us until midmorning, we were in no rush to head out. As we sat there eating our breakfast, we notice the lobster boats that dotted the harbor. Some were already headed back in from their morning’s work. We left around 7:45 A.M. heading toward the Canal during on this beautiful day–a far cry from yesterday’s travels.
After a long motor out of Plymouth Harbor, we started south and at about 12 o’clock we entered the canal. As we sailed down the coast, I started to remove Bumbré’s old name from the stern. Breaking yet another old maritime rule that states, if you are to rename a boat you should do it while the boat is laid up on dry land. I disregarded the rule, and slowly “Santiago” became “antiago.” By now we were nearing the canal. As we started in we, kept up our jib because we had some wind with us. Having driven over the canal hundreds–maybe thousands–of times in my life, it was exciting to be traveling underneath the bridges I had only been able to look down from. As we motored through, we had some lunch and before we knew it we were approaching the railroad bridge at the western entrance.
Before we knew it, we were shooting out into Buzzard’s Bay, sailing past Marion’s Bird Island lighthouse and toward South Dartmouth. We had entered into the canal worried that we wouldn’t transit it in the prescribed time. But within an hour we were headed out the other side. We were in the final strech of our journey to Bumbré’s new home, and Jen had survive a rough first day and was now enjoying a perfect sail in Buzzard’s Bay. We hugged the coast past Cormorant Rock and West Island then started a direct course toward Padanaram.
As we pulled into Apponagansett Bay we began to search for our mooring. We had gotten vague directions, but once we entered the harbor we realized this was going to be harder then we thought. The problem was that Padanaram is one of the more popular harbors on Buzzards Bay, which means there are many, many moorings to navigate through. Since it was so early in the season almost none had boats on them yet, and we were weaving back and forth among them looking for the correct number. Mooring fields are suppose to be arranged in numbered rows, but since dropping a heavy mooring to the bottom of a harbor is an imprecise science they do not always end up neatly. Jst when we began thinking in terms of futility, we spotted it: 59-3A… We were home.