It’s been 17 weeks since I last posted a blog entry, and what a difference those 4 months make. After that January blog, the winter just became worse and worse. Colder and snowier. We hunkered down and made it through to the other side – spring. What else can you do? We both worked part-time to pay for all of the improvements we are making to the new Kindred Spirit (and to keep us busy as well.)
It was late April when the boat was uncovered for the annual launch preparations for and to finish the many renovations. We looked out at a sea of shrink wrap in the boat yard, but at least there was no longer any snow.
The unusually frigid winter created more ice on the river, which in turn caused considerable damage to pilings in the boatyards in Portland. The yard was able to get boats into the water, but at a slower rate. On May 19th, the new and improved Kindred Spirit was launched. Although this was later than usual for us, it felt like the day had come all too quickly. Al finished all of the final critical mechanical and technical details . Poor guy, he worked every day that week for at least 6-8 hours preparing the boat. From painting the bottom, checking the engine, the new wiring, installing things, closing thru–holes and so on. All I had to do was…….. what did I do? Oh yes, I did my share of cleaning and waxing, the low-tech side of boat prep. I am also in charge of shopping for and packing provisions and “stuff” for the boat.
We were finally ready to make the river trip in reverse of last fall (Connecticut River Trip) , and I will try not to be too repetitious. Although it was the beginning of the Memorial Day holiday, the day was cool (and a Friday) so things were relatively quiet on the river.
Confession – I still have a few latent bridge issues, leftover from having a 59 foot mast on the sailboat. Before putting the boat back in the water, we carefully measured the distances from the waterline to various points on the boat — 17 feet from the water to the top of the bimini and 24 feet from the water to the top of the mast. We delayed raising the mast so that we didn’t have to wait for the Haddam Swing Bridge to open.
Even though we had made it under the Haddam Swing Bridge on our trip north for the winter, I still looked at the bridge with some trepidation. I called the bridgetender to let him know that we would be passing under and he did not need to raise the bridge for us.
The trip down the river is enjoyable on a pleasant day. There are numerous landmarks and lots of nature to watch. But, there are also some annoyances caused by humans with a need for speed. Three skidoos screamed by us. They are a minor annoyance, but don’t really do any harm. But fast powerboats that roar past you are an aggravation! Their wakes rocked us from side to side, just as they did when we had the sailboat. These boaters are not interested in the sights and sounds of nature – they can’t see or hear anything when roaring by like that. What’s the rush?? They would not get away with this on the ICW. I guess we still have sailboat blood in our veins. Hope we always will.
We had planned to stop at Hamburg Cove and spend the night as we usually do on our river trips north and south, but it was still early so we continued on to North Cove in Old Saybrook.
Time for the next bridge. The I-95 bridge was no worry, but immediately after it was the Old Lyme Railroad Bridge, always a headache when our homeport was in Essex. Just when you needed to get through, it would come down. We checked its height on Active Captain and learned that it was 22 feet — we were good to go with the mast down. As we neared it, the bridge went up. It generally stays up unless a train is passing by. And if one train is passing by, you could be in for a long wait because there was usually another one coming from the other direction. The bridge tender doesn’t open it between the two passing trains.
North Cove in Old Saybrook is just south of the railroad bridge. It is a lovely cove lined with charming homes. Many years ago we put our name on the waiting list for a mooring there. After 8 patient years, our name made it to the top. We regretfully turned down the opportunity because the cove had shoaled so much it would have been an inconvenient place to keep a sailboat at that time. As things naturally go, the entrance and cove was dredged the following year. But things do often happen for a reason – we joined Shennecossett Yacht Club which has been a much better fit for us.
After a very chilly night (45 degrees!) we left North Cove early to catch as much favorable current as possible.
The special treat of the morning was the accidental timing of our arrival at Shennecossett just a few hours before Cutting Class‘s arrival. Dan and Marcia, on Cutting Class, had returned south for the winter (they missed a good winter, didn’t they?). We enjoyed being the first to welcome them back home. It was so good to see them again!
After another very cold night (46 degrees), we awoke to a sunny breezy day. First chore on the list was to attach our mooring ball to the mega-chain that leads to a 1000 pound mushroom anchor. A “winter stick” takes the place of the mooring ball through the winter, to hold the chain and mark the location so that we can easily find it. Al gave our mooring ball a thorough cleaning and fresh paint. Its bottom paint matches the new green bottom paint on the trawler (changed from the original red.)
We were close enough to attach a line form the boat to the mooring ball and just haul ourselves over to the ball. All set.
Shennecossett has had a very busy winter! D dock, including the gas dock was replaced, new fuel tanks installed, and dredging is still underway between B and C dock. We had to dinghy past the tug, barge and claw on our way back and forth to the boat.
It was good to be back in the water and back at SYC. We sublet our slip on D dock for another year and will spend this summer on our mooring. Although it is not as convenient as a dock, it is a nice location.
My next blog task is to put together the photos with descriptions of all the renovations and projects Al has done over the past 8 months. I promise I will try to get that done soon. I call it the “Trawler Transformation.”