The day finally arrived when I returned to Essex to “take possession” of the boat I’d turned my life upside-down over, outfit her, and set off cruising New England. I arrived in Hartford and through some machinations got my rental and spent the afternoon getting groceries and making a trip to the local Goodwill, where I got sheets, dishes, and other stuff to make Aurora habitable. I finally showed up at the boat yard after closing and discovered that work that was supposed to have been done over the previous two and a half months had not been attended to. Well, that’s not quite true....the big projects were mostly done, but a whole raft of smaller things were not. I was glad I had allotted extra time for catch-up, but hadn’t planned on the yard taking two and a half weeks of my break to do it. Every morning I was up before seven and hard at it from slightly thereafter until sometimes midnight doing whatever I could do to get stuff done to facilitate the yard getting the rest of the list out of the way. It was like herding cats, and at times it was absolutely the most frustrating experience of my life. And then on a Thursday afternoon, I realized the chores were done, and that I was faced with what I’d been waiting for: putting my study and training to the test and singlehanding my 40 footer wherever I wanted to go.

I didn’t get out of Essex until early the next afternoon, and I knew that getting down the Connecticut River to the Sound, and then across to Port Jefferson, Long Island was going to be a push to do by dark. I was right. By dusk I wasn’t yet quite there. As I started down the channel into Port Jeff, I glanced over my left shoulder and saw the bloody ferry screaming by silently without warning, practically on top of me. Then, to my right was the breakwater. Just what I needed was an obstacle course on my first day out. I headed to the GPS coordinates a buddy had given me for an overnighting spot, and shortly after dark the anchor was set. Day One, and I’d put everything to the test, and come out on top on all counts.

The short story is that I headed down to New York. My trip was abbreviated by the boatyard’s screwing around, and the thing I had wanted to do most of all was sail through New York Harbor. I knew I had to time the currents right, or I’d be in trouble bucking them at the trecherous Hell Gate. As it turned out, I consulted my tables, left Manhasset Bay at the crack of dawn, and nailed the currents within five minutes of perfection. Not bad. The trip was peaceful, watching the joggers and people walking to work along the East River walks. Around the Battery, watching out for the commuter ferries was essential, especially as I was crossing over to get a view of the Statue of Liberty. Seeing her as a speck in the distance as I rounded southern Manhattan was quite amazing, and up close from the edge of the restricted zone was amazing. Then, up to my $30/night mooring at the 79th Street Boat Basin. Such a deal! I ended up staying there for five or six days while visiting friends, family, and generally hanging out at art museums.

The return trip was a quickie, essentially retracing my steps and heading up to Three Mile Harbor near Easthampton, an ideal spot from which to visit the Jackson Pollock/Lee Krasner House. It was indescribable to walk across the studio floor, essentially a Pollock painting itself. Then, an evening in Greenport, and a race early the next morning against the weather back through the dicey Plum Gut (by the infamous Plum Island) up to Essex for stripping the boat in prep for shipping to Seattle.

We won, the race, no problem.

Was it all worth it?
You bet.

More Pictures:
Long Island Sound & New York
Shipping Aurora To Her New Home
Arrival in Seattle

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