Day 32 Sat 8/22 Sail-by, Then Everything Goes Wrong Day Redeemed by Whale

Photo by Carlton Roos

With the winds predicted at 10 knots instead of 15, we decided to cross over to Montauk and continue to Shinnecock Inlet, expecting to arrive a little after nightfall. For the first few minutes all seemed to be going fine, until in addition to wind and waves picking up we found we were also fighting the tide, which seemed to run north instead of south at this point. We called our friends in Montauk and instead of swinging around the end of Montauk towards the harbor, we continued towards our destination, nearing the coast for a cordial waive as we passed by. In reality, we were scrambling to tack away from the shore as the stay on the jib sheet came loose and Bryan had to run up on the deck to re-attach it, all the while our friends were waiving blissfully.

The wind picked up again and we had to motor-sail a zigzag course, with the stay again often coming loose. Finally Bryan taped a makeshift repair to the stay that had pulled apart, only for the jib sheet to catch on the forward winch handle on its way over, and thrust it into the ocean where it quickly sank. Now with only one winch handle we were extra careful to keep it safe. The boat was heaving and bumping the entire way, and Bryan and I both regretted not heading for Montauk Lake instead and enjoying a dinner with the Roos family. To give ourselves something to look forward to, we set the GPS for a way point, James Schainuck’s house in Amagansett, where we did a sail-by further out, dots of light greeting each other via our flashlight and his from the shore. Our progress was getting slower and slower. Bryan angled further out into the ocean so we could have a longer sail in before having to tack in again.

Twice Bryan saw a spouts coming from the ocean, then I saw one, and we wondered if there could be a whale as we were in only 50 feet of water. Seeing a whale in these waters is good news, a testament to the clean water act which has reduced pollution from the Hudson river. Then, just as we were watching, Bryan and I both cheered as the whale raised up and breached the water. Somehow, that made the frustrations of the day melt away.

It was still a long bumpy motor-sail ahead, and we finally came to the mouth of Shinnecock Inlet at 1:45am. More to that, I’ll fill in on tomorrow’s log.