Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Fishers Island, The Race, and Block Island

Having left Old Lyme in the afternoon, we wanted to find a nearby anchorage for the night, so we chose Fishers Island.

We had a pleasant 20 nm sail there, and got the anchor down around 6:30pm. After dinner we calculated the current for the next leg of our trip.

There is a narrow, shallow opening between the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound called "The Race". It has a well deserved reputation for strong currents and steep waves. This happens not only because of the tidal action, but also because there is a ridge along the seafloor that causes upwelling right at the narrowest section.

We determined that slack water would be at 9:45, and then the current would be ebbing, so we left the anchorage about 9:00 and motored out. The conditions were perfect with calm seas and almost no wind. The Race is a hot spot for catching striped bass, so there were lots of fishing boats out there too.

At 9:45 we easily motored across in very calm conditions. It was almost a non-event.

Eventually the wind filled in and we had a pleasant sail to Block Island. As we got closer to the island it was obvious that a race was starting near the harbor entrance. I'd heard that it was race week here because our sailmaker, Pete McCormick, posted about it on Facebook. Luckily, by the time we approached the channel, the boats had headed off to their marks.

You can read more about the race here.

We put the sails away and motored into the insanity that is Block Island. It's hard to explain exactly what goes on here, but hundreds of boats, high winds, and poor holding cause lots of boats to drag. Throw in some fog, impatient summer boaters, and the sheer popularity of the place, and it gets even crazier. And this week, of couse, there are even more boats and people because of the race. Gotta love Block Island.

We plan to go into town tomorrow morning when the wind is lighter. Good night from Block Island.

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