Summer Sail 2000 (cont.)

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Day Three - July 23rd

Dan snuck out early to get a new rod holder - an expensive alternative to getting two screws the correct length. Then we had a cereal and fruit breakfast and left for a pleasant sail to Jamestown. We left Point Judith at about 10a and put up the sails inside the breakwater. We easily slipped through the channel and out into the "open ocean", with Spain just below the horizon between Block Island and Martha's Vineyard. We turned northeast toward Newport and once again had to adjust to the wind being directly on our stern. The wind was moderate, and we chose to try and sail directly downwind, with the sails set "wing-and-wing", with the jib opposite the main. This worked well for a while, until the waves became larger, which made it harder to control the jib. So we went back to tacking downwind with long broad reaches, watching the Jamestown bridge loom over the hills of the Narragansett Islands.

Ben rigged the fishing pole, and set the lure to troll behind us about 75 feet. After about 15 minutes, the reel began to sing - we had a strike! Now landing a medium size fish on a sailboat is a bit of a trick. First, someone has to keep the boat facing into the wind, so that the boat speed is almost zero, and it doesn't pull on the fish. But when you do this, you can't steer. Next, someone else has to pull in the dinghy and set out the bucket. Since we didn't really think we'd catch anything, we hadn't prepped a bucket, so Ben and Jacq quickly emptied one of the storage buckets and set it on the aft swim platform. Dad kept reeling in the fish and eventually we saw the blue back and gold sides of a bluefish. Dad brought it to the stern of the boat while Jacq took pictures. Ben hefted the fish into the bucket, and everyone turned to Dad as if to say "Now what?" Dad made a command decision that the fish looked a little small (5#?), and since we had no way to cook it that night, we had to toss it back. In the face of a possible mutiny, led by Jacq, who felt that this was the last bluefish in Narragansett Bay, Mom removed the hook and released the fish. This entire process took about 45 minutes; it would take about 15 on a fishing boat.

With the excitement over, we resume our course toward Newport. As we approached, we watched the final afternoon race of at least 2 different J-class fleets (perhaps 32' and 40'). Lots of boats sailing really fast in close quarters - beautiful and exciting! We continued up between Castle Hill Point and the south end of Jamestown Island, once again marveling at the enormous mansions, some used just as summer resorts, on several groomed acres of waterfront hillsides, with or without cliffs.

But we had to pay close attention to our sailing, as the J-fleets were flying in under spinnaker, and 6 of the 12-meter racing yachts were heading out for some afternoon match racing. Add in a handful of sport-fishing boats, and a couple of old-time schooners full of land-bound tourists, and we were simultaneously staring at and dodging around a lot of boats. Everybody say "Awww".

As we passed Newport harbor, we turned north toward the Jamestown bridge, headed to the Conanicut Harbor. Conanicut is the original name of Jamestown Island, which meant "summer resort" to the Narragansett Indians. Despite pausing for the fish and the pretty boats, we were dockside at 3pm. The Charbonneaus and Downeys met us and we chatted for an hour around the ice cream shop. Unfortunately, the Downeys had to head back early, but the Charb's joined us for a quick harbor sail, up under the bridge and back. Tom was pondering joining us for the rest of the week, but was dragged back onshore by the rest of his family - it was fine with us! We all went out for a quick dinner, catching up on old times, and enjoying how well our combined 5 kids got along. At around 8:30pm, we sent off our dear friends and went back to the boat for the night. We had dessert at the ice cream shop; Ben discovered a marvelous black raspberry chocolate frozen yogurt and had as many helpings as we would let him. Jacq had chocolate ice cream and Mom and Dad finished the last strawberry rhubarb crisp. More chamomile was made so that we could continue the Uno rounds; Ben was determined to win at some point and managed to do so. Family Uno is such a relaxing, non competitive game (NOT!). It is all in good fun, though, with lots of laughs. Then into bed with more reading; Ben had finished the John Glenn bio and has moved on to Rainbow Six. Jacq is still in the middle of several of the Soccer Stars; Dad having finished the Aerosmith bio is deep into the latest Marcia Muller pb (set in Hawaii, I think) and Mom is ensorcelled by Harry Potter IV.

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