It was nice to be in Block Island when there weren’t so many tourists, although there were enough for us! We pulled into Great Salt Pond (the large mooring field/anchorage) on Friday around 1, and with the help of our binoculars spotted our friend’s mooring ball. The wind was blowing like crazy which made it a more difficult procedure than usual. In fact, remember that couple I mentioned in a previous blog entry? We were the animated ones this time! Oh well, it happens. The wind also made going ashore a wet and salty experience because there were white caps in the mooring field! And over the weekend, the wind let up only occasionally. We took some nice long walks which felt very good after being exercise restricted the past two weeks.
Once again fully provisioned, we departed from Port Washington (which, by the way, has become one of our favorite stops) first thing Tuesday morning. The weather could not have been better. Even the seas were working in our favor….a nice breeze and a little boost from a south/southwest wind. A seagull decided to ride instead of fly to his destination, and accompanied us (see photo) for several miles. Fortunately the dogs were snoozing and didn’t notice, otherwise there would have been massive amounts of barking!
We got started early on Wednesday morning as NOAA (National Oceanic Atmosphere Administration) called for a small craft advisory and we wanted to get to our next destination before the winds got too bad. Turns out the ride was quite nice. No rain and another boost from the ssw wind. We drove along the northern shore of eastern Long Island. The area is of course not as populated as the western part of the Island. Along its coastline are beaches, sandy bluffs and green brush. It reminded me a little of Scotland, except for the sprinkling of large American-like homes. At 12:30 we turned into the Mannituck Creek and cruised another 25 minutes past homes and docks (see picture) to a small anchorage at the end of the creek. Another successful set of the anchor and dinghy down, off we went for a long walk into the little town of Mannituck. (I apologize for not posting a map of our whereabouts. That will have to wait for our 2011 blog!) We got warm on our walk, so decided we’d take a swim when we returned to the boat. Some of us couldn’t wait, and walked right in to the water from the beach by the dinghy dock!!
Our daughter, Joy, took the train from New York City where she lives/works to Port Washington on Thursday night ; and Friday morning we all headed to the World’s Fair Marina, which is right by Laguardia Airport, Citi Field (where the Met’s play) and the National Tennis Center. We tied the boat up securely, anticipating fierce winds. Based on our various weather sources, we decided we had adequate time before Earl was to arrive to take a walk over to the tennis center. We said “adieu” to Joy who had tickets to the US Open and returned to the boat. By that time it was noon. The boat was in need of a wash, but naturally the expected rains would more than adequately rinse it, so we had lunch and settled in for an afternoon of reading, waiting for Earl. And wait we did. When 5:30 rolled around and there was nary a drop of rain, we hauled out the hose, pail and brushes and got to work. Fortunately for many, Earl turned out to be “the hurricane that wasn’t”, and thankfully so. But by Saturday morning, the front that pushed Earl away from the coast had kicked up some huge winds. We stayed put in our slip. It’s always nice to have a day to read, nap, and relax. And that’ s pretty much what we did.
Just before I began to write this, I looked – AGAIN! – at the weather forecast, checking on the status of Earl swirling up the East Coast. I am thinking of our friends in Nags Head (on the Outer Banks) and all the places we passed a little over a week ago, hoping that they spared any irreparable damage. I am grateful that we are safe and sound on Long Island Sound in New York.
We loved our stay in the Sassafrass River. We were accompanied by two other sailboats, one of which had a giant German Shepard aboard. While we were eating dinner, a Coast Guard work boat pulled in and anchored about 100 yards from us. Unusual, but they obviously had a task to perform in the area. Little did we know, as we pulled out of the river on Monday morning, that wasn’t the last we’d see of the Coast Guard! We got a nice 1-1/2 knot boost from the currents of the tide in the Chesapeake Bay and C&D Canal. The cruise down the Delaware Bay – which can be quite choppy and rough – proved otherwise. Everything was working in our favor…..until….a bright orange Coast Guard patrol boat (like the one in the picture) passed us and then immediately changed course coming toward uswith blue lights flashing. Now, being stopped by the Coast Guard is not like being stopped by the police. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve done something wrong or that you look suspicious. Most of the time they just want to check things out and be sure that you are in compliance with safety regulations (fire extinguishers, flares, throw rings, etc.), aren’t aboard a stolen yacht or aren’t hiding illegals. I felt confident that we didn’t fall into any of those categories, particularly the latter two. But nonetheless, it was a hassle. The dogs went ballistic as the patrol boat drove right up beside us and offloaded 3 big “Coasties”. John turned the helm over to me (and the dogs) and dealt with the business at hand. First thing they asked, “How many people are aboard and do you have any weapons?” Everything went smoothly until he asked for documentation that we owned the boat. Well, we do and we don’t. This being an untitled show boat, we did not have the papers they were requesting and it sent them into a tizzy. It took a long phone call to their boss to settle it all, and 45 minutes later we were on our way. Arrived at the marina in Cape May and gave the boat a well-deserved bath! Had a delicious pork chop dinner and tuned into the news about (Hurricane)Earl.
Saturday morning the winds and seas had settled down, and we proceeded out on to the (Chesapeake) Bay. This body of water can be very rough. But it can also be quite still. We have experienced both. This was a lovely summer day with a light breeze and perfect water. We even got a tidal boost that saved us 45 minutes! We pulled into the mouth of the Patuxent River on the western shore of Maryland around 4, and by 5 were anchored in a lovely cove just off the town of Solomons. We love to anchor when we can, and the Krogen Express is perfectly suited for it. Lowering the anchor is a simple process, and even on a hot night, the numerous portholes and hatches allow for great ventilation. Because we have dogs who must go ashore, we make good use out of the dinghy, and a fully hydraulic davit makes launching it also a simple process.
Wednesday morning was lovely. We poked along the Waterway at 9-1/2 knots. The air was the coolest we’d felt all summer, winds were light, and the sun was shining. In fact, I even put on a long-sleeved shirt! A nice change from the previous day, AND the previous year when – along this same route – it was so hot we were putting ice down our backs! We knew we’d be passing Atlantic Yacht Basin in Chesapeake, Virginia by mid-afternoon, so we decided we would stay the night there and have a few things done on the boat the next day. AYB is a reputable boat yard in a very convenient location with the ability to handle most any challenge that might come a boater’s way. Over the years, they have taken good care of many of our Krogen Express owners, and this was no exception. (Many thanks to James Taylor, the service manager.) Within walking distance of the yard are several restaurants, Rite-Aid and a nice grocery store, and a Dairy Queen! (Also, across the way is a free dock where anyone can tie up for 24 hours, first come/first served.)
Another lovely day awaited us on Friday. Trouble is, we really didn’t know where to head! With always a plan in mind, this is a first for us! But our marine forecast sources (Wunderground.com, Passageweather.com, and the NOAA weather site) were telling us different things, and we had several legs of the trip to consider. First was the Chesapeake Bay, next was the trek up the New Jersey coast (not one of my personal favorites!). We also studied our principle online guide source (Activecaptain.com) to seek out suitable anchorages/marinas. There was a small craft warning for the Bay, and the particular body of water we were approaching (where the Atlantic meets the Bay) could prove to be quite dicey. We decided we’d just carry on and see how things developed. Norfolk is always an interesting place to cruise through. (Altho it’s not as exciting as cruising down the East River of Manhattan at night. But that’s another story for another time!) There is a lot of activity (ferries, police, Coast Guard, and pilot boats buzzing around), a myriad of noises (horns, beeps, machinery, and sirens from the industry on land), and excellent scenery (naval ships abound). With Norfolk practically behind us and the Bay fast approaching, we then had some decisions to make. The wind was kicking up, as were the waves. John said “well, what do you think? Should we go for it?” Knowing from experience what was ahead, I didn’t hesitate, “No thanks.” We headed up Hampton River, a spot we’d stayed many times before. This time we stayed at the Hampton Public (but not free) Pier, our first visit. Had a pleasant walk around town, and then dinner.
John and Bob’s 35 hour trip from Ft. Pierce to Morehead City was uneventful. (But who would know!) My assignment was to drive from our home in Hilton Head and meet them on Sunday evening “somewhere near Wilmington, North Carolina” (depending on how their trip went). Of course there had been no communication with them since they left Ft. Pierce early Saturday morning. John was to call me when they neared their destination. I expected to hear from him around 2 pm. I had our two dogs – M.E. and Macey – with me in the car, and it was about 85 degrees outside. As we approached the Wilmington area around 2:30 pm. I still hadn’t heard from John. I pondered what to do, particularly in light of the fact that I had these two panting dogs to consider. I couldn’t just sit in the car with the engine/a.c. running indefinitely! We walked around a tree-full park and continued to wait for the phone to ring. Around 4:00 I started to go into panic mode (unusual for me, not generally being a worrier). Do I call the Coast Guard? Who could I call that would appreciate my situation and be able to not only console me, but offer me practical advice. Nobody really. I continued to just sit and wait….engine running. FINALLY, at 4:15 the call came. It was the most welcomed call I’ve ever received! They were headed to Morehead City. I was delighted to put the car in “D” and drive the additional 2 hours north. I was never so happy to see two people – and a beautiful Krogen Express at the dock – in my life! Even though they were unshaven and rather unkempt, there were big hugs all around! The boat was a mess. While the guys washed the outside, I tackled the inside, and was I ever happy to do it!
We all had a sound sleep that night, particularly the guys; and Bob left in the car early Monday morning to head home and back to the office. John and I and “the girls” (our affectionate name for our dogs) set out for an easy, short ride to a spot near Oriental, NC, River Dunes. This is a fairly new waterfront development of coastal/southern-style homes with a man-made, very protected harbour/marina. http://www.riverdunes.com/index.php?flag=marinagallery It has a pool, workout room, and a gorgeous clubhouse/restaurant (open only on weekends). J.C., the dockmaster, and his assistant Reggie, greeted us “with open arms”. We had a long walk around the neighborhood and then a dip in the pool, followed by a meatloaf dinner on the aft deck of “Joy”.
Tuesday morning was very rainy and windy. We head for Manteo (pronounced Manny-o). This town is off the ICW, but it’s one we’ve visited before and really enjoyed. Within a 2 minute walk of the town dock are shops and good restaurants. The dockmaster, Carl, has been there forever. The docks are fixed, wooden, the only downside. Our boat is such a snap to get on/off with floating docks, and while fixed is do-able, it’s certainly not preferable. Anyway, the forecast called for a NE wind of 5-10 with 1 foot seas. Turns out it was more like 20knot winds with 2 foot seas, and numerous rainstorms which made the seas kick up even more. Saw lots of shrimpers along the way (see photo). Once (very) happily tied up at the dock, we hosed the boat down, and took a short walk with the girls. M.E. made a new friend who was aboard a Nordic Tug and they had a blast running around the park area at the marina. John and I got cleaned up and met our friends, Joe and Laura, who drove us to their Italian restaurant in Nags Head for a fabulous feast. Filled up with pizza, hot wings, eggplant parmesan, lasagna, salad, and bread, they then insisted on ordering us dessert. (No refusals, here!) Mousse cake, tiramasu and cheesecake topped off the meal, and they even sent us home with a couple cartons of (big surprise!) left-overs. Needless to say, “sweet dreams” followed.
What a great trip – ideally suited for a Krogen Express 52′! Yesterday morning we were berthed in our home port in Fort Pierce, Florida. Tonight we’re enjoying a comfortable slip in Morehead City, North Carolina.
On Saturday, just before 7:15 a.m., we cast the lines off of Joy, our Flag Blue KE52′ show boat, in Fort Pierce, and cleared the inlet about 45 minutes later. Just past the first sea buoy, we made a hard turn to port, set our Raymarine SmartPilot to 23 degrees and ran the rhumb line all the way to the Beaufort Inlet. We found ourselves in the channel a little before 5 o’clock this evening and were securely tied up at Morehead City Yacht Basin by 5:30. From slip to slip we covered just under 500 nautical miles.
Our ultimate destination is Rhode Island’s Narraganset Bay for the 40th Annual Newport Boat Show in mid-September. As has been their tradition, John and Betsie Tegtmeyer, owners of Krogen Express Yachts, plan to enjoy a somewhat leisurely trip north. Not only does this provide the obvious enjoyment we boaters treasure, it also gives them valuable perspective as they continue to improve the brand.
Schedules being what they are, and wanting to be in NYC for Labor Day, John decided that they needed to shave several days off the total trip. Thus the plan was hatched to make the subject voyage.
Having logged nearly 30,000 miles at the helm of the KE52′, John has a keen sense of her capabilities and vast experience for estimating travel times. Betsie would be driving up from Florida to meet us at the marina and John suggested she arrive in Morehead around 6:00 or so. Clearly, that worked out well.
Because our itinerary necessitated round the clock operation, John and I decided on 3 hours shifts. Both of us caught a little rest during our off hours on Saturday so we’d be better rested for the night portion. I think this arrangement worked out well as, at least for one night, this proved reasonably comfortable.
We weren’t sure how long we’d have cell coverage, but we lost contact before 10 o’clock on Saturday morning. Our route took us about 150 miles offshore so we were out of touch until just before our arrival in Beaufort. John’s T-Mobile phone kicked in about 10 miles out but I couldn’t call home on my Sprint phone for another mile or two.
During the day we ran our 480 Yanmars at 2550 rpms, which is usually good for 14.5 knots or so. Given the northerly flow of the Gulf Stream, however, we enjoyed a 2 to 3 knot boost for about one half of the journey, even seeing occasional bursts to 18 knots. For those unfamiliar with these diesels, 80% of rated rpm is 2700, so this is a leisurely speed for them.
Overnight, we throttled back to around 1600, which normally yields just below hull speed at 9.5 knots or so. The additional encouragement from the Stream allowed us to average closer to 12 knots and we sometimes saw better than 13. Given that we’re only burning about 6 to 7 gallons of diesel an hour at these engine speeds, I’d say we were seeing some rather exceptional efficiency.
As good radio stations are a little hard to reach this far offshore, we relied on our MP3 players to keep us entertained through the night. I can’t speak for John’s tastes, but mine’s pretty “eclectic.” I enjoyed the opportunity to get reacquainted with everything from Country (Toby, Taylor, Carrie, Sugarland) to Oldies (Beach Boys, Roy Orbison, Styx, Supertramp, Eagles, and more) to some current faves like Cold Play, Daughtry, and fittingly, local Carolina boy Dave Matthews. I even dialed up a little Jazz and some Opera. Sorry, no rap and definitely no disco, though! I had to draw the line somewhere.
For me, aside from comfortably and uneventfully (which is always the idea when boating) accomplishing our objective, the highlight was being buzzed by a Navy fighter plane somewhere off the north Florida coast. We assume he was flying out of the naval air station in Jacksonville (NAS-Jax). John and I differ as to his intentions, however. You make the call on this. As our route was a little bit unusual for a pleasure vessel and given a previous close encounter with a nuclear submarine in the area (we were hailed and told to alter our course, thank you), I’m thinking he was dispatched specifically to check us out. John’s view is that he didn’t have anything better to do than to scare the bej… (heck) out of us. At any rate, he made three close passes, each time at low altitude and with his canopy tilted toward us for maximum visibility. I’m sure he could easily make out the whites of our eyes and gaping jaws as he coasted by. An awesome experience, for sure!
For the most part, the weather was excellent. Despite mid-90 temperatures, the ocean breezes and the shade of the big bimini top made flybridge cruising downright comfortable. We did get hit with some rain, but never enough to chase us into the pilot house. At one point today, the benefit of the precipitation was a very complete, end-to-end rainbow of the kind you’ll only see at sea. Fascinating, but, alas, no pot of gold to be found.
As to wild life, we did see some flying fish along the way. Amazing to see how they glide forever just inches about the wave tops, only to crash back in the water with Kamikaze-like abandon. I wish we’d seen more. A small gathering of sea gulls caught our attention at one point. Turns out they were escorting a pod of a half dozen gargantuan dolphins. We were going too fast for them to catch our wave, but they did simultaneously breach the water in formation to check us out. Later this afternoon we saw some ominous looking fins breaking the surface. Were they sharks or just more dolphins? Can’t say for sure.
All in all, while I can’t say that I’d choose this type of cruising on a regular basis, I’m grateful for the speed and range capabilities of the Krogen Express which frankly made this particular adventure realistic for a two person team. A typical full-displacement trawler could easily cover the distance but would require at least one additional overnight. For most, this would require a third crew member to share the helm. And faster boats tend to lack the range and often the seakeeping capabilities as well.
To learn more about the KE52′, visit us at www.krogenexpress.com or call 1-866-4KROGEN. Krogen Express – Cruising Without Compromise.
In early April, owners of Krogen Express yachts assembled at The Harbourage in Stuart, Florida for the company’s first ever rendezvous. Yacht Club members Ed and Willy Welter graciously provided logistical support “on the ground” while company owners John and Betsie Tegtmeyer organized the event. Dubbed Scroll Call 2009 in commemoration of their well recognized logo, the event was attended by KE52’ owners from as far away as Holland.
No proper assemblage of experienced boaters would be complete without ample opportunity to break bread. A pot luck dinner, accompanied by “docktails,” was the first order of business and it was clear that the galleys of the KE52’ provide a very capable platform for preparing scrumptious fare.