The Winds of November Came Early

We left Morris Cove Anchorage at 5:30AM. It was dark, very dark. We had woken up around 4 AM.  I had pulled up the anchor, spun the boat around and MV Simple Life started going bow up, bow down.  I thought… the winds were not supposed to increase until Thursday afternoon (per the NWS – National Weather Service Gale Warning).  In the words of Gordon Lightfoot, “The winds of November came early”. We used our searchlight to spot the buoys on our way out of New Haven Harbor’s channel.

Jay Marques, you asked for video in addition to photos so these links are for you.

Leaving Morris Cove Anchorage – Low Light

Sorry, that video is the lightest of the three I recorded. With the winds out of the south it meant that the 16 mile fetch of water from the NY side to the CT side was making the CT side of the sound lumpy. I heard the VHF radio crackle alive with a tugboat captain complaining that the winds had been honking all night long. Here is a video after the sun came up and we were slogging our way South across Long Island Sound from New Haven, CT to Long Island’s Huntington Bay area.

Slogging our way South Across LIS

When Kelly & I first met I had a 1998 35′ Beneteau 352 Oceanis ,S/V Saltyhacker, (I’ll upload a pic of SV Saltyhacker later) that had only a dodger (the see-thru plastic and canvas that covers the companionway opening into the boat. We sold her to a great couple from Canada and bought a 2001 45′ Hunter 450 Center Cockpit. (I’ll upload a pick of SV Skull & Swords later, promise). The Hunter was owned by friends of ours who were living aboard her in Exuma Key, Bahamas and ever since we’ve said someday we’ll spend a few months on anchor there.  We loved the Hunter for it’s liveaboardness;  for it’s fully enclosed cockpit and interior space but Kelly would often quip that unless we are sitting in the outside cockpit you don’t get to enjoy the scenery. So we decided to buy a new boat that met our mutual demands. Kelly wanted a boat that was easier to move around in (Kelly has a habit of twisting / breaking ankles when underway or simply aboard). After spending 10 hour days at the helm outside and often cold, I was fancy on an enclosed pilot house. In the video above you will just have to imagine as the cold sea spray is hitting the pilothouse windows that I’m sipping my coffee in my PJs at the helm (smile).

Todays trip looked something like this..


As you approach the East-end of LIS you enter into the East River that takes you from the Bronx to the Statue of Liberty. As many times as we have made this trip we still find ourselves taking pictures of the scenery as we go down the river. Below are some of the photos we snapped along the way…

After going by Riker’s Island Jail you pass the Vernon C. Bain Correctional Center. This is a 47,000-ton, five-story barge with 800 beds spread over 16 “dormitories” and 100 proper jail cells. At 625 feet in length and 125 feet wide, it also holds a gym, a basketball court, a library, three chapels, a rooftop exercise area
Broklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge – built in 1870
Whirly Birds buzz the East River and land just North of Battery March
Water Taxi
Water Taxis are everywhere and as a captain you must be alert and ready to dodge them

We timed our trip down the East River to make sure we caught favorable currents that saved us easily an hour during our transit. After arriving in NYC harbor we hailed Liberty Landing Marina and requested our slip assignment. The wind was gusting but an attendant met us at the slip and caught the lines that 1st Mate Kelly threw to him.

MV Simple Life tied off at Liberty Landing Marina

Tomorrow we’ll take the water taxi and find somewhere to grab a IPA & Capt-Pepsi -NFL (No-Flipping-Lime) & a bite. Tonight we’ll just relax 😉

New Haven CT & Gale Warnings

Pt. Judith, RI – Harbor of Refuge @ Sunrise

We departed Harbor of Refuge @ sunrise this morning. We felt a sense of urgency due to a gale warning (gusts to 35 knots) which is in effect beginning Thursday afternoon. The cause is two separate low pressures that are having a complex interaction West of our current location.


NWS Gale Warning NYC

Below is a rough depiction of our second leg of our journey South. Our course took us from Pt. Judith’s Harbor of Refuge, outside Fishers Island to Morris Cove Anchorage in New Haven, CT.

Leg #2 of #Run2Sun2017

Today’s cruise was long but relaxing. The sun was streaming in windows making the pilothouse warm as we made way @ 8.5kts West down Long Island Sound.

We saw only a few sport fishing boats and had to dodge the occasional ferry crossing our path.

Ferry Crossing Long Island Sound

Every captain knows it’s better to take the stern of larger vessels rather than attempt to cross her bow. Ten or so years ago I had a close with a US battleship @3AM in pea-soup fog in Norfolk, Virginia’s entrance channel. Our close call was not a crossing issue but instead the warship was inbound in the channel and was not basting fog signals. After they suddenly appeared on radar from under the Chesapeake Bay bridge/tunnel we quickly blasted our horn. When they responded with their horn I swear my ears blew out. The warship quickly passed us not 100′ off our port beam (frightening in the fog). A shout out to that day’s offshore crew – Eddie, Sean and Amy who can attest to this poop-your-pants experience.

Stay Clear of Warships
Kahlenberg Air Horns
Kahlenberg Air Horns

After this harrowing experience, we installed Kahlenberg triple trumpet air horns as well as AIS (Automatic Identification System) in Simple Life.

How AIS Works




AIS equipped vessels can each view on their chart plotter the other’s vessel name, size, speed, heading and course-magnetic. AIS works by sending & receiving digital data over VHF channel 70 so that two ships can see each other on their chartplotter screens even without radar. I  have also learned to that programming your marine VHF with a MMSI # make ship2ship communications easier when it’s dark or foggy.


Hells Gate
Hell’s Gate Current Table

Tomorrow our plan is to push west down the coast of Connecticut with hopes of catching the 4.8kt ebb tide through the East River (where the dead bodies are found on many Law & Order episodes). Kelly & I always enjoy the East River’s Hell’s Gate (where the Harlem River meets the East River). Hell’s Gate is infamous due to the strong currents that mix in the way a washing machine mixes water.

We hope to make the Liberty Island Marina in Jersey City by sunset on Thursday. We’ll spend two nights at the marina while we wait for more favorable weather for our trip down the Jersey coast. Until then we’ll just sit on anchor watching the lights from New Haven.

New Haven at Night
Lights of New Haven as seen from Morris Cove