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Sunday 9 July 2017

Ocean Cruising Club Southern New England Rally

Southern New England Rally

The Ocean Cruising Club Southern New England Rally started out from Newport, RI and our first destination was Bristol, RI.  Bristol is famous for having oldest in the country Fourth of July celebration and we had the good fortune – thanks to the good planning of Peter and Patty on ‘Serendipitous’ who organised the rally – to see the 232nd Bristol Independence Day Parade.

To arrive in good time we left Newport on the 2nd of July and motored further into Narragansett Bay to Bristol Harbour.


Our route took us under the Claiborne Pell Bridge, which connects New Port to the mainland.  Bridges often appear closer than they actually are.  As Larus is a ketch, our sail area is spread over three sails rather than two, so our main mast is shorter than a sloop of a similar size, which means that we can sometimes go under bridges they can’t.

Bristol Harbour is, as our Waterway Guide describes, ‘cupped securely between the arms of the Popasquash and Bristol Necks.

Larus and friends in their dress colours.  The flags used in the dress colours are signal flags – each flag represents a letter and in the pre-VHF radio past – they were used to communicate ship to ship and ship to shore.  That said, the order of the flags is important and they are ordered in such a way so as not to say anything rude in any language.  As well as flag there are pennants – triangular flags – though I don’t know how they are used. Punctuation, perhaps?  ;D

We were missing the ‘X’ and the ‘Z’ and thanks to Patrick on ‘Foxfire’ who gave us his flag making fabrics years ago now, I was able to whip them up in about a total of 8 hours of planning, cutting and sewing. They are trickier to make than they look and don’t bare close inspection.


The parade was wonderful to watch with marching bands, vintage cars, motor cycle gangs, local dignitaries, baton twirlers, costumes and stilt walkers and US Veterans from many wars being honoured.

We left Bristol on the 5th and headed down the Sakonnet River towards Cuttyhunk, Massachusetts. On our way down the river, guess what?!  We went under some bridges!

Big bridge - no sweat; Smaller railway bridge - Will we, wont' we?; The top of our mast is 50 feet above the waterline and these bridges were well over 60 feet high even though they really don't look it, so we will fit under it just fine.

For a little more excitement, we stopped to refuel at the Pirate's Cove Marina on the Sakonnet River.

The Entrance to the marina with the two story fuel dock and shop in the background; The fuel dock at the marina was $2.39 a gallon which is pretty good; The final photo shows almost the full extent of the marina.  It is quite small and when it came time to leave another yacht had come in to get fuel and was hanging around at the far end of the boats on the right. We'd been able to drive straight in, but we were going to have to reverse all the way out.  We would have reversed in to where the other yacht was waiting and driven out forwards, but there was no where else for him to go, so Tim had no choice but to do the whole thing in reverse.  He didn't even break into a sweat and no fending off was required.  He really is very good at this.

The name Cuttyhunk was derived from the Indian name Poocutohhunkunnoh, meaning ‘lands end’. We arrived in Cuttyhunk in good time to watch the sunset with Leanne and David from the Perigee and Patty and Peter from Serendipitous.


 The sunset starts early and seems to last forever and lit up Perigee beautifully; we had a lovely view from out cockpit; Cuttyhunk at sunset.

As we'd deflated and stowed our dinghy below for the trip,  the next morning Tim and I hitched a lift into Cuttyhunk with Peter and Pattie from 'Serendipitous'.   Our dinghy is too big to leave uninflated on deck and it slows us down if you tow it. Missing out on one set of inflating and deflating for a short stay is very special.

How pretty is this?  All those weathered cedar shingles on the buildings look wonderful in this setting.

Tim and I had a lovely walk perfumed by the honeysuckle found all over the island.  Poison ivy and Lyme disease carrying ticks are also found all over the island so we stuck to the paths.

Small islands can have a wonderful quirkiness. Stops signs; Cool restaurants; Who knew you could find giraffe on Cuttyhunk.  And maybe this is why you don't see bunnies on Cuttyhunk.


The did love their flowers as well.  Hydrangea were on display at many houses; And restaurants apparently though we didn't check; We could smell the honeysuckle before we saw it and found it the wilder areas; Red roses look wonderful against the weathered cedar shingles.

A panorama from Harbour Office, across the marina to the dinghy dock on the far right - all of it small and perfectly formed like the rest of Cuttyhunk.

After a quick lunch we upped anchor and headed for Woods Hole, home of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Woods Hole Science Aquarium and a lot of other things.


We were treated to a talk on Using Robots to Transform Ocean Exploration by Dana Yoerger - see first picture below.

Dana introducing us to the robotic submersibles; Shipwreck surveys; and this is the best photo Dana is pointing to his younger self on the research support vessel when they discovered the location of the Titanic.

The most interesting part of the talk for me was about how the oceans deal with carbon. The Upper layer and the lower layer have been investigated but the middle ocean layer,  which is where Dana and other scientists will be looking, has not. 

This is the area when there is little light and critters called Salps live in more abundance than you can possibly imagine - all eating and pooping and finally dying.

It's all about where the carbon goes and how it gets there.

I really hope I got some of that right, but I've signed up for their news letter and hope to learn more.

We had to good fortune to be invited to go on board R/V Atlantis and get up close to the Deep Sea Vessel Alvin.

We were sad to leave the Rally, but on Saturday the 8th of July we started our journey north to Belfast, Maine where we'll meet my parents and uncle.

We are currently in Provincetown, MA and tomorrow morning will head out for Penobscot Bay and should arrive by Tuesday morning.  More when we get there.  This is quite enough for now.