03 Jul Offshore acorns deliver the farr 40s to marblehead
The Offshore Acorns left the dock in Oyster Bay at 6:30am on Monday. With sunny skies and 8 knots of breeze, they had champagne conditions cruising down Long Island Sound towards the first stop of their trip: Mystic, CT. The first half of the trip was spent motoring into a headwind while going over basics of living on a scantily clad race boat. Basic functions that we take for granted on land, take a bit of practice to accomplish offshore: using the head, managing your personal gear, staying dry, preparing food like freeze-dry, brushing your teeth, making coffee, etc. Both Farr 40 Red & Black had huge Swan 42 A2 spinnakers onboard for the delivery. So when the wind finally backed, the Acorns didn’t hesitate to set the kites and go for a downwind run.
The massive kites pulled the boats along as fast as 14 knots over the ground until they were nearly at their destination. The Acorns on Black doused the kite but before flaking the main Training Program Director Ethan Johnson led them in a practice reef. They continued towards the mouth of the Mystic River. Sapling Brian Gallagher, the Boat Captain in Training, helmed the boat while Ethan guided him using Navionics. The crew enjoyed a picturesque sunset backdrop while they soaked in the sights of the shoreline nestled with houses, marinas, and restaurants.
They came to a bridge and had to wait until a train passed before it opened. It rotated around a pedestal in the middle until two lanes on either side opened up for marine traffic to pass. They continued up the River through the lively downtown area. On all sides there were deck restaurants and marinas. The smell of freshly cooked seafood wafted through the air intermingled with the sounds of a band playing at a waterfront park. The channel narrowed to just a few boat lengths as they approached the next bridge. This one was smaller with a two-lane road and sidewalks going across. It lifted up with big cement counterweights and the Farr 40s passed through.
The boats docked at the Mystic Seaport Museum and most of the crew beelined it to the bathrooms: the usual response to spending any prolonged period of time on a boat where the head consists of a bucket and water. They took a group picture on the dock and, by the time they were done tidying up the boats, it was about 7:30pm: just enough time to walk into town for a hot meal. There was a debate whether or not they should go to the famous Mystic Pizza or another restaurant called the Engine Room which had a whopping 4.5 stars out of 5 on Google reviews with 1,400 reviews. That’s no joke. In the end the Engine Room faction won out (partially because it was a 10 minute walk instead of 20 and everybody was very hungry).
Not a single person was disappointed with the choice. Everything from the salads to the burgers to the milkshakes were delicious and served in good portions. On their salads they served “cornbread croutons” instead of regular croutons which are homemade by dicing up cornbread and baking the cubes. Ethan got a mac ‘n’ cheese with a side of Old Bay to accompany his burger. He was a happy camper.
Francis and Lilian went the high fiber route and got chopped salads that were amazing.
The crew reconvened at the boats at 8:30 for a 9pm departure. They expected it to take about 23 hours to get to Marblehead so that would put them in the harbor with just enough time to shower and grab a bite to eat (yes, offshore sailors have a very strong emotional relationship with food.)
They slowly made their way through the channel in the dark. The sky was perfectly clear and the stars shined bright upon them as they motored their way up the coast. As they passed the Newport Bridge they could see that it was lit up red, white, and blue for the Fourth. The night progressed relatively uneventfully but, as Fran aptly noted, the conversations on deck at night tend to be funnier and/or deeper than the conversation during the day. We put Ethan’s JBL speaker to good use swapping songs on Spotify. We had decent reception the entire way up the coast. A few hours after sunrise we entered the Cape Cod Canal. Just look at the map they could appreciate the amazing time-saving grace the canal provides.