Heli Shoot


After spending a rest day in Watch Hill, RI, we headed out for a scheduled helicopter photo shoot! Yes, one of our Island Packet Fleet members, Jim is a professional helicopter pilot and he also owns his own heli. So with the coordination of another fleet member, Greg and his professional photographer friend (Wayne Dion http://Dion.com ) we pulled off the first Island Packet Yacht Owners’ Heli shoot! The am weather was not looking good, but after staging up 8 IPs at Point Judith, we waited the scheduled time for the heli and the weather improved!

Sure enough, with the heli fueled and on the pad and the pilot and photographer ready, the weather cleared and the winds came up to 12 knots! It was unreal, after a week or more of rain, fog and no wind, that this cleared up and the heli could fly. All the yachts were staged, and the photographer ready, so the VHF call came…..”Anchors UP, we are heading out”….. and 8 Island Packerts set sail out the Point Judith harbor for a rendezvous with Greg who was sailing south out of Wickford and nearing the Point Judtih Lighthouse.

The heli arrived on sight at 1300 hrs and we sailed as a fleet of 9 Island Packets close reaching in 12 knots of wind. The heli had enough fuel to stay on sight for 1 hour and he circled the fleet at least 10 times. The fleet tacked back towards Point Judith Lighthouse and ended the shoot with the yachts sailing close hauled all on a starborad tack heading out to sea.

The photos are incredible, as I have seen a preview. They will soon be released for our review and our personal purchases. Wayne Dion of http://DION.com is the owner of the photographs and can be contacted about aerial photography.

What is so incedible about this event is that it was all Island Packet Owner Driven, and not factory driven. The coordination was by an owner, the heli and heli fuel was provided by an owner, and the photographer is a good frined of an Island Packet Owner. The IP ownership experience is so rewarding, that it truely is a joy to own one of these yachts and to be involved in the fleet.

The Rock Hall Fleet from MD, sailed 360 miles in 6 days to arrive on site for this event! What a day it was……

The Fleet Sails OutJim’s yellow Clipper II Helicopter Over IP440 Lyons Pride.
The Island Packet Fleet heading out to sea
! Posted while on anchor off Cuttyhunk Island…..connectivity not bad via Verizon Air card.


Milford CT to Watch Hill RI

Anchor up at 0530, pressing on to make the run to Watch Hill, RI. The reason we are pressing on so hard and so fast, is to connect with a planned Helicopter Photo Session scheduled for Monday at 1-2pm off Point Judith RI. The Island Packet Fleet has owners with many talents and resources and one owns his own helicopter and another friend is a professional photographer, so there you go. More on that later, should be really fun….

After the storm last night, 42 knots on anchor, the skies cleared and with a beautiful sun rise and we powered to the east for Watch Hill 55 miles ahead. What was in the forecast was 5-10 NW winds and “patchy fog” and what we had was 0-5 NE with TOTAL PEA SOUP FOG. Yea, as usual, that was close NOAA. After about 1 hr of running at 7.0 knots with SOG of 8+ we were overtaken with this FOG. This turned out to be really good learning and review of our radar systems and chartplotters because, at one boat length, you could hardly see the other boats. Many times we could only see each other on radar and this is how we knew where we were. Still running at 7.0 knots, we powered on full steam ahead. (note: we did back down to 6 knots eventually, but we pressed on)

The nice aspect to this run, is that it was early, we had open clean water, it was calm, and the weekend traffic for a Saturday had not yet come out. As we ran behind LONG SAND SHOAL and exited between the RED and GREEN we could only see the marks once we were within 100 yards. This is always very stressful and makes for a very long run. The fog remained with us all day until we reached Fishers Island Sound, where we could now see about 1 mile.

Upon arrival Watch Hill, RI anchorage, we were greeted to a cannon blast across the bow of Island Spirit that just about blew me off the bow! WELCOME ISLAND SPIRIT and the IP FLEET from IP420 WIND RUNNER who owns one of those really cool custom cannons. I was a boat length off his beam and I could feel the pressure on my unsuspecting body! THANK YOU JIM and VANESSA, what a welcome.

We now will take a much needed lay day (Sunday) after pressing everyday for a week from Rock Hall, MD.

We are about 240 miles from Rock Hall, MD and about 150 miles to Portland Maine as the crow flies! Not bad for one week of travel.

Actual Miles traveled since departure:
353.9 nm

Running 7.0 knots in FOG
Notice two Island Packets…about 2 boat lengths off

IP420 Wind Runner, Jim and Vanessa, welcome us with a cannon
I am now anchored off his stern where I can keep a watch on his WILD cannon!

St. Clair Annex, Ice Cream, Breakfast and Sandwiches….perfect
Watch Hill is such a nice New England Town…
The Watch Hill Merry Go Round, families have loved this since 1883!

The #1 Attraction at Watch Hill, RI…..THE BEACH
Here are the fees charged in June 2009, we go for free from the anchorage!

Pt Washington to Milford CT

We decided to make a dash out the Sound in order to connect with the planned Island Packet helicopter photo shoot off Point Judith for Monday at 1pm to 2pm. So, with the weather fairly calm, we departed Port Washington, NY for Milford CT at 0530 am! This run would be about 50 miles and we wanted to run the tide AND we wanted to be anchored well before the predicted thunderstorms. We had to motor in 3-5 knot winds but flat calm seas and beautiful am skies. Then the vizibility reduced to about .75 miles and this gave us all a chance to review our radar systems and gain settings because we will surely need it in MAINE. Lucky for us, we had the Port Jefferson / Bridgeport ferries crossing our bow, providing us with fast targets to track and AIS data to read. We never had a target closer than 1.o miles, yet this was all good practice.

Arriving Milford CT by 1230, we were anchored by 1300 hrs behind Charles Island and just off the really cool sand bar that creates this harbor. This sand bar is under water by about 2 feet at high tide, but is exposed at low tides prividing about a 1 mile bridge from land out to Charles Island. What a great place to walk and explore.

Then, as forecasted, the front came in and the winds picked up to a peak of 42 knots with plenty of rain and lightning not far off in the distance. Lucky for us, we all had plenty of chain out, 150+ feet and large anchors, so we all held fast. Of course after a storm like this you are rewarded with a beautiful rainbow and a wonderful sky. Tomorrow we will make the 55 mile run to Watch Hill, my #2 favorite location in New England.

Photo of the cool sand bar, notice how clear the water is for LIS
Photo of AM sky leaving Pt Washington
with calm waters

Did I say a frontal passage?
Here is the RADAR as it approached!
Then the rainbow after the storm…

All the treats of being on the water in one day

  1. Red AM sky, calm waters
  2. Fog, low viz, ferries, ziggin and zaggin
  3. Approaching storm worries, get anchored
  4. Frontal storm, lightning, 42 knots
  5. Clearning and a rainbow….
  6. WOW, what a great day 🙂

NYC Harbor / East River

We departed Atlantic Highlands at 0620 and headed for the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor and then turned past the Battery and up into the East River with a destination of Port Washington, NY. Radeen calculated the tides right and they were verified by our great friend Bobby who provides routing services for these legs. The currents in the East River were running at 6 knots so we were able to have an SOG of 12+ knots as we flew up the river and zipped around Hell Gate and shot out into the Sound. But first you need to survive the New York Harbor at 0900 RUSH HOUR!

Yes, we were at the Statue of Liberty at 0830 and then off the Battery and Southern Manhattan at 0900. We had the Staten Island Ferries criss crossing our bows, tugs with barges on the hip blowing their horns to tell us to get out of their way, and then the high speed 30 knot ferries taking our sterns, all within minutes. Welcome to New Your Harbor at rush hour and what a RUSH IT WAS. It was so exciting to run this route with 5 Island Packets and with great friends. We have made this trip 4 times before, yet it is still exciting. If this does not get your adrenaline pumping then I don’t know what will. Just try to drive your boat through here!

The run up the East River is just as exciting, but with much less traffic. The beauties of this run are the sights of the city, the elaborately engineered bridges, and the unusual views of the city, especially the United Nations with the Chrysler Building off in the distance. It all goes by so fast, and the boat is sliding left and right down the current, and its difficult to steer a straight line, but you are committed now. Before you know it, you are sliding around Hell Gate with the water really boiling and churning, the boat feels like it could be swallowed up, and then after the last turn out of Hell Gate, it all settles down. The end of the run is past LaGaurdia Airport with jets on final approach with them passing, what seems to be, a few hundred feet over your mast. It is all part of the run from NYC to Long Island Sound, and IT IS EXCITING….

Here is a photo of the excitiment..
click for larger photo

Here is a great shot looking back at the Brooklyn Bridge
Here is the MAP again…
Tomorrow, we will make a dash out the Sound…

Atlantic Highlands, NJ

The anchorage in Atlantic Highlands, NJ behind the breakwater is always calm and with plenty of room and we have anchored here 4 times now. The winds are prevailing from the SW and in that direction there is a tall tree lined ridge with estate homes over looking the harbor so it tends to protect the anchorage. If the winds change and blow from the NE, then you could move over to the HOOK and anchor off the beach in horseshoe cove, but that is rare.

The town here has a nice main street with a laundromat within a block and restaurants, dog walks, park benches, fishing fleets, a casino and a yacht club! WOW, you could get stuck here and not leave. The high speed ferries run out of here every hour up to Manhattan, NYC, and in the AM you see all the commuters lining up for their daily trek into the city. Coming in by dinghy to walk the town and find the local Cafe 777 for breakfast is a real contrast to the “suits” lined up heading to the offices.

From here it is about 35 miles into Long Island Sound, where we will run up into New York Harbor, under the Verrazano Bridge and into the harbor with the Statue of Liberty to port and Wall Street dead ahead. Keeping Manhattan to port we will turn up the East River for the dreaded “Hell Gate” where the current runs at 3+ knots and the commercial traffic of barges, tankers and tugs compete for the waterway. Cars are running 60 mphs on the highway next to the river, the United Nations Building flies by in a flash as it blocks the wonderful view of the Chrysler Building. Yes, queing up here in, Atlantic Highlands, is exciting with the anticipation of the run into NYC. Of course it will be VIDEO day tomorrow….

Here is the run to Long Island and around NYC
click for larger photo…

And one more beautiful Sunset, Atlantic Highlands, NJ
Left to Right=Lyons Pride, Surprise, Memphis Belle, Island Spirit
(CAVU’s mast behind Surprise)
click for larger photo.

Atlantic Highlands Welcome by ?

As the Island Packet Fleet approached the coast of Sandy Hook the most beautiful sunset with rain clouds and rain opened up and presented a beautiful sight. In the bright clearing there appeared a massive Island Packet Flag on a 100 foot flag pole over on the beach. The sun hit it just right and lit up the banner as a welcome to the area. I have no clue who raised this IP banner flag, but we all thank you for the sight.

Rounding Sandy Hook under full jib with the NE winds now back up to a 12 knots, we rolled out a full 135 jenny and sure enough, under the jib the IP battle flag was there, over on the beach. What a sight. These packets are sure popular and every where we sail, people say…..”Is that an Island Packet?”…..yes it is!

Wed will be a lay day here in Atlantic City as we turn around crew and Radeen arrives as she is now out of school.

Note to Self:
The current runs south along the NJ coast and you will have 1 to 1.5 knots on the bow from Atlantic City to Sandy Hook. maybe 5+ miles out it might get less, but it is there. It is better to come south then north.

Rum Point / Ocean Sailing / videos

This private anchorage location that I cannot tell you about in Atlantic City is really great. Its an easy in with 7-8′ at low tides, but your charts will tell you that you are in the marsh and on land. Perfect….keep out! Then once inside the basin, you can anchor up lots of boats. The only issue is that he entire cove is private property with private docks with no dinghy landing area. So, you simply make the crossing back out and over to the CASINOS where you can tie up and have fun.

Heading out in the AM, we set sail for Sandy Hook under reef main and a full 135% jenny close hauled in calm seas with a simple 3′ swell. Once under sail, right at the jetty, it was time for breakfast, and I love eggs, so it was STEAK n EGG time! Check out this cool video of making eggs on a slight heal. Lucky for me it was galley down, so it was a snap.


Then here is another video from our nice sail down the Delaware Bay. These Island Packets really sail well in 20-30 knots ad they have a nice motion.

Video of Delaware Bay

Cape May NJ to Atlantic City NJ

What was to be a lay day in Cape May Harbor turned out to be a fantastic sailing day offshore, why not? We had our radio off in the AM after getting up at 0530 with the sun to write blog posts and process YouTube videos, when the fleet was discussing leaving for AC NJ. By the time we discovered this, Memphis Belle and Lyons Pride were out in the ocean reporting great close reaching in north winds of 15 knots. So Jeff and I looked into Weather.gov and reviewed the marine weather for the area, and discovered forecasts reported of 15-20. Jeff and I said….”PERFECT, we love to sail upwind and close hauled, LET’s GO.”

So off with the dinghy motor, stow the gear, and let’s head out the inlet. We set the main sail in Cape May harbor with a reef and planned to use the 135 strapped in hard to the spreaders. With the jib car all the way aft, we set the jin close hauled right at the jetty. Off we go to chase the fleet.

Out with us came IP380 CAVU and IP40 Surprise. We all have a fantastic sail as close as we could, with Island Spirit sailing the highest with our B&G wind set to 40 degrees apparent angle on a port tack. We sailed this all the way up to within 10 miles of AC where the winds died to 10 knots, and moved onto the bow. Believe it or not, 10 knots in the ocean is NOT much wind when the waves are 2-3 feet.

We finshed the day by motoring the last 10 miles of our 50 mile day and are now anchored in RUM POINT AC NJ where it is “Captains Steak Dinner Night” with formal attire required!

Here are a few photos….

The Cape May Harbor and where to Anchor

I can’t tell you about this RUM POINT anchorage….shhhhh
it is off the chart….sorry….you can’t get in here!

Sailing Close Hauled Cape May to AC NJ
with weak low presure up north

33 Knots Wing on Wing, SNAP

The sailing today, 6/21/09 on the Delaware Bay was about as good as the bay can give you. We departed the C&D Canal about 5:30am and Set sail at the exit of the canal. The winds were a 330 and our course to Cape May is 150. Sounds like WING ON WING to me, so with the winds at 20-25, we set a reefed main sail to starboard and a 135% Jenny to port. Up when the whisker pole and well secured with a topping lift and using the lazy sheet as a foeguy we had a good sail set. Sailing downwind like this we were easily doing 6.5 to 7.5 directly towards our destination.

Next the discussion, by Jeff, was….“Maybe above 25 knots, we should think about rolling this in!” The captain says….”No, it seems to be well secured and I do not want to change anything, so let’s run this as is, but if we see 30 knots we will furl.”

So on we sailed and as every sailor will always say in a story like this…..”WE WERE FLYIN!” (that always cracks me up, because 6-8 knots is NOT flyin, 25+ knots on a Volvo Ocean Race boat, now that is FLYIN)

So you guessed it, the wind builds to 25-30 with many gusts over 33 knots. Jeff goes for the furling line and I stop him, I boldly say….”Hold on Jeff, I got this, she seems to be sailing well, and it is all locked down, do not furl it!” Jeff says….”OK, but I am seeing 30+ knots.” Captain says…I know, lets run with this for now…..BANG…WHAT WAS THAT? OH CRAP THE POLE BROKE….within seconds Jeff had the jenny furled and the pole was bent in half.

Lucky for us, the pole did not do any damage to the sail, or to the rig. So with a harness, I go forward to secure the pole and to inspect the boat. With pole secured to the deck, we unfurled the jenny to starboard and continued on.

When Jeff says FURL……then FURL….and when the wind is over 25-30, furl…..come on!

In all, this turned out to be one of the best days of sailing on Island Spirit EVER. The winds moved a bit more north and we were able to sail this 25-30 knots the entire way with a full 135% and a reefed main. We dropped sails at the Cape May canal and motored in.

From Engineers Cove on the C&D to the Anchorage at the Coast Guard Station, we logged a total of 3 hrs motoring. 2 hrs out the CD & 1 hr into the Cape May canal. PERFECT DAY of SAILING!

The broken Whisker Pole, very light design.
Next one Carbon Fiber!

Sailing at 7+ knots…..”FLYIN” 🙂

The Rock Hall Fleet also sailed this entire leg where we are all anchored up in Cape May, NJ. IP40 Surprise, IP380 CAVU, IP380 Memphis Belle, IP440 Lyons Pride and IP35 Island Spirit. The fleet is heading for MAINE…

Departure 6/20/09

The weather was notthe best forecast for a departure today, but Jeff and I were ready to leave and start this voyage. Our good friend and Island Packet Owner, Bobby W. provided us with our routing services which called for our best run to depart at 0215! WHAT, well….we did not make that, and departed at 0600. That caused us to pay the price of running into a 1.5 knot current all the way to Engineer’s Cove ast Chesapeake City. Once on the canal, we had current on the bow, so we decvided to NOT run this another 2.5+ hours to Reedy Island. Instead, we pulled into the cove, dropped the anchor and were relaxing at 1300 hrs. After a nice 2 hr rest, we dropped the dinghy only to find we need to replace the fuel filter and spark plug. This was the only service item left go, no problem, we swapped out the fuel filter with a new one, replaced the plug and it was running great again.

Next can the first of 2 storms with rain, winds and lightning. So we waited these out before heading to shore for a surprise nice dinner for Jeff’s help and prep of Island Spirit as we enjoyed the TAP ROOM. What a great meal, and nice place, they even gave us milk to take back to the boat for our cereal in the am.

Suneday, 6/21/09, we WILL RUN the times Bobby routed for us, and we will wake at 0315 and depart this cove at 0330. Our routed best time run will place us in Cape May Canal around noon or 1300. We are looking forward to 15-20 knot winds out of the NORTH WEST allowing us to sail down the bay. Day one….in the back….

The hardest aspect of any voayage is LEAVING THE DOCK!

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