Saturday, September 26, 2009


Well, Labor Day (a national holiday here in the United States) was approaching and I decided perhaps a little cruise might be in order. Especially since I am not currently employed in any work that involves a schedule and a place to be. I was a little apprehensive about traveling too far with BIANKA because the XANTREX XBM Battery meter had failed a little over a month after the one year warranty ran out in June. Several phone calls and two emails to Xantrex produced no results as to what I could do about this issue. On an boat with an electric propulsion system the battery monitor is the equivalent to a fuel gauge on a boat with an internal combustion engine. You don't need it but, it sure helps to know how much fuel or amps you are using. Especially to make sure you don't run out when you need the auxilary propusion most. Below is what the Xantrex display looked like:

There is a happy ending to this story. Even though Xantrex was most unresponsive to my plight with their defective product. NGC Marine the people from whom I bought the Thoosa 9000 propulsion system from stepped up to the plate and are sending a replacement XBM. Unfortunately, I did not have it in time for the start of this cruise.
So off I go. I decide that I'll head over to Port Jefferson Harbor on Long Island's north shore for the weekend. It's only about 3 nautical miles away has plenty of space to drop anchor and is scenic enough to enjoy the surroundings. So I head out bucking the ebbing current on a windless day using electric propulsion. Since it's only about 3 nautical miles away I am not concerned about not having the functioning battery monitor for this trip. As I entered the harbor entrance I looked behind me:

Looks like a lot of other people had the same idea of where to spend the holiday weekend. I was actually glad I was under power at this time. Because I was able to get to my anchorage location before most of the power boats coming in made things rock and roll in the entrance.

I dropped anchor and enjoyed a very pleasant afternoon and evening on board. Later, listening to the NOAA weather forecast that called for 10 to 15 knot winds out of the East. I started thinking. Hmmm, sounds like great conditions for sailing West.


So that's what I did the next morning. I took advantage of a favoring current and winds and headed toward New York. In three and a half hours I was in Cold Spring Harbor where I stopped for the night. I could have continued further but, one does not cruise in a sailboat because you are in a hurry. At least I don't. I have found that pushing things is when you often get into trouble.


The next morning after consulting the essential Eldridge Tide and Pilot book on board I took the last of the ebbing current down Cold Spring Harbor and arrived at the entrance just as the westward flood was just about to start helping to push BIANKA and me westward on Long Island Sound.

Past the Execution Rocks Lighthouse and onward to my final destination for the day:

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A nice anchorage just east of the Throgs Neck Bridge called Little Bay. This bridge marks the western end of Long Island Sound and the beginning of the tidal strait called the East River which I will head down tomorrow. Even though I arrived in plenty of time to take the favoring ebb current down the strait I anchored for the night to rest and enjoy the beautiful afternoon. With the defective battery monitor I decided to fire up the Honda 2000i generator to help bulk charge the battery bank and then let the wind and solar continue the charging. Besides I get a kick of being anchored next to the bridge and listening to the traffic reports during rush hour to see if they are being honest about the traffic conditions and being glad that I am on a sailboat and not in a car in such traffic on such a gorgeous day. It also brings back memories of going on vacation with my parents in the early 1960's and traveling over the same bridge. I remember looking out and seeing a sailboat anchored where BIANKA is now and wondering as a child what it was doing there. Perhaps I am inspiring that same wonder in someone in one of the cars passing over me on that bridge. I'd like to think so and perhaps they will become sailors in the future.

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