Tuesday, November 05, 2013


The Oyster Bay Oyster Festival is over and it's time to start thinking about heading back. Conditions were the reverse of the sail to Oyster Bay I made a week ago. The winds were now expected out of the west in the morning which was good for my easterly journey. Unfortunately, just like a week ago the winds were expected to be light only between five to ten knots. But, the sun would be shining so it would still be a nice day on the water.  But, like last week during my Columbus Day voyage I would need to get an early start in order to ride the last of the ebb current out of the Oyster Bay/Cold Spring Harbor entrance and into Long Island Sound:

Not quite as early as the trip to Oyster Bay. I figured a 6 AM departure would give me enough time to get out into Long Island Sound before the flood current started to enter in the harbor. I would be bucking the flood current for most of the day but, that's a sailor's lot sometimes.

The alarm went off at 5:30 AM. I made coffee and had a blueberry muffin for breakfast. I had everything ready in the cockpit including even having the searchlight nearby. I let go the lines off the mooring at 6:11 AM. I raised the sail  and  fired up the electric propulsion system for a 10 Amp draw and was moving along at about 1.7 knots in the pre dawn of the morning:

A slight breeze kicked in and BIANKA was soon moving along at 2.2 knots. Even though I was motor sailing I could still hear the noise of the traffic along West Shore Road which was over a mile away as the residents of Bayville started their early Monday morning commutes to work.  A solitary Seagull was keeping watch on a buoy and appeared to be checking that things were clear as I headed toward Cold Spring Harbor bound for the sound

At 6:56 AM I was off Plum Point at the entrance to Oyster Bay Harbor. At 7:44 AM I was at Buoy 1 in Cold Spring Harbor having used 16.4 amp hours and the battery capacity had dropped to 92% .

At 8:43 AM I was in Long Island Sound off of Buoy 2 at Lloyd Point. The XBM battery monitor showed I had used 26.3 amp hours and battery capacity was at 87.4%. the current in Long Island Sound had also turned against BIANKA.

10:22 AM Found BIANKA off Eatons Neck and battery readings were 79.5% capacity and  showed the EP had consumed 42.8 amp hours in four hours of electro sailing. As I rounded Eatons Neck the Northport Power plant stacks hove into view:

They are hard to miss being 600 feet high and part of the biggest gas fired power plant on the east coast.
Here's a little Nav tip from Capt. Mike: When the Northport Stacks line up they point due north.

At 11:24 AM I was directly north of the stacks. BINAKA's electro sailing had consumed -52.7 amp hours and battery capacity was now at 79.5%. Usually by this point I would have fired up the Honda 2000 to start operating in hybrid mode and not draw down the battery bank much further. But, it was such a nice day even in the very light wind and I still was bucking the flood current so I kept motoring along. I had ducked into Smithtown Bay where the flood current was much weaker than further out in the Sound and was moving along at 2.3. knots.

At 12:05 PM the wind picked up from the northwest and I was moving along nicely at 3 knots so I backed down on the electric propulsion.

At 12:35 PM A gentle breeze developed so that I was moving along at 3.4 knots and I shutdown the EP completely after drawing down 65.4 amp hours and having a battery capacity reading of 69%.

Later in the afternoon I spied the Tall Ship MYSTIC that was docked in Oyster Bay for the Oyster Festival just north of BIANKA:

I thought they might be headed back to their homeport of Mystic Connecticut. But, they instead ducked  into Port Jefferson. Probably were on a cruise with passengers of Long Island Sound. 

I sailed on until the breeze started to lighten and fired up the EP once again to minimize the prop drag. By 2:22 PM The battery monitored showed 69% and amp hours used at 63.5.. I set the EP for a 10 amp draw. I continued on this way until about sometime around 4 PM when a nice 15 knot sea breeze made it across Long Island and BIANKA was soon sailing toward home at 5 plus knots which was a real nice way to end the day. At 5:10 PM BIANKA was back on her mooring. Where the final readings for the 20 plus mile electro sail were  85.3 amp hours and battery capacity was 58.9%. Battery voltage was 49.5 volts. I think a lot of the extra amps were to buck a hefty current coming out of the narrow harbor entrance as the current had once again turned a few hours before. Still BIANKA's electric propulsion system made for a delightfully quiet day on the water and showed that 20 mile legs are easily made in light winds without even turning on the generator during the whole trip.

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