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Gunkholing New England's Vacation Isles

Crews arrived at Fort Adams in Newport on Friday, July 12th. Most of the afternoon was spent doing boat checks, ferrying of gear from the Fort Adams docks to the boats on moorings in Brenton Cove, and stowing of said gear. The three crews (Summer Dreams, skippered by Bob Rainey, Summer Star skippered by Mia McCroskey, and Summer Breeze, skippered by Gary Brubaker) decided that the hour was late enough and the crews were tired enough, so dinner that first night was on board the boats.

On Saturday morning, we departed Newport. Newport was abuzz with a week-long regatta hosted by the New York Yacht Club, celebrating their 175th anniversary.

The twenty-five mile sail to Cuttyhunk Island took about four hours, after which we grabbed moorings in the Outer Harbor. Several shore parties were dispatched to procure some fresh seafood, as well as take in the island sights. Upon returning to the dock area in the Inner Harbor, we met Club member Lisa Travaly and a few of her friends. They would meet us later on in the trip as well.

Cuttyhunk Outer Harbor

The next morning we set sail for Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, a sail of about twenty nm. During the crossing we found ourselves in the middle of a 75 boat race in Vineyard Sound, consisting of all kinds of boats, from modern to classic. Arriving in Oak Bluffs Harbor, we quickly learned that although finding a mooring ball was doable, the harbor had none of the peace and quiet we had enjoyed at Cuttyhunk! However, we took advantage of the need to have three boats to a mooring, and had a Club traditional hors d’oeuvre party.

Monday was another twenty-five nm sail, well motor sail actually, to Nantucket. Upon arrival in Nantucket, we tied up alongside the docks off Straight Wharf with the boats lined up stem to stern. Our 40-foot sailboats seemed very small squeezed in among the mega yachts in the harbor. The staff and accommodations were wonderful and we soon disembarked to explore our lay day location.

Nantucket was easy to explore utilizing The Wave bus, which provided regular stops and as many hop-offs and hop-ons as you can fit into a day. The crews explored Siasconset (a.k.a. Sconset), the Shipwreck & Life Saving Museum, and the Whaling Museum before heading back to the boat to meet for a planned group lobster dinner at the Nantucket Lobster. Others utilized rented bikes or just had a walk about. There is a wonderful public path from 'Sconset village center along the cliffs to a half mile from Sankaty Light. A discrete grey stone marks the "public way" entrance. You think you are walking through people’s driveways and yards, but it is a really beautiful walk where you can daydream about beach homes and seaside views. Before heading to dinner, Lisa and her friends hosted a cocktail party on their boat.

We departed Nantucket on Wednesday for the nearly thirty-mile sail to Vineyard Haven back on Martha’s Vineyard. We all enjoyed that lovely and peaceful harbor and a number of the crews went ashore to explore the town and have dinner ashore.

Thursday dawned gray and gloomy with the rain starting just before we departed the harbor for the forty-three-mile sail back to Newport. Of course, our longest sail would be the one with the worst weather. But, we hunkered down, driving the boat for hours in the heavy cold rain. Along the way, one of the crews spotted a pod of dolphin during the sail. Within a few miles of Narragansett Bay we had a front row view to a race in Rhode Island Sound that was very exciting. Presumably, this was part of the New York Yacht Club regatta. We stayed just north of the turn marks and viewed the wonderful sight of about 50 world class racing boats fighting for advantage at the marks.

On Friday morning we unloaded our boat and prepared for the long ride home.

Here's a photo montage put together by Rudy Vallejo


Photos by Joel Mack