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Connecticut - New York - Rhode Island Tri-state

Coordinates (NAD27) N4118'15.7" W7154'28.0"
UTM Coordinates (NAD27) 19T 256555 4576415
UTM Coordinates (WGS84)
Elevation 0 feet (0.0 meters)

Description

Early October seemed like it might be the last opportunity to visit the maritime tri-state before cold weather set in, so we left Holliston, MA for the hour-and-a-half drive to Stonington, CT, arriving at about 10:00 a.m.

After some searching and backtracking we found Don's Dock on N. Water Street and attempted to rent a boat. Alas, Don does not accept credit cards and we had neglected to bring our bag of Krugerrands, having left them secure in the hole in the backyard. Fortunately, Don was able to direct us to an automatic teller machine, and with lucre in hand we returned to Don's. It was now about 10:45. The half-day rental fee is $47, and a full-day is $65. Despite our projected return within an hour and a half, Don required the full-day rental price since it was not yet noon, evidently a seafaring custom.

As we prepared to shove off, a local fisherman returned and tied up, claiming the seas were too rough for fishing but, intrepid, we cast off in our dinghy, dorry, or whatever is was, and set a course through Stonington Harbor, propelled toward our nautical adventure by the thunder of a 6 HP outboard motor. Well OK, the gentle putter of 6 HP outboard motor. We didn't have to wait long for the chance to test our ability to overcome adversity at sea. About 50 feet out of Don's the engine stopped, leaving us dead in the water. Some fiddling with various wires and switches, and connecting and disconnecting the gas line several times proved to be the winning formula. With the motor started in time to avoid drifting into a nearby rock jetty and bridge abutment, it was all ahead full, and we made another 100 yards before the anchor fell off the gunwale and snagged on some rocks, stopping our vessel quite abruptly. After weighing anchor and weeds, we set a zig-zag course through the buoy- infested harbor and out beyond the breakwater to the open ocean.

In our standard cruising configuration, namely with twelve inches of freeboard at the stern and five feet at the bow, the combined power of wind and waves was approximately eight horsepower as opposed to our six, thus steering was pretty much a matter of aiming the bow so the boat would topple off the waves in a favorable direction. Once this technique was mastered, and notwithstanding our accidental involvement in a regatta of perhaps 30 large sailboats, we were able to navigate a reasonably straight line to the zero point as indicated by our GPS receivers. We left the engine running, took a few photos for the scrapbook, and headed back.

On the way in we discovered that there are two identical looking railroad bridges across the harbor, but even the one we picked led back to the correct estuary. Arriving at Don's, we had the opportunity to polish our docking skills in high wind and strong currents. All in all, not much damage, a fine adventure, and tri-state number 13 for me.


Photos (click to enlarge)

Brian J. Butler at or near the tri-point October 3, 1999.
Photo by Gregg Butler
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