July 18th: ORION had a very late launch this year since I moved from one town to another, and my first official sail wasn't until today. This is the latest launch she has ever had, except for the very first year when I bought her.
I went sailing out in Niantic Bay and swung around by the Niantic Bay Yacht Club - all the docks were filled. I thought about stopping by and getting a burger from their cafe, but I wanted to keep sailing!
The wind was light enough so I could shake out my asymmetrical spinnaker. It takes about five minutes to completely rig, but once it's up, it's a lot of fun.
Back on her mooring. This weekend, I'll be taking out some family and friends to see fireworks in Niantic Bay, and in a week, she'll be leading a group of O'Day Mariner sailors to Essex for the annual Rendezvous.
July 25th: Eight O'Day Mariners and fourteen sailors gathered at the Niantic River launch ramp once again to take part in the annual Rendezvous. This time, instead of going to Mystic Seaport as we have for the past four years, we went to Essex.
Winds were really light, but we managed to sail all the way to the mouth of the Connecticut River before it finally died away to almost nothing. We motored through the railroad bridge and the rest of the way to Essex.
Brewer's Essex Island Marina was a great place to have a rendezvous, and they were great hosts. We all stayed at floating docks right next to each other, although we were surrounded by larger powerboats.
The following day's weather was absolutely gorgeous, and we engaged in a number of activities including touring the Connecticut River Museum, going for a cruise on the ONRUST, and eating a catered dinner in the evening right by our boats.
We sailed back to Niantic the morning of Thursday, the 27th. We had a good sail from Essex down the river - here I am approaching the lighthouse at Saybrook.
Light winds plagued us once again, and we ended up motoring home. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic event, and everyone seemed to enjoy it! Be sure to read my write-up on the event and check out more pictures in the Google photo album.
September 1st: I managed to get away from work for an hour or so. I rowed out to ORION with the trusty old SportYak. You can barely fit two people in it, but, boy, it's light, solid, and steady as a rock.
Although you can't tell it from this picture, it would occasionally pick up to about 15 knots with gusts to 20 in the Niantic River, so I put a reef in. ORION settled down and handled the gusts just fine with reduced sail area.
Already, the mooring field in the River is getting pretty vacant. There are some other boats that were on their moorings nearby, but this area is usually pretty clustered with boats this time of year. Have people been hauling out their boats early?
There were a few more boats on their down river, and I passed a few other sailboats that were underway, headed down the channel to go out into the Bay for Labor Day Weekend. After this picture was taken, I shook out the reef in the main and had a great downwind run back to my mooring.
Friday, October 6th: I finally got the chance to check on ORION following Hurricane Jose. She was calmly swinging on her mooring with no issues (except for a scummy waterline which I scrubbed clean). I took off all the extra securing lines and took her outside the bridges to stretch her legs.
There was absolutely no wind out in Long Island Sound, so I ended up motoring around Millstone into Jordan Cove to have lunch. At slack tide, it only took about 45 minutes to get there.
I put the awning up and set up the cockpit table to eat my lunch. It was hot in the sun, but the awning made everything a lot more comfortable. Unfortunately, there were a bunch of persistent black flies that kept trying to use me for their own lunch.
Although the area is dominated by the structures of the Millstone nuclear power plant, it has never bothered me, perhaps because I grew up always looking at it. Additionally, the surrounding landscape - including this beautiful wooded shoreline - offers alternate views!
Sometime after noon, the wind started to fill in a bit. Not much, but just enough to make good headway against the outgoing current. I had a great sail all the way back.
The warm weather made it seem like it was still summer, but I know ORION's sailing days are numbered for 2017. I'm going to try to sneak a few more days of sailing in before she's hauled out for the winter which will most likely happen at the beginning of November.
November 11th: After a long period of inactivity, I finally took ORION out of the water to prepare her for the long winter months. I backed one side of the trailer up on a ramp so I could power-wash the bottom.
It was a race against the clock to get everything squared away before the sun went down, but the engine was winterized, spars and gear put away, and the bottom cleaned. My buddy Greg kindly came with his truck to trailer ORION a couple days later and brought her to Northford where she went in her garage bay for the winter. The sailing season of 2017 - the shortest so far - officially came to an end.