June 9th: After a very long winter and spring, ORION was finally launched for the 2018 season. Projects completed included new cabin paint, touch-up hull paint, stripped and re-varnished coaming tops (eight coats of Epifanes), and new hatchboards (courtesy of Will Gilmore).
It was a careful yet hasty launch, and the mainsail cover looks a little sloppy. But I hope to be back in a few days for our first official sail, so I’ll have a chance to make everything look nice.
June 12th: Went for a pleasant sail in Niantic Bay to check the rigging and make sure everything worked properly. The wind was light most of the time, but the air was nice and cool, and it was a great day to have our first shake-down sail.
I sailed by the Niantic Bay Yacht Club but didn’t have time to stop and walk around. There are still some empty slips, but the Club is almost full.
It sure is nice to see those new custom hatchboards Will made for ORION as she swings on her mooring. I’m really happy the way they came out and how the design is subtle enough to make you want to look a little more closely if you pass by.
ORION is all tuned up and ready for this sailing season. In less than a couple weeks, my wife and a bunch of friends will be sailing with me to Essex for a few days, just like when we went back in 2016.
June 24th: I took my wife and a couple friends sailing to Essex for a couple nights. Light winds forced us to motor most of the way to the Connecticut River.
After arriving at Brewer’s Dauntless Marina, I was assigned a mooring ball directly off their fuel dock. While I usually enjoy solitude on a mooring farther out in the field, it made it easy for the launch operator to get me and drop me off!
ORION sure looked tiny on her mooring next to all her neighbors!
We took a trip up Selden Creek much like we did back in 2016. It’s a pristine, narrow creek separating Selden Island from the rest of the mainland. A beautiful place.
I also had the chance to explore a remarkable cemetery bordering on Essex’s North Cove. All the old names from the 1600s and 1700s are here - Pratt, Hayden, Lay, Bull, Bushnell - and so many more.
Since it was high tide, we took a quick tour into Lord’s Cove through a very shallow gap by the northwest corner of Goose Island. We then motored to the mouth of the Connecticut River and then sailed home. See more pictures at the Google Photo Album.
July 10th: I went sailing with my friend T Tack Ryan who is looking to buy a Mariner. He lives in Niantic, just a short distance away from the River where ORION is moored!
It was a great day for sailing - not a cloud in the sky and a good breeze to keep us moving.
The wind held pretty steady from late morning to early afternoon, and it really was a perfect day to be on the water.
We stopped by the Niantic Bay Yacht Club on the way back to get some lunch at their restaurant. A day well spent!
July 17th: I went sailing in the Niantic River, anchoring upriver in the mooring field to clean the boat and relax a little under the awning.
I made sure to anchor nearby the MAC SIURTAIN, a beautiful cruising cutter named after decendants of the Norman knight Jordan de Exeter (?-1258). While fitted out for serious cruising, Niantic is her home base.
While sailing, I was pleased to come across another Mariner! I’ve seen her moored on the Waterford side of the River, but I’ve never seen her under sail. We exchanged pleasantries, but I’m afraid we didn’t get a chance to talk at length.
The skipper of #2531 didn’t seem in the mood to chat for very long, but I hope we get the chance to meet again. After taking a bunch of pictures, I sailed back to ORION’s mooring and made sure to button her up tight since a small storm was in the forecast.
August 3rd: Eleven Mariners gathered for the 2018 Rendezvous, sailing from Niantic to Stonington. It was great to see so many boats assemble in Niantic again.
We had light winds once we passed Millstone Point, but fortunately, it picked up off New London, and we had a fantastic sail the rest of the way.
We all stayed on the transient dock of the Stonington Harbor Yacht Club. Here’s Tim, Erin, and son Owen onboard #2170 MAGGIE shortly after tying up.
Saturday was pretty much a washout, but I managed to sneak in an afternoon sail between downpours with Jack Lorraine (#1469 TWE) and Chris Albert (#2714 FLOTSAM).
We got together for a group picture before having a wonderful catered dinner provided by the Club.
The rain on Saturday evening finally went away, and I took this photo of all the boats at sunset. Every Mariner has a unique color!
We had a building breeze on Sunday, and although we had a long beat home, the current was with us and we were able to sail at top speed all the way back.
For a ton of pictures, check out the Google Photo Album here. Regretfully, I didn’t have many more chances to sail after that due to many obligations, but I expect to do a lot more sailing in 2019 - with many more pictures!