Geronimo is a voyage of self-discovery. Student crew members discover the joys and challenges of life aboard a 69-foot cutter as they sail along one leg of a tour that in 2017-18 will take the boat along the eastern coast of the U.S., from Rhode Island to the Bahamas and back. As they live, learn and explore together, classmates discover what it truly means to be a crew.
A weather window to head south was still open so we decided to take advantage of it and leave the Chesapeake Bay a little earlier than planned. We sailed out of the anchorage and started tacking our way south down the bay with a SSW breeze that persisted through most of the night and into today. The crew didn’t a great job navigating and steering. Plan is to be out of the Bay tonight and then push down to Cape Hatteras and beyond with some light wind conditions. We may stop in Beaufort, North Carolina or continue south to Charleston if we have a favorable forecast.
Speaking of forecasts, just want to assure everyone that we are closely watching Tropical Storm Nate in the western Caribbean. At this time, it appears that it will not impact us directly – but we may see some rain from the remnants of this system early next week in the Carolinas.
We slept in on Sunday and spent the morning on board doing schoolwork. We went ashore for lunch, then came back to Geronimo to prepare to get underway and have Marine Science class. The wind was light as we entered the East River just after sunset and had a fair current taking us through Hell Gate, down the east side of Manhattan and on to New York Harbor. The views of the skyline were just about perfect. It was a clear night with a bright moon overhead. TJ was at the helm taking us from Hell Gate to the Statue of Liberty, where we held station to take in a final view of the city. At around 2130 or so we used the last of the fair current to take us out of New York Harbor. Lilly was on the helm from Liberty Island to Staten Island, and then Bridgit brought us under the Verrazzano Narrows bridge and out through Ambrose Channel. We sailed south down the New Jersey coast overnight, and at dawn we are just north of Atlantic City - bound for the Delaware Bay and the Chesapeake Bay.
We continued on past Watch Hill and into Fisher's Island Sound, continuing down the bay with a fresh WSW'ly breeze. We sailed up to an anchorage just off Kelsey Point on the north side of Long Island Sound. It was a full day of sailing from sunrise to sunset and everyone went to bed early.
Celeste made oatmeal and fruit salad for breakfast, and we sailed off the anchor with a building NE'ly breeze. Making our way west, we somehow managed to stay dry and made fast progress down Long Island Sound - averaging somewhere around 8 knots. We sailed into Oyster Bay and picked up a mooring and were treated to hot showers and a really nice meal at Seawanhaka Yacht Club by Bridgit's family (thanks again!).
We are spending the morning at the mooring with study hall and class. Our plan is to catch the fair tide through the East River and into New York City is this evening before heading south down the coast.
TJ started off our day with pancakes and bacon, and we spent a quiet morning digging into school work. The breeze filled in as the morning progressed and we tucked a reef in the mainsail before getting underway. The student crew had opportunities to steer, handle lines and plot positions on the chart as we gybed our way down from Bristol to Potter Cove in Jamestown. Lekha, fittingly as she is from Jamestown, was at the helm as we sailed up to the anchor. The chapel was in view just above the trees and lights of the Newport-Pell Bridge lit up at sunset. TJ finished up his day as cook with burgers on the grill with quinoa and salad.
This morning we woke up at 0540 and turned-to on deck to set mainsail and get underway. Katherine was at the helm as we sailed off the anchor and our way south through East Passage on the last of this northerly breeze. It is a beautiful clear morning with a very gentle long-period swell rolling in from the south. We just finished breakfast as we cleared Pt. Judith. We are making 7+knots hoping the wind will hold out until we get to Watch Hill.
Our day began with a full morning of safety orientation, followed by taking on fuel and a quick lunch before departing the dock. TJ was at the helm and steered us out of the channel and into the bay. We set the mainsail and jib, shut down the engine and were sailing.
We performed a dozen or so tacks making our way south in a light breeze. Everyone had an opportunity to steer and handle lines as we perfected our tacking evolution.
In the late afternoon, we sailed up to our anchorage off of Bristoli and had our first swim call. Celia was the cook today, and made us a dinner of cheese ravioli and meat sauce, with salad. A game of Uno, followed by some more on-board orientation and then study hall rounded off the evening.
The Starboard Watch (Lily, TJ, Bridgit and Lekha) did some more heavy lifting loading on our liferafts, the Port Watch (Katherine, Celeste, Celia and Lilly) cooked dinner. They made burritos with rice, beans, beef, vegetables, cheese and home-made guacamole - and we enjoyed our first dinner together as a crew in the cockpit on a beautiful warm night.
Thursday morning we headed ashore again but this time to Vineyard Haven. Many students indulged in some ice cream before returning to Geronimo. Shortly after lunch we were underway for the Elizabeth Islands. We short tacked our way west before cutting through Quicks Hole to Cuttyhunk. Gray cooked chicken fried rice for dinner and everyone helped with dishes so that there would be time to watch a movie afterwards. Ben and Max made popcorn and we settled in for the night.
As soon as chores were completed this morning, we set the mainsail and sailed off of the anchor for Newport. With the wind out of the south it was a quick trip back to the bay. We are now past Newport and on our way to an anchorage on the east side of Prudence Island. Hopefully we’ll be anchored and have all the sails put away before the rain sets in.
Martha’s Vineyard is just off our starboard bow and Cuttyhunk is steadily growing smaller behind us. Today is a perfect day to be on the water and the first full day of the second sea legs trip of the summer.
Seven incoming St. George’s students boarded Geronimo yesterday along with our two student trip leaders, Charis and Julia. Catherine was on the helm for our departure from Bristol, RI while the other students tended to dock lines and fenders. After a walk through of safety drills everyone turned to setting the mainsail and jib and sailing Geronimo down Narragansett Bay. By dinner we were anchored in Potter Cove across from Newport. The students’ first evening on board was spent playing Apples to Apples and discussing life at St. Georges.
This morning after chores and pancakes that Charlotte cooked, we hauled back the anchor and began our way out into Block Island Sound. Owen steered us underneath the Newport-Pell bridge and down past Castle Hill before we divided into watches. The morning we had perfect conditions and everyone got a turn sailing Geronimo on a comfortable beam reach. At the moment the wind has diminished considerably so we are motor-sailing along Martha’s Vineyard’s north coast. Our hope is to make it to Oak Bluff this evening to experience their annual illumination festival. Fortunately, the current is with us and we are making decent progress toward our destination. If all goes according to plan we’ll be there early this evening.
Our day started anchored off of Cuttyhunk. After chores were completed we piled into Thunder Chief, our small boat, to head ashore. There, time was spent checking out the small community and the few shops in town. By lunch time we were back aboard Geronimo and hauling back the anchor.
There was little to no breeze today so we decided to motor over to Vineyard Haven on Martha’s Vineyard. After about 3 hours we pulled into the bay and dropped anchor just outside of the inner harbor. Shortly thereafter we went over to the schooner Alabama and were given a tour of the 91year old ship. From here we headed onto the island to spend an hour walking around town. Now we are back aboard Geronimo. Miles and Kelvin are busy in the galley making tacos for dinner. The others are on deck chatting and enjoying the perfect weather. Once the guys are out of the galley Sophie and Cate are planning to make chocolate chip cookies for dessert. The remainder of the evening will likely be spent playing cards and hanging out.
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