Sometimes things happen living on a boat that you just couldn’t make up if this blog were pure fiction. Last week, after a month’s wait, it was looking like our repaired diesel injection pump would be fixed near the end of the week. Just as it looked like we might get paroled from Break Down Prison, though, Tropical Storm Henri formed offshore in the Atlantic. Most early models predicted that Henri would take an easterly turn and would not affect the New England coast. Around mid week I got a warning from my friend Glenn that his weather service predicted that many models had under estimated the chances of a New England landfall and that Henri posed a “material threat” to us. We began to consider options for preparation, but there was no certainty the engine would even be fixed before the prospective weekend landfall, so there was no certainty that we had any options to prepare other than removing the sails and canvas. By Thursday the forecasts made a New England landfall look much more likely, so we began calling marinas. We learned that haul outs were first-come-first-serve, and that the only marina that might be able to take us was New England Boat Works (NEB), which was 6 miles north in what used to be called Bend Boat Basin. Ironically, Bend Boat Basin is where my family’s brand new Pearson 40 was delivered to Mathews & Fales, our Pearson dealer, in 1979. On Thursday, NEB said not to leave Newport until they were ready to haul us because there were too many boats converging on the Basin, which meant they had to hold them outside of the basin in the Bay and lead them in one at a time for haul out.
By Friday morning, the forecast looked much worse for us. Here is the forecasted track we awoke to:
We called Old Port Marine and begged them to prioritize re installation of our injection pump so that we could run for a haul out. Happily, they sent their (excellent) mechanic Ethan out first thing and he got the pump in by late morning. Thank you Ethan and Old Port!
Now were mobile, so we called NEB and they said there was no way they could haul us Friday but that they may be able to get us Saturday. We were once again instructed not to leave Newport until they had a prospective haul out time. Right around this time our friends Angela and Steve also warned us that in severe tropical weather all boats in Newport harbor could be forced to leave. Where to? We had no idea – they just could not stay in the harbor. At this stage, the very real prospect that we might have nowhere to go with a hurricane bearing down on us began to form in my head. We decided to be bold: with no guarantee that they would haul us on Saturday, we would still motor up to NEB and simply anchor outside Bend Boat Basin overnight, in the hopes that they would allow us in on Saturday.
On the whole it was a very hot, stressful four days but Rover came through it with no damage and the team was not delayed from making it to Martha’s Vineyard on Tuesday so the girls could meet up with friends on the island for the rest of the week.
I am still marveling at all the 2021 season has thrown at us. This life of living aboard a boat has big highs, big lows and random super spikes of stress. The 2021 season has thrown us a gumbo of all of the above.