The Scituate situation changed all that.
But what if I hadn't broken my finger at all? I would have continued to sail alone to New York, mid-November in the North Atlantic. If Annie Laurie had been lost, she wouldn't have been the first boat to go down in these waters this year.
Whatever makes you sleep at night, Laura. Yes, in fact it does.
Eric and Alexa changed their flights to meet me in Scituate, and after a week of waiting, we were once again underway. Our first day out, we made our way to the Cape Cod Canal. It was a rough ride until we reached the mouth of the canal, where we received our reprieve, dropped the sails, and motored comfortably to the west end and anchored for the night.
As we made our way past Martha's Vineyard and Block Island, motor-sailing in little wind, the engine began making a funny sound, but it wasn't something that was familiar. Having changed the fuel filter in Gloucester, I was confident it hadn't clogged quite yet. I called Super Dave, who, along with my sister had brought Annie Laurie to Gloucester. They hadn't had any issues during their passage, but he thought it was probably the alternator. We were within cell phone range, so Eric called the West Marine in Newport to see if they had what we needed in stock. They assured us they did.
"It's for a diesel engine, a Perkins 4-108."
"Yes, yes, we have exactly what you need. Just ask for Derek, we will have it set aside waiting for you."
If you have a boat with a diesel engine, keep reading. It might one day save you from sailing 6 hours out of your way, which, in cold weather, feels more like 1 week.
West Marine does not stock alternators for diesel engines.
Sure, they can Special Order just about anything you need, if you have 3 weeks to wait around, but we didn't have the luxury of time. Having never had the issue before, I definitely over-reacted to the situation. The alternator was still periodically providing some charge to the batteries, and that was the main concern. If the batteries were to completely die, there would be no way to start the engine. We would get by for now though, and ultimately, Phil brought one with him from Miami when he met up with the boat in Norfolk. We'll get back to that later...
Regardless of my frustration with West Marine and the hours of forward progress we had lost, Newport, Rhode Island was a nice place to visit. The harbourmaster was helpful in finding us a free dock for the evening, and I had never been to Panera Bread before. Not all was lost.
We left the dock a little after midnight, and tension built as we approached The Race, the narrow entrance to Long Island Sound, known for its treacherous conditions when the current runs hard and the winds blow harder. It couldn't have been an easier passage though, as we continued to motor in little wind, and the current was behind us. There are many such places that have dotted the map of my travels over the years, but they rarely live up to their names or reputations.
Tomorrow: Hell's Gate.