The original plan was sound. About a month ago, I grabbed one of the two Harbormaster slips in Edgartown for Friday night and then booked the Black Dog Wharf for Saturday night. I also made some sweet dinner reservations (L’ETOILE and Garde East). On paper, this looked like a great little MV tour.
A couple of weeks ago, Mrs. Horne said, “I’d love to get Paula (her sister) out on the boat before summer.”
And I said, “How about the Edgartown – Black Dog weekend?”
Tragically, one of Mrs. Horne’s oldest friends passed away last week. The funeral was Saturday, and needless to say, Mrs. Horne attended.
I conveyed our situation to both marinas. Black Dog has a 72 hours cancellation window, so that wasn’t a problem. But I know that Edgartown has a near zero-tolerance policy for changes within seven days (hurricane only,) but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Surprisingly, they had Sunday night open, so I slid the trip out two days.
Bad Weather Happens
The forecasts for Sunday and Monday never seemed to settle down. Late Saturday, NOAA showed a halfway decent day with a few quick passing showers. Accuweather and NECN weren’t as optimistic.
I decided to try to book dinner for Sunday night as close to the boat as possible in case one of those showers was passing, but nothing was available. I then went Old School and called L’ETOILE directly and asked for a reservation- they had plenty!
Just because you can’t get a reservation online, doesn’t mean the restaurant is sold out. Sometimes they limit the number of tables they put on OpenTable or RESY.
Mrs. Horne got home around 7:00 and asked if we were still going to Edgartown. I said, “Let’s see what the Bay looks like in the morning.”
Early Sunday morning did have a slice of the dreaded Red Sky to the northeast (Red Sky at night, sailors delight, red sky in morning, sailors take warning.) But by 7:00, it was looking like a decent boating day…
By now, the forecasts had all converged on a chance of showers, a chance of sun, and not a lot of wind. Mrs. Horne and Paula love watching movies, so knowing the worst-case scenario was watching movies in the rain, we pressed ahead.
While waiting for the girls to arrive at the boatyard, I took out my trusty little drone and shot Mattapoisett Harbor.
It ended up being a pleasant trip, and the weather was both better and worse than forecast at times during the day. Here’s a short video compilation of the various weather conditions we experienced over 24 hours.
Rolling With The Weather
As you can see in the video, it was sunny and pleasant when we pulled into Edgartown, but my Accuweather MinuteCast forecast said rain would start between 12:30 and 1:00. We grabbed umbrellas and headed to the Seafood Shanty.
We sat in the upper bar in the booth by the deck for the first time.
The deck was packed despite the forecast. Sure enough, around 12:45, it started sprinkling, although it never amounted to much.
The umbrellas stayed closed all the way home, but the forecast was clear. In the immortal words of Bob Dylan – “A Hard Rains A Gonna Fall.”
Much to Mrs. Horne’s delight, rain meant movies.
The motion film industry is still in a bit of a mess over the Covid lockdowns. And while there are a lot of new movies out, most of them are not very good.
One of the few advantages of getting older is the ability to enjoy a movie even though you’ve seen it before. Ten years ago, it would take 4-5 years before I could enjoy a “rerun.” Nowadays, it’s more like 18-24 months.
So with Hollywood dumping out lotsa crappy movies and our minds enjoying good movies we’ve already seen, we’ve started doing mini artist film festivals based on a single actor.
Last year in Plymouth, we watched Taken, Taken 2, and Taken 3. We also watched Olympus Has Fallen, London Has Fallen, and Angel Has Fallen in sequence.
There’s something engaging about a great actor who essentially plays the same character in multiple movies.
Last weekend we took on Denzil Washington. We started with Flight, then went to The Equalizer. On Sunday afternoon, on the boat and watching the rain sweep Edgartown Harbor, we watched Equalizer 2…
Pleasant Evening in Edgartown
We wrapped up the movie after the rain ended, and it turned nice enough to enjoy a little time on the Flybridge before dinner.
It was a great night to walk to town for a lovely dinner at L’ETOILE…
Drone over Edgartown
Before we took off Monday morning, I shot some drone video of Edgartown Harbor…
When we left Edgartown, it was clear, but I could see a fog bank about a mile offshore. My radar wouldn’t fire up. I’m pretty sure it was due to wiring that required the upper station to be on for the radar to operate (it’s since been rewired).
The upper station got very wet in the early morning squall, and it was acting flaky. Eventually, I got everything working and headed into the mist.
It was decent visibility until I got to Woods Hole, then it got very thick. It looked lighter on the south side, so I went over to the Broadway channel.
Probably due to the radar issue earlier and my utmost respect for Woods Hole in the fog, a little voice inside my head said, “Slow to bare steerage and don’t trust the electronics.”
As I crawled along, I was alternatively watching the GPS/Radar and staring into the abyss. Suddenly I saw the north day marker coming up on my starboard side! I was clearly not where the GPS was reporting me to be. I came to a complete stop and used the thrusters to slowly back away.
Eventually, I spotted the mid-channel marker and slowly headed for it. Although I was in thick fog, here’s where I think I was…
We crawled out of Woods Hole, and along the way, we passed a 20’ center console that never showed up on the radar.
When I got back to Mattapoisett, I shut down all the power and essentially reset all the electronics. Everything worked flawlessly.
The lesson here was obvious. If I ever doubt the functionality of the electronics, shut everything down and reboot.
Next stop Nantucket…
Try man on fire sometime with Denzel Washington. Very violent.
Yeah, we watched it last summer for the 3rd or 4th time. It’s about due for a rerun!
That is sobering. Any boater worth his/her salt who reads this should ask: first, what could I have done differently? and, second, what would I actually have done?
I have to confess that I am overly trusting of the GPS. My MFD has a satellite status icon that turns red when DOP gets to be too large. Two lessons: first, RTFM (read the f… manual) again to learn how large the DOP goes when the indicator turns red. Second, keep an eye on DOP.
What probably would have happened were I in that situation is that I’d have noticed the depth and realized that something was wrong.
I’d also like to hope that I would have known the set of the current (I assume it was flooding at the time of your near-incident) and favored the opposite side of the channel. I also avoid going through more than a couple of hours before or after slack, so that might help.
You did absolutely the right thing by slowing down. In fact, I really wish that all boaters would do that, regardless of conditions. Getting hit with some jerk’s wake in those channels is not a good thing. I’m a sail boat which is limited to 6 or 7 kts under power. The Broadway is too narrow for an overtaking boat to pass another boat with a margin of safety, and downright dangerous if another boat is passing in the opposite direction. What’s the rush?
Glad you didn’t end up on the rocks! See you out there!
“What probably would have happened were I in that situation is that I’d have noticed the depth and realized that something was wrong.”
As I said in the story, my depth sounder had failed earlier in the trip.
Monitoring the depth sounder and the “should be”depth on the chart plotter is one of my safety protocols.