A First Thought

As I sit down to type about this new adventure I changed my life for, I realize that it has already been over a month since the boat first launched. Time is relative as they say and I have just about lost all track of it.

Making the trek to see our new boat!

Sweet Ruca launched on July 3rd, 2019 from Jamestown, RI, USA. We, Curtis and I, lived aboard her on and off preparing her for the summer splash, but now, as time would have it, we were full-timers. We were ready to start our trip around the world! It was a short-lived feeling as only a week went by before we returned to the Midwest to compete in both Mackinac races, a commitment we made the year before.

We drove the 12 hours to Michigan with Roxy the dog in tow and Sweet Ruca behind to start the Chicago to Mackinac Island Race. You can read a bit more about the race here, but its a long standing race that takes usually just under two days to complete. With Roxy comfortable at our old (previous) neighbor’s house, we saddled up for the big event with no idea how successful we were to be. Winning overall was definitely a highlight, but I’ve got to say that the people we sailed with definitely made the experience the success that it was for me. Lucky enough for us we continued the next weekend to race in the Port Huron to Mackinac race, where we finished second- giving us the best combined corrected times for both races. The boat’s name is Chico 2, a One Design 35 Turbo owned by the amazing Jim Weyand of Bayview Yacht Club in Detroit, Michigan. This story is such a good one, it deserves it’s own post later on…

Chico 2 Crew

And So it Begins…

We returned to Sweet Ruca just before August began and found her to be in tip top shape. We learned a few things about storing her better for next time, however we’ve been learning new things every day.

We stayed in Jamestown until we could unload all of our belongings as well as get the mainsail and solar panels working. After a week or so the boat was in good enough shape to take on her first trip. It was sad to say goodbye to the friends we had made in Jamestown, nonetheless we were ripe on our first adventure.

We didn’t go far as we anchored the boat just north of the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge in a place called Potter Cove. It offered good protection and holding for the anchor’s first overnight try. We could easily dinghy Roxy to the beach and also got to watch some great sailing in Narragansett Bay.

The days pretty much consisted of us working on the boat for as long as we could until it was time to sleep. The boat needed to get to a place where it was functioning as it should for us to fulfill our basic needs. Eventually as August pressed on, we were able to explore other ports in the bay such as East Greenwich Cove and Bristol, RI, where we took some time out to check out the Herreshoff Museum and America’s Cup Hall of Fame. We were slowly getting to the point where we could spend a little time enjoying the area and the boat, to her full potential.

Sweet Ruca on the hook in Bristol Harbor, Bristol, RI

It’s mid-August now and Curtis and I had talked about visiting the great state of Maine. There was a lot of clamor about it in Rhode Island about being one of those places you “have to go”. The boat was getting to a great spot for sailing longer distances. We hee-hawed back in forth about sending it to Maine before we decided to sail out of the bay and anchor at 3rd Beach for the night. (The ocean-side of Newport.)

Just as I was thinking we were going to stay at 3rd Beach another night to collect ourselves, we decided to “just go for it” and pull anchor to head for the Cape Cod Canal-bypassing Cuttyhunk Island, Martha’s Vinyard, and Nantucket to send it straight to Maine. We left about midday from 3rd Beach and made it to the canal by evening time. The narrow canal required us to be under motor, so we furled the jib and fired her up for the half hour power through the high-current highway. After exiting on the north side called “Sandwich”, we refueled our gas and water tanks and headed out into the ocean towards Maine.

Exiting the Cape Cod Canal towards Maine

The wind remained light to moderate out of the southwest giving us a nice comfortable sail and motor-sail through the night as Curtis and I practice our first time at double-handing shifts. Needless to say neither of us got much sleep. The sun rose where no land was in sight as Curtis called me up from my nap to see it’s large bulb plumb above the water. We watched the radar and AIS for large fishing boats passing by.

The fishing boats grew more as did the lobster pots we needed to dodge as we arrived to our destination of Rockland, Maine. The Penobscot Bay would provide us we decent protection, albeit varying tides of which we were not used to. The winds were strong as we attempted our first anchor and to our luck success! We ran into shore as the sun was setting and walked along the boardwalk before crashing to v-berth bed after a very enjoyable but tiring first overnight passage.

Landfall in Penobscot Bay, ME

The next day was spent working on what we call “work work” as well as boat work. We poked our heads up out of the cabin and saw some Tuesday night racing after hearing the starting whistles blow. We decided we needed a moment out of the boat and headed to shore to check out town. We stopped into Rockland Yacht Club after races and met some great members that invited us to the benefit race they are hosting this upcoming weekend. We exchanged information and then headed into town for, as it turns out, local brews and local cheese fries. It was a great end to the day.

A Final Thought

My first thought to the first blog post for Sweet Ruca is that we are certainly a “go where the wind takes us” kind of crew. I typed that we plan to sail around the world, and we certainly intend to, but we don’t know which way or when exactly. So, my final thought for this first blog is that I hope you enjoy reading, viewing, listening, and envisioning yourself along our travels. Sweet Ruca will be a vehicle for many challenges and triumphs to come!

Until next time! Sailing Sweet Ruca
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