Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sailing with Madeleine

On Labor Day, the docks in Newport were packed elbow to elbow with people, and mast to mast with boats. Many boats were moored to buoys in the harbor. I wondered how the harbor master knew which one to assign to which boat to allow all of them, no matter how large, room to swing around in the wind and tide without running into the boat next door. The boats going out on trips were docked against the pier itself so passengers could easily board. I have trouble parking the big RROKI van, and was filled with admiration for the captains who drove these boats in and out of the docks.
 There were several companies to choose from, and we took the schooner Madeleine, shown above in full sail. It had 3 crew members, and promised a trip under sail around the bay.
The crew raised the sail when we had space and off we went!
We tacked, swinging the boom over, we heeled into the wind, and got splashed by water! What fun!
The big bridge was designed to come apart if damaged, so Navy ships could get out if the Germans attacked in WW II.
The green navigation buoys rocked with the waves. The bell mounted on it clanged, but the clappers were on the outside of the bell and there were four of them. No gulls or seals resting there as we saw in California.
Some cotton sails were dyed with tannins derived from tree bark, which gave them the reddish color. This was primarily to help preserve the sail, though it did also add a degree of camouflage when sailing near a sand/dirt shoreline. The red sails, especially on smaller vessels, would not stand out as much as bright white sails.
video

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