Our Preseason Mini Vacation in Newport

Last week Mrs. Horne decided we needed a getaway and with that our mid May mini vacation began.

I think this is the first time we ever left home without a destination. In fact, we weren’t even sure how long we were going to be gone!

Since the odds were that we’d be out at least one night, we dragged our little Westie Daisy along for the ride.

Daisy had been overnight once before, but she’s not really much of a boat dog.

Newport It Is!

After a brief electrical problem (that was promptly repaired by Ned Kaiser who made a house call in the work boat), we left Mattapoisett around 11:30. We debated our options on Martha’s Vineyard but Mrs. Horne said “It’s still pretty desolate over there, I think it might be too scary.” And with that Newport became our destination and I loaded the way point into the autopilot.

Our last trip of 2017 was suppose to be Newport, but it got rained out. Bowen’s Wharf had agreed to give me a credit for 2018 so I opened my Dockwa app, clicked on old reservation and started a chat with Bowen’s.

Rhode Island Sound was pretty flat so we ran around 25 knots and got there around 1:30 PM. Kerry (the manager) and the new dockhand met us and gave us the primo spot at the end of the wharf.

We tied up bow-in so that the cockpit would be facing Newport harbor.

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Back to Benjamin’s

Once everything was secure, we headed over to Benjamin’s for a light lunch. We discovered this great spot for oysters and cherry stones last year.

Note – Daily Buck a Shucks 12-2 and Tuesdays!

As we left Benjamin’s, it felt like midsummer. The temperature was in the seventies and since it was the last day of the Volvo Ocean Race visit, there were quite a few people in town.

Wait, is it summer at The Landing?

When we got to The Landing, we felt like we’d gone through a worm hole into July. The place was packed and there was live music at 3:00 in the afternoon on May 21st.

The guy singing was Jordon Snow.

When he was done we chatted a while. It turns out he’s a marine from Rutland Vermont with an incredible voice.

He shared the story about how he’d become a professional musician. He was 15 and his mom was tired of him hanging around the house. She got a job application at Price Chopper, bought him a red polo shirt and khakis, filled out the application, ironed his new outfit and told him “Now I did all the hard work, you just go down and get a job!”

On the way to Price Chopper he passed a Guitar Center, went inside, and bought a Bose PA for $995 – money he’d been saving up from chores, birthdays, and odd jobs. No Price Chopper for Jordan – it’s been a musician’s life ever since.

It turned out that the early May performance was Jordan’s audition at The Landing. Mrs. Horne and several other folks in the audience gave him their endorsement and the manager told us he was booked for Wednesday’s and Friday’s for the summer.

Bowen’s Wharf is for Meeting Friends!

As mentioned above, I loved Bowen’s the first time I saw it because it allows us to dock bow in – stern facing the harbor. I am now convinced that that’s only half of this centrally located marina’s appeal – it’s ridiculously friendly.

You may recall our first visit with Kay and Steve King when we met the Rum Liners in the afternoon and ended the evening hosting a half a dozen new friends for after dinner cocktails (see – A Newport Thursday).

Right after we tied up and started to take Daisy for a walk, a bunch of guys and a girl came up and introduced themselves. Two of the guys were from Canada and they were in town for the Volvo. Another 2-3 guys were on The Barefootout of Colorado, and the young lady was a pathological world traveler and long distance runner from Annapolis named Mesh.

Mesh

The Canadians headed home early, but we stopped and chatted with the crew of the Barefoot every time we walked down the wharf and they came by now and then to do the same.

Mesh even came by after dinner for cocktails.

Based on two visits, I’m fairly certain that folks on Bowens are always this friendly and one of the many great attributes for this centrally located marina.

First World Problems

My friend Dave Kaiser was the first person I recall using the term “First World Problems” (my friends in Texas call them “White People’s Problems”). The concept is simple; they’re basically trivial little annoyances that 99% of the world could only dream of having!

Tuesday morning, we woke up to a series of First World Problems…

First World Problem #1

  1. At 5:00 AM Mrs. Horne rousted me out of a sound nights sleep because there were alarms going off in the boat. It was barely light out, but I quickly realized they were LOW VOLTAGE alarms. How could this be – weren’t on shore power?
  2. I looked at the left side of the Switch Panel and saw there was nothing showing on the 120 Volt Gauge – we were not getting shore power. I remembered checking it when we tied up, so my first assumption was that we lost power from the marina.
  3. I tried to start the generator, but the batteries were all too low and it wouldn’t start.
  4. It’s now about 5:20. Mr’s Horne keeps telling me “Don’t bother Ned or Joyce, it’s too early” (Ned is the yard manager at Mattapoisett Boat Yard and Joyce is our broker at Boston Yacht Sales).
  5. I checked the breakers on the dock and they were on. It’s now around 5:30, enough of the morning fog had lifted for me to recall Joyce telling me that Bill and Tina Root’s Back Cove 41 was constantly tripping the shore power breakers. I have a new theory to pursue!

First World Problem #2

  1. I know all the serious electrical stuff is down below in the stern hold. I open the hatch, climb in and start looking for the breaker – but it’s dark (no power). I decided to climb out and go find the Owner’s Manual.
  2.  All Back Cove’s are hand made and no two are alike. This means that the owners manual is a reasonably close collection of notes and photographs from Hull #1, but Vigilant is Hull #45, so it’s more of a history book than an owner’s manual. I find it, dig out my reading glasses, and start to look up information on the shore power breaker box.
  3. Eventually I found a very nice picture of the shore power breaker and a wiring diagram showing it behind the house battery bank under the port stern seats in the hold.
  4. I climb back in the stern hold and fumble in the dark, crawling over the house batteries and discover – no shore power breaker here!
  5. I look around for anything that looks like the white breaker box in the nice picture in the Back Cove 41 owner’s manual and see nothing.
  6. I climb out, grab my iPhone (for a flash light) and climb back in continuing the search for the white breaker box – still nothing.
  7. At this point I started pondering where else they might have mounted the box. More fog clears and I remember Joyce saying something about how difficult it was to reach the breakers on the Root’s boat and telling me they relocated it on Vigilant. I tell myself “It’s gotta be here somewhere!”
  8. I climb out, find my reading glasses, grab my iPhone and climb back in to study each box in detail. Eventually I discovered a black box mounted on the inside of the transom wall. It has a clear plastic cover and bears no resemblance to the white shore power breaker picture in the owners manual. I carefully opened the plastic cover and see something that says 50 Amp in very small print. To it’s left I see a switch with a “I and 0” on it – tada, this must be the breaker! I switch on, the lights go on and at 5:45 AM we’re back in business!

First World Problem #3

Time for coffee! I keep a nice new Kuerig coffee maker in the forward hold and take it out when we’re staying overnight. I fill the reserve with water and turn on the power. Within 5 minutes, I see the water leaking all over the counter and on to the floor.

I’d left the Kuerig on Vigilant over the winter and forgot that these machines have an internal water reservoir. It must have frozen and cracked over the winter. After a few cups of coffee in 2017, my brand new Kuerig machine was worthless.

A Chance Meeting

I googled “Starbucks Newport RI” and discovered the one on America’s Cup Way opened at 6:00 AM. I headed out, picked up a Vente Dark Roast and headed back to the boat.

All of a sudden I hear a woman say “Dave is that you?”

I turned and there before my eyes is Laura Freedman, a friend from Prime Computer that I haven’t seen in 35 years. We chatted for a while and I said “how did you recognize me?”

Laura then said the nicest thing a woman can possible say to a middle aged man “You look exactly the same” (Mrs. Horne says she’s a very convincing liar, but I like to think otherwise).

I gave Laura my contact info and not long after I got back to the boat, she texted me suggesting we get together with her and her husband later that day.

At this point, we weren’t even sure we were staying another day, but after a brief discussion with Mrs. Horne, we decided to stay and I invited them back for cocktails at 4:30 (more later).

Although Tuesday’s are “Buck a Shuck Oysters” all day, we decided to branch out an try a new spot for lunch. We dined at The Wharf Pub and had a great lunch.

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Click here for my full review.

Visit to Dockwa

As you may know, I’m a huge fan of Dockwaand everything they’ve down to make cruising easier and more flexible.

Last winter, I struck up a loose content sharing partnership with Becky Pineo – AKA Becky at Dockwa. Since I was in California and Becky was on the East Coast, we only spoke by phone, text, and email.

Just before lunch I texted her to tell her we were in Newport and it turned out she was too so after lunch Mrs. Horne and I visited the Dockwa office at The Newport Yachting Center.

Becky at Dockwa

An Old Friend and Yachting Royalty Come Aboard

Continuing with the tale of my chance meeting with my old friend Laura that morning, Laura and her husband David Pedrick arrived for cocktails at 4:30 amidst a light drizzle.

In case you’re not into yacht design, David Pedrick is a true yachting icon, having designed Ted Hood’s America’s Cup winning 12 Meter class Courageous (1974) and Dennis Conner’s Stars and Stripes (1987).

I knew he and Laura had married 30 something years ago, but this was the first time we’d actually sat and chatted.

Kudo’s to Mrs. Horne for graciously listening to Laura and I reminisce about Prime Computer days while David shared his career journey from being an intern at Sparkman & Stephens while attending Webb Institute Naval Architecture to ending up in Newport designing incredible yachts.

Laura and David Pedrick

We’re hoping to connect again the next time we’re in Newport.

Dinner at Fluke

The evening ended with Mrs. Horne and I dashing through the light rain to dine for the 3rd or 4th time at Fluke.

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As you may know, we pretty much stick to the top rated restaurants in Newport, but this last visit to Fluke stood out as the best yet.

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Mrs. Horne’s Mussels Appetizer

Click here for full review…

It was a magical 3 day mini vacation and perhaps the spontaneity of it all made it even more special. We’re not scheduled to return until Labor Day, but who knows, we may just take off again and head south!

Dave

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