New England (August 6-9, 2014)

The storm we'd like to escape.

The storm we’d like to escape.

After re-provisioning and filling water tanks, we leave Mystic on August 6 and make it to Stonington, CT. From there, we have a decent sail until about 2 pm. IMG_5085There is an approaching storm so we end the day early and pull into the Harbor of Refuge off of Point Judith, RI (I love the name of the place – everyone needs a refuge). It is buffered by breakwaters and will help us ride out the storm. There is a beautiful sunset after it passes.

IMG_1674The next day we have a great sail up to Cuttyhunk, one of several small islands off the coast of MA. We anchor in the inner harbor and dinghy in to the island. The dock has a few small places – seafood, ice cream, coffee. The town is tiny – a little market, a library the size of a large van, and a two-room schoolhouse. There are only 15 families who live on the island over winter – an introvert’s dream. We hike up to the very top of the island and have an amazing view of Cuttyhunk and the surrounding islands. Sailboats dot the water. “It’s not as romantic as it looks,” Matt says as we watch them. But they do look beautiful and peaceful – and they are those things. We hike back down and spend time on the beach.

Only in New England does the gas sign also list lobster.

Only in New England does the gas sign also list lobster.

From Cuttyhunk, we get to a marina at Megansett and grab a mooring ball. We are in desperate need of showers, laundry, and a pump out. The launch service comes to pick us up. After showering, we go to the one restaurant nearby. The place is packed and rocking. The hostess sees the two boys and is able to get us a table in the bar section. We sit up on high stools and watch the action. It feels a bit like a saloon in the Wild West and Matt said it seems like there should be a shootout or a fight. The energy is contagious – particularly since we all feel great from a shower and food.

During one of these evenings, we have a late-night pow-wow about some various mishaps (e.g., an unreported incident in which all of the anchor chain went flying out of its compartment and off the boat; yes, there was yelling) and the current culture on the boat. Matt is frustrated at the lack of learning and initiative with regard to sailing and boat maintenance. I talk about how, in organizations, no one will step up or take risks in a culture where mistakes are punished. He shares that he gets upset because he’s fearful about ‘bringing us back alive.’ I see how heavily this responsibility rests on him. We end by talking about how to shift the culture. We are quiet and lie in our berth. It sounds like a monster is sloshing its way toward us over the water. “Isn’t that sound odd?” I say to Matt. “It’s just the water on the hull,” he responds. I pause and then ask “What’s a hull?” There is a long silence before I finally start laughing and hear Matt let out a sigh. “Thank God that was a joke,” he says, “I was just thinking, ‘See! This is what I’m talking about!” I suppose it’s unfair to torture him like that.