October 30th, 2013

Marblehead, MA to Fairhaven, MA via Cape Cod Canal

After spending several days in Marblehead completing last minute preparations, and a final day at John & Noreen’s dock where we loaded and reloaded all our gear, we finally set sail for our journey south! We left before daybreak, bundled up warmly against the frigid late October New England air. We were all so excited about finally being on our way that we made the most of our freezing send off. With just a breath of wind, we started out motor-sailing with the original plan to make it to Plymouth, MA that night. After realizing our steady pace could get us further than we’d expected, we entirely abandoned our original plan and decided to sail straight through the Cape Cod Canal to Fairhaven, MA. This would prove to become common practice for Sedna. Primarily, we wanted to get out of the way of the big storm that was brewing, but we also just wanted to go. That afternoon, after motor-sailing for about 5 hours, a shrill alarm went off onboard. It turned out that our engine had overheated. Thus began several hours of Clay diligently and tirelessly working to figure out what had caused this and how to solve it. We plugged along slowly under partially filled sails. After checking the engine from head to toe, Clay realized that earlier in the summer he had installed the thermostat upside down. This had not proven to be an issue when he was motoring around Marblehead, but once we put the engine to the test of continuous use, it overheated.

Around 4pm the wind picked up and we were able to sail easily for several hours. We got to the Cape Cod Canal early, before the currents were in our favor, so we lazily sailed in circles until slack tide at 6:30pm. Dusk brought a beautiful sunset reflected on glassy still waters; perfect conditions for motoring through the canal. And then the night navigation fun began! I love the simplicity of navigating by the simple color-coded lights, being able to watch the stars on the move, and playing detective to identify specific buoys by their flash sequences. The canal was calm, quiet, and beautiful – the lights on shore reflected spectacularly in the once again still waters. Beneath that smooth glassy surface however, was a very strong current. So much so that at only 1500 rpm of engine power, we were gliding along at almost 7.0 knots! Flying!

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That night, around 2am, we finally began pulling into Fairhaven. Out of the blackness. That’s where we hailed from that night. An amazing array of stars were scattered across the sky, dampened only by the harbor lights ahead of us. Looking back – what a sight! Pitch black… impossible to tell sky from sea, with the calm glassy swells reflecting easily the light from our stern. The calm before the storm.

~ Natasha (& Travis & Clay)

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