Anchored in Newport, RI - USA

Sea Mist > Sold to New Owners July 2016
John and Cheryl Ellsworth
Sat 6 Jun 2009 23:13

41 2971 19 W

Arrived ahead of time at 8:30 pm to meet customs officer for inspection of Sea Mist and to clear us into the country….the most simple clearance and treatment we have ever had anywhere…an unbelievably positive experience!!......and a shock to us after all the years that we have had to clear USA borders by car, plane and boat. Wow!...great finish to our FAST time over from Bermuda….80 hours total from ST Georges. The best time was made in the last 14 hours when we flew with out any motor assistance…a great broad or close reach.


Now, not surprising for us, our completion of the passage was not without surprises:

1st :

When we were 4 hours off the Newport coast, in moderate rain with visibility just over a mile, I saw an AIS target appear on my screen 3 miles in front of me coming on the exact reciprocal course to my inbound course – I could see from the AIS details that it was a sailing vessel (Toothface) bound for Bermuda. I tried unsuccessfully several times to try to reach the vessel on the VHF that I knew that he new I was on his bow and fast closing on him. On one of those attempts, I got a response from another vessel who knew the boat I was calling….and to my astonishment….I found out that both of them and 38 other sail boats were participating in a the Bermuda 12 Race… is a SINGLE HANDED Race (only one person on-board) to Bermuda and 2 handed return race. So now I am facing 40 sail boats coming my way…. racing…. in rain, little visibility (turned out to be 1.2 miles as the boats appeared out of the rainy mess), and all trying to get to the same place that I left 650 miles behind me…and I am sailing down the exact rhumb line between the 2 points.


Cheryl and Ian joined me in the cockpit around which we had installed the cockpit enclosure a couple of days earlier as the weather changed….and we three strained to see the various racers emerging from the rain at short distances from our bow….it was tense for awhile as we dodged the oncomers…making sure each time that, if they were looking, they would see me make an obvious move to Port or Starboard to avoid encounters any closer than they already were. At 15 minute intervals, I made a “safety” announcement on 2 VHF channels (16 and 72) to let the racers know of my presence coming the opposite way and what my exact location was at the time of the announcement. All proceeded fine albeit a couple of meetings were far too close for my liking.

2nd :

At the entrance to the Newport Harbor channel, I started the engine and busily stowed sails…but, with quickly focusing on the sails in this rainy mess, I missed looking at the engine instrument panel where an indicator light would have informed me that there was a problem with my 150 amp alternator that charges the house battery bank. Ian and Cheryl were below in the saloon trying to recover from the cold and wet of the look out for the racers….and Ian hollered up to me that he smelled something odd from the 4th cabin …I quickly went down to check but noticed nothing….when I jumped back up to the cockpit, I then saw the warning light and immediatel went back down and opened the engine room access door which is in the 4th cabin. To my surpise and dismay, I was greated by an engine room totally full of smoke….but no fire!  I jumped back to the cockpit to turn off the engine…..and after asking Ian to take the watch at the wheel while the boat just wallowed in the wind and rain….I returned to the engine room to determine what was going on. After checking everything, it appeared to me that the smoke was from the 2 drive belts that run the big house alternator. I tried running the engine at reduced RPMs and found that, although a bit of noise was coming from the alternator…no more smoke …the belts were turning the alternator pulley…as long as you didn’t increase revs too much. It would have been a 3 mile tow…and us not cleared into the USA…and all those complications!! I was chose to limp in to the harbour for the 30 minutes or so that it would take…..and if we were lucky, the customs officer would not give up on us as we would be about 5 minutes late arriving at the marina dock where we had agreed to rendezvous…Marina not open but a dock that is not too distant from the Customs Offices…and we are not allowed on shore until inspection happens on the vessel.  Well we made it successfully into the dock without anything getting worse in the engine room. No one could be found at the dock so I called back again to the US Customs and Border Protection clearance offices…some 200 miles away in Maine…. where I had connected by satellite phone from offshore at 30 miles first and then at 2 hours the 2nd time to vessel and passport details etc and to set up the clearance appointment. That office called the Officer in Newport who was to meet us and he drove back to the dock and all went superbly on the formalities!!


COLD…brrrrr….weather here…. and now, Saturday evening, the fog is setting in. After the past months that we have had, it almost seems like we are in another world. WHY…WHY???....did we leave the warmth of the Caribbean…there must be a sensible answer somewhere…we just have to discover it….or pray for warmer weather to arrive some time in the coming months. The cold coastal water (14-15 Celcius; 58-59 F) will certainly keep the temperatures cool or cold whenever there is an onshore breeze….like yesterday and this afternoon.


That’s all folks….will update the website now and then when anything interesting happens but not that often. Have a great summer….and, if you are in the Northeast USA or Maritimes….hope to see you as the months pass before we head back to Bermuda to the Caribbean in late October.


We will miss Ian as he leaves on Tuesday for summer in Toronto…..he has been fantastic to have on-board for these last 11,000 nautical miles through so many countries and experiences. THANKS SON!!...see you again on-board Sea Mist in October as we head for the Pacific.


Distance to go to someplace ?? idea….but, for sure, we are in no rush in getting to wherever it may be.




That’s all folks.