Onward’s Cruise Journal 2009
Cruise in New England

July 2009

1 July 2009; Sag Harbor, Long Island

  • Laura had wanted to visit the National Park site of Sagamore Hill- Theodore Roosevelt’s home but we discovered it didn’t open until 1000. Thus we departed Oyster Bay in the early morning and headed E for the tip of Long Island. Laura had selected Sag Harbor as our next port of call and we motorsailed NE up the Sound because the wind was almost on the nose. As we went through the Gut and set course for Sag Harbor, the wind increased and the angle improved so we ran under genoa alone at about 8 kts across Gardiner Bay. I took this opportunity to play Billy Joel’s Downeaster Alexa on repeat as we reached across the bay.
  • We anchored just outside the breakwater and took the dinghy in to explore town.
2 July 2009; Block Island
  • We left in light fog and set out across Gardiner Bay for Block Island. We approached and entered Great Salt Pond in the fog - barely able to see the sides of the cut. We picked up a rental mooring and the headed into town for a exploratory walk culminating in a lobster dinner.
3 July 2009; Newport
  • Onward headed out of Great Salt Pond in the early morning fog. It seems that entering and leaving Block Island always happens in the fog. We set course directly for Newport using the auto fog horn feature of my Raymarine VHF all the way. The fog finally cleared when we were off Castle Hill light. I was able to anchor Onward in my “regular” spot and we went ashore for a walk along Cliff Walk. We took a tour of Rosecliff mansion that we really enjoyed - particularly when I learned that Cole Porter had been a frequent visitor and composed several songs using an upright piano in the SW bedroom suite. We continued our walking tour back to the central historic area and then had a superb dinner at Pronto on Thames Street.
4 July 2009; East Greenwich, RI
  • We were underway at 0730 and picked up our mooring at the East Greenwich Yacht Club in Greenwich Cove at 0900 - 8 days exactly from departing Baltimore.
  • We spent the afternoon at by niece Linda’s home for that annual Rocchio family July 4th cookout on my late brother Bob’s birthday.
5 July 2009; East Greenwich, RI
  • A bit of a sad day as I saw Laura and Kurlen to the airport to fly off to Los Angles and their new life on the West Coast. It has been a fantastic experience to spend the last eight days together cruising up the coast from Baltimore to RI.
  • Before they left, we managed to get to Best Buy so Kurlen could replace his iPhone that now sleeps with the fishes off Atlantic City -- AT&T’s quarterly profits are now secure as he is back on line.
8 July 2009; East Greenwich, RI
  • Had dinner with my Chi Phi Fraternity brothers here at the East Greenwich Fireman’s Club overlooking the mooring field. It was great to see so many guys from my youth.

9 July 2009; East Greenwich, RI
  • Onward hosted a number of my buddies from college-day High, Low, Jack card games for another go. Jim Moretti, Dick Garzilli, Richard Mari, Ed Flannigan all came aboard for an afternoon of cards and then a good dinner at Pal’s.

  • 13-15 July 2009; East Greenwich, RI
  • Carolyn & Andrew Fowlie brought Pendragon in and anchored off Gardard Park. They snuck up on me in their dinghy while I was sunning myself in the cockpit. We spent the next couple of days catching up on their cruising experience to Panama and Central America. I was preparing to spend the next 7-10 days cruising up Buzzards Bay with them when they got a call from the yard that is going to haul Pendragon for bottom painting with the news the haul date had been moved up a week. So they headed out for the yard and I will try to catch up with them after they are back in the water.

17 July 2009; East Greenwich, RI
  • After a morning of boat chores, Kathy picked me up to run some errands. We then went to my nephew Bob Rocchio’s home for a cookout featuring of course more great food.
18 July 2009; East Greenwich, RI
  • My cousin, Mary-Ann Bunting, drove up from her home in CT to spend a couple of days with me. We were very close as children until I went off to graduate school and it was only last summer that we reconnected and I stopped to visit her on my way S. We had a leisurely breakfast in town at Tigger’s - a local diner famous for its home-cooked foods. We then took a walking tour by some of the colonial-era homes. The weather began to clear and cool off so we went for a daysail. With winds > 20 kts I decided to sail under genoa alone. It was a lovely day and I got to see parts of RI on N Narragansett Bay that I hadn’t seen before.

19 July 2009; East Greenwich, RI
  • Mary-Ann and I drove around Warwick in her car to explore by land many places from our youth that we sailed by yesterday. It is amazing how beautiful and well-kept so many of the shore areas are now that were a bit sketchy when I was a boy. Yesterday we had seen a huge estate on Warwick Neck that I was unaware of. So today we set out to find it by car and discovered it was the estate of RI Senator Aldrich built in the late 1800s.
  • The afternoon was devoted to another family gathering - an annual tradition at my late brother’s home for the St. Mary’s Feast. I got to spend time with still more family. And the food: it was great and plentiful. We finished off the day with a visit by the marching band and a great fireworks display.

20 July 2009; East Greenwich, RI
  • I spent Sunday night at my sister’s home because we got back from the Feast so late. After a nice breakfast in town together, Kathy took me to EGYC so I could fetch my laundry. While the laundry was being done I spent the afternoon playing Mr Fixit / MacGyver.
  • I returned to Onward early enough to catch Chris & Bob Kozak aboard Masquerade. This earned me a couple of G&T’s and a boat tour. Bob built the catamaran from plans as a retirement project and it is a work of art. The joinery is beautiful!

21 July 2009; East Greenwich, RI
  • A rainy day. I decided it was time to catch up on my journal as I’ve been having too much fun to date to write.
  • My curiosity having been piqued by seeing the Aldrich Estate by land and sea, I did some research. I was amazed to find a connection between it and my friend Mike Yorke, the visit to the Abby Rockefeller garden on Mt Desert I last summer, and my visit to Jekyl Island last spring. This is like the series of articles “Connections” that I used to read in Scientific American: Aldrich, a senator from RI essentially created the FED that my friend Mike worked for; he did this at a secret meeting held on Jekyl Island; his daughter Abby married John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and she established the garden my friend Fenner MIlton arranged Laura, Kurlen and I to see last summer!
  • The History:
Aldrich Mansion
836 Warwick Neck Ave.
(401) 739-6850

Aldrich Mansion is situated on a majestic seventy-five acre estate on scenic Narragansett Bay. It was built during the "Golden Years" of Senator Nelson W. Aldrich, a Rhode Island native born to poverty but destined for greatness. The estate once held a Teahouse, since destroyed by fire. It was here that Abby Aldrich, one of the Senator¹s eight children, wed John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (father of Nelson A. Rockefeller, formerly Governor of New York and later Vice President of the United States).

Along with the elegant Chateau itself, the estate is home to a carriage house, caretaker's cottage and boathouse. Originally built to aid in the transportation of goods to Warwick Neck, a railway and supply tunnel led from the boathouse to a 150-foot tower, and then to the Mansion. Construction on the Chateau began in 1896 by the firm of Carrera & Hastings. Nearly 200 craftsmen, many of whom were dispatched from Europe, were commissioned to create this dynamic structure. Some sixteen years later, the seventy-room Mansion, once known as Indian Oaks, was completed.

Ornate paintings and intricate wood carvings adorn the halls and chambers. Italian marble, in a diversity of design and color is employed extensively for fireplaces, floors and bathrooms. The vaulted ceilings of a spacious receiving room are resplendent with golden richness. The vast living and dining halls, as well as a music and fine arts chamber, are located on the main floor.

A magnificent marble staircase leads to the second level. Six elegant suites, each with its own marble-fireplaced bath and bedroom, occupy this floor. The Senator and Mrs. Aldrich (the former Abby Chapman Greene), each inhabited one of the three largest of these suites, which include sitting room, dressing room, and walk-in closet. The Senator's suite holds a private staircase leading to the Great Terrace overlooking Narragansett Bay. Guarding the terrace sit two decorative marble sphynxes. Above this second level are eight more suites, each with a private bath, once used for visiting guests and family.

French doors serve as windows throughout the halls and rooms of this floor. All are framed by waist-high railings installed to protect Mrs. Aldrich during her occasional sleep-walking episodes.

In 1939, eighty-five acres of the Aldrich Mansion estate were transferred by the Senator¹s heirs to the Providence Diocese for a token sum. In 1946, Our Lady of Providence Seminary made Aldrich Mansion its home, and the Campus and Chapel were erected.

Today, the elegant and charming atmosphere of Aldrich Mansion serves as the perfect site for wedding receptions, bridal and baby showers, birthday and anniversary parties. With its panoramic view of the Bay, the Mansion also serves especially well as a serene location for conferences, meetings and seminars. In the summer of 1997, Aldrich Mansion played host to the filming of a major motion picture, Meet Joe Black, starring Sir Anthony Hopkins and Brad Pitt. The film was released in November of 1998.

RI Senator Nelson Aldrich. 

Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich (November 6, 1841 – April 16, 1915) was a prominent American politician and a leader of the Republican Party in the Senate, where he served from 1881 to 1911.

Because of his impact on national politics and central position on the pivotal Senate Finance Committee, he was referred to by the press and public alike as the "General Manager of the Nation", dominating all tariff and monetary policies in the first decade of the 20th century. In a career that spanned three decades, Aldrich helped to create an extensive system of tariffs that protected American factories and farms from foreign competition. He rebuilt the American financial system along Progressive lines through the institution of the federal income tax amendment and the Federal Reserve System. He claimed that this would lead to greater efficiency. Aldrich became wealthy with investments in street railroads, sugar, rubber and banking. His son Richard Steere Aldrich became a U.S. Representative, and his daughter, Abby, married John D. Rockefeller, Jr., the only son of John D. Rockefeller. Her son, Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, served as Vice President of the United States under Gerald Ford.

Jekyll Island Club:  Role in the history of the Federal Reserve

Jekyll Island was the location of a meeting in November 1910 that may have hastened the creation of the Federal Reserve. Following the Panic of 1907, banking reform became a major issue in the United States. Senator Nelson Aldrich, (R-RI) the chairman of the National Monetary Commission, went to Europe for almost two years to study that continent's banking systems. Upon his return, he brought together many of the country's leading financiers to Jekyll Island to discuss monetary policy and the banking system, an event which some say was the impetus for the creation of the Federal Reserve.

On the evening of November 22, 1910, Sen. Aldrich and A.P. Andrews (Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Department), Paul Warburg (a naturalized German representing Kuhn, Loeb & Co.), Frank A. Vanderlip (president of the National City Bank of New York), Henry P. Davison (senior partner of J. P. Morgan Company), Charles D. Norton (president of the Morgan-dominated First National Bank of New York), and Benjamin Strong (representing J. P. Morgan), left Hoboken, New Jersey on a train in complete secrecy, dropping their last names in favor of first names, or code names, so no one would discover who they all were.

Forbes magazine founder Bertie Charles Forbes wrote several years later: Picture a party of the nation’s greatest bankers stealing out of New York on a private railroad car under cover of darkness, stealthily riding hundreds of miles South, embarking on a mysterious launch, sneaking onto an island deserted by all but a few servants, living there a full week under such rigid secrecy that the names of not one of them was once mentioned, lest the servants learn the identity and disclose to the world this strangest, most secret expedition in the history of American finance. I am not romancing; I am giving to the world, for the first time, the real story of how the famous Aldrich currency report, the foundation of our new currency system, was written... The utmost secrecy was enjoined upon all. The public must not glean a hint of what was to be done. Senator Aldrich notified each one to go quietly into a private car of which the railroad had received orders to draw up on an unfrequented platform. Off the party set. New York’s ubiquitous reporters had been foiled... Nelson (Aldrich) had confided to Henry, Frank, Paul and Piatt that he was to keep them locked up at Jekyll Island, out of the rest of the world, until they had evolved and compiled a scientific currency system for the United States, the real birth of the present Federal Reserve System, the plan done on Jekyll Island in the conference with Paul, Frank and Henry... Warburg is the link that binds the Aldrich system and the present system together. He more than any one man has made the system possible as a working reality.

21-26 July 2009; East Greenwich, RI
  • My nephew and niece with their spouses went to a Billy Joel concert last Saturday night. When they told me about it on Sunday, I told them that I had been trying to get to one of his concerts for years but just couldn’t find the right occasion - and now I learned I was only a few miles away and could have gone had I known about it. Well, that was enough for them to harass me all night about what a good concert it was. So today I decided to upgrade my Billy Joel music collection from iTunes and bought his recent release of classical piano compositions - fairly good.
  • On Sunday I drove to LI with Kathy & Andy to see a play: The Gin Game. The actress had also starred in Andy’s play Candy Apples done by the same theater. It really got me thinking about the “end game”.

27 July 2009; East Greenwich Cove to Dutch Island Harbor
  • Onward took on fuel and water at EGYC and headed out to begin the cruise up Buzzard’s Bay to rendezvous with Kelly & Debbie Gregg as they take Kwitcherbitchen out for a week of sailing vacation. The gentle breeze that began at 0900 continued to build in force until it was gusting to > 25 kts from the SW. I took advantage of the wind to get in a good close-hauled sail. Unfortunately, as always happens the first time i sail after being stationary for a long period there are always things that don’t quite get stowed well enough for being heeled over in a strong wind. By playing the wind shifts I was able to pass through the Jamestown bridge on a long tack from Wickford. Then, just as I cleared the bridge, I stumbled on the finish of a large 420 class regatta - right across the channel. I set course to steer around the E side of the finish line when a gust from Hades came up. It was much stronger that the 25 kts gusts I’d experienced to date and Onward began to round up with the helm full over. I managed to clear the last of the 420s and then went on to anchor in Dutch Island harbor. I was beat from all the sail handling so I had dinner and sacked out leaving the cleanup for the morning.

28 July 2009; Dutch Island Harbor to Cuttyhunk
  • I was up early and cleaned up the mess although my stride was put off by the discovery that the glass pot for my 4-cup Mr. Coffee got broken. So I had to Mac Gyver a replacement - before I could get my morning fix of coffee -- now that was a challenge.
  • Anchor aweigh was at 1000 and I then recalibrated the electronic compass deviation and heading before leaving the harbor. As I approached Beavertail, fog closed in and I motorsailed all day in it. It let up for a few minutes as I closed with Cuttyhunk and then came in so thick I did not want to attempt entering the inner harbor. I picked up one of the external mooring that have proliferated now and spent the afternoon fogbound. I did take the opportunity to work with my watercolors.

29 July 2009; Cuttyhunk to Padanaram
  • The fog cleared to > 1 mi visibility by noon so I decided to sail over to the W shore of Buzzard’s Bay to explore places I’ve heard of but never visited. Anchor aweigh at 1300. A reach across the bay turned into a motorsail as the wind died. I dropped anchor just inside the breakwater on the W side of the harbor just outside the mooring field. I had a late lunch and took a nap only to awake to being fogged in. I saw the Beverly Yacht Club’s racing committee boat go buy followed by a few boats and I hoped to have a good view of the races. However the fog got thicker and the races were called off. I whipped up a batch of my chili & vegetable stew - delish. A good way to end a foggy night.
  • Today I happened to look at the bottom of my dingy and I was astonished to see a thick coat of barnacles and marine growth. I had left it in the water while I was in Greenwich Cove, 24 days, and apparently paid the price! I have never seen this much growth in such a short period before. Now to figure a way to clean it off.
30 July 2009; Padanaram
  • A lot of rain during the night but the fog was mostly gone - I could almost see the E shore of the bay. I decided to hang out here until I move over to West Island to meet up with Kwitcherbitchen. By noon the weather was beautiful and sunny! After climbing out on the swim platform I was able to scrape off the thick layer of growth on the starboard side of the dinghy; I’ll have to reverse it in the davits to get the other side. I then took the dinghy in and found the town dinghy dock alongside the bridge at the NE corner. The harbormaster’s office was across the street so I went in to say hello. A chat with the assistant harbormaster resulted in a recommendation for a good lunch at the Bass restaurant across the street.
  • I followed up on the harbormaster’s advice and settled in at the bar for a draft and lunch. Bill, a visiting retired accountant, came in and sat down for lunch at the bar near me. We had a very pleasant talk over our lunches. I find encounters such as this with good people one of the real joys of cruising.
  • I took a walking tour of the area and found large beautiful homes tucked away on wooded lots. A number of the local business, including the small market, have not survived the economic problems but the rest seem to be holding on -- although I can’t see how so many real estate business, > 7, can survive in such a small area. I stopped in at the New Bedford Yacht Club and found that they offered use of their facilities to people who anchor out for a $50 / day facilities fee that includes use of their launch.
  • 31 July 2009; Padanaram to West Island
  • The weather forecast called for heavy rain tonight and tomorrow morning so I decided it was time to move to the anchorage near Kwitcherbitchin while the weather was good. I had a nice leisurely sail under genoa alone making 5 kts + in the SW breeze. I anchored in the mouth of the small cove at the N end of West Island in 12’ and got settled in before the rain front moved in. And a windy and rainy day it was.
  • About 2100 I heard a dinghy approach and found Kelly Gregg arriving to deliver a new Mr. Coffee he picked up for me. He took me back to his boat for a while and then ashore for a couple of beers.