We explore the shore
At this point, we had a few days left at our dock to clean, provision, and have more electrical upgrades done. Kelsea and I planned a couple of fun shore excursions in Newport to break it up a bit.
The Cliff Walk
The Cliff Walk was a good 6-mile round trip trek from the Marina. We walked this same path about 20 years ago when we were here with the kids on our cross-country motor home trip. Since then, the path was reinforced and railings were added, making it much safer. The foliage along the inside of the path has grown to block many views into the historical mansion properties, but it is still a spectacular hike overlooking the rocky beaches out to the point. It's a "must-do" if you visit the area. My fave is the white mansion that had a spectacular greenhouse on the property – you can scroll through the slideshow below to see more.
Secret Garden Tour
The gardens here in the Northeast are beautiful with blooming dogwood trees, huge hydrangea bushes, and many coleus varieties. Kelsea knows I love them and found a Secret Garden Tour, which is held each fall and summer at one of the private mansions sponsored by the Newport Preservation Society.
The hosting mansion we visited, called Rosecliff, has an oceanfront view with stunning grounds. We viewed jewelry and hat displays made entirely of plant material, unique terrariums, floral arrangements that represented creative themes, and many species of roses and other garden varieties that were awarded prizes in competitive classes.
While Kelsea and I were having some fun, Steve was preparing the boat. He rode his bike back and forth to West Marine for supplies and did some business work remotely. He enjoyed having the boat to himself so he could think and not have to work around us.
Training galore: sails, anchoring, and vinyl repair
Next, we welcomed Seadon, our U.S. North Sails Rep, aboard. He coached us on sail trim, and we got the Genoa flying on the bowsprit. Now that makes three sails we are proficient with: Main, Self Tacking Jib and Genoa. After making progress and feeling thankful for the afternoon with Seadon, we recognize there is still so much more to learn and three remaining sails yet to try: Code O, Code D, and Spinnaker.
Our time at Goat Island Marina was coming to a close, and we were a little anxious about where to go. Newport was very crowded with no moorings or slips available. Our only option to stay in the area for the electrical work to continue was to anchor. We called Rob, a fellow Outremer owner here, and asked him to help us drop an anchor for the first time.
Rob has an Outremer 51 S/V, Holiday, and was excited we were in his home harbor. Earlier in the week, he came by in his dinghy to introduce himself. He invited us over for sundowners and to meet his wife and Guy, an Outremer 5X owner who was also in the harbor.
More than eager to help, Rob coached us through the anchoring process and how to operate the windlass. (Sorry, no pics as we were working hard at anchoring.) We were at a disadvantage, without the week of training by Outremer in France. However, it seems every time we need something, someone is available to help. We know this is God's provision for us!
That same day we got a quick lesson from Carey at GT3 Creative, who showed us how to repair our vinyl wrap. He loved our design and said it was one of the best jobs he's seen on a full hull wrap. (Thank you, Brieuc from Adhésolutions in La Grande Motte, France, for our beautiful wrap, extra vinyl material, and patch kit!)
Carey had some good tips, and now we feel confident we can make minor repairs as needed in the future.
Let's make it official
Finally, we had formal training scheduled for the next few days with our Yacht Broker, Pete McGonagle. He is a 200 Ton USCG Master and knows Outremer catamarans inside and out. We knew this would be a very valuable and necessary experience. Pete grew up nearby, so he suggested some excellent places to sail each afternoon, both upriver and outside along the coast. Third Beach was one of our favorites where we anchored (more good practice) for lunch.
Pete checked our safety equipment and fire suppression, worked with our three remaining sails, and helped Steve rig a boom preventer for use going downwind. He also showed us how to un-pickle and use our water maker, use navigation instruments, prepare for departures, docking, anchoring, and picking up a mooring.
Kelsea even got some sailing coaching and took to it naturally. She loves being at the helm like her mother!
The end of the week brought our official sign-off, which certifies to our insurance company that we have the skills and knowledge to be safe operators of our vessel. We thanked Pete for sharing his expertise and preparing us for success. Now we're ready to do this.
We turned our sights to our 4th of July celebration. We settled in, just the three of us aboard for a BBQ with a perfect view of the fireworks off Fort Adams. But alas, poor weather forecast postponed the official display until the 5th. Many of the residents along the harbor carried on with their parties and set off their own rockets anyway.
What a treat to be in Newport for a double firework show on July 4th and 5th! It was a perfect ending to our training weeks.
Happy 4th of July and God Bless America!!