July in New York came in hot and humid. You can rack up a big carbon tab flying to a more agreeable climate and culture. Or you can sail north, say to Newfoundland, where July temperatures are in the 60s and 70s and the French island of St Pierre offers a taste of a small provincial village.
Robin and I set off down the Hudson River for the ocean the afternoon of July 1 – the hottest day of the summer so far. Relief was immediate with a cool breeze, even on the river. We anchored overnight north of the George Washington Bridge and slipped out through the Narrows on the early morning ebb tide. By seven am we shut off the engine, pointed our bow east for Nantucket Shoals, and set our sails.
Sail travel is true slow travel. The passage from New York to St Pierre took eight days. The ocean south of Long Island was littered with mylar balloon trash – if you think releasing a balloon is magic, think again. But pilot whales and a breaching humpback visited us anyway. We spent the next three days ghosting in light winds and fog, then the fog lifted off the continental shelf and the breeze filled in for three sparkling days and starry nights as we ran offshore of Nova Scotia.
We had to run the engine four hours to get out of the river in light winds, then needed to run the engine one hour when we were becalmed in the fog in the Boston shipping lanes. One more hour to get us into the harbor in St Pierre, where the baguettes and quiche at Josephine’s Salon de The are still marvelous.