Today’s tide schedule dictates a 12:45 PM departure from the Marina at Harbour Place in Portsmouth. This permits yet another relaxed breakfast at a sidewalk cafe in Market Square.
At 12:55 PM, we contact our bridgetender friend at Memorial Bridge, requesting a 1 PM opening. We hover closer to the bridge just prior to opening, not wanting to evoke the chastisement we received from this gentleman earlier in the week. Even though the tide is slack, there is still a considerable amount of current pushing Cutter Loose towards the bridge. Arrive at the opening too soon and we risk being swept against a 20 foot bridge with a 62 foot mast. Arrive too late and we risk a verbal whiplashing by the bridgetender.
Precisely at 1 PM, the bridge begins to creak and groan. Within seconds of the opening, Cutter Loose has transited the bridge and is proceding downriver free of criticism from our friendly bridgetender friend. No sooner are we under the bridge than a call on VHF 13 is transmitted by a commercial fishing vessel requesting the bridgetender to hold the opening for a few more minutes. This vessel is so far upriver that it is not even visible to us. The bridgetender calmly reassures the captain of the fishing trawler that the bridge will remain in the lifted position until the vessel arrives. There is definitely a hierarchy of priorities on the part of this friendly bridgetender and pleasure boats are at the bottom of the heap. No problem. We transmit our expression of gratitude to Mr. Friendly. We are headed downriver to sea. All is right with the world.
Today’s destination is Gosport Harbor in the Isles of Shoals, just 9 short miles from Memorial Bridge. Cutter Loose is currently attached to a Portsmouth Yacht Club mooring between Smuttynose Island and Star Island. The rule here is that transients are permitted to use the PYC moorings free of charge. But if a member of the club should arrive, the transient boat would be required to move off of the mooring and into the general anchorage area. This is a low-risk proposition. There is little threat of yacht club members arriving in the late afternoon thunderstorms that are pounding this harbor.
Star Island is the home of a retreat center operated by the Unitarian Universalist Church. Many other church groups utilize this facility as well. There is ferry service to the island from Portsmouth.
There is one more line of showers and thunderstorms to the west that will pass over the Isles of Shoals in the next hour. This precipitation is associated with a weak cold front that will make its way offshore overnight. The forecast calls for sunny skies tomorrow with moderate winds out of the northwest. This raises the possibility of a spirited sail in the morning as we head northeast to Portland.