New London Light B, CT


New London Ledge Lighthouse

New London, CT

One of the more unique lights on Long Island Sound, this beautiful place always reminds me of an old opera house!

Many years ago, returning to Darien from Block Island, while powering our family sailboat through the Race on a very windless and foggy day, we got hung up on a string of lobster pots. There were at least ten lobster buoys wrapped around our prop.  The good news was that it acted as an anchor, holding us fast to the bottom in the swift, dangerous current running out of Long Island Sound. The bad news was that if we ever broke loose, we would drift out of control.  We couldn't use our engine and our sails were useless. 

We called the Coast Guard!  Through a series of horn blasts and radio, those remarkable, courageous sailors somehow found us in the fog.  They tied us alongside and by listening for the horn from this light, brought us safely into New London Harbor.

At the dock, we were able to clear the prop of the lobster buoys and when the fog cleared, we continued on our way! 

Built in 1909, at the mouth of the Thames River, this light stands fifty-eight feet high and guides mariners into New London Harbor. A foghorn was added in 1911. Her uncommon light patterns, of three flashing groups of white, alternating with a flashing red every thirty seconds can be seen for fourteen miles.

Ghost legend has it that around 1930, a keeper's wife ran off with a Block Island Ferry Captain. The keeper, apparently undone, jumped to his death on the rocks below the light.  However, I’m told he still visits!

The Coast Guard took over and lived at the lighthouse from 1939 to 1987. Most didn't care for the obvious confinement and were happy to leave.

Alfred La Banca      Sailor/Artist     Darien, CT

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