s/v Esmeralde

Jamestown, Rhode Island





Esmeralde's Advenutures (and other stuff too!)


Maine Cruise 2007  This is ESMERALDE's 10th cruise to Maine in 11 years.  The only one we missed was last year, because we did the Newport Bermuda Race instead.   This month (August) is also our 10th Anniversary, so it's a celebratory cruise for all of us. (Entries in reverse chronological order, most recent first.  Photo at right by www.wavelengthstudios.com.)

Wednesday, August 29 
 Cuttyhunk to Block Island

Although we were tempted to hang in Cuttyhunk for the day, conditions were perfect for the Block Island.  It was glassy calm when we left in the morning, but the breeze filled in from the south east, giving us a nice beam reach, and stayed there until we rounded North Reef against a hard outgoing tide, and motored to the entrance of Great Salt Pond as the late afternoon SW sea breeze filled in.  All this feels like a favorite old shoe...comfortable home waters.  And believe it or not, this is our first visit to Block Island this year.  John and Antionette were there on Sunshine and we had a quick hello with them.  Our CCA moorings were taken and there were no town moorings available, so we anchored in plenty of room.  It's very pleasant in the anchorage when it's not too crowded, but we dread the coming long weekend out here, as it will get crazy.  Hopefully one of the CCA moorings will open up in the morning.

Tuesday, August 28 
Provincetown to Cuttyhunk

Provincetown is Provincetown.  We wandered around town a bit, but Alec wasn't up to much of a walk so we saw just a small bit of the rather exotic show that P-Town puts on for its visitors.  The harbor wasn't crowded, but there were a number of boats that we have been playing 'tag' with as we've made our way down the coast.  We left Provincetown on a still morning and motored across a glassy-calm Cape Cod Bay, arriving at the canal entrance at peak flow west.  It was a lovely and fast trip through, at times reaching over 12 knots over the bottom.  On the Buzzards Bay side it was mercifully calm: not the horrific chop that builds when the southerly is coming in against the current.  What a relief!  As we made our way down the Bay the southeast breeze built, and we had a very pleasant beam reach to Cuttyhunk.  We continued into the pond and found at least a dozen town moorings available inside.  What a nice surprise!  Cuttyhunk was calm, quiet, beautiful, with a lovely moonrise.  The boats were quiet, no parties.  A nice contrast to summer weekends when it can be a bit much.  This reminds us how nice Cuttyhunk is in the fall, and makes us a little less sad that summer is coming to a close.  There will be some wonderful weekends ahead--we hope.  We're in home waters: it's good to be back, as we do love this area.

Monday, August 27 
Gloucester to Provincetown

One of the summer's "Top Ten" sails!  We left Gloucester in a steady, cool, crisp northerly breeze, and took a detour to the east to cross the top of Stellwagon Bank.  It was great close reach for about an hour and a half, bounding along at an easy, releaxing 7.5 knots with main and jib.  Once we got to Stellwagon we bore away to sail down the length of the sanctuary and put the spinnaker on.  Perfect sailing conditions, with 15 knots apparent at 120 degrees.  There was a big Hinckley 59 doing the same thing, and once we opened the chute we rolled right over them, convincingly.  Always a kick!  Spotting whales was difficult because of the waves, white caps and sparkle on the water but we did manage to see a number of them.  Only one came close: a big fellow who appeared to be on a track to cross right in front of us dangerously close.  As we converged I charged to the helm to avoid a maritime disaster, but the whale thoughtfully slowed to a full stop just about a boat length away for us, held his position, rolling in the chop and blowing for the camera, until we passed safely in front of him.  He then proceeded on his was past our stern.  Good show!

Sunday, August 26 
Portland to Gloucester

This is the part of the trip we like least: long hauls down the coast, frequently with adverse wind and weather, no scenery, few good ports.  Today we got relatively lucky.  We left Portland with an exodus of boats that had been holed up wating for the strong southerly to blow itself out.  It started out lumpy and not too comfortable, with the wind close on the nose.  Motorsailing, 8 - 14 knots.  As the day wore on the wind clocked slowly and the sea smoothed out.  We made better progress, it was more comfortable, and we got some push out of the main.  Option A was Isles of Shoals, which we don't like.  Since we were making good progress we decided to push on to Anisquam, Rockport or Gloucester.  Anisquam Yacht Club had no moorings available so that was out.  Rockport couldn't handle our draft, so that was out.   So we decided to go on to the Eastern Point Yacht Club, just inside the breakwater in Gloucester.  Although we like going through the Anisquam, going outside looked to be a little quicker and since we were pushing Alec's limit, that's what we did, and arrived at the yacht club at about 5:30.  A 10-hour day.

Eastern Point Yacht Club is lovely.  I can't understand why nobody seems to know about it or use it as a layover heading up and down the coast.  Although there is some roll from commercial traffic in and out of Gloucester, and it would be exposed to the length of Gloucester Harbor in a northerly, it is a beautiful and hospitable stop.  Guests can use the dining room, pool and snack bar.  There's launch service, and the staff is quite friendly.  We were very pleased to find it. 

Saturday, August 25 
Portland & Cape Elizabeth

A real lay-day for the Esmeralde crew.  Bruce's niece Faith, nephew Michael, sister Sarah and brother-in-law Drew came down to the boat to visit.  We had hoped to take them all for a sail, but with the forecast of very gusty winds, and hot hot hot temperatures, we decided it wasn't the right day.  They drove us back to their new (old) home in Cape Elizabeth, where Sarah has dived into big landscaping projects and they are contemplating various improvements to the house.  We met the two new rabbits, and Alec was transfixed by the cats wandering within nose-shot.  Wonderful spot, lovely neighborhood.  Drew fired up the barbie and we had great burgers with cold beer.  Perfect hot summer lunch.  Thanks, guys, for the hospitality.  We owe you a sail next time.  Drew and the kids drove us back to DiMillo's, and Bruce took Faith and Michael for dinghy rides around the marina.  Not the same as a sail aboard Esmeralde, but it will have to do for now.  More next time!

Friday, August 24

Today was a boat day, since we're alongside at DiMillo's Marina.  Scrubbing, waxing, polishing.  A good thing for the boat, when you've been out for about a month.  Since we try to keep up with boat work daily, these boat days really aren't too bad.  The boat was basically clean, but the heavy soap-and-fresh-water hose-down helps keep the gear ship-shape.  Felt good, and the boat looks great!  Also peaked at a 200 Tartan 4100, La Retreat out of Stamford, CT, and chatted with her enthusiastic owner.  It is interesting to compare the two boats.  Lunch break was a well-deserved lobster roll & beer on the top deck of DiMillo's Restaurant, where we enjoyed perfect temperatures, a delightful breeze and a great view of the harbor.  Turn your nose up at it if you wish, but it has it's merits, for sure.  For dinner we had our sights set on something simple, but ended up at Cinque Terre, across from Street & Co.  We sat outside (Alec can come next time), and it was very good. 

Thursday, August 23 : Our 10th Anniversary!
Tenants to Portland

Our last morning of what we would call "real Maine cruising ground."  We woke up in Tenants to get an early start.  the 5:30 am dawn was spectacular, with rapidly changing colors and sky patters.  Quite beautiful.  An exceptional departing note.  We dropped the mooring at 6:15, after giving Alec a nice walk ashore, and headed out and around, bound for Portland, 55 miles away.  We were taking advantage of the southeast forecast to make ground before the strong southwesterlies followed.  Although we hoped to get a nice steady spinnaker run out if it, the wind hovered between 2 and 7 knots, not enough to keep on enough pace to get us in to Portland in a time-frame that Alec would consider reasonable.  So we motored.  Thankfully we had the main on, as the sea, although basically calm, was confused and lumpy and every now and then the boat rolled and bobbed miserably.  Nonetheless, we made blueberry banana bread to  dull the monotony.  Wonderful smell from the galley on an otherwise grey, chilly day.  The visibility was spectacular, and we could see the Camden Hills almost until we picked up Cape Elizabeth on the port bow.  All this, and a sunfish outside of the entrance to Tenants, and a pod of whales south of Boothbay.  Not a bad run. 

For our anniversary, Alec, Bruce and I wandered over to Street & Co., our favorite Portland restaurant. We sit outside, where Alec can join us.  Very nice.  Here's to the next ten...and many more.

Wednesday, August 22
  Merchants Row to Tenants

We capped off our visit to Round & McGlathery with breakfast aboard Skater, where Darcy cooked up a wonderfully indulgent breakfast of fried eggs, whole grain toast and scrapple.  It was indeed a treat, but I'd advise anyone trying it NOT to read the ingredients on the scrapped package!  We took leave of Skater and had a brief moment of panic as we sailed slowly out past Round Island.  Bruce thought something had jammed the rudder and we had lost steering.  After a bit of a fire drill he discovered the autopilot had engaged.  Neither he nor I had been anywhere near the pilot head, so the only thing we can think of is that Alec might have pushed the button while walking by on the cushions.  Mystery, but fortunately no problems.  We had a lazy sail-motor-sail south across East Penobscot, through the maze at the bottom of Vinalhaven Island, and across to Tenants Harbor.  Although the sailing wasn't very exciting, the views were quite lovely: Mt. Desert in the distance to the east, Isle au Haut to the southeast, and, as we rounded Vinalhaven, the Camden Hills to the west.  It was a beautiful Maine day.

Tuesday, August 21
Round Is and McGlathery Is, Merchants Row

We woke up to a perfect Maine morning.  I did my daily chamois of the decks to clean everything up, then rowed into the little beach with Alec to give him his morning stretch.  Lovely day.  Calm, clear, cool, dry.  Nothing to do but relax.  Read.  Snooze.  Do the round-McGlathery hike (I stayed aboard with Alec while Bruce, Cleave and Darcy did the hike).  Cleave and Darcy joined us aboard for dinner.  Another pleasant evening with friends in a beautiful spot.

Monday, August 20
Northeast Harbor to Round/McGlathery, Merchants Row

Finally time to leave Northeast Harbor...  We headed to Merchants row, where we planned to meet Cleave & Darcy aboard Skater.  It was the typical Maine trip:  some great sailing with good breeze, some flat calm, some frustrating come-and-go.  Nice relaxing day.  When we arrived at the anchorage between Round and McGlathery (one of our favorites), there were already two boats there, one of which was Rick and Robin on the schooner Appledore (#1).  This was a nice surprise, as we have passed them a few times during the cruise but never actually spent any time catching up.  We anchored three times (!!) just to get it right, tucked in about as far as we could comfortably go between the two islands.  It's a beautiful spot, and has great access to get Alec ashore at any tide, and he can wander freely on the trails.  Skater arrived a couple of hours after us, and soon enough we were all piled into her cockpit drinking and eating and generally having a delightful evening.  Rum, wine, Salmon, blueberry crisp.  Perfect evening.

Saturday, August 18
Somes Sound

What a sail!  After a morning of drenching rain, the skies burst clear around noon and a gusty northwest wind blew in.  The Morris Yachts 35th Anniversary is in full swing, and on their calendar for this afternoon was a sunflower raft.  We thought this would be fun to see, so we decided to go out for a sail and to watch the fun.  When we got outside of Northeast Harbor we saw all the Morris participants under sail, and found the wind gusting to over 20 knots.  Clearly, the sunflower raft wasn't going to happen.  Instead there seemed to be a fun race setting up, so we wandered over, staying clear of the fleet.  We ended up following them up Somes Sound for an incredible sail.  The breeze was sometimes gusting over 30 knots true, so it was a bit of a job short-tacking up the sound.  Bruce got quite a workout (cursing me for saying "no" to power winches) while I steered.  Clear, sunny, incredibly beautiful.  Gorgeous colors.  All the little Morris boats were charging around, looking great and having fun.  Great show, good for Morris!  Great fun for us.  The reach back down the sound was a real relief.  Although we were still seeing up to 30 true, we were doing over 9 knots through the water, almost 10 over the bottom at times, with just our main and 105% jib.  Great day!  The only disappointment was that we were much too busy to take pictures.  Onne was there (and lots of other cameras as well) so there will be some spectacular material emerging in the days to come.  Photo at left: Bruce and the Trinka rescue the Northeast Harbor Moorings team after their engine conks out.

Friday, August 17
 Northeast Harbor

Had one of our favorite Maine sightings today: Dean and Kathy aboard Briar Patch, the charming McIntosh Cutter that Dean built himself over 20 years ago.  She is, as always, in immaculate condition with just a few upgrades that conceded some of the advantages of our electronics world.  The old Datamarines gave out last year, so she sports new (square) Raymarine instruments.  We had a really pleasant visit with them aboard Esmeralde, catching up on friends, family, adventures and future plans.  Theirs include a trip to the Bahamas in 2009, which will be a repeat adventure for them after I think twenty years.  We will look forward to following that cruise when it happens.

Wednesday, August 15
Seal Bay to Northeast

Well, I had a wretched, sleepless night running back and forth to the toilet, and got up feeling miserable.  Bruce tended to chores and I lay around, trying to get my legs under me.  Eventually we figured we had to pull up.  The wind was gusting up to 20 out of the SW, and the incoming tide was pulling hard on our stern anchor.  Although the boat was lying comfortably, we didn't really want to stay.  Getting everything up turned out to be a bit of a circus, with lots of marital "discussion", but we eventually prevailed.  In the middle of it all, fellow CCA member Nick Newman arrived on Katrina, gliding in gracefully over the bar.  We were, uh, in the midst of it all, so we didn't give the normal halloo and friendly chat.  Sorry, Nick (note to self: applogize to Nick later!).  Eventually we extricated ourselves without fouling the prop or drifting into the bricks.  Good exercise.  Got the main on, headed out, and turned off the engine at the entrance for a terrific 30-mile beam/broad/close reach to Northeast Harbor.  It was gray and cold, with a little bit of rain, but what a great sail!  The boat flew along at 7.5 - 8.5 knots under main and jib.  Balanced, steady, easy.  Only a couple of times, in gusts to 25 - 27 knots, did she give us any lip.   

On arriving at NE, we found all the moorings were full so we got an outside mooring from Clifton Dock.  We were really OUTSIDE, and knew before we even picked it up that it would be a rolly night.  Other went straight to bed while Bruce and Alec tended to the boat. 

Tuesday, August 14
 Camden to Seal Bay

Had a lovely dinner last night as guests of Tim and Bev of September Song at Nadines (I think I have that right) in the old Camden Harbor Inn.  Wonderful dinner, wonderful company.  Thank you.  Woke up in Camden this morning to a beautiful northwesterly breeze.  Did some final provisioning, and picked up our spinnaker pole fitting from Chuck Paine (thank you, Chuck!).  Watered and fueled at Wayfarer.  Had a chat with Tim and Bev on September Song, then headed out (still didn't know for where, as usual...).  Finally decided to run through Fox Islands Thoroughfare, just because it was a broad reach over and would give us various destinations at the other end.  Had a wonderful sail to and through most of the thoroughfare (sailed the whole way, but it got very light, as usual, at a few spots.  Out-sailed a Morris 46 at one point, which was fun.  On reaching the other end, we decided to go back to Seal Bay.  Once again there were a bunch of boats, so we tucked in behind our little island, anchored bow-and-stern.  We had some discussion about whether to simply set two anchors off the bow, or bow-stern, a discussion that would continue in the morning when time came to haul them all back up.  Lovely spot, once again, although neither of us was feeling too well by then so we didn't really have dinner.  I ended up barfing much of the night, which was rather unpleasant.  Bruce had had GI problems all day, so obviously we got into something, but we don't know what...

Monday, August 13

Lay Day in Camden.  Partially because we have are waiting for a part, partially because it's raining, and partially--or maybe mostly--because it's Camden, we are hanging out here for the day.  And another bonus is running in to the owners of a brand new 386, September Song.  We had corresponded by e-mail with Tim & Bev, from Dallas, after Cleave had referred them to us and our web site when they were doing research during their build process.  When we motored over this morning to introduce ourselves they recognized not us but Alec, of course.  It's always fun to catch up with others who have gone through the same exciting and challenging process as we did in purchasing a new boat.  We're looking forward to dinner with them this evening to learn more about their experiences and their plans.

That part we're waiting for...  While under spinnaker yesterday we made a last minute decision to put up the pole so we could carry it square down Owl's Head Bay, and in the excitment the pole didn't get properly secured at the mast so when the pressure came on, it raced upwards and turned the lovely forged stainless pole end fitting into a knawed-on pretzel.  Forespar is sending the new fitting to Chuck Paine's office, where we will pick it up in the morning.  Thanks to good friends in fine places!

Sunday, August 12
 Tenants to Camden

Another light-air day.  We motored/sailed/drifted in company with Skater up Muscle Ridge to the little anchorage between High and Dix islands.  Bruce and I grilled up some wild salmon, Darcy brewed a salad, and Cleave poured sherry while Bruce poured red wine.  Civilized or what?!  Skater then hauled up and sailed on in to Rockland.  Esmeralde hoisted sail, popped the spinnaker, and had a bit of a roaring run down the rest of Muscle Ridge to Owls Head.  As we approached Owls Head Bay it became clear we needed the spinnaker pole, as the wind would be directly on our stern.  We got it put together, but were a little late as the wind went aft before it was fully set up.  We had a bit of a chinese fire drill.  The pole wasn't secured in place so the mast end shot upwards as the pressure came on.  We got it all sorted out without careening ourselves onto the bricks, and had terrific run as the wind crept past our "danger point" of 20 knots true.  We discovered later that we damaged the pole end fitting and will have to replace it.  We're now on a float in Camden's inner harbor.  Appledore I is here, as well as all the other big schooners doing the weekend change of passengers.  Very pretty (and very hot) as always.  Also here is September Song, a new 386 we've been looking for.  It will be fun to catch up with them in the morning. Photo at right Andrew Sims, www.wavelenghtstudios.com.

Saturday, August 11
 Rockland to Tenants

With Alec feeling better, and having enjoyed the Maine Boats & Harbors Boat Show, we had a choice: try to chase Saint Roque off to Roque Island, or run down to Tenants to catch up with Cleave & Darcy who were running in overnight from Portsmouth.  With Roque more than 80 miles to the east, and a forecast of very light wind, we opted to head for Tenants.  This would also be easier on the pup.  No wind.  We motored the entire way, picked up a mooring off West Wind Inn by early afternoon, and spent a relaxing afternoon.  Had a "Chuck Sighting" as we entered, always fun.  Caught up with Cleave and Darcy in time for cocktails aboard Esmeralde followed by dinner at Cod End.  Voracious bugs as always, but a great evening none-the-less.

Friday, August 10

Alec is doing better.
  For those of you who are concerned about Al, he found a wonderful vet in Rockland, Dr. Dowling of Lakeview Veterinary Hospital.  Dr. Dowling was wonderful with Al, and diagnosed a bacterial infection in his right ear (we had been treating him for a fungal infection--which he may also have had).  So we have new medication, and we hope he'll be feeling markedly better within 48 hours.  Thank you, Dr. Dowling.  Dr. Dowling also advised us that Alec is a little overweight (duh, Bruce...) and that we should control his diet a little better.  No more pizza at midnight, boys, and a little more exercise!

Today was the first day of the Maine Boats, Home & Harbors Boat Show.  Since we were here anyway, we thought we'd have a look.  What a fun show this is.  Low-key, lovely boats of all sorts, talented artisans, and good friends to catch up with.  Amanda (Montgomery) Newcomb, Brenda & Bentley Collins, John Correa, Wythe Ingrids...(?) & Eric Roos, Rodger Martin, Sarah Bloy, Paul Powers.  We really had fun.  Wonderful lobster rolls.  Cool antique motors (Bruce bought some raffle tickets for a 50 year-old motor to go with the raffle ticket we bought two weeks ago for my new Harley Sportster!)

Rockland has been a nice stop.  In keeping with our low-key approach to cruising Maine this year: slow, easy, pace, much
to keep Alec happy and comfortable.  Some lovely scenes.  Ospreys are plentiful in the harbor, and in spite of some of the commercial/industrial backdrop, there are parts of the harbor that are lovely.  And the Natural Foods Store, a co-op of local growers and producers, is really wonderful.  We went ashore at the dock of the Atlantic Challenge, north of the ferry dock.  We went to the office and asked permission.  They were very hospitable.  The health foods store is to the right, and right across the street.  You can get anything you need there (like more wild Maine Blueberries and FABULOUS brownies :)!!).


Thursday, August 9 
Castine to Rockland

What a sail! 
We left Castine at 8:30 in the morning in a brisk, clear, dry, beautiful northwesterly breeze.  Destination, Rockland, to get Alec to a vet to check out his ears.  Popped the spinnaker as we left the Bagaduce River, and TOOK OFF!  Sailed at 8.5 - 9.3 knots through the water, 9.5 over the bottom.  Our fat little cruising boat can really fly!  It was an thrilling sail, and helped to take our minds off our little pup, who has not been feeling too good.  The boat behaved beautifully as the breeze blew between 16 and 21 true.  It started to gust higher, and she became a little more feisty.  Finally, a gust hit 26 and she broached.  Not too badly, but boom and spinnaker hit the water, and she rounded right up.  No ability to steer.  While the spinnaker flapped madly, the sheet popped off the clew.  No damage, but we scooped the chute in and took it down.  The rest of the sail was still delightful: we headed up a few degrees towards the entrance to Rockland and ran along on a beam reach with jib and main at a fast and comfortable 8 knots.  Can't beat it!


Sunday August 5 - Wednesday, August 8

Wednesday, August 8: Castine in the Rain...
is today's chapter.  Pouring rain, gray, windy.  We came in yesterday from Buck's Harbor in order to sit out a low pressure system moving overhead.  Winds forecast SW 15 - 25, rain, thunderstorms.  Why not hang out in a pleasant town?  We love Castine: handsome architecture, quiet streets lined with stately elm trees, few tourists, great lobster rolls at the corner variety store (who'd have thunk?), and a nice little bookstore/cafe/gift shop with a good (free) wireless connection. 

We left Northeast Harbor on a nice Sunday morning with a slight bad taste.  I was loading the clean  laundry into the dinghy at the dinghy dock when a young twerp dressed like a paratrooper wannabe, complete with pants tucked into combat boots, approached me and asked for my dinghy registration.  Well, we don't have a registration for our sailing dinghy with 2-hp motor.  He was arrogant and obnoxious, and asked if I felt it was fair and appropriate if he were to give me "just an official warning citation" that we were not permitted to be in Maine waters without registering our motor.  Jeeez.  Then he proceeded to ask my name, rank, age and serial number, plus my height, weight, eye and hair color.  By the time he got to the height part I was pretty annoyed and told him "six feet."  THAT got his attention.  "Do you have a problem with this?"  Well, I did, and I told him so.  Anyway.  I motored away with my official citation.  What are we supposed to do now, return to RI to register our sailing dinghy, then come back to Maine?  I was good and mad.  We've cruised these waters for a month each year for ten years and have never heard of this.  We've also noticed LOTS of small dinghies w/ 2-hp motors that aren't registered.  Great way to welcome tourists spending money.  I couldn't get out of Northeast Harbor fast enough.  We might not be in compliance, but the officials could figure out a much better way to handle the issue. 

We had a nice sail out Northeast, through Southwest, out Western Way, and across the Bass Harbor Bar.   Then the breeze died outside of Bass Harbor.  We motored to one of our favorites: Buckle Harbor.  Lovely spot with magnificent views of Mt. Desert, and very quiet.  Just uninhabited islands, no people or buildings.  Alec loves Buckle Island, where he is welcome to roam around.  BBQd some marvelous swordfish, with fresh local peas and local tomatoes.  Homemade Blueberry Buckle (in honor of Buckle Harbor) for dessert with wild Maine blueberries.  And in the morning: cornmeal pancakes with more blueberries.  Life is good!

From Buckle we had a spectacular sail on Monday up the EggMcMuffin Reach, a spinnaker run almost all the way up to Bucks Harbor.  Besides being a lovely little harbor, Bucks is fun for us because the owners of Buck's Harbor Marine have two Scotties, Barclay and Horatio.  They love to play with Alec, and he, although the senior citizen of the bunch, does just fine with them.  It's a great treat for our little pup.  Sorry I forgot the camera when we went in for our visits.

After we arrived and were settled in Bucks we were hammered by a thunderstorm system with gusty winds that went on for three or four hours.  Lots of excitement in the harbor.  Frank Snyder's old Swan, Chasseur (now owned by Mike Keyworth of Brewers Barrington RI), came in during the height of it all, anchored three times, then finally gave up and took a mooring.  Meanwhile, as the wind veered 180-degrees THREE TIMES, an old work schooner with six senior citizens on board dragged her anchor and we all had quite a time watching them as they struggled with the big fisherman's anchor (no chain) and try to deal with the situation.  It was actually a little sad.  They seemed to have no idea how to handle the boat or gear.  Too many Patrick O'Brien novels, I think.

During one of the downpours Bruce was reading in the aft cabin and a torrent of water burst in over his head.  We had been chasing a leak back there for two years, but never one this bad.  He dove for the flashlight and confirmed it was coming from the deck scupper, as we suspected.  In the morning he went to work, and removed the drain cover and thru hull.  On inspection, we discovered that when the drain screen had been installed, someone had drilled right through the thru hull.  Because the hole was on the top side, it only leaked when maxed out, which was rare.  Bruce siliconed the hole and we replaced the assembly.  We contacted customer support at Sabre, and they immediately offered to send us a replacement fitting, and even to hand-deliver it at the Rockland Boat Show if we decide to go there.  Sabre is indeed a wonderful company to do business with.


Monday July 30 - Saturday, August 4

Sunday, August 4: We're swinging on a mooring in Northeast Harbor, where last night the thunderstorms, wind and rain that have been forecast for the last eight days finally caught up with us. It blew hard, and poured BUCKETS. Amazing lightning that went on for hours and hours behind a veil of thick fog. Fortunately, we were tucked in safely. Unfortunately, since we had become bored with this repetitive forecast that never materialized, all our deck cushions were out and our code zero sat on deck in its bag, getting soaked. You'd think we'd have learned by now...

We're having a great cruise. The weather has been generally good. A little fog here and there, sometimes quite thick, but not enough to stop us. In Boothbay Alec joined us on Sunday the 29th, and we had a delightful overnight visit from his chauffeur, my Mom. Hospitality at the Boothbay Yacht Club was pleasant, and we had a nice supper in the club on Sunday evening.  The Yacht Club is a welcome alternative to the bustle of Boothbay Harbor itself.  From Boothbay we motored to Tenants on Monday in a flat, calm, soupy fog. Lots of boats headed to and fro around us, calling out to one another and generally in good spirits. Tenants was quiet, and we enjoyed lobster rolls on the deck at Cod End with just a few other tables. We eavesdropped on some locals who were lamenting a quiet season, and few lobsters in the traps.

From Tenants we expected to head east, but ended up going through Mussel Ridge Channel--always a nice run, especially when the weather is clear--for Rockland. Bruce had discovered that the siphon break in our salt water cooling line had failed and was spraying salt water all over the engine. He wanted to get it fixed toute suite before the engine turns into a ball of rust. Along the way we also discovered a fault in either our automatic bilge pump or the float switch, so we added that to our work list. The public landing at Rockland is very nice, and you can tie up free for two hours. I went ashore to track down the various bits and pieces we needed. Hamilton Marine is OK, Journey's End was terrific. Got the siphon break at Journey's End and Bruce installed it. We cleaned out the bilge and got the bilge pump running properly--we thought.

Set sail around 3:00 PM for Fox Islands Thoroughfare. Bilge alarm went off. Big hullaballou. Alec and I sailed back and forth outside of Rockland while Bruce broke down the bilge pump system AGAIN. This time he isolated the float switch, which appeared to be malfunctioning. On the phone with the manufacturer. No help. We located a new switch, miraculously in Rockland, so we returned and picked up a mooring for the night from "Little Toot Moorings, Towing and Launch (a true home-grown Maine operation). And we broke out the rum bottle. The most spectacular thing about lying in Rockland Harbor was watching about half a dozen ospreys fishing for a few hours in the evening. Several times they dove right alongside, rising with their prey and heading back to their nests. Quite a show. And all this followed by a fireball of a moon rising mysteriously in the black eastern sky.

The next morning I walked the half-hour to Lewis Marine, on the outskirts of Rockland across the proverbial railroad tracks. Managed to get the switch (after some doing), and returned to the boat. Bruce installed the new one and we were off. Lovely sail across West Penobscot Bay, with our new Code Zero flying for the first time. Once we got it up it was terrific, but sorting out the new furler was a bit of a sideshow. We continued on through the Fox Islands Thoroughfare, sailing the whole way. Good fun!

Turned into Seal Bay on the east side of Vinalhaven Island and were disappointed to find lots of other boats already there in our favorite spot. We decided to be adventurous and tucked ourselves into a little tickle we had seen one boat in on a previous cruise. We needed a stern anchor to keep the boat in deep water. The first time I dropped it from the dinghy it was too far to one side, so we had to haul it up. Bruce did this by hand off the transom, and it was a bear. Once it finally came up we found we had hooked a lobster trap from some previous century. Huge, covered with foul gunk and very heavy. The two of us managed to disengage the trap from the anchor, and I tried again, this time placing the anchor better. We tucked in for a very pleasant night, with ospreys fishing overhead.

On Thursday, from Seal Bay we sailed and motored in light air across to Isle au Haut. Our plan had been to pass through the Isle au Haut Thoroughfare and continue on to Swan's or Frenchboro, but the thoroughfare was too shallow for us so we decided to grab a mooring and hang out for the day. Pleasant spot with a great little store and National Parks trails. The only problem was that our mooring was in an area of rather turbulent tidal flow, and while we were ashore  the tide turned against the wind, and our boat occasionally bumped a nearby lobster boat. Some scratches to the topsides. Not too bad, but the captain was apoplectic for a bit. A little polish, a little rum, and Alec and I got him to admit it wasn't all that bad. BBQd yummy burgers for dinner. Had a partially sleepless night when the tide again turned against the wind at about 2:00 a.m . We rolled and slopped about, but fortunately didn't hit the lobster boat this time.  (Note to self: next time, don't take the guest mooring nearest the store on the E side of the harbor.  Instead, take one of the moorings on the W side, or south of the town landing.)

Off in the morning (Friday) with no destination in mind. Ran into heavy fog just outside the harbor, and pushed through it into Merchants row, where it finally began to lift just a bit.  By the time we were through Merchants Row it had cleared.  We set the spinnaker for a while, then the wind died and we motored for a while. More breeze: Code Zero for a while. Then HEAVY FOG. Continued through York Narrows, where the fog lifted.  Tried the Code Zero on the other side of the Narrows, and fussed with the roller again.  Had cell coverage so we were able to get on the phone with North to get some advice. They helped answer some questions, and we're beginning to sort the thing out. At this point the wind went flat and the fog came in again like a monster, so we dumped the Zero and we picked our way across the Bar Harbor Bar with Bruce on the bow calling lobster pots, and me navigating, steering and scrutinizing the radar. About one boatlength of visibility, and some close calls with one or two yachts steaming fast directly opposite our route. Pushed through Western Way against a 2-knot current, still with ZERO visibility. Marched across the sound and managed to pick the entrance to Northeast Harbor, and even got a mooring for the night.  We were tired when we got there, ready for the rum bottle, of course.

Northeast is a delightful spot. All the conveniences you could ever want while off cruising. Small. Charming. Money--but still with plenty of local charm. We always arrive in some sort of unplanned manner, and end up staying for a day or two because it's hard to leave. Lobster rolls at the Dockside Resteraunt are even better than those ad Cod End. Blueberry Pie from Little Notch Bakery. Oh, and more rum, since we emptied our only bottle last night. Oh, and the bilge alarm went off again this morning. Guess it wasn't the float switch after all? New diagnosis: the bilge pump auto/manual switch. We'll tell that story in the next chapter!

So that's our cruise so far: more than you ever wanted to know! Fair winds.


Friday, July 27 (Departure Day) to Saturday, July 28...

We had a beautiful sail Friday after leaving New England Boatworks in Portsmouth, RI. Set the spinnaker at Brenton Point and carried it almost all the way to the Cape Cod Canal. Had some thick fog in Buzzards Bay, but it came and went: no real problem. The trip through the canal was warm and sunny, and fast, as we hit it at peak flow. We were doing 11 knots over the bottom at times. THAT'S progress. We exited the canal at about 6:30 during lovely evening light, under clear, dry skies. We set the spinnaker again and had a beautiful sail across Cape Cod Bay while the sun set and the moon rose. Lasagna was great, too. We were able to fly the spinnaker until almost midnight when, while we crossed Stellwagon Bank, the wind went light and the swells began to come in from the east, making flying the spinnaker very difficult.

So we motored through the rest of the night. While on Stellwagon we heard whales blowing all around us, so we turned the engine off and drifted, watched and listened for a while. Beautiful. Saw a few of the huge creatures in the moonlight as their backs broke the surface, and one even showed his flukes for us very near by, in the silver light. Most special scene. The fog finally descended for real sometime after midnight. Thick, wet, dense. The radar was our only set of eyes, but we only saw one boat all night lont, so it wasn't difficult. We're now running in moderate fog, hazy warm sunshine, for Boothbay, and should be in at about 3:00 this afternoon. Maine at last!


Bruce and Dorsey Beard