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
Wednesday, August 29
Cuttyhunk to Block
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Monday, August 20
Northeast Harbor to Round/McGlathery,
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
Saturday, August 18
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
Saturday, August 11 Rockland to
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.
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,
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 Rockland
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.
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!).
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
sailing the whole way. Good fun!
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
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...
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.
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!