s/v Esmeralde

Jamestown, Rhode Island





Esmeralde's Advenutures (and other stuff too!)

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Maine Cruise 2011

What a nice cruise to Maine!  We arrived back in home waters on Thursday, September 1, right before Labor Day Weekend, and spent the first night at Cuttyhunk.  The next day we rode a nice northerly out to Block Island, where we were able to pick up a CCA mooring and hang out for Labor Day weekend.  And then...it's all over, and back home.

ESMERALDE's YouTube channel has cruise videos:

Overnight from Cuttyhunk to Tenants Harbor
Whale Watching on Stellwagon Bank

Cuttyhunk to Block Island - September 1 - 5

We woke up in Cuttyhunk on Friday morning to a brisk fall northerly, perfect for making the run to Block Island.  I took the dogs in early for a long romp, then went back to the boat to find Bruce up and about.  We made the decision to head for the Block, hoping to arrive early enough to snag a CCA mooring for the busy Labor Day weekend.  We had a great sail for the first couple of hours in a 20-knot northerly, giving us a fast and comfortable broad reach.  As expected, though, the wind didn't hold and eventually we rolled the jib, strapped in the main and motored on to the Island, arriving at about 1:30.  Hurray! there was a mooring available so we settled down for a few days of decompressing before the end of our cruise and return to reality.  The harbor was busy, but not as full as we might have expected.  We guessed that Hurricane Irene eliminated some of the crowds, as so many boats had been hauled out.  Also, Saturday brought a strong southerly that would have been unpleasant for boats coming over from Narragansett Bay, the the forecast was for plenty of wind through the weekend, along with scattered showers.  Ashore, the island was very busy but we enjoyed plenty of walks to and from town, a few beers at Mahogany Shoals, and good fun with some CCA folks as well as Garry and Barbara Bloom from Sea Diamond (from NEB) and Keven and Annie from Tiller the Hun.  The highlight was probably a stroll through Champlins on Saturday night when they were celebrating Christmas in September.  What an amazing display!

Overnight Home - August 31 - September 1

We left Camden at about 0730 on a beautiful clear, crisp fall day with a light northerly.  Absolutely perfect.  Our general plan was to head straight for the canal, but it was a long way and we wanted to find some way to shorten the trip for the dogs.  We contemplated Isles of Shoals, P-town, Tenants.  Then it struck me: Monhegan.  Directly on our course line, no extra miles, and, on a day like this, easy-in-easy-out.  It would knock five hours off the trip for the dogs.  And we'd never been there.  So we motored out of Camden (not enough wind to sail), wandered past Owl's Head and through Mussel Ridge Channel, then across to Monhegan, a trip of close to 30 miles.  We picked our way into Monhegan Harbor through the entrance from the north which was tiny tiny tiny, but we were at peak high tide so there was a little more room than normal.  A local lobsterman saw us arrive and directed us to a mooring.  We took the dinghy in to a small beach where island visitors were eating seafood at picnic tables under cheerful umbrellas.  It was a delightful scene.  We walked the dogs around for an hour.  Everyone pee'd and pooped.  Bruce bought a sandwich, and I bought a local squash and cucumber out of a roadside wheelbarrow, 50 cents each.  We poked our heads into the small but well-stocked general store and the shop lady gave us all kinds of Monhegan trivia.  As usual, the dogs were a hit everywhere we went, especially in their red lifejackets.  Great visit, great place to stop on such a calm, lovely day.

We had arrived at Monhegan at 1:00 pm, and we were under way again by 2:00.  I set our course for the canal entrance before we left our mooring, and it was a straight shot out of Monhegan harbor and directly to the canal entrance buoy.  It was a calm day, maybe 5 knots out of the south (not out of the north as promised, but oh well, at least it was light and beautiful. 

During the afternoon, as we motored along, we hit something.  It was a soft bump, but we definitely hit something.  Both Bruce and I popped up and stared in our wake.  I thought I saw an odd splash right under the port quarter, but that's it.  Then, after mabe 45 - 60 seconds, a large animal breached clear of the surface, maybe three boatlengths back and just off to port.  It had a blunt nose and large "wings" that were white on the underside.  We scratched our heads for awhile: small whale?  Shark?  In the end, I decided it had to have been a sunfish, but I didn't know if they could move that fast or jump out of the water.  We'll have to research that.  But my suspicions were further reinforced when we passed another sunfish, about ten feet from us, sitting on the surface, about an hour later.  So I do think that's what we hit and saw jump out of the water.

The rest of the afternoon was uneventful. The overnight was clear and glassy calm, with the breeze backing into the SE and E but staying under ten knots, so it was generally a motorboat ride.  We made good time, and were at the canal entrance by 10:00, a good two hours before the current would shift in our favor.

We headed into the Sandwich fuel dock to re-fuel, and to let the dogs have some relief.  For $10 they let us stay alongside for an hour or so, which we did in order to give the dogs more exercise and to wait for the current to change.  We headed out again at 11:30, 45 min before the change, and were out the canal by 1:00 and headed to Cuttyhunk for the night.  Arriving at Cuttyhunk at 4:00 we found at least half of the town moorings still available.  We actually tried to anchor, but the inside anchorage was tight and we found most other boats had only 50 feet of rode, which made us uncomfortable.  We would put out a lot more than that, and with a forecast that included the breeze working its way fully around the compass, we weren't happy with our anchoring options.  We ended up picking up a mooring.  Swordfish for dinner.  And a needed good night's sleep!

Camden - August 30

Back to Camden.  It was time to head home, and we needed to do laundry.  So we went back to "our" float at Wayfarer, where the gang at Wayfarer welcomed us warmly.  They had no power when we arrived so phones were out, but they were working on handheld VHFs.  And they were all hard at work launching boats that had been hauled in the few days before the storm.  Something like 40 boats.  Everyone was pretty exhausted, but ever cheerful and friendly.  Can't beat that attitude. 

Charlie and the boys came into the harbor shortly after we did and picked up a mooring outside (the problem with a fifty foot boat...).  We all had cocktails aboard Esmeralde: it was a lovely, typical summer Camden evening.  Then dinner on the deck at The Waterfront. The boys misbehaved a bit at the end, thanks entirely to Bruce.  Bret and Alex ended up getting thrown into the water off the dock.  Nice way to end a Maine cruise.  Charlie et al left for the overnight home early the next morning, while we stayed in Camden an extra day to do laundry, fuss, wait for a northerly, and enjoy one last Camden day.  I decided to go for a run - a beautiful route out Bay View Street to Rockport and back.  Two miles into the run I began to get sharp pain in my hip.  I tried to run through it, but ended up giving up at three miles and walking home.  So disappointing.  Beautiful route, though, which I'll have to try again next time we are there.

Pulpit Harbor - Hurricane Irene - August 27 - 28 - 29

In the end, Irene was a P.I.A. for us here in Penobscot Bay, but not much more than that, at least for us.   We were well prepared in an excellent harbor on a Very Big Mooring. There were plenty of boats, but it wasn't what I would call crowded at all.  Everyone had good swinging room, and many of us were on moorings.  We removed our headsail and the bimini, but left the dodger and mainsail in place.  We left the motor on the dinghy so we could get the dogs in, planning to remove it and all the dinghy contents only at the last moment.  We never did take the motor off: the dinghy rode out the storm on a bridle off the stern like a tethered duck.

We had our Hurricane Party aboard Bigouden, hosted by brother Charlie and his sun Bret and friend Alex.  Tom Young, who was riding out the storm on his lovely Alden Challenger yawl Christmas, also joined us for the fun.  There was plenty of wine, fresh swordfish and tuna from the "new" fish market in North Haven, and lots of veggies, salad and (thanks Bruce) strawberry rhubarb pie.  Pretty good stuff!

Irene dished out rain and wind all day Sunday, August 28, but nothing too bad.  The day started foggy but rain-free, with a very light easterly breeze. We got the dogs ashore, went for a nice walk to the North Haven Grocery, had coffee, used the internet and watched The Weather Channel on the big screen TV.  As we headed back to the boat it began to drizzle.  It did this on and off, but it wasn't bad.

The wind began to build shortly before noon, but it was very slow and not of any real concern.  Five to ten knots with gusts to 15 for a couple of hours, then 10 to 15 with gusts to twenty.  It stayed like that, from the E and SE, for most of the day.  We hung out, watched others mess with their boats and their multiple anchors and other details, and generally got bored.  The dogs got an "insurance run" ashore mid-day, just in case things got too bad to bring them in later on.

At dinner time things were still pretty mild.  The dogs got a final walk ashore.  They had great fun learning to play fetch with the hundreds of crab apples that had been torn from the trees along Pulpit Harbor Road.  We let them off-leash and they had a ball running up and down, until they started chasing each other instead of the apples and ended up on someone's back porch.  We ventured in to retrieve the little tresspassers, and put them back on-leash for the rest of the walk.  At least they blew off a little cabin fever.  We hauled out the BBQ and put it on the transom to cook dinner, and we even ate in the cockpit, although the lettuce threatened to take off in the breeze and I'm certain we will find small bits of it plastered in corners.

Things got a little more lively between 10 PM and 2 AM when the wind shifted into the SE and S.  We saw gusts to 40.  Charlie, who was a little farther out in the harbor, saw 45.  None of us got much sleep, not because it was dangerous or we were in trouble or anything.  It was just loud and boisterous and annoying.  So a long night, but safe.

Morning dawned to a crisp, clear, fall-like Maine day.  It was blowing briskly out of the SW, 10 - 20 with gusts to 25.  After walking the dogs, the wind had eased off enough for us to put our headsail back on, and we decided to make our way to Camden to do laundry and get ready to head south.   We spoke to Charlie, Bret and Alex aboard Bigouden, and Tom Young aboard Christmas, on our way out of the harbor at about 1030 am.

Pulpit Harbor - Waiting for Irene - August 25 - 26

We're hanging out in Pulpit Harbor, positioned, ready and waiting for whatever Irene intends to throw our way.  She's supposed to go ashore in western Long Island, head up through Connecticut, cross Massachusetts into New Hampshire, then across Maine.  Forecasts for the last three days have predicted tropical storm force (39 kts to 74 kts) winds from a variety of directions for us here in coastal Maine.  We think it will be pretty wet and messy, but as long as our ground tackle holds well, we think we're in good shape.  We're tucked in under the eastern shore of Pulpit Harbor.

At the moment it is beautiful: incredible sunrise, lovely scenery.  Warm and sunny day.

Brother Charlie arrived yesterday (Thursday the 25th) in Bigouden, with two teenage boys (nephew Bret and friend Alex) and found himself a nice little hole in the anchorage, where other yachts are beginning to arrive for the show.  This is a known hurricane hole, so the one problem is that we expect a bunch of folks to show up, looking for protection.  Camden is dreadfully bad in anything from the east, which is what we expect for much of the storm, so those boats are looking for anything better than their regular moorings.  They look here first.

Last night brought a strong front with torrential rain and lightning.  We hung out on our boat for a few hours in the aftrnoon with the BigDan boys (photo above), then went back to BigDan for a BBQ during a break in the weather action.  Had a really fun evening.  The boys were great, completely helpful, and they cleaned up everything afterwards.  The heavens opened again as we finished, so Bruce and the dogs and I had a very black, wet ride in for the final pee before returning to the boat to retire.

We're now enjoying a bit of the calm before the storm.  The pea-soup fog that we woke to this morning (Friday) has dissipated and we enjoyed a beautiful day here on North Haven.  I went for a run into town and back, while Charlie and the boys walked in (for ice cream!).  We discovered that there is a great fish market now in the village of North Haven, featuring beautiful looking fish as well as some fresh bread, bagels & focaccia baked by some enterprising islander.  We plan to head back tomorrow to buy dinner. Meanwhile,  Bruce wandered around the harbor in the dinghy talking to our fellow refugees. We all had dinner aboard Esmeralde while enjoying a spectacular sunset over the Camden Hills.  Pretty nice place to hang out.

Seal Bay to Pulpit Harbor - Wednesday, August 24

 Three sequential images of sunrise at Seal Harbor.

With Hurricane Irene threatening pretty much the entire eastern seaboard for the upcoming weekend, we needed to identify our options and make plans.  Our goal: to set ourselves up for a good, sheltered, safe spot for the weekend.  In addition, the forecast for the next three days is for strong southerlies and some strong thunderstorms with two approaching cold fronts, all before the hurricane.  So we pretty much need to tuck in and hang out.  So: off to Pulpit Harbor.  We also organized options for hauling out at Wayfarer before Irene.



Camden to Seal Bay, Vinalhaven Island - Tuesday, August 24

We took one extra day in Camden after the PBR in order to do laundry and re-stock.  We were mildly depressed by our on-the-water lack of performance, but still had great memories of good fun.  After getting fueled and watered, we headed through the Fox Islands Thoroughfare and finally decided to stop at Seal Bay, anchoring by Hen Island.  It was our 14th Anniversary!  Lovely spot, and only two other boats nearby.  Spectacular sunset.  Fun dinner with Prosecco, grilled shrimp and fresh local greens for dinner.  Very pleasant evening.




Camden: 2011 Penobscott Bay Rendezvous - August 18 - 21

We participated in the first ever Penobscot Bay Rendezvous, sponsored by Wayfarer Marine, Lyman Morse, and a bunch of other local companies.  GREAT FUN.  More info to follow, with photos.

But first...  We left Belfast for Camden shortly before 0700 in dense, dense, dense (did I say dense?) fog.  No wind, but dense fog.  We had to get to Wayfarer, as we were scheduled for a haul/inspection/zinc change/bottom scrub at 0930.  Wouldn't you know.  About a half hour out of Belfast we hooked a lobster pot on the prop.  Rats.  Tried mightily, but couldn't get it free, and neither of us wanted to go for a swim. 

 Fortunately, however it was hooked, we could still motor, we crept along slowly and carefully, with a long line trailing astern and remarkably little apparent impact, vibration or otherwise, from whatever we had hooked.  We arrived at Wayfarer and hour late with no reverse gear, but managed to get ourselves into the slings gingerly and out she came.  There was the pot, still on the prop, with the line wrapped around one blade.

As usual, the Wayfarer gang was outstanding.  They were responsive, helpful, and all-around wonderful.  We were back in the water within an hour, with a free prop, clean bottom and new zincs, and quickly tied up at our float at the head of the inner harbor, which was to be our home for the next four days. 




Penobscot Bay Rendezvous

The inaugural.  First.  And what a show.  Talk about pulling out all the stops...  Three days of racing for sailboats.  Poker Runs, Photo Pursuits and other on-the-water activities for the motor boats.  Dinner and fireworks at Lyman Morse. Cocktails at the Camden Yacht Club.  Dinner and dancing (with an outstanding band) at Wayfarer Marine.  And an awards ceremony featuring first place awards that were beautiful hand-made wooden lobster buoys, made by a woodworker at Lyman Morse.

Esmeralde elected to sail in the double handed class, as there were lots of husband-and-wife crews.  We had John and Cindy Knowles on the J46 Abracadabra, Tom Babbit and various crew on the J-42 Bravo, an Oyster 50-something named A-Lady, A J-109 True North, and a variety of other boats.  The first day of racing was an extremely light-air affair starting off Rockland, running up to Owl's Head, then back to Camden.  Esmeralde had a bad start, but we held our own on the first beat and managed to make up good time on the run.  We finished hot on Bravo's tail in a gusty finish that was great fun, for second place.  We were actually very proud of little Esmeralde's performance, especially given our poor start.

The second day of racing was, um, more interesting.  The wind slowly built at the start as the fog cleared out.  During the start sequence before ours, we were seeing 23 knots over the deck going upwind.  After waiting, watching, questioning, we decided to tuck in one reef.  We headed for the line feeling really good about our sail plan, fully powered up.  We were on a roll, half a length from the line at the gun and second only to Bravo, which was barging toward the pin.  Abracadabra was three boatlengths back.


Seconds after the start gun, with our dogs below because of the conditions, the top swivel on the jib furler blew apart (we figured this out later) and the jib came crashing down.  In order to stay out of the way of the fleet charging in behind us at full speed, I bore away to get clear, and this, of course, dumped the headsail into the water to leeward rather than nicely on deck.  So we had a bit of a fire drill getting it all back on board while the fleet worked its way around us, then we limped home.  Very, very disappointing.  DNF.

There was a great party that night, which helped to numb the pain.  Filet and lobster dinner.  Really good stuff, with a band that knocked our socks off.

Sunday morning we worked to get the jib furler repaired enough for us to sail the last race.  I went up the rig to retrieve the remaining bits and pieces.  One single bearing was in the upper unit, and it fell to the deck as I inspected.  Fortunately Bruce was able to retrieve it.  The Wayfarer rigging crew was able to scrounge spare bearings.  Bruce painstakingly re-packed the swivel (upside down, pushing the bearings up, while the swivel remained on the headstay...).  We got it back together, hoisted the jib, and were good to go for the day.

The third race saw very foggy conditions.  The breeze came in and the fog broke some, and the start sequences started.  All was fine, and the breeze was building nicely so it looked to be a great set-up.  We got nicely set-up at our warning gun, then rounded to head for the line with four minutes to go.  Four whole minutes.  And the breeze evaporated.  Everyone that wasn't sitting on the starting line when the warning gun sounded just sat where they were.  Not A Breath. WTF.  We ended up a full eight minutes late for the start, right in the middle of our fleet.  Unfortunately, the boats to beat had been near the line and were able to start with light, but adequate pressure.  So we sailed the course from eight minutes back.  We had a great sail up to the top mark, and rounded with the J-160s that had started two minutes behind us.  They beat us to the reaching mark, which, by the time we got there, was lost in total ZERO visability fog.  ZERO.  We worked our way down the dead-run in dense fog, watching our competition on radar.  One boat in our class crossed our bow on a reach, apparently totally lost as they were nowhere near a mark and headed for a ledge, which we saw them stop for only at the very last moment on our radar.  We were especially pleased to actually overtake two J-160s on the run.  Little Esmeralde seems very quick down wind.  We'll have to watch how she does.

At the leeeward mark there was zero visability.  We rounded simultaneously in a stiff breeze with the two 160s, three small PHRF boats under spinnaker, and a Kanter 50-something TeMana.  It was completely hair-raising.  Then a short beat to the finish, and no one could see the committee boat.  There were so many radar  targets it was impossible to tell which was what.  We spotted it only at the last minute, and tacked for the line with four other boats running hard and fast and tight.  We were squished between the Kanter and a 160, with everyone yelling for room and no visibility more than 100 feet.  Yikes.  Amazing there were no accidents.  A bunch of boats were DNF because they couldn't find marks or finish.  We ended up fourth in our class, in spite of our 8-minute-late start.  Once again, little Esmeralde (and her crew!) show some potential.  Now, if we could just get the starts going and keep the boat together all in one race we'd be good!

Anyway, great regatta, great fun, definitely on our list for next year.  Thank you, PBR crew!

Belfast - Wednesday, August 17 

Belfast is a wonderful stop.  We enjoyed ourselves immensely.  A wonderful small city with tremendous hospitality.  Some good restaurants, wonderful parks, nice shops, and a great place for some good runs.  It took us -- literally -- years to get here.  I've been hearing about it for a while but somehow we never made it.  Fortunately the weather Gods conspired with us this month and we had good opportunity and reason to stop in.  We enjoyed it!

Dinner the first night was supposed to be at the dive bar Rolly's, but it was $1 taco night thus extremely crowded, and we didn't want tacos.  So we wandered to dive bar #2, the Lookout (I think), truly a dive bar but we were almost the only ones there.  I had pretty good crab cakes on spinach salad, and Bruce had a burger.  Both respectable. 

Our first stop in the morning was the laundry.  Highly recommended.  Just up the hill from the town dock, it is large, clean, and has well-maintained efficient machines.  They also have a wash-dry-fold service, but we did it all ourselves in just a little over an hour.  Right next door is the natural foods Co-Op, a really sixties hippy-flavored place with lots of local product and all things natural and organic.  The local meats looked great, and bakery stuff looked fresh and yummy.  It is truly a chaotic jumble inside, but very good for provisioning (my style, anyway...).  While we were doing laundry we wandered over to the diner (can't remember the name, but a basic breakfast-lunch spot on the right side of the main drag as you wander up the hill from the waterfront.

Loads of galleries, but since I'm not really a gallery person I can't offer much comment.  I did find several good funky stores to wander through, and some "made in Maine" stuff that was nice.

I went for an afternoon run that was outstanding.  Started out running north along the waterfront, then took the little footbridge over the river to Route 1 and back for some pretty views.  Then went up the VERY STEEP hill from the footbridge and took a left at the top to run back through the top of town (where I bumped into Bruce and the puppies!) and continued south, out of town and through a gorgeous tree-lined neighborhood with lovely homes on either side.  Very peaceful, beautiful.  I would never have seen this but for the run, and highly recommend it for someone looking for a lovely walk.  Continuing a little over a mile south of town, and merging on to route 1-A, I ended up at City Park, an outstanding, lovely park on a long hill that slopes down to the water.  Lovely mature trees, lots of areas for relaxing, playing.  A small shelter right down by the water near some horseshoes pits where lots of local men where enjoying a vigorous game.  Tennis courts.  Swimming pool.  A snack shack advertising the "best home made ice cream in Maine!"  All very low-key, tasteful, pleasant.  And then I ran back through some local moderate neighborhoods between 1-A and the waterfront, small, modes 1/4 acre lots nicely maintained, nothing fancy. 

Had dinner that night at a wonderful Italian restaurant on the left hand side of the main street, something like Delphino's.  Excellent dinner, highly recommended.  Enjoyed chatting there with new acquaintances from the Burger at the dock, Jubilee (Judy and Bill).

Wonderful little town.  So glad we visited.  The last night treated us to clearing skies and a beautiful sunset.  And We'll Be Back!

Castine to Belfast - Tuesday, August 16

We stayed tucked in to Castine for two nights as we were pummeled by torrential rain.  Had lots of steamers and beer and Pinot Grigio ("Kris" wasn't bad at all) at Dennett's wharf, and nice walks around the pleasant tree-lined streets with elms and lovely homes.  While we were there, a Concordia that was on the first day of a charter out of Bucks (or Brooklyn -- we heard both) with nine people aboard managed to T-Bone a small motorboat on a mooring just off the dock.  The Concordia sustained minor damage to her stem, but the little motorboat looked darn near totalled, with a blown-out windshield and a cabin coming stove in.  The fellow on the Concordia was very humble.  Not a pretty moment, and one we all hope to avoid. 

After two rainy days in Castine we got a little cabin fever and decided to motor over to Belfast.  We left Castine in pouring rain, but not really much fog.  We passed the "State of Maine," Maine Maritime Academy's training vessel, and enjoyed the soggy views of lovely white homes lined up along the waterfront.  We motored across upper Penobscot Bay in a cold, wet, windy northerly.  It was gusting over twenty as we got out into the open.  There was little to see, but it was only about 10 miles across so a quick trip.  The harbormaster in Belfast was waiting for us on the float.  We were quickly tied up alongside, and settled in to dry out. 

We sometimes end up spending a few days alongside.  While we like being out on a hook in remote places, when it gets gray, wet and rainy we often like to lie alongside.  This is primarily because we need to get the dogs ashore a few times each day, and it's just so much easier when we are tied alongside.  So we do.  Appologies to the purists!

Wooden Boat to Castine - Sunday, August 14

Sunrise at Wooden Boat was beautiful.  Glassy calm, beautiful sky.  Hard to beat.  We had coffee, then took the dogs ashore for a long walk around the Wooden Boat campus, exploring boatbuilding projects in process, then a walk up the long dirt access road and back.  Good exercise for all of us along lovely land.

As we walked back to the dock facility we ran into a "student" who had just arrived for a week-long small boat sailing class.  We had a long, fun chat on the dock about all things boats, sailing, coastal living and various other minutiae.  He turned out to be an infectious diseases professor/researcher at Emory University.  Good fun and very interesting.  We sort of thought about spending the day at Wooden Boat, but in the end, with little wind, an advancing fog band and a forecast for rain, we decided to cast off the mooring and head northwest towards Castine.  We had a lazy slow motor as no wind ever developed, and were tied up at Easton's Boat Yard in Castine by 2:00 PM.  It was a nice trip with lovely scenery, but included gray skies and scattered showers.  We are happy to be in Castine: a nice stop and especially interesting for walking about, enjoying the architecture and history.  I even got in a great 4.5 mile run.  Can you say HILLS??? 

Blue Hill to Wooden Boat - Saturday, August 13

The day dawned with a nice forecast, sunshine and great scenery.  We hoped for a nice sail, and got under way early as a light westerly developed.  We got a little light air sailing down Blue Hill Bay, but the wind never really gained any consistency.  It shifted into the south so we turned up into the Eggemoggin Reach with some hope of a sail, but by the time we detoured into the bay where Wooden Boat is, no wind had developed so we picked up the guest CCA mooring and decided to hang out.  We rigged up the sailing dinghy and Dorsey went for a sail.  Light air, but fun anyway.  Mattie went berserk as Mom sailed by Esmeralde.  We grilled on board and had a nice walk ashore after dinner.  It was a pretty evening in a delightful spot.  Nice visit.


Northeast Harbor to Blue Hill - Friday, August 12

We hesitated on Friday morning before leaving Northeast Harbor.  Good friends aboard a sistership Sabre 386, Tim & Bev on September Song, arrived in Northeast on Thursday evening, and we would have loved to spend some time with them.  However, we had been in Northeast for too long, and they had plans to explore Bar Harbor and the music festival on Cranberry, so we decided to head out.  The weather cleared so we dropped the mooring and headed out the harbor and through Western Way.  The weather was clear, sunny and cool, and pretty much flat calm.  We put on the main and motored.  The views of Mount Desert and Acadia National Park were beautiful.


We motored across Bass Harbor Bar, with views of Bass Harbor Lighthouse, then headed across towards Casco Passage.  As we pushed west, the breeze came in from the South we decided head off to the North to have a nice sail.  The breeze developed out of the southwest and west and we had a spectacular sail up Blue Hill Bay, a close reach for the most part, with views of Mount Desert and Blue Hill, porpoises, harbor seals, lovely yachts and birds.  A really beautiful sail that we enjoyed tremendously.

We picked up a mooring at the yacht club at Blue Hill, and took a dinghy ride into town to take the dogs for an evening walk.  It was lovely, and on the way home we enjoyed views of a full moon rising over Esmeralde.  Really cool!







Northeast Harbor - Monday, August 9 - Thursday August 11

Monday in Frenchboro broke with thick fog, although the rain had stopped.  We hauled ourselves ashore with the dogs for a nice little walk around the harbor and contemplated our options.  We decided that as long as the visibility was zero, we'd stay put.

By noon, however, the fog had mostly lifted so nicely that we could at times see Mount Desert off to the north, so we decided to drop the mooring and head for Northeast Harbor.  We motored the 12 miles in a flat calm but rolly sea.  The skies stayed gray and cold, but the fog lifted so we had nice views of Mount Desert all the way across. 

Northeast Harbor was, surprisingly, not busy.  We had expected to find it crowded, as we had found Swan's and Buckle, but there were lots of moorings available and the dinghy dock was mercifully un-packed.  By mid-afternoon the northerly breeze had pushed all the gray weather off to sea and the sun came out to provide a beautiful clear, dry afternoon.  Perfect Maine weather.  We poked around Northeast, cleaned up the boat, had cocktails with Lloyd Hamilton and his wife aboard their Sequin, and finally had a simple supper with the dogs sitting outside at the Docksider -- which we found much too expensive for what we got.  Ice cream: OK.  Lobster rolls and lobster stew, not so much.

Wednesday: A beautiful day, as forecast.  We did our annual bus ride into Bar Harbor and had lobster rolls and steamers on the pier at a restaurant that welcomes dogs.  Always a fun little venture.

Thursday: pouring rain, fog, cold southeast wind.  We stayed put, pretty much as planned as this weather was in the forecast.  Computer work, laundry, shopping, hanging out reading, and for me, a nice long (8 mile) run up Sargent Drive, which parallels Somes Sound: quite a beautiful run.  Not a bad way to spend a grubby day.

Frenchboro - Long Island - Sunday, August 7 - Monday August 8

When we woke up in the morning, the fog had lifted (a bit, anyway) so we could see shore and see the rest of the fleet anchored and moored.  The forecast was for rain and a strong southerly.  In fact, it began to rain as we had the first cup of coffee, but it stopped and we were able to get a good 45 minute walk in, up to the store (which was closed until noon on Sunday) and back.  The dogs had a ball, but were absolutely filthy by the time we got them back to the boat so it was a fire drill to try to keep the boat from getting trashed.

Sunday breakfast.  Egg white omelets, lots of veggies, grilled english muffins, and yummy home made three-berry jam that we had purchased from a bench in front of a house ("Please leave your money in the tin!") the night before, and plenty of coffee.

With a bad forecast for the next few days, we pondered our options.  Stay put?  Northeast?  Bouzaid in Merchant's Row? We opted to motor the short distance across to Frenchboro.  As we headed (slowly!) out the back tickle, the fog descended thick and the rain started.  We had a cold, wet, no-visibility, but mercifully short trip across, and found plenty of room and several available moorings.  We picked one up and scurried below.  It looks to be a pouring, rainy day, good for books, naps, and updating the website.  We also hoped for a lobster dinner on the dock but at least when we arrived, there was no activity at all.  Sunday.

A walk ashore later reconfirmed No Activity.  The restaurant on the dock is only open for lunch (11 - 2).  We did find that there is now a "general store" just up the road from the dock.  It is a small shack and serves basic lunch food, 11 am - 7 pm.  They announce a "bonfire most nights" (no sign of one on this day). 

Basically, it poured rain in thick fog all day.  We hung out, boat-bound with books, wine and food.  Oh, and wet dogs.

Swan's Island - Burnt Coat Harbor - Saturday, August 6

Morning in Buck's Harbor brought the obligatory walk to the Buck's Harbor Market, where Bruce had to have a breakfast sandwich on a croissant.  Here we ran into a group of men having their 30th reunion weekend -- something they have done every year for 30 years.  They were lots of fun!

Shopping at the Buck's Harbor Market is actually quite good.  The meats look good, including some that are frozen, ready and packed for our little freezer.  Also, a good supply of local organic veggies and interesting grocery items.  Small, but a good place to re-stock nifty stuff.

Back at the boat, since there was still think fog and no wind, I went for a run.  Five miles of HILLS.  Ugh.  Good workout.  When I got back, the fog had lifted.  We said goodbye to the Buck's Harbor Marine gang and headed out.  As we pointed the bow down the Reach, the southerly breeze filled in and it turned into a delightful sail.  Down the reach, past Wooden Boat where we saw Wai Aniwa anchored, then out into Jericho Bay.  Bruce spotted a fast looking boat about our size up ahead, and we spent an hour or so gradually reeling them in.  Cheap thrills, as Bruce says!

As we entered the bay, we saw the first of the Wood Boat Regatta fleet enter the Reach, headed the opposite direction.  Looking south up the bay we could seen the entire fleet spread out over miles, in a long parade.  It was truly spectacular.  We hardened up, close hauled, on a course exactly opposite but parallel to the fleet.  We pressed on for several miles, passing every boat in the Wooden Boat fleet within a few boat lengths as they raced downwind, reaching fast.  It was a sparkling, sunny, gorgeous day.  I'm so sorry that we were so busy sailing the boat and dodging lobster buoys, as I couldn't take any photos or video.  It was quite a lost opportunity.

Eventually we passed the last of the fleet, and had to make a decision about where to go for the night.  Round/McGlathery in Merchant's Row, or Buckle?  We selected Buckle, but were so disappointed to find it chock-a-block full, including a couple of large motor yachts.  We could have squeezed ourselves in, but we just didn't want to.  It was too crowded, not the Buckle we like.  So we decided to motor around Swan's Island into Burnt Cove Harbor, where we knew there'd be plenty of room even if there were a bunch of cruising boats in.  It was Saturday night, after all, so you have not just the vacationers but also the locals out for the weekend.  Something to consider.

As we pushed south into Toothacre Bay, we could see heavy banks of fog hanging over Swan's Island.  By the time we approached the entrance we were in the thick of it.  It got thicker and thicker as we entered the harbor and we could barely see two boat lengths as we picked around to settle in.  This is one of the problems with Burnt Coat Harbor: it sees lots of very thick fog.

For some reason, we like Burnt Coat Harbor.  We can anchor or pick up some stray mooring.  The long walks are good.  It's easy to get ashore at the Lobster Co-op, and we often pick up a couple of lobsters at the co-op for dinner.  Unfortunately since it was Saturday there was no one to sell us lobsters, but we had a wonderful dinner aboard (more of Angelo's fabulous hot sausage), a big salad with fresh local organic veggies, and grilled asparagus.  Happiness.  When we took the dogs ashore after dinner we had a fun chat with four crewmates aboard Doppleganger, a Contest 25: a very crowded, but apparently very happy little ship.  They were out of Rockport, and were hanging out for a music festival in Swan's Island for the week.   There was a good crowd of yachts (we discovered in the morning, when there was less fog and we could actually see!).  Probably fifteen.  Busy.

Buck's Harbor - Eggemoggin Reach - Friday, August 5

We had a lazy morning in Pulpit Harbor.  No wind, so no reason to race off.  Lloyd Hamilton, a CCA member who was cruising in the area, came by for a pleasant chat.  There had been about five CCA yachts in the harbor overnight, including Harvey White on White Caps and a couple of others.

By noon we decided to wander out.  As we left, the breeze was just beginning to fill from the south.  It was clear and sunny.  The fleet of Wooden Boat Regatta yachts was pressing down on us from Rockland.  Perfect timing, completely by accident.  We hoisted sails outside the entrance to Pulpit, and bore away to the northwest to intersect with what was a spectacular fleet of classic yachts under full spinnaker enjoying a delightful building southerly.

Eventually, after tagging along with the fleet to the north end of North Haven Island, we broke off to the north as they sailed around into East Penobscot, and we had a terrific series of reaches in the 15 - 20 knot southerly.  Eventually we ended up in Eggemoggin Reach, and ran into Bucks Harbor for the night.  This is one of our favorite spots, because there are two Scottish Terriers (Horatio and B?) at Buck's Harbor Marine who are fun to play with.  All the regulars get very confused when they see FOUR scotties charging around.

Once again: lots of CCA yachts in the harbor. They are here in force this summer, for sure.  Bruce had a nice chat with the Whites from Marion.  We also had a fun chat with the crew of Rebecca, a large, dark green Hinckley from Alabama (!) of all places.

Pulpit Harbor - Thursday, August 4

After all sorts of cajoling and negotiating, we agreed to meet my parents, who are cruising the area aboard Vide Poches, at Pulpit Harbor.  We like Pulpit, but for some reason Mom did not so she was very cranky.  But Pulpit it was (Bruce is tough!).

We motored out of Rockland and got a good look at the USS Mahon on the way past.  A large RIB, well armed, kept a close watch on us as we passed, but seemed convinced that we were friendlies.  The Mahon is an impressive machine, for sure.

It was a quick trip across to Pulpit, but cold and windless so we just motored.  When we arrived there were only two other yachts anchored, so we had lots of room to pick from, and we settled in.  Vide Poches was already there.  We dinghied over to check in and make plans.  They wanted to take the dogs for a walk, so off they went.  We had a lazy boat afternoon...until Chris Bouzaid and Penny Whiting showed up on Wai Aniwa.  Then it turned into a delightful social afternoon aboard WA.  Mom and Dad were also invited for cocktails, then we all piled over to Esmeralde for a picnic dinner - grilled chicken over arugula salad.  Good fun, lots of nice wine, great sea stories and a couple of off-color jokes as well.  Good thing, as S&P was about to downgrade the US debt rating, so we would need a good sense of humor to get us through.

It was a beautiful evening with a lovely view of the Camden Hills...until just around dark when the view disappeared ("oh look, you can't see the Camden Hills anymore..."), immediately followed by a torrential downpour that broke up the party in an instant.  Everyone scurried off to their own yachts for the night.

Rockland - Tuesday & Wednesday August 2-3

Tuesday dawned windless but clear.  After marching the dogs around Tenants one more time, we got under way, under power, and went up through Mussel Ridge to Rockland.  Bruce had been fussing over our charging system for weeks, and finally found what he felt would be a solution to a nagging issue.  He wanted to go to Hamilton to buy a new regulator.  So off to Rockland we went.

We tied up at the Rockland Public Landing, which you can do for free for a few hours.  This allowed us to wander over to Hamilton, and also to the nice natural foods co-op (The Good Tern??) that I like to poke around.  As it turned out, Hamilton did not have the regulator Bruce wanted, so he ordered one to be shipped overnight from Defender, and we signed up to spend the night at the harbormaster's dock.  We like being dockside every now and then, especially when Bruce has projects, because it allows us easy come-and-go, especially with the dogs.  I got in a great run out to the breakwater and back.

We had dinner at Lily Bistro.  The food was good, but the service not so much. 

The next day we did laundry, and the Maine Lobster Festival started with a mob-scene.  Bruce resisted the urge to eat fried Twinkies and giant turkey legs, opting instead for a lobster roll.  The regulator came in.  Installation went find and all signs were good.  For no particular reason, we decided to stay an extra day. 

We had dinner at The Pearl, right on the water alongside the Harbormaster's dock.  We weren't sure what to expect as the place looks to be a bit of a dive watering hole, so we were surprised to have a very good dinner.  Bruce had oysters and a terrific cioppino.  I had lobster cocktail and some nice crab cakes.  And we could have brought the dogs, too!  Next time.  Very pleasant evening.

While we were in Rockland the destroyer USS Mahon was in port.  It was fun to watch the crew come and go, and to speculate on the security surrounding the ship.  Tours were available Thurs - Sunday, but we missed our opportunity.  Would have been interesting to see the ship.

For the record: Rockland isn't on our normal Maine cruising itinerary.  It's a busy city, crowded, kind of rolly, and not really a pleasant harbor to visit.  However, it is a nifty city with lots of resources, good shopping, good dining, and excellent repair facilities.  We enjoyed our stay, and I think I can say with some confidence that we will happily return in the future.  It isn't necessarily a "must do" but it is a nice option.  We liked our stay in Rockland.

Tenants Harbor - Monday, August 1

We spent a pleasant day in Tenants Harbor.  Dorsey went for a nice long run to Port Clyde and back to stretch her legs and burn some calories.  All four of us went for a good walk through pleasant neighborhoods, greeting dogs and residents and visitors.  And of course the obligatory stop at the General Store where we purchased things we didn't need and shouldn't consume (donuts, beer, chips). 

It was very foggy all day, so it was an appropriate day to rest and be lazy after the overnight run.  We had no urge to move out and go sailing or exploring in pea soup.

And of course: The Cod End.  This was actually a disappointment for us.  There has been some sort of change in the legislation governing The Cod End and now they no longer allow dogs on the deck.  We have, for the past fourteen years, enjoyed lobster rolls and beer on the deck with Alec, Pepper, and now Mattie, so it was a bit of a shock to be told, as we began to place our dinner order at the window, that no dogs were allowed.  After stomping around a bit, we finally decided to order our meal to go, and we took it back to the boat to eat.  It was good, but just not the same.  It will be interesting to see if other Maine lobster establishments are enforcing the same rule or not.  We will see.  We have all our favorite stops along the coast where the dogs can join us, and we will be very, very disappointed if this has changed.  For now, we are just disappointed in The Cod End.

Cuttyhunk - Cape Cod Canal - Overnight to Maine - Sunday/Monday, July 31 - August 1

After a really relaxing, fun lay-day in Cuttyhunk, we got an early start on Sunday morning for the overnight to Maine.  Dorsey got up with the pups at 0500 for the morning walk ashore.   Woke Dad and told him it was time to get moving.   The pups were totally confused about why they were being rousted at such a ridiculous hour, but off they went and had a fun romp across Cuttyhunk, without another person (or dog) in sight.  Took care of business and back to the boat, to find Dad still sound asleep.  Shook him again, and this time got him to move. 

We were under way in the quiet early light, in a cool, crisp clear 5-knot northerly breeze.  It was lovely.  No one else was moving.  Headed out the channel and towards the Cape Cod Canal.  Motored, as the wind was on the nose and we had to make tracks to clear the canal before the tide turned against us at 10:30.  Lovely trip through, and then a pit-stop at the Sandwich Marina to top off the fuel tank and, more importantly, to give the dogs another final squirt before leaping off to Maine, some 22 hours away.

Headed out of the canal at 11:00 a.m., just after the current turned against us.  Clear, and still a light northerly. Hoisted the main and motored into it across Cape Cod Bay.  Lovely afternoon and made good time.  The wind began to clock and although we continued to motorsail, we got a bit of a boost from the main. 

The highlight came as we approached the southern edge of Stellwagon Bank, where we could see a large fleet of private and commercial vessels obviously watching whales.  We veered off course a bit and headed their direction.  And what a show we got.  Stay tuned for some video (once I find time and a good internet connection).  It was a spectacular display from a very large and active pod of humpback whales.  Very close.  Very busy.  Very special.

We continued on and had a pleasant, uneventful crossing.  The dogs were wonderful, and the dark, moonless night featured an incredibly beautiful starlit sky.  The wind came abeam and then aft, mostly giving us a great push on a beam/broad reach.  We made good time, and approached Monhegan after dawn, at about 0700.  By 0830 we were in Tenants harbor.  Shortly after we picked up a mooring and ran the dogs in (!), the fog descended.  Welcome to Maine!




Cuttyhunk - Saturday, July 30

We spent the morning trying to decide what to do.  Go through the canal and head to Maine?   Go to Provincetown?  Stay put?  After considering tides, currents, wind, weather, food and wine, we decided to stay put!  It was just too beautiful to move.  Cuttyhunk at its best: a beautiful, calm summer day, a dying northwest breeze, lots of activity to watch and enjoy.  Why move?  We're on vacation. 

Lunch was outstanding (thanks, Angelo, at Aquidneck Meat Market).  Arugula salad with shaved parmesan, white beans and pickled onions with a sherry vinaigrette, artichoke hearts and Sundried Tomato Broccoli Rabe sausage (from Angelo) on the grill.  A cold beer (Bruce) and a chilled Pinot Gris (Dorsey).  It really doesn't get much better.  Happy crew.  Happy cruise.

Later in the day we found the Milot family & friends aboard Bigouden anchored outside (with a few hundred other boats...the most crowded we have EVER seen Cuttyhunk).  We arranged dinner aboard Bigouden, fresh swordfish from the Cutthunk Fish Market, Maria's local tomatoes from the Farmer's Market, and ample supplies of beer, wine and rum.

Dinner was delightful, and the boys all put on a great show swimming and jumping off various parts of the boat.  Sunset was lovely.  All this is on video, but thanks to poor internet, links to the video will have to wait. 


Newport - Cuttyhunk - Friday, July 29

We left the marina in Portsmouth at 9:00 am on a gray, breezy day.  We stopped in Newport Harbor to get our bottom scrubbed by Elite Divers (thanks, guys!) then headed for Cuttyhunk.  The wind was south rather than the normal SW, which gave us a beam-reach that was delightful.  Charged along and were in Cuttyhunk (with a bit of motorsailing at the end) by 3:00 pm.

Cuttyhunk, as expected, was crowded.  No moorings either inside or outside.  No problem.  We stuck our nose into the anchorage area inside the pond and were able to find a happy spot to drop the hook.  Made sure we were in a good spot for the overnight wind-shift from S to NW.  Nice start to a great cruise.

It was a very damp evening, and the fog came in think and heavy and dripping after dark.  It was hot, so we kept the hatches open for air flow, but it was such wet air it was uncomfortable.  Thunderstorms were in the forecast, but none of them hit us.  Just wet.



Bruce and Dorsey Beard