Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Maine 2009 Legs and Distances

Provided here is a summary of all the individual legs we ran on our summer sail 2009 from Rock Hall, MD to Mt. Desert Maine and back. We were gone for 58 days, had a dock for 2 days at the end of the trip in Cape May NJ, but all the other days were on mooring balls or on anchor. The goal this year was to travel via NYC and Long Island Sound anchoring every night and avoiding the overnight passages. Coming home we made the usual ocean run from Block Island, RI to Cape May, NJ, for a 30 hr passage of 203 miles. Other than that, we make simple day hops from harbor to harbor all the way to Maine and Back. The hardest aspect of any trip is...."Leaving the Dock!" Once out there, "If it's gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there" so that's when you deal with it....

Island Spirit's Maine 2009 Voyage

Date From To Miles
6/20/2009 Rock Hall, MD C&D Engineers Cove 35.6
6/21/2009 C&D Engineers Cove Cape May NJ 65.1
6/22/2009 Cape May NJ Atlantic City NJ 37.7
6/23/2009 Atlantic City NJ Atlantic Highlands NJ 82
6/24/2009 Atlantic Highlands Layday 0
6/25/2009 Atlantic Highlands Port Washington, NY 35.8
6/26/2009 Pt Washington NY Milford CT 40.4
6/27/2009 Milford CT Watch Hill RI 55.4
6/28/2009 Watch Hill RI Layday 0
6/29/2009 Watch Hill RI Pt Judith / Dutch Hbr RI 36.2
6/30/2009 Dutch Harbor RI Cuttyhunk RI 26.1
7/1/2009 Cuttyhunk MA Pocasset MA 21.6
7/2/2009 Pocasset MA Scituate MA 52.9
7/3/2009 Scituate Layday 0
7/4/2009 Scituate Layday 0
7/5/2009 Scituate Marblehead MA 20.3
7/6/2009 Marblehead MA Kittery ME 41.9
7/7/2009 Kittery ME Layday 0
7/8/2009 Kittery ME Portland ME 47.5
7/9/2009 Portland ME Layday 0
7/10/2009 Portland ME Layday 0
7/11/2009 Portland ME Layday 0
7/12/2009 Portland ME Layday 0
7/13/2009 Portland ME Boothbay ME 35
7/14/2009 Boothbay ME Vinalhaven ME 43.3
7/15/2009 Vinalhaven ME NE Harbor ME, Mt Desert 35.6
7/16/2009 Northeast Harbor ME Layday 0
7/17/2009 Northeast Harbor ME Layday 0
7/18/2009 Northeast Harbor ME Layday 0
7/19/2009 Northeast Harbor ME Someville ME 6.5
7/20/2009 Somesville ME Cranberry Islands ME 8.1
7/21/2009 Canberry Isl Someville ME 8.1
7/22/2009 Somesville ME Buck Harbor ME 31.8
7/23/2009 Bucks Harbor ME Camden ME 18.4
7/24/2009 Camden ME Layday 0
7/25/2009 Camden ME Pulpit Harbor, Vinalhaven 8.1
7/26/2009 Pulpit Harbor ME Winter Harbor ME 15.8
7/27/2009 Winter Harbor ME North Haven Vinalhaven 4.8
7/28/2009 Northhaven ME Rockland ME 9.6
7/29/2009 Rockland ME Boothbay ME 39.5
7/30/2009 Boothbay ME Layday 0
7/31/2009 Boothbay ME Norm Pierce Rendezvous 0
8/1/2009 Boothbay ME Norm Pierce Rendezvous 0
8/2/2009 Boothbay ME Norm Pierce Rendezvous 0
8/3/2009 Boothbay ME Rockport MA 83.9
8/4/2009 Rockport MA Cuttyhunk RI 85.4
8/5/2009 Cuttyhunk MA Block Island RI 36.3
8/6/2009 Block Island RI Layday 0
8/7/2009 Block Island RI BLISS Rendezvous 0
8/8/2009 Block Island RI BLISS Rendezvous 0
8/9/2009 Block Island RI BLISS Rendezvous 0
8/10/2009 Block Island RI Layday 0
8/11/2009 Block Island RI Layday 0
8/12/2009 Block Island RI Cape May NJ 203.3
8/13/2009 Ocean Pasage Cape May NJ 0
8/14/2009 Cape May NJ Layday 0
8/15/2009 Cape May NJ C&D Engineers Cove 65.1
8/16/2009 C&D Engineers Cove Rock Hall MD 35.6


Total NM 1372.7


33 travel days avg 41.6


25 laydays


58 days total

Click this image to see the entire trip as a picture
Use our Interactive Google Map of the trip here...
http://tinyurl.com/l4h5hd

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Maine 2009 Trip Ends

It has been the best summer sailing trip ever, with 1,636 miles covered to Acadia Maine and back. The trans output coupler nut held together all the way from Boothbay Maine to Rock Hall, MD. Traveling with buddy boats was fun, and added a new dimension to the cruise. We sincerely enjoyed traveling with a fleet of Island Packet friends as this add so much more to the adventures. We would do this again and we really enjoyed this "fleet" aspect of this summer.

We will edit and update this blog with more MAINE photos and more charts as we wind down this summer 2009. For now, it is time to clean up the boat, and return to home, and return to our teaching positions as we prepare for our 30th and 31th year of teaching!

Thank you for following our summer sail to Maine 2009....

Click this image to see the entire trip as a picture
Use our Interactive Google Map of the trip here...
http://tinyurl.com/l4h5hd

Friday, August 14, 2009

Oh NO: Drop the Transmission!

Well, not really the trans, but the “output coupler” that bolts onto the trans, that’s what we dropped! And yes, it dropped off in one of the most remote (so it seemed to us) places in Maine, Winter Harbor on the east side of Vinalhaven. Even though we check our engine nearly every hour when running, I can see no real way I could have caught this mechanical breakdown before it happened. Yes, I did have two very slight indications a few days prior. One clue was a dripping stuffing box that needed tightening and the second was a few drops of transmission fluid, but other than that, all seemed normal in the engine room.

Then while anchoring in Winter Harbor, after running the Fox Island Thorofare in pea soup fox, we heard a loud CLUNK when we dropped the shifter into idle reverse! I heard this from the bow, and Radeen heard this from the helm. She immediately returned to neutral, and I walked back from the bow and said…”What the heck was that?!”...we thought we picked up another lobsta pot and wrapped the prop. We could not see any floats, so we went back to idle reverse, then idle forward, and that’s when we discovered we had no prop wash. WHAT? Did the prop fall off? We had no propeller, we thought. Down to the engine room for an inspection, and that’s when I saw the transmission’s output coupler had dropped off (pulled off) the back of the transmission! This is something you do not want to see anywhere, much less in a remote anchorage in Maine.

Back to the bow, to continue with the anchoring, and lucky for us, we were in a safe place, with 25 feet of water and plenty of swinging room. Now it was time to inspect this breakdown and figure out what to do. First I took photos to document it and to send to Norm Pierce for advice. Then with close study and a review of the Yanmar service manual, it became obvious that the output coupler has a nut that bolts it onto the back of the transmission. So, an easy fix, separate the drive shaft (oh yea, real easy), find the nut between these plates, and bolt it back together. So that’s what we did.

Of course it took from 1600hrs to 2000hrs to separate the 4 drive shaft nuts and bolts as they were nearly frozen onto the threads. I used PB blaster and took it easy backing the nuts and tapping on them and re-treading them being careful NOT to shear one of these bolts holding the drive shaft to the coupler. By 2000hrs I had it all apart, and found the coupler nut in what appeared to be near perfect condition except for a major dent in the outer threads. This dent I assumed happened when the nut fell off and it seemed this dent was preventing me from spinning the nut on in what I thought was the correct direction. I tried to tap the dent out and I tried to open the dent to free the threads, but nothing worked. I did discover that the nut would thread on in what I thought was the opposite way, and that became the only way I could re-assemble this coupler.

So, the plan was set, we would re-assemble this nut, in a reverse direction, hoping that it would get us back to Boothbay where we could take care of a proper repair. At 0600hrs the next morning, we re-assembled the transmissions output coupler and used a pair of 90 degree bent needle nose pliers to tighten it the best we could. Of course I was working in tight conditions and standing on my head, but we were able to tap on the bolts notches and tighten the nut a bit. Our plan was to run in forward only, as reverse would be pulling on the nut and possibly loosen it again. Who needs reverse anyway?! (Note, this is right handed nut, normal threads with a right handed prop. So a quick change from forward into reverse could loosen the nut.)

Back towards Boothbay we headed, with stops in North Haven and then Rockland, and then we made Boothbay in time for the Maine Island Packet Rendezvous. Once at Boothbay, we were working with Boothbay Region Boat Yard. The recommended Yanmar service for this issue is to pull the transmission and send it back for a re-build where the output coupler would be torqued to the proper loads. This was a shock to us, and we would need to spend a week+ in the yard plus $1500 for a re-build and yard labor. We decided to go with our own temporary repair after I found out that I HAD replaced the nut the correct way and that the dent was deliberately made after it is installed. It’s called “calking the nut”, or whacking a dent into the threads into the shaft to prevent it from spinning off. (Yea right, you see how well it worked!)

With the encouragement of eternally optimistic Bob Drake, IP380 Drake’s Passage, we departed Boothbay together, with his offer of a tow in mind. After new transmission fluid and several runs out to the ocean and back from Boothbay, we felt confident to go for it, and take our chances and run for Rock Hall, MD, with this temporary fix! We had other Island Packet fleet members who offered to run with us and help us if we needed it. Thank you to Lyon's Pride, Surprise, and CAVU, who on various legs, ran with us. We ran long motor runs: Boothbay to Rockport Mass 15hrs; Rockport to Cuttyhunk 15 hrs; Cuttyhunk to Block 7hrs; and Block to Cape May, NJ 30hrs. Lucky for us, the output coupler is still attached to the transmission with no leaks, so it looks like we will make it back to home port where we can properly take this apart and tighten it with the correct wrench and torque. In the words of Capt’n Ron, “If it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen out there!”

Lucky for us, we could fix it, and lucky for us, it ran all the way home!

Lessons Learned:

To check if your transmission output coupler is loose, do this:
  1. Watch the coupler while it is placed into forward and then a reveres, if it is loose, it will clunk aft when pulling in reverse.
  2. Use a pry bar and try to pry it aft then forward. If you can move it, it is loose
If it does come apart:
  1. Make sure you have tools to separate the coupler from the drive shaft
  2. Make sure you have PB blaster spray solvent to loosen the nuts
  3. Carry spare bronze shaft nuts and bolts if you break then
Tools Needed:
  1. Mirrors on telescoping rod
  2. 90 degree need nose pliers, also used to pull impellers, but was the main tool used to re-assemble and tighten
  3. Open ended wrenches and adjustable wrenches for the shaft coupler bolts
  4. 30” crow bar to loosen and tighten the stuffing box nuts
MUST HAVE: as advised by Norm Pierce of Pierce Yachts Boothbay Maine
  1. A zinc collar bolted onto the shaft 1 inch in front of the stuffing box, preventing you from “spitting a shaft” into your rudder and locking up your rudder! Norm Pierce made me put this on in 2006. Thank you, Norm!
  2. See Norm's Photos here:
  1. Imagine if you are under sail, or if you hit reverse hard and pull the shaft off the transmission, it will jam into the rudder, this zinc collar prevents that. Norm installs one on every yacht he launches!
PS:
The warnings I had and how I could have caught this before it happened.
  1. The stuffing box started to leak with a steady drip way more than usual a few days before. This was after running all summer with that new Teflon stuffing that did not leak all summer. But now in the middle of Maine, it started to drip a lot. Hint: the shaft had moved back, but I did not catch it. I instead, I tighten the stuffing box to stop the leak.

  2. Three little drops of transmission fluid appeared on the engine room wall off the transmission. It spun up and flung onto the wall. I noted this in the log book 2 days prior. This was an indication of the coupler was loose off the seal. Caught that, but missed what it was saying.

Lucky for me, the prop shaft did not drop off in any of these tight channels with rocks all around that we had run through so many times. Overall, it was another great learning experience and now I have shared it with you, so go check you output coupler.
The output coupler nut, is notched and needs a special tool


Our "special tool" 90 degree needle nose pliers used to tighten

Output Coupler and the nut

Winter Harbor on Vinalhaven Maine, a beautiful place...
but a lonely place to make a repair! We appreciated IP380 Memphis Belle and IP420 Oro Negro nearby and checking in with us during that long evening!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

BLISS is a week on Block Island!

At 0511 on Wednesday, August 5, we departed Cuttyhunk with IP440 Lyon's Pride heading for Block. We were anchored by noon near our usual spot in 7 ft. of water at MLW. We walked to Old Harbor with Paul and Sue, mailed back our rented C-Map chip, and picked up a few provisions at the classy little market called Block Island Depot about halfway back from town. Paul said he had expected angels to appear as we entered the Great Salt Pond, because this is Hayden's happy place!

Thursday was a happy mix of work and fun. Winds were light and Payne's dock less crowded than usual, so both boats went for fuel and water. CAVU and Surprise arrived from Newport and we had lunch aboard to catch up with them. Happy hour aboard IP32 Curiese with Dan and Sherry made it a perfect day on Block.

The beginning of BLISS (Block Long Island Sound Sailing, http://blissrendezvous.org) on Friday had us humming Eileen Quinn's song, "Company's coming, gotta clean up da boat!" as we got ready for Jeff and Sharon's arrival by ferry from New London. (IP35 Lucille) Cocktail time was a lovely summer evening on the lawn of The Oar with over 25 IP's attending! The burgers were delicious, but we should have put our names in sooner - it was a long wait for us and others gave up entirely.

Polly is our usual cab driver, 401-742-0031. She is a 16th generation resident of Block who gave us a great mini-tour of the southern part of the Island on Saturday. First we drove to Rodman's Hollow Preserve, a lush green basin 70 feet below sea level and then to Mohegan Bluffs with 144 steps down to the beach and mud baths. From there we walked to Southeast Light, which was saved in 1993 by moving it back 150 feet from the naturally eroding cliffs. It is a stunning example of 1880's architecture, with on-going restoration. From the grounds around the lighthouse, we could see views of the first wind farm on the east coast which is estimated to provide all the electricity needs of the Island. The fun continued with lunch in Old Harbor at Mohegan Cafe and shopping at the Star Department store, 234 Water, and the Island Hardware Store, with a stop at the Historical Society. The BLISS dinner was held at a private room with deck at the lovely and historic National Hotel. A good time was had by all IPers - thanks to Al, Conrad and Bernie!

Sunday morning was lazy, with pastries provided by Aldo's boat, "I gotta no change" and then to the ferry to say good-bye to Jeff and Sharon. IP380 Shawnee stopped over and we toasted Deb and Drew on her birthday. We spent the evening aboard "Black Diamond" with Bonnie and IP32 Snark watching the premier of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" with audio recording expert Al of IP32 Half Moon.

Monday was a perfect day on Block, sunny and actually hot! We dinghied to Andy's Way and walked the Clayhead Trail. Next time we will remember to go at low tide, when the waves tumble the rocks on the beach. Then we walked back by way of Mansion Beach and after lunch we spent the afternoon on beautiful Crescent Beach. Grilled filet mignon on board was the perfect ending to the day!

Tuesday was busy, with Radeen's coffeecake and Hayden's eggs for Bonnie, Al and Hamp, followed by shopping in town and a quick dash to the beach. IP40 Surprise hosted a pre-passage potluck with CAVU and then we readied the boat for our passage to Cape May. The winds should be good, though we may have some thunderstorms.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Maine IP Rendezvous and beyond

After a fabulous potluck supper on Friday evening with a narrated slide show of cruising Maine, the Rendezvous began in earnest Saturday morning with a continental breakfast and over 30 boats in attendance. IP dealer Norm Pierce led a terrific seminar on valuable boat management practices, laced with his dry Maine humor and pertinent sailing anecdotes. He and his wife, Mary, have traveled the ICW 29 times! One memorable quote, "If you can't tie knots, tie lots!" The founder of The Island Institute explained their work in preserving the way of the life on Maine's island.

In the afternoon, Norm and Mary held an Open House on the new Estero model and a new 370. Also on display were several other IPs with impressive modifications and upgrades. Everyone on the dock was interested when Norm demonstrated rig tuning.

Saturday evening everyone met upstairs at the The Lobster Wharf for a delicious traditional lobster meal including blueberry pie. The highlight of the evening was the poetry reading, when each vessel was asked by to recite an original poem. Some of those familiar with the tradition must have spent the two years since the previous rendezvous working on their creations. A few of us were more spontaneous, out of necessity. All of the poems were funny and many of them were hysterical!

The rendezvous ended too quickly with a buffet breakfast Sunday morning at Cap'n Fish's. We are so glad we attended this event and met so many enthusiastic and interesting IPers! Norm and Mary made everyone feel so welcome! Sunday evening we had a delicious dinner at The Tugboat Inn with one of Radeen's college roommates, Daphne from Chicago, and her two friends.

At 0501 on Monday, we sadly departed Maine with IP380 Drake's Passage and ran 15 hours to Rockport, MA, in some fog and flat seas. fortunately, our frequent engine checks revealed no leaks on our transmission repair. Lyon's Pride caught up with us along the way from Portland and joined us for an amazing lasagna dinner aboard Drake's Passage. Rockport is a great harbor and not out of the way when aiming for the Canal.

On Tuesday, the Drakes headed for Boston, while we left at 0501 and pressed on for Cuttyhunk under sunny skies and flat seas. We made the Cape Canal at 1400 as planned for the last two hours of favorable tide. Lyon's Pride had a surprise when they found the railroad bridge down for the "trash train." Buzzard's Bay, a notorious body of water, made for a really tough slog into southwest winds. Hats off to IP40 Top Cat and all others who sail here as their home waters! We arrived at 2000 in the welcome lee of Cuttyhunk's outer harbor and anchored next to Lyon's Pride in time for a beautiful simultaneous moonrise and sunset.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Vinalhaven to Penobscot Bay then west to Boothbay Harbor

A happily uneventful 8 mile passage on Tuesday from Vinalhaven to Rockland offered plenty of room to anchor in the southern part of the harbor with a good dinghy dock at the Harbormaster’s office. By noon we caught a cab to the clean but crowded Park Street Laundromat to do 9 (!) loads. The water front park is the setting for the annual extravaganza MaineLosterFestival.com. 85,000 people are expected to attend in the next 5 days! Our reward for doing laundry is to always go out for dinner but the Rockland CafĂ©’s famous fishcakes were very disappointing – not recommended!

Due to forecasted high winds and thunderstorms, we decided to move on to Boothbay on Wednesday, one day early, missing the Coast Guard Station tours, the Farnsworth Art Museum and the Lobster Fest. Next time! Fog rolled in just past Owl’s Head Light and made for a stressful passage. We took a mooring ball at Brown’s Wharf and forgot our transmission troubles over drinks at McSeaGull’s with IP friends, old and new.

Boothbay Harbor has a Rock Hall style trolley making about seven stops and taking 30 – 40 minutes. Thursday we rode one entire loop to get to know the town. Phone calls to Mack Boring and local mechanic confirmed the recommended service for our transmission is pulling and rebuilding it. (see the transmission post for the gory details) We will try some suggested diagnostics tomorrow. Evening IP fun was enjoyed on the deck at Whale’s Tale and then the weekly brass band concert on the lawn of the charming little library.

After Hayden changed the AFT fluid Friday morning, we ran out the harbor for nearly 2 hours. Upon our return, the fluid was still clear red, not black, so that was good news! We rented a car and drove 10 miles to Edgecomb to the A.G.A. Correa company’s headquarters to replace Radeen’s lost bowline earring. Then we provisioned at Hannaford’s and got caught in a downpour while schlepping everything to the dinghy. The Boothbay Harbor Rendezvous got off to a terrific start with a delicious potluck supper provided by the 30 IP’s attending and Norm Pierce’s narrated slide show of the beauties and wonders of cruising the coast of Maine.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Eggmoggin Reach, Buck’s Harbor and Camden

Our last night in Somesville, we braved the rain and the dark to attend opening night of the Acadia Summer Repertory Theatre’s performance of a British comedy, “Pool’s Paradise.” It was hilarious and well worth the effort. On Wednesday, we had a lovely but cloudy sail up Eggomoggin Reach. Blue skies greeted our arrival in pretty Buck’s Harbor, (photo above) the setting for a famous children’s book by Robert McCloskey, “One Morning in Maine.” What a thrill for Radeen to arrive at the dock exactly as depicted in the book, to walk past Condon’s Garage and down the hill past the church to the little grocery store where Sal and Jane got ice cream cones! Buck’s Harbor Marine has a clean bathhouse, outdoor showers, one new washer and dryer and a little store selling the usual items, plus Robert McCloskey’s books.

Thursday was a short day, only 3 hours to Camden, which may be our new favorite place. There are more schooners and windjammers sailing from here than any other port in the world! We hosted a cocktail party for the Island Packet Armada which will sadly be breaking up soon. We have really enjoyed travelling as a fleet!

Camden Maine Harbor
with IP420 Ore Nego at the bottom of the waterfall
The River Waterfall
runs right through town and into the harbor!
Chart of Camden Maine and the harbor
Notice where the waterfall flows into the harbor!
I could easily spend a week or more in this town, it is beautiful...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Northeast Harbor & Somesville

7/18/09
Northeast Harbor fun! We stayed local the last two days in the fog and mist and rain, never leaving Northeast Harbor, enjoying the bakeries, shops and the new library. We climbed a granite lined path up Elliot Mountain to the beautiful Ascitou Terraces and Gardens. Hayden surprised Radeen with a hot stone massage and a spa day at Bella Day Spa on Sea Street. We also celebrated our 29th wedding anniversary with a wonderful meal at the Red Bird Restaurant, in the same tiny building on Sea Street.

7/19/09
As the fog cleared, we departed Northeast Harbor and headed for the only fjord in the United States, Somes Sound. Under blue skies and light winds, we ghosted along . We took a mooring ball for lunch at impressive Abels Boatyard and then joined the rest of the fleet in Somesville. A walk ashore in the tiny town brought unexpected views of pretty gardens, as well as unwelcome mosquitoes. We found the library, open 2 days per week, and the Masonic Hall, which hosts the Acadia Summer Repertory Theatre, which we may visit on Tuesday nite. Champagne and scallops in Somes Sound truly made this an anniversary to remember!

7/20/09
The best of Maine! What could be better than being awakened by loons in quiet Somesville?! The morning light was stunning on our way to Little Cranberry Island eight miles away. We stopped at Valley Cove to see a waterfall where French, Spanish, English and even Viking ships are supposed to stopped for fresh water. Anchoring in the harbor at Islesboro was impossible due to kelp and sand and all the guest moorings were taken, so we were grateful when a lobsterman brought his big workboat close and suggested we take his friend’s big mooring ball. There was not much to see ashore. Remote does not always equal charming! We had dinner at the only restaurant in town to celebrate one month at sea since leaving Rock Hall with CAVU, Lyon’s Pride and Surprise – what a great trip it has been!

Anchored / Moored in Someville
The Waterfall in Valley Cove, Somes Sound
We took a mooring ball three boat lengths off these falls!
The shoreline along Somes Sound. 100+ feet deep, 3 boat lenghts off the rocks!
Hayden taking in the beauty of Acadia's Wonderland Trail

Friday, July 17, 2009

NE Harbor / Jordon Pond House

The Island Packet Armada is making the most of what Mt. Desert Island has to offer! We rode the free L.L. Bean propane powered bus to Bar Harbor and then to the Acadia National Park Visitors’ Center where we saw an enormous graphic relief map of the island and a film about the park’s history. Acadia was the first national park east of the Mississippi and one of the few made up entirely from donated lands. John D. Rockefeller, who donated land for the park on St. John, USVI, gave the most land and supervised the construction of 27 beautiful bridges and roads for only for horse carriages. Three million people visit Acadia every year! It was a surprise to learn that an earthquake in October 2006 damaged one of the roads which remains closed. Next we rode the Loop Road, with many beautiful views of the rocks, forests and seas. Our destination was the Jordan Pond House for lunch, including their famous popovers and strawberry jam. We walked part of the trail around the Jordan and then rode a different route back to Bar Harbor for shopping, ice cream and a small, but interesting whale museum. Luckily, we arrived in Northeast Harbor just before a thunderstorm broke, with showers lasting most of the evening. Dense fog is forecast for tomorrow morning, so we are glad to be staying on our mooring floats for another day.
Map of Mt. Desert and the LL Bean Bus Routes
We are on a mooring float dock in NE Harbor
The Island Packet Team walks Jordan Pond
The Fun town of Bar Harbor, Maine looking towards the harbor
Walking the Jordon Pond trails....beautiful vistas

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Sailing into Mt. Desert Maine

Sailing into Mt. Desert, Acadia National Park, in Maine, is an extraordinary experience, especially on a west wind of 12-15 knots, with flat seas and under sunny skies. (No fog!) Departing Vinalhaven at 0715 hrs, we had to navigate the frustrating "lobstah" pots and their deceiving toggles, which are secondary pick-up floats on 30 feet of extra line. Add in a little current, crazy channels, rock piles and we had a very fun and exciting morning rush hour. Once out of the Fox Islands Thorofare, we carefully navigated the passage of "Merchant Row," which has many small islands with names like The Brown Cow and Scraggy Rock. After exiting into Jericho Bay, we set sail for a beautiful beam reach in 12 knots of wind. Bearing off onto a full wing on wing, we sailed down Toothacher Bay for an easy reach on the outside of Long Island. After rounding Long Island, we turned onto an upwind course for Mt. Desert, sailing 40 degrees off the wind all the way up to the Cranberry Islands. A total of 37 miles for one of the most beautiful sailing days since departing Maryland.

The course we ran today, very interesting and challenging!

The Fleet Navigating the Lobstah Pots in Merchant Row
(L-R) IP440 Lyons Pride, IP40 SURPRISE, IP380 CAVU

The southern side of Long Island, Maine
Close hauled for Mt. Desert and Cadillac Mountain, Maine
Rush Hour arriving Northeast harbor at Mt. Desert, Maine

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Vinalhaven Maine

One of the most beautiful places on earth, I wish my photos would do this place justice, but they do not. I need to bring Wayne Dion up here to take professional photos and capture this special place.

Here is the best I can do...


The Fox Islands Thorofare, the route in...
The open space for anchorage, Seal Cove
The beautiful views...and reflections...
Explore the granite lined shores with the tide 2 feet down and 7 feet more to go!
Welcome to MAINE....
The western sky in Maine, in July....at 9pm!

Boothbay Harbor Maine

What a beautiful location, here is a quick video of the church bells over the harbor last night...



Look at the interesting NOAA CHART and all the ROCKS
The blue circle is US, and where I uploaded this picture from.
We are on our way to Vinalhaven

Island Houses in Boothbay, Maine
With 9 foot tides, most harbors use mooring balls over anchorage areas
This is US, Island Spirit in Boothbay Harbor

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Portland Pardise

Portland is really a great town, a good port of call, and CENTERBOARD YACHT CLUB is the place to take your lay days! The last time we were up here in 2006, we ended up getting "stuck" in Portland for days, and this year it turned out to be 5 days! Why would we stay in Portland for 5 days? Here are a few reasons:
  • http://www.Centerboard.org Centerboard Yacht Club offers moorings, free tender service, and a great clubhouse to relax in and enjoy the friendly members who make you feel so welcome.
  • Calm harbor, relatively for a busy port.
  • Great city lights across the river to the west with beautiful sunsets over the city.
  • An easy walk to a Hanaford Grocery Store.
  • Tender services across the river to Dimillos Marina and access to the entire city waterfront!
  • Downtown Portland waterfront is BEAUTIFUL with many restaurants and pubs and interesting shops and of course ice cream parlors.
  • Hamilton Marine, Inc. a blend of West Marine + Defender is an easy walk from Dimillos and the town docks.
  • And best of all.....Great Island Packet former owners and friends; Bill & Fran who go out of their way to help out and make us feel so at home.
So...you can see, with all of this at your starboard side gate, as you enter the tender, you can imagine just how we always get "stuck" in Portland Maine. This is why I have called this post....
"Portland Paradise!" Thank you Bill and Fran, Abby, and Dave, and Ed & Beth for making our stay so enjoyable.
Portland Maine Ferry Service
Portland Harbor Chart and where we were...

Powering to Portland

After "Powering to Portland" in 20-25 knots of NNE winds and 3-5 foot seas, we arrived Portland after a very rough passage from Kittery Maine. Of course the forecast was for EAST winds, which would have worked well on a course of NE, but after about 2 hours of East winds, the winds shifted to NNE and increased to 25 knots. Now we had 47 miles to go with the wind directly on the bow. The waves became the problem as they were still running from the EAST and hitting the boat directly on the beam. When 3 foot waves hit the boat on the starboard beam, the boat first rolls hard to port, then the wave goes under the keel and then the boat lifts and rolls hard to starboard laying its midship cleat onto the water.

We had a double reefed main and a cutter up to help slow down this rolling from side to side, but it really got tiring after 6 hours. Items were flying out of all the cabins, we were tossed off the helm seat many times, and the best way to deal with this was standing up at the helm and working it as if you were a slamon downhill skiier! Oh what fun! Now its time to enjoy Portland Maine, and our Island Packet friends Bill and Fran.

The conditions at Portland Head Light as we approach

We are staying at Centerboard Yacht Club http://www.centerboard.org/ they also have a live web cam where you can see the view from the dock looking out over the mooring field and over to Portland Maine.

Powering to Portland VIDEO

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Kittery Maine

Photo: Notice the rocks, 7 foot tides, this is only 1/2 way down...

We sailing/motored from Marblehead to Kittery Point, Maine, in flat calm glassy smooth waters. What a difference one day makes out on the ocean. This was a beautifully clear sunny day, one of the few we have had since departing Maryland 14 days ago! So this is what the SUN looks like?

CAVU led the way, arriving for the first time at her hailing port of Portsmouth. Ron shared fascinating information about the history of Portsmouth area. We arrived as a fleet and connected with the harbor master who led us to mooring balls at a great price of $15.00. Pepperrell Cove is the spot to go off Kittery and you can easily walk up to Fort McCleary and overlook the harbor. To run over to Portsmouth, NH, you need a cab or, if you are lucky, you could get a yacht club tender to pick you up and run you across the river. The current is enitrely too strong to run with our 4 hp dinghy.

We spent the remainder of the day taking in the beautiful sun, the blue sky, and walking the quaint little town. Frisbee's, the oldest general store in North America has been owned by the same family since 1823. In the evening, the entire armada met for dinner at Captain Simeon's and generously paid for our meals in thanks for our efforts for the group. Thanks everyone!

On Tuesday, the sky dawned grey and showery. Undeterred, we got a ride from CAVU and toured Portsmouth's Strawberry Banke historic section, which is like a small, nautical Williamsburg. We were lucky to have a great tour guide, Polly, who was friendly and knowledgeable. The barrelmaker was especially interesting. Nearly everyone gathered for a late hot lunch at the Portsmouth Brewery. The evening was spent aboard in a rolling anchorage, trying to make an educated, weather-based, decision on when to leave for Portland.

Fort McCleary looking back down to our harbor

Flat Calm Sea, motoring. Notice the sea grasses