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Javelin 2004 Maine Cruise
July 26 - August 10, 2004


Steve Blecher and "delivery crew" of Rick Van Mell, Hank Jonas, Jeffrey Blecher & Paul Wharton take the 53' J-160,
Javelin, to Maine. Mel Converse, comes aboard Friday, 7/30 in Northweat Harbor as Hank & Jeffrey fly out of Bar Harbor, and Paul drives Mel's car back to Scarsdale on Sunday, 8/1. Brian Klinger and Rich Miller board at Rockland, with Brian departing at Wentworth Marina (Portsmouth, NH), while Steve, Rick, Mel & Rich sail Javelin back to her home port of Westbrook, Connecticut after a visit with Jay and Hasty Evans at Scraggy Neck. Rick, Steve, Brian, Mel, Rich, Jay and Jeffrey are all Dartmouth alums.


Monday, July 26, 2004

Every year there is a plan. Driven by a crew-full of Type As, ports of call had been laid out months ago. Dock reservations were requested as early as February and meal plans and 4-page shopping lists littered the Internet. Of course there were changes along the way. The ballet of delivering crew, leaving crew and the mix of airplanes and car shuttles sorted themselves out at last.

Even with 53 foot Javelin's ability to handle most any weather, the forecast persisted in calling for Northeast winds - headwinds for most of the route from Westbrook, CT to Maine. Coupled with a summer of rainy weather along the east coast, and predictions for days of rain, the seasoned crew, with over 200 years of sailing experience among them, each knew the passage to the cruising grounds of Maine would be less than pleasant if it all came true.

The best way to deal with a bad forecast is gallows humor - or derogatory remarks about the skills of the weather forecasters. The Weather Channel marched green rainy lines progressively northeast across the entire eastern half of the country into New England - for at least three days, followed by a Thursday-Friday break, then more rain. Internet sources gave light winds all week. So we all concluded that the forecasts were just plain wrong. To prove it, Paul invited Rick & Steve aboard his C&C 32 Solitude for a day sail on Sunday before we departed. Despite the forecast of rain, not a drop fell, the northeast winds shifted southeast and blew nicely about 12 knots and we had a great day, arriving back in Stamford in warm sunshine.

On the appointed departure Monday, Jeffrey & Hank were already aboard Javelin, having arrived on Sunday night to run down Steve's 12 point check off list. Fuel had been topped off earlier Monday morning, water too. When Steve, Paul & Rick arrived about 0845, it didn't take long to roll cart-loads of duffels and food down the dock and aboard Javelin. While Rick and Hank stowed the food, the rest of the crew got ready to cast off. Hank was alarmed to find that Paul's duffel had landed smack on top of ship's mascot JTB (Joey The Bird), but Joey survived to live another cruise. At 0938 we cast off under sunny skies, and a modest 8 knot breeze that was, indeed, northeast!

Click on images to enlarge, click "Back" to return. Photos by Paul, Hank, Jeffrey & Rick.

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Food for thought
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Food!
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Where will it all fit?
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Now where?
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Who cares,
we're under way, say
Paul, Steve, Hank
and Jeffrey
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Way too serious, says Rick.
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Whatever
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JTB survived a squash
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Logmaster Steve
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Outbound at Long Sand Shoal

The route to Maine's cruising grounds is well furrowed by Javelin's keel. Head east from the Westbrook harbor entrance, keeping to the north of Long Sand Shoal. The wind was at first northerly, allowing the mainsail to be set to slight advantage while the engene still ran. The bright sun - though there were obvious cloud banks to our north and south - called for heavy doses of lotion. Gadgets appeared left and right. Hank had his wristwatch GPS, plus a GPS IPAQ and an iPod full of tunes plugged into the ship's stereo. Jimmy Buffet rotated through Margaritaville, and Leon Redbone's jazz kept feet tapping. Paul fired up his new Garmin GPS and downloaded the planned route - all 320 miles of it to Cross Island near the eastern end of Maine. Jeffrey dug out the ship's spare GPS while Steve had a new one. All told there were 7 GPS units aboard! We might not know where we're going, but we sure know where we are.

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Yes Mom, it's lotion time
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Hank(Gadgetman) is ready
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Synchronize GPSs, says Paul
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7 GPSs Aboard!

Among the gadgets new for this cruise was the software and cables to connect a cell phone to the laptop so the phone could act as a modem to connect to the Internet. Jeffrey installed the software for Hank's phone, and before long we could connect and get weather maps displayed right at the nav station. Not that it changed the forecast any, mind you! (As late as Wednesday morning, no one had even mentioned or tried to connect to and check emails! Such dedication to the art of sailing.) One limitation is that the system is geared to Verizon's G3 network technology which is currently available only in major metropolitan centers - unavailable in the relatively remote cruising waters of Maine.

By noon the ebb tide had helped pull us out of Long Island Sound at The Race. Roast beef sandwiches were quickly devoured, and as the wind increased and swung south of east, we drove close hauled along the south shore of Fisher's Island on starboard tack under bright blue skies and sparkling water - a great day for sailing.

Must have been the smiles on our faces, but the wind started backing toward the northeast, and we tacked away from the rocks off Watch Hill, Rhode Island in the waters of Block Island Sound. Now it was a pure beat upwind trying to make a course of 090 degrees with the wind from exactly that direction. Javelin was in her element in the 10-13 knot wind. Her bow sliced effortlessly through the small seas, with foam hissing along the lee side and occasional spray flying as she split the bigger waves.

Those who had gone off watch could lay in their bunks and relax to the steady gurgle of water flowing past the hull. A series of four tacks carried us about 30 miles east to pass Point Judith by 1800 hours - 6 pm. Along the way we passed a three-boat flotilla of "head boats" - old schooners or replicas used to take tourists out for a daysail. Ferries, old, slow and classic, and fast catamarans plied routes between the Connecticut and Rhode Island shores out to Block Island, Long Island and on to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

A particularly delightful sight was three tall ships leaving Newport as we passed. Though they were several miles away, the two big schooners, both gaff rigged, and the three masted barque or brig (Picton Castle, we think) were impressive as they sailed away west against the late afternoon sun.

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Head boat parade
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Fast Cat to Orient Point
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THIS is sailing!
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Javelin in charge
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Hank is drivin' her
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A Weather eye
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Square sail schooner off Newport

While it was great fun to drive Javelin to weather with her rail near the water, that's neither the fastest way to the Cape Cod Canal, then 40 miles away, for a rendezvous with the turn of the tide, nor conducive to cooking dinner for a hungry crew. Reluctantly, we doused sail, turned on the engine and powered directly into the wind up the rhumbline for the Canal. At least the weatherman was right about the northeast direction. The black cloudbank to the north seemed to confirm the continuing forecast of rain - "beginning after midnight, and continuing for 36 hours." But having edged almost overhead, it retreated to the north as the sun set and we enjoyed Paul's lasagna contribution with a crisp salad - followed by the Skipper's choice of Oreos. We arrived at the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal almost exactly at midnight - an hour after the tide had turned to push us through.

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Fast & happy
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Steady as she goes
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Nice end to...
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a good day.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004

We quickly covered the eight miles doing 10 knots or more over the bottom with about 3 knots of current added to our eight knot boat speed. A half moon sank into Buzzards Bay as we entered the Canal, and stars shone above when we were clear into Cape Cod Bay. Still to the north and west clouds blocked the sky, but above and east familiar constellations were easily seen. Between 0319 and 0322 Paul & Rick were treated to a dazzling display of greenish-white Northern Lights. The clouds to the north had thinned to almost nothing, and radiant shafts sliced straight up along the horizon over a 60 degree arc between 330 and 030 degrees. Different sections rose and fell in intensity, like an extended keyboard playing an ethereal tune. What a treat as we powered along doing about eight knots over a glassy sea.

Jeffrey and Hank had their own treat just after sunrise around 0530 when they sighted three Right Whales. As the day went along we saw another whale, a sunfish, numerous birds and colorfull seaweed. With the continuing forecast for rain, rain, and more rain (2-4 inches for southern New Hampshire) we altered our destination for Boothbay Harbor. It is about 100 miles farther west than Cross Island and we could reach it by dinner time on Tuesday where we could anchor or pick up a mooring, cook a nice steak dinner, and not have to worry about spending another night at sea with the prospect of steady rain.

But the morning was once again bright and sunny - if absolutely flat calm. The black stuff still hung to the west, and a fog bank lay on the eastern horizon. We were about 25 miles offshore, with only a couple of fishing boats to look at - good exercise for the binnoculars - and the endless checking of the GPS and position plotted on the computer screen. It wasn't until well after the turkey & roast beef lunch sandwiches had vanished that the overcast enveloped us in a gray gloom. Yet as we closed in with the land at 1700, not a drop of rain had fallen.

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No wind ahead...
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or astern.
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Where the FUGAWI?
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I think we're here.
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JTB checks instruments
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Whatever.

Signature Maine lobster pots carpeted the approach to Boothbay Harbor. Steve threaded Javelin through the endless array of multi-colored bobbers, even pushing one or two aside with the hull. Even in the still, humid, 6 pm air, a tourist schooner was headed outbound, her sails reflecting in the still water as we crossed courses.

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"1C" and ...
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The Cuckolds light.
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Boothbay tour boat
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Picture time!
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Still reflections
We swung to port into the mooring field of Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club's cove, just west and south of the main town. Our called-ahead reservation was quickly acknowledged by the launch driver, and we easily picked up mooring # 71. Steve rode the launch ashore to finish off the paperwork and quickly returned. Simple cocktail hour nibbles were brought on deck, the grill rigged at the stern, and steaks seared to perfection. A hearty dinner was liesurely consumed, and Hank and Paul volunteered for galley clean-up duty.

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Mooring pickup
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Launch alongside
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Evening rewards
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Rick carves...
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Steak dinner.
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Galley slaves

Jeffrey rigged up the surround-sound theater with the DVD loaded in the ship's computer and the audio output fed to the stereo system with a special cassette. Three episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm entertained the crew before 36 hours of weariness claimed them to their bunks. A debate between leaving ports open for air vs the probability of rain was resolved that Paul or Hank would awake when they got wet and close the ports.

Wednesday, July 28,2004

Raindrops awoke Paul around 0300. The ports were closed and the patter of rain danced on the cabin top - great sleeping weather. About a half inch fell before sunrise. Breakfast was a scramble of onions, celery, sausage, and a dozen eggs, a side of English Muffins, and all washed down with OJ and coffee. Still, it didn't drive away the still, damp, cool air, and the weather forecast continued its monotony of light and variable winds with periods of rain until Friday. Maybe the old addage, "Rain before seven, clear by eleven," might work.

After breakfast we powered the short distance to the main Boothbay harbor, replenished the fuel and water tanks and disposed of the garbage. The usual routine of a cruise was well established.

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Downtown Boothbay
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Not tourist weather!
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Water & Fuel time
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Jeffrey's ready!

Rain had indeed stopped in the period between sunrise, breakfast and our refueling. However it began again in a light drizzle as we pulled away from the dock. Full rain suits were donned - wet gear pants, jackets, and boots - sometimes a sure way to get the rain to stop. Technically it worked. Though rain stopped falling again by 1000, moisture dripped from the rigging and we settled onto an eastbound course. Boat speed around 7.5 knots under power was tempered by an adverse current, giving us a speed over ground about a knot slower.

Steve set the autopilot on a route around and up into Penobscott Bay, heading for the Fox Island Thoroughfare. Hank lobbied for an exploratory route to check out Christmas Cove, while Rick suggested an Island Tour - Monhegan, Matinicus and Isle Au Haut. Both were vetoed by Das Captain. It was time for writing the log, reading a book or watching for sea-life as the miles rolled by.

At 1108 a gentle 8 knot breeze from the east northeast filtered across the surface of the sea. Main and jib were set and the engine killed. Javelin eased onto a close reach, making about 6 knots heading due east toward Matinicus Rock. The wind slowly died until she sailed along at only 3 knots, then increased again to 7.5 knots with 10 knots of wind just after noon. Unfortunately it also persisted in hauling into the east - leaving desired destinations once again upwind. We tacked onto a northeast heading and beat toward the Muscle Ridge channel on the western side of Penobscott Bay.

It was fun for a while. The wind veered toward the east and we were able to point up along the shore toward Tenants Harbor. But the wind slowly faded and the fog thickened. It was pure GPS navigation as we collectively watched radar images, hand-held units and the computer at the nav station below.

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Steve naviguesses
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Fog watch
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What, me worry?
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Whatever.

Steve threw in the towel at 1426 and we fired up the engine. Both the original Fox Island Thoroughfare and the islands were pretty much dead to windward. Rick suggested checking out Carver's Harbor, a large, well protected, area on the south end of Vinalhaven Island. Though the guide books repeatedly said this was a commercial lobstering harbor, it looked like there would (certainly) be room to drop an anchor somewhere. Fog had retreated a bit and we picked up Hurricane Island, then various buoys leading into Carver's with little rouble.

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Carver approach
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I think we turn here...
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Sandy Cove
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Carver Harbor
Well, the books were right. Our first clue was a lobster boat coming out that revved up to full throttle passing close aboard - no care that the wake would drench even Javelin's bow. Packed in a mooring field so close that if boats were not pointing the same direction their sterns would bang, it was an impressive display of the working end of commercial lobstering. The shore was lined with floating docks that rode the 10-12 foot tides so boats could unload at any hour and any tide. There was even a floating way station for unloading. It was an interesting sight to see - certainly not the usual rural- Maine-tourist-picture-setting of postcards. But there was no place for us.

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Looks tight
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Now where?
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Lots of lobster boats
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Unloading time
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Too crowded!

We edged out of Carver Harbor and turned northeast up The Reach to explore some potential anchoring spots. Those which looked good on the chart were either already packed with lobster trap floats, or the one good prospect was right in the entrance to Old Harbor with the prospect of lobster boats running by all night.

We elected to head south outside Greens Island, around the southern end of Vinalhaven, and around to Winter Harbor/Seal Bay on the eastern side. Perhaps the fog was annoyed that we were again in passage mode - even for a short 8 miles - and so closed in tight. We passed close aboard Heron Neck light which we had earlier easily seen from half a mile away, but though it was barely 50 yards, it was only dimly outlined now.

Picking buoys and headlands about a mile apart, we rounded the island under power navigating with our full array of instruments. Paul had his new Garmin map plotter and Hank had his iPAQ. We even moved the ship's computer up into the cockpit, connecting it to the Garmin 72 that Jeffrey was using. We replaced it below with Rick's laptop connected to the ship's Northstar system.

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Leaving Carver Hbr.
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Route around to...
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Winter Harbor
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Fog navigation
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Come right 5 degrees...
Our first sight of land or buoy was at our destination, though we has passed buoys within an eighth of a mile. As we turned into Winter Harbor, the fog was high enough that we could see the shore and the bottom half of trees. We proceeded straight in and anchored in 15 feet of water at 1935.

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Winter Harbor
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Just visible
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Anchor detail.
Once anchored, Steve called all hands to set his new toy - a riding sail. This tiny sail flies "backward" from the backstay and is designed to keep the stern dead down wind to prevent the boat from "sailing" on its anchor line. While the set was perfectly textbook, Steve endured much verbal abuse since there was absolutely no wind to make it work!

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Halyard pin too big
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sail stop works
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She flies!
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"Yes", says Jeffrey
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Hank opines.

Dinner was lasagne and salad, followed by "Stripes" with Bill Murry as the evening feature film.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Another foggy morning didn't deter the crew. We were under way eastbound at 0832. The waypoints were set for a 32 mile run to the Deer Island Thoroughfare, through Casco Passage, Bass Strait and on to Mt. Desert Island and Sommes Sound. The forecast was for fog to lift during the morning and get warm and sunny by afternoon. One by one buoys appeared through the fog and sun directly overhead required sunscreen.

As we entered Blue Hill Bay the wind was light southwest, visibility over a mile and so we set the spinnaker and tacked downwind toward Bass Strait passage. A small, two masted, gaff-rigged skiff from the Outward Bound program on Hurricane Island was seen rowing across the glassy water ahead of us. While we sailed perhaps 3 miles back and forth, they rowed a mile dead down wind. We finally turned the engine back on to clear the Bass I. passage.

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Deer I. Thoroughfare
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Deer I. traffic
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Visibility improves
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Bass I. light
Once through the wind returned with pressure. Sails were set and Javelin charged eastward across the bottom of Mt. Desert Island, home of Acadia National Park and Cadillac Mountain, and the popular sailing ports of Southwest Harbor, Northeast Harbor and Sommes Sound - the only fjord in the United States. Hitting 9.3 knots with 15 knots of breeze the crew were all smiles.

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Baker I. Buoy
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The "A" Team
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Happy Hank
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Jeffrey's turn.
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Down time.
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Paul is drivin'
We gybed a little east of Baker Island buoy and headed back west. Lots of local boats were enjoying the first day of good weather in a week. The majestic top of Cadillac Mountain dominted the Mt. Desert ridgetop to leeward. From the classic gaff-rigged types to the 139' yacht Rebecca, it was a delightful day to be on the water.

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Turning west.
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Easy rolling
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Full & by
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Pretty.
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Mt. Desert Chart
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Mt. Desert I.
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Acadia Nat. Park
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Cadillac Mtn.
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Keep her moving
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Afterguard
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Jeffrey drives
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Classic.
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Cape Codder
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Ditto
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Rebecca - 139'

We set the spinnaker and turned north into Somes Sound, gybing downwind to maintain speed. The dark green, evergreen studded granite cliffs to port contrasted with a few manicured green lawns and stately houses to starboard. As we neared each shore we'd gybe to keep the wind on the quarter. Each gybe got better with practice, until we dropped it smartly at the north end of the sound.

Neatly furling the main, we tied to Abel's Dock, and made ready for a lobster feast. Abel's Lobster Pound is a traditional favorite on the cruise, and it lived up to it's reputation. Hank arranged for the hostess to arrive at meal end saying there was a phone call for him - about what it takes to out-fumble Steve for the check!

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Somes Sound
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Up Somes Sound
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Running fast.
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Nice house!
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Abel's in the trees
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Nice Hinkley

Friday, July 301, 2004

Clear skies and glassy calm greeted the crew on Friday morning. Good time to relax and enjoy a French Toast breakfast before getting under way at 0859. Hank and Jeff were determined to sail on any available breeze for their last day aboard - there was 1.3 knots of wind when they cut the engine and hoisted sail.

Slowly, ever so slowly, Javelin started moving. Over the next two hours the wind slowly grew out of the south. With 3 knots of wind, Javelin was doing over 3 knots. At 5 knots of wind, she was doing almost 6 knots. Time after time we held on right to the edge of shallow water, then tacked back across Somes Sound.

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Morning...
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calm.
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French toast...
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Cheers!
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Somes - in & out!
Along the way we encountered the Hurricane Island Outward Bound skiff again. Their crew was happy - 7 days out over the distance we had come in one. Jeffrey will get his turn in a few weeks when the incoming Tuck School class (Amos Tuck Business School at Dartmouth College) does a week-long stint at Hurricane Island.

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Outward Bound #7
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7 days out
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Adventure crew
As the wind increased, it was even more fun to drive Javelin upwind. As the crew tried to head east toward open water, the wind died behind Sutton Island. Then they tried going south out western way - fog and no wind awaited. Back through Southwest Harbor they charged along, giving those ashore and on boats quite a display of a 53' boat slicing among the moored boats, tacking, it seemed just before disaster was a certainty. Like a caged tiger we sailed to the boundaries of the wind, then back and forth over an area about 1.5 miles in any direction. We even shadowed a racing fleet around their course. All great fun, but looking at our track, it was clearly, Crazy Friday!

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Crazy Friday
By 1500 we had had enough fun and headed into our slip at Northeast Harbor. Mel Converse was waiting on the dock and all hands turned to for laundry detail and the preparations for Jeffrey and Hank to fly out a little later.

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NE Hbr. Dock
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Dock approach...
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Lines secure?
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Javelin in...
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Northeast Harbor.
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Javelin sticks out
Bob & Mary Ann Miller of Mast Transit joined us aboard for cocktails and another lobster dinner at the Docksider. Our evening movie was The Last Samurai, then to bunk for a good night's sleep.

Saturday, July 31, 2004

What else - fog - greeted Rick & Steve on their 0715 treck up Sea Street to the Pine Tree Market & Laundry. Two last loads were dropped in the downstairs washers, then upstairs again for shopping. With many promises to return, we wheeled the shopping cart back down Sea Street with our provisions. A short breakfast of Mel's Rocky Coast Roast coffee, fruit and cereal, OJ and the Skipper's Danish Raspberry Twist gave us enough energy to return to toss clothes in the dryer. Mel headed for the Chamber of Commerce building for a link to the Internet while S & R returned for laundry. All was stowed and ready for our day's guests, Myra & Roy Ruff, by 0930.

Departing the dock shortly after 1000, we hoisted sails just outside Northeast Harbor and sailed south toward the fog bank over Western Way. At the sea buoy and fog we headed back, sliding through Southwest Harbor, we returned to Sommes Sound with Myra at the helm. Halfway up the Sound, the gusty southwest winds blasted down from the ridgetops, topping 30 knots. With continuing gusts, we rolled in a double reef at the head of the Sound and started beating our way back out. Just as on Friday, we tacked shore to shore. One particularly hard puff heeled Javelin until both her rail and cabin trunk were in the water, with both Roy & Myra getting their feet wet as the afterdeck went awash.

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Myra masters the compass
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Roy relaxes
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Fun in Somes Sound
As were clearing Somes Sound, the 139' Rebecca was making sail directly in front of us. We eased off and turned east to position ourselves along her likely course line and enjoyed the show. Majestically the beautiful ketch slowly unfurled her jib and gathered way - a greyhound stretching after a long nap. Fifteen to twenty knots of wind was like a gentle breeze to this giant as she gracefully tossed a white curl of a bow wave and she quickly overtook Javelin - and we were making over 8 knots ourselves! Cameras clicked like mad as she drove past. Her raw size was hard to appreciate until you compared the size of people aboard in proportion to the sails and rigging.

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Rebecca hoists...
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jib unfurls......
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gathers way...
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builds speed...
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classic.
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Rebecca chase
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Framed
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Slow patch
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closing fast...
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foredeck crew...
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Long & lovely
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midships crew...
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right on by...
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going, going...
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Gone!
We continued east, munched sandwiches, and reached out Eastern Way into the foggy Gulf of Maine once again. After enough fun in the fog, we tacked back and were close hauled above East Bunker Ledge when we began hearing radio distress calls to the Coast Guard from a small boat that was reporting itself "off Seal Harbor". Since that was shortly ahead and to leeward, and the fog was thinning, we kept our eyes peeled but could see nothing as the obviously distraught mariner tried to tell the Coast Guard where they were. After perhaps five to eight minutes of the CG trying to get the mariner to speak more slowly and farther from his microphone so he could be understood, the position was adjusted to "east and south" of Seal Harbor. A few minutes later a small Coast Guard inflatable zipped past going east, and was circling just outside Seal Harbor. About that time a "motorboat Indigo" radioed that he had the swamped boat in sight near East Bunker Ledge. The CG was there within another two minutes and a few minutes later reported having three people safely aboard. An ambulance was dispatched to Seal Harbor as the people were showing signs of hypothermia, and arrived at the dock about five minutes after the CG boat. Indigo eventually took the swamped boat in tow into Seal Harbor. Not ten minutes later there were two more distress calls, one from the Western Way area which was now blanketed in thick fog and 20+ knot winds. Though it was still sunny, we made one last circle of Greening Island into Southwest Harbor and headed back into our slip in Northeast Harbor after a total of 31 miles of sailing.

Sunday, August 1, 2004

In politically correct terms Steve described the morning as "visibility impaired". Foggy, as usual. Our breakfast entertainment was the departure of Savannah. She had arrived late Saturday in the other half of our slip. The important detail is that she was 12' longer than twice javelin's length - 118'. This megayacht is available for charter, usually on the Maine coast in summer, and the Caribbean in winter. Without her, it was easy to find Javelin as her bow stuck out 13' beyond the forty foot docks, but with Savannah alongside, Javelin almost disappears. Nevertheless, her skipper eased all 118' feet out of the slip, pivoted her, and gracefully slid out of Northeast Harbor.

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Where's Javelin?
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Easing out
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Pivot time
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Make it!
After updating the log and using the Chamber of Commerce's slick DSL line to upload log and pictures to the web, we too departed into the fog. It was boatlength-thick by the time we reached Western Way and the Bass Passage. With little incentive to sail, and our original destination of Swans Island dead to windward, we chose to turn right into Blue Hill Bay to explore coves on the western side of Mt. Desert Island.

For years it has been common for those in the "yachtie" community to pronounce the name of this favorite destination as if it were a delicious meal-ending treat - "Mt. Dessert" Island. Mel, however, slyly inquired of several natives about the local pronunciation, without suggesting one version or another. The unanimous reply was, "Desert" - like those dry, sandy places. It's origin apparently was from an French explorer using "desert" as meaning barren - describing the smooth rock top of Cadillac Mountain.

With Rick calling bearing from the nav station below, Mel steered along the shoreline while Steve kept an eye swinging between the radar screen for other boats and ahead for lobster pots. Not that we could actually see anything. Our first destination was Goose Cove - which we got into but couldn't see any shore though we were less than 1/8 of a mile from rocks in three directions! Same was true for Seal Cove where we edged within 150 feet of Dodge Point and could only see a few rocks right at waters edge. Next was Moose Isalnd - with slightly more visibility on the Bay side, but much improved when we circled around behind it and picked up a mooring for lunch. We even set the riding sail, and were rewarded for our efforts with a sun break by the time a chow mein lunch had been devoured forty minutes later.

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Moose I. lunch stop...
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and helper.
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House with view
With sunshine and a building southwest breeze, we continued our exploration under power up to Sawyer Cove, Pretty Marsh Harbor and the Bartlett Island Narrows. Then we shook out yesterdays double reef, set full sail and roared across the top of Blue Hill Bay doing between 9 and 9.9 knots on a joyous ride into Blue Hill Harbor. The Kollegewidgwok Yacht Club had an available mooring and we settled in with our riding sail and stern 35 feet from the rocky shore. What appeared to be the long-advertised cold front approached from the northwest, compete with a white roll cloud, but it passed toothless overhead and we had no more than ten knots of wind. While clearing skies were overhead, a few rumbles of distant thunder punctuated cocktail hour, but again nothing happened and we moved on to steaks on the grill, with mashed potatoes in honor of Mel's first cruising day. After such a hard day, our Skipper Steve set the example by turning in around 2030, Mel followed suit around 2115, and Rick held out, playing solitaire on the computer, until almost 2200. Tough life!

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Blue Hill Hbr. Rocks
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Town spire
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Kollegewidgwok Yacht Club
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Lobster lovley
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Restless natives
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Sunset
Monday, August 2, 2004

Gads! Sunshine as Rick rolled out of his bunk at 0603 to the sounds of Mel making a pot of Rocky Coast roast. After the short three steps across the cabin to perform his morning ablutions, Rick was heard to mutter, "Kinda hard to brush your teeth with a GPS." 'Seems he'd grabbed the bag with his GPS gear rather than his toilet kit. "I'd sure like to see you brush your teeth with the GPS," chided Mel. "Yeah," said Steve, "but I'd hate to see you try to navigate with a toothbrush!"

Blueberries were the focus of breakfast, over cereal with bananas or over oatmeal with whipped cream. A great way to start a morning in BLUE Hill Harbor. The engine oil was checked and yesterday's pictures and log were already updated when the colors-cannon banged from Kollegewigwok Yacht Club's deck and Mel unfurled the ensign precisely at 0800.

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Blue Hill Harbor
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A picture.
Though visibility was unlimited, the wind gods were still asleep. We powered down Blue Hill Bay, looping into Allen Cove for a look-see at a fine anchorage during the prevailing southwesterlies. Slipping past the narrow channel at Green Island Light, we cut the corners past shallow spots to the southeastern end of Eggemoggin Reach. GPS navigation on a computer screen enabled pin-point threading between rocks where no other landmarks were readily available, saving perhaps a mile over the conservative deep channel routes.

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Green Island
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Green I. light
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Eggemoggin Castle!
Going up Eggemoggin we explored Center Harbor where wooden boats outnumbered fiberglass three or four to one! Beautifully maintained boats gleamed with fresh varnish, brass ports and belaying posts and wooden spars reflected on the still water. Some were probably products, or restorations by The Wooden Boat School located just down the reach. A fleet of little Herreshoff sloops danced at the mouth of the harbor.

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Center Harbor
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Brooklin Marine
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Classic wooden boat
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Two more
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Varnished Concordia
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Herreshoff sloops
Continuing northwest, we ventured into Benjamin River, another home for wooden boats. Coming out of Benjamin we made sail and headed for the Eggemoggin bridge - Javelin's 75' mast clearing the girders by a scant ten feet at mid-span. On into Bucks Harbor after lunch sandwiches, we picked up three lobsters from the floating traps right at the dock, then headed west for a long sail around North Haven Island. It was light at first, with Javelin effortlessly climbing to weather and tacking past eight, six, four and one foot spots again guided from the computer. Steadily the breeze increased as we beat southwest between Great Spruce and Beach Islands, then squeaked past the eight foot spot at the corner of Horsehead. Mel hit 9.3 knots close hauled with 13 knots of wind in flat water just off Pulpit Harbor.

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Mel hits 9 knots
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Steve's drivin'
Though Rick tried to convince Steve to go in a take a peak, Steve protested that it would be way too crowded and we should hold on (another 12 miles) around to the Fox Island Thoroughfare and tuck into Perry Creek. Again slipping inside the channel buoys and then tacking downwind into the Thoroughfare, we eased into Perry Creek - the 14th, and last vessel to arrive for the day! Anchoring near the entrance, just past the four foot spot, we settled in for the night. Steve & Mel did some rope work to dress up the steering wheel while Rick dropped the lobsters into the steaming pots. Wiping away the last drops of melted butter, we rolled into our bunks before 2200.

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North Haven
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Lobster dinner
Tuesday, August 3, 2003

Eggs, sausage and fresh-baked biscuits started the day off. Bright sun and clear skies greeted us as the aroma of Mel's Rocky Coast Roast filled the cabin around 0650. But, by the time breakfast was ready an hour later, fog had blown in and "securite" calls were heard every few minutes as the commercial traffic moved up and down Penobscot Bay. Time to update the log before getting under way.

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Perry Creek
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Anchors aweigh
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Entrance guard
Bright sunshine and light wind ruled the first three miles back out the Fox Island Thoroughfare. But then it was fog again - one boatlength fog and plenty of traffic on the radar. We overtook several sailboats powering their way across Penobscot Bay toward Rockland, and avoided those headed for North Haven. We emerged from the fog just above Owls Head, set sail and reached back and forth for an hour enjoying good wind. Mel again got the tiller-tweater award for the day, hitting 10.2 knots with 16.8 knots of wind.

Alas, chores beckoned and we tied up at Kinght's Marine by 1330. After a quick lunch, we did laundry and tried to get a mechanic to look at the diesel turbocharger - not working since the beginning of the trip. No luck in that department, but did manage to apparently chase the gremlin in the starter circuit which had once or twice failed to start on the first try.

Brian Klinger had picked up Rich Miller at the Portland airport and arrived around 1500. Quickly stowing duffel bags, we cast off and went out to play on the edges of the fog. Not content with just reaching back and forth, we set the spinnaker and raced away to the north along the shore. Gybing as the wind increased to 11 knots, we quickly converged with the fog bank still holding all but the edges of the bay. The chute came down in a nice clean drop, but by the time we set the jib and headed back, we were into the soup again. GPS navigation gave us an easy heading back and we emerged from the fog a mile from the breakwater. Overhead the predicted cold front was just blotting out the sun, so we furled the sails and powered back to the dock.

Raindrops began pattering on the cabin top during cocktail hour, but gave way to sunshine within the hour as we departed for our 1930 dinner reservation at Marcelís at the Samoset Resort on the waterfront just north of Rockland. Though we had window seats, the gray water merged with the departing rain and provided no view. A leisurely two hours later we climbed back into Brian's car for the short ride back to Javelin and another early bedtime.

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

What with the early sack time Tuesday, Mel had the Rocky Coast Roast bubbling earlier than usual, and Rick got his cup just before 0600. Quietly setting up breakfast, Rick & Mel then sipped coffee on deck watching one sailboat ghost out of the harbor in the lightest of northwest wind until 0745 when Brian, Steve and then Rich rolled out of their bunks for a taste of coffee or orange juice. An array of English Muffins, toast, bananas and the ritual Entemanns Raspberry Danish Twist comprised breakfast.

Brian and Rick drove off to replenish the larder - with strict instructions not to return until a supply of the Captain's favorite Dark & Stormy ingredients could be laid into the lockers. With that mission, and a cart-full of food, they returned by 0845. Meanwhile, Steve, Mel & Rich hosed down the boat and filled the water and fuel tanks. We cast off at 0900 - and went nowhere. We were hard aground at dead low tide. Rigging a spring with some tension, we waited, none too patiently, until a tug on the line pulled us free at 0935 and we were on our way.

Rich & Brian took the helm while Steve set waypoints down the Muscle Ridge Channel and Javelin gracefully slid past the Rockland light and turned at Owls Head Light to head for sea. An hour out we passed friends on Metaphor, heading east for Northeast Harbor.

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Rich & Brian depart Rockland
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Rockland light
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Owls Head Light
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Steve on watch
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Metaphor
We continued down Muscle Ridge Channel under power snapping pictures of lighthouses and otherwise relaxing. As we cleared Penobscot Bay and turned west a light southerly filled in. (With attributions and accolades to Hank Jonas, there were Sheep In The Meadow to the north, and it did, indeed, begin to build after it filled. So we set sail, killed the engine and squeezed to windward. For a change there was no fog as we passed Boothbay and got some pictures of "cottages" with great ocean views. With a forecast of dirty weather for Thursday (and beyond) we elected to continue on past Maple Juice Cove and debated among several choices, finally settling on The Basin, seven miles up the New Meadows River. Passing Seguin Island, we were able to ease off, set the spinnaker and slid up the New Meadows River in late afternoon sunlight with a dying breeze.

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Whitehead Light
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Boothbay Riviera
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Starter Castles
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Boothbay regatta
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Happy crew
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Seguin Island
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& light
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Rich checks chute...
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it's OK,
We approached The Basin with great respect and caution. Though the turn off the river carries 60 feet of water, the entrance quickly narrows and decreases to 13 feet - plus tide. Tide was still falling and there were only 2.5 feet above datum as we squeezed into the channel. Going against the last of the ebb was like pushing Javelin up a very small river as the rocks on each side were less than 50' away. We held our breath as we crossed the minimum depth spot of 7 feet (with Javelin drawing 7 feet), pivoted 90 degrees and emerged into The Basin. We backfigured the clearance at the critical moment, and determined that we indeed had only about 2.5 feet of clearance over the bottom. Safely inside it was tranquil and we anchored in 14 feet and settled in for the evening. We were able to hitch a ride for a picture of the boat and crew, then settled in for a grilled chicken dinner off the grill.

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The Basin
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Could we get a picture?
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Sure.
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Sitting pretty
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Attention on deck
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Crew Review
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Skipper Steve
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Rich...
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Rick too.
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Mel relaxes
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Is it Happy Hour?
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Dark & Stormys
Thursday, August 5, 2004

Every piece of heaven has its Achillies heel. The Basin traps its larger visitors until there is enough tide to avoid using the keel as a plough, so we enjoyed a French Toast and bluberries (with whipped cream) breakfast before weighing anchor at 1145. Javelin slid back into the deep New Meadows River without hesitation and we powered out to sea.

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Approaching narrows
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Narrow, aint it!
A ten knot southerly kissed the water inviting us to set sail. Though our evening's destination was only 12 miles away, we sailed west making up to eight knots until we entered Casco Bay. Though Hank's "sheep" had ganged up into nasty clusters of rams to the northwest, we sailed most of the day in sunshine, and then slipped between showers as we rounded a cluster of islands. After sliding northeast with the spinnaker set, we patiently beat a mile to windward as the breeze died, then we reluctantly powered into Harpswell Sound.

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The Basin to Harpswell
The anchor rattled down in 33 feet of water in front of Leighton & Karin McIlvain's house. As soon as the riding sail had been set, Karin was down the dock calling hello. She & Leighton launched their dinghy and rowed out for a short cocktail before heading off to a birthday party. They promised to return on Friday for a day's sail followed by lobster dinner ashore. We consoled ourselves with a ham dinner and a songfest, undisturbed by a short shower that pattered on the cabin top.

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McIlvain celebration
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We let Steve up
Friday, August 6, 2004

A lazy morning with Leighton & Karin coming aboard at 1030 for a day sail. Hank's sheep were plentiful in the meadow (ashore), but the 7-8 knot northwester slowly faded - it did not fill or build. Ghosting along at 1.5 knots we munched sandwiches, then turned back into Harpswell Sound and sailed its full length. Going in was a beat with a tack right up to the edge of Morse's Lobster Landing - a working lobster dock with a handfull of tables outdoors.

It was a squeeze to pass High Head into the upper reaches of the Sound and still stay off the nine foot ledge that protects all but about 200 feet of the left side. Easing past little Uncle Zeke Island, we sailed to within two minutes of the highway bridge before spinning back south to leave. With the wind aft, we hoisted the spinnaker, and holding close against the shore, we ghosted out past High Head. It was a quick sail back to the McIlvain's with better air.

Arriving at the top of high tide, we were able to land Javelin right at their dock for the first time on our many visits - perfect for a good picture. But then we cleared the dock and anchored Javelin so she wouldn't hit bottom as the tide fell. Cocktails ashore on the deck prompted a few more pictures, they we all climbed aboard their 25' Grady White powerboat Summer Girl for a quick ride to Morse's Lobster Landing for a great dinner. We only had 3 GPS units and radar to get us the 1.8 miles back in the dying light - piece of cake.

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Good Lobsters!
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Sitting pretty
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Picture perfect
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Postcard
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Reflections
Saturday, August 7, 2004

The anchor detail was hoisting away by 0635 as we prepared to depart Harpswell Sound, bound for Little Harbor, at Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Ripples from a nice northwest breeze darkened the Sound as Javelin, now with her main set, eased around green can 13 and headed to sea past Mark Island. Patchwork clouds stitched east and west along the shore, with fewer out to sea.

Javelin heeled gently to port as the spinnaker set and we were off to the races. Seven, eight, then nine knots ticked off on all the instruments. Cape Elizabeth, 15 miles down the course quickly came abeam. Sparkling seas, good breeze and shirtslevee temperatures, what a great way to start the morning.

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Morning chute work
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Average day in paradise
Wind gods have a perverse way of toying with the relaxed and happy days of a sailor. As fast as we had arrived at Cape Elizabeth, the wind chose that moment to quickly depart. The drone of the engine replaced the gurgle of a bow wave. Along the shore cumulus merged to stratocumulus and by noon some were leaking wisps of rain, while the blackest obliterated the inland hills in a dark curtain. Running two to six miles offshore, we continued on in sunshine.

Between 1223 and 1335, as noted in the log, enough southeast wind had filled in from the ocean to sail once again, making six to seven knots - then died. Twenty minutes later it filled in again - but only for thirty minutes. With black rain falling inland over Portsmouth, we arrived at Wentworth Marina at 1445. The customary dock chores of tank filling and deck wash-down were easily completed in time to take a quick shower before being picked up by Brian's wife Lise.
While Rick uploaded the latest version of the log and Mel checked his emails, Brian did a last round of shopping. We all returned to Javelin by 1800 for cocktails aboard, then dinner at the Landing, overlooking the harbor. Though delightful when we sat down, and despite an outdoor heater nearby, it had cooled considerably after the sun set and we finished at 2100.

Sunday, August 8, 2004

The whistling wasn't exactly reveille, but Steve was equally effective in rousting out the crew at 0500. Mel somehow had the water for Rocky Coast Roast on the stove, Rick dug for orange juice, and even before any of it could be poured, our shore water connection had been stowed. The last dock line was cast off at 0520. Breakfast was enjoyed under way.

It was a race to the harbor entrance to beat the rising sun and capture the sight of an early lobster boat passing Whaleback Reef light. Got it!

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Sunrise & Lobster
Our friendly northwester was there to greet us again, this time more vigorous with a distinct chill in the early morning air. Our run for Cape Ann was spectacular. Not a cloud marred the sky. Javelin effortlessly reeled of 8 - 9 knots, and making 10 knots over the bottom with the following tide. A few trawlers were working these outer waters, mostly over 200 feet deep, so we set the autopilot and headed on our way. We took turns sitting aft in the cold wind to watch for any other boats or fishing markers while the rest stayed in the shelter of the dodger to keep warm.

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On watch?!
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Tough life
Turning thirteen degrees west after Cape Ann, to a course of 193, we could see the tops of Boston buildings almost 30 miles away. Visibility continued exceptional, picking up Race Point at Provincetown over 16 miles to the southeast, and then the stacks of the power plant at the Cape Cod Canal over 20 miles away.

Hank's sheep, however were now appearing in the meadows to the west - and promptly ate up our joyous wind. Once again the engine droned by 1155. First the breeze died to nothing, then teased from the southeast, disappeared, and returned from the southwest. We rolled the jib in and out and kept the main hoisted to minimize rolling and add any tenths of a knot the wind would allow. We powered on in sunshine toward the Canal.

They must have heard that comment, for they now collectively let out a powerful breath which filled, built and blew all at once. True wind peaked at 21 knots with aparent wind at 28 knots. Rail down Javelin flew hurling her bow wave to leeward as we charged to the Canal. It was blowing so hard we had to use the power winch to furl the jib, and it wrapped so tight that all the turns came off the furling drum just as the clew of the jib wrapped around the headstay. Unfortunately that last inch was enough to part the furling line. The good news was that the jib stayed furled, and it took us about an hour as we powered through the Canal to fix it. The line was too large to go through the hole in the drum, but by whipping it about 15" from the end, then removing the cover section of the braided line, the remaining core would fit, and was strong enough to hold the load. Simple in theory, but tedious in practice as Rick whipped the line and Mel, lying flat on the foredeck with his head over the side, coaxed the line through the drum and finished the end with a knot.

We cleared the Canal at 1630, and picked up Jay & Hasty Evans' mooring at Scraggy Neck about an hour later. They came aboard with goodies and their new puppy, Spindrift. Their wine and some Dark & Stormys washed down Rick's spaghetti dinner.

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West end
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Clearing the Canal
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Scraggy sunset
Monday, August 9, 2004

A sailboat owner has that same extra sense a new mother has when something isn't right with the baby. Mel's ears picked up an unusual squeak from his starboard aft cabin and he was on deck at 0400. Soon joined by Steve, Rich & Rick, the southwest wind had shifted north of west and Javelin's stern was now rubbing on the styrofoam floats of the mooring and small runabout astern of us. With the mooring under Javelin and the runabout's mooring line trapped by the rudder, our problem was how to get Javelin untangled. Pulling Javelin forward on our mooring line was not enough. Rich stepped across onto the bow of the runabout which gave us just enough slack to get its bow line off the cleat. Getting Rich back aboard, we tied one line to the runabout and let it ride clear astern of Javelin and tied a second line to the mooring line. With all of us pulling, we were able to pull the submerged mooring around to the port side, and pulling up, were able to lever Javelin's stern slightly to starboard and see the mooring chain tight at the waters edge. Then Steve kicked Javelin ahead and the mooring floated free astern and to port. Now we reversed the process and pulled the runabout in on our transom, put its mooring line back on and it floated free.

Our choice now was to cast off the Evans' mooring and anchor farther out, or just get under way. At 0420 we powered clear of Scraggy Neck and headed down Buzzards Bay. Rick & Mel turned in leaving Steve & Rich on watch. By 0700 we cleared Buzzards Bay as Mel & Rick came on deck as the main and jib were set and we sailed close hauled across Rhode Island Sound toward our destination of Bristol, up Narragansett Bay past Newport.

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Heading for Newport
It was another sparkling morning with a 9-10 knot northwesterly. Steering was a delight with a warming sun astern and dark blue water ahead. We tacked north at 0950 around an anchored bulk carrier and headed for Brenton Reef and the entrance to Newport and Bristol farther up the Bay. We snapped pictures as we closed with Castle Hill Light and the "Castle" representative of the Newport compounds used to base America's Cup syndicates when The Cup races were sailed off Newport.

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Castle Hill Light
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The castle
Good thing we had the camera out just then, as Steve spotted a powerboat headed outbound and remarked that it was a boat just like our crew member Hank Jonas' new Albin 28 On Rush. It was On Rush and we clicked away.

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Here comes...
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Hank Jonas...
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with On Rush...
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his new...
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Albin 28.
While we had been sailing Javelin back from Maine, Hank had taken Jeffrey and his girlfriend out for a ride aboard On Rush.

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Jeffrey...
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and Jennifer
Hank radioed that he had picked up sandwiches, and we agreed to rendezvous at Bristol for lunch. It was a glorious sail up Narragansett Bay and Hank snapped this shot of us under way. Then we dropped our main and powered the short distance to Bristol and our berth at the Herreshoff Museum. On this site of the apex of wooden boat building are some of the finest examples of old boats and pictures to study and admire for hours. Naturally it is also a magnet for classic yachts still afloat, like the aptly named Enticer at a mooring just off the dock.

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Javelin sails
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Newport Bridge
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Fall River Bridge
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Enticer
We enjoyed Hank's lunch aboard Javelin, then climbed aboard On Rush for a ride up to Providence. It was fast and fun, with plenty of electronic toys to play with along the way. Photo ops included a hard-working dredge and light that wanted to be a house! Combined with our early morning start, the fresh air and warm sunshine soon had some of the crew quite relaxed!
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Hanks nav center
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Dredge duty
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Nice light!
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Providence
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Hurricane barrier.
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Hard worked crew...
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to port...
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and starboard.
A real Russian submarine, apparently bought by the City of Providence was used in the "Hunt for Red October" movie, and though it looked more tired than threatening, some trick photography leaves plenty of food for thought.
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Red October
We returned to Bristol and walked into town for an early dinner. Gadget-man Hank and Steve had to compare the compass features of their watches to see if we could find our way back to the boat. Fortunately, we did.

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Watch compasses!
Tuesday, August 10, 2004