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Javelin 2008 Maine Cruise
August 4 - 22, 2008


For the ninth time, Steve Blecher's 53' J-160,
Javelin takes a tried and true, mostly Dartmouth grad, crew on a cruise to Maine. Steve (Dartmouth '64), Rick Van Mell ('63), Mel Converse ('60), & Paul Wharton (Duke '64) boarding at Westbrook, CT made up the initial crew, then through the Cape Cod Canal to Portsmouth, NH (Wentworth Marina) to pick up Brian Klinger ('62). The Plan was to work quickly east, almost touching Canadian waters, then working back west in easy steps. Usual planned stops included Harpswell Sound to see Leighton & Karin McIlvaine, dropping Brian back at Wentworth, then south through the Cape Cod Canal for a visit with Jay ('64) and Hasty Evans at Scraggy Neck before poking into the Herreshoff Museum in Bristol, and an over night stop in Stonington, CT before returning to Westbrook.

That was The Plan, but you'll just have to read on to see what happened when the wind hit the plan! Pictures by Mel Converse and Rick Van Mell are grouped between days. There are even a few movie clips too.




Sunday, August 3rd

Steve & Mel picked up Rick when he landed at LaGuardia a day later than planned due to a cancelled flight. That didn't slow things down though. After lunch back at Steve's house in Scarsdale, and with Amy's permission, we "shopped" in the fridge and pantry and checked off a dozen things that were on Rick's shopping list. Armed with copies of the four page list, Rick, Mel & Steve stormed the A&P with three carts and within an hour had piled them high. Momentum toward casting off continued through a delicious Chinese dinner with Paul & Elinor Wharton.

By 7:45 pm, four guys, their sailing gear and piles of food headed off down the highway for Javelin in Westbrook, Connecticut. Arriving about 9:30, several cart-loads were needed to schlep everything down the dock and pass it aboard. Rick stowed food in the freezer and refrigerator, passing canned goods forward to Brian to stow in the lockers behind the main salon seats, and the crackers to the dry locker in the starboard aft cabin. The system had been honed over many years and went quickly. Mel & Paul filled the water tanks, and Steve set up the departure route in the GPS for the morning. Javelin's air conditioning helped keep everyone's cool, and all hands turned in a little after 11:00 pm.

Monday & Tuesday , August 4th & 5th

The Westbrook Harbor Channel had been dredged earlier in the year, but again had silted in, so to be sure of getting out, we had to depart two hours before low tide. All hands were called at 0430; morning ablutions completed, electrical shore power cord disconnected and stowed, and coffee water started, dock lines were cast off at 0522. Eleven knots of soft wind blew from the west and a radiant glow grew in the east as we edged out the channel. Paul called out fathometer readings; Steve kept Javelin steady on the range line down the center of the channel. "Ten feet, 9.5', 9', 8.5' 8'," Paul called. Javelin needs 7. "Seven point five feet," called Paul. Advancing one boat length seemed to take forever. "Eight feet, 8.5, 9,.11," and we were all smiles. Within minutes a warm sun sliced into the clear eastern sky and we were on our way.

Though eleven knots of wind makes for great sailing, as we swung onto our easterly course out of Long Island Sound it was dead astern. Needing to average something above seven knots for almost 24 hours to reach Portsmouth, NH Tuesday morning to pick up Brian, we pushed east using the engine to maintain speed. At 0615 the lighthouses at the mouth of the Connecticut River came in line abeam; 0717 saw Bartlett Reef abeam; at 0800 we slipped out of Long Island Sound into Fishers Island Sound. Leaving Mystic Seaport to the north, we entered Rhode Island Sound at Watch Hill at 0904.

It was getting hot in the open sun, and with the wind at 12 knots and veering toward the northwest, we set the main and jib at 1005 for a little extra push and some shade. The wind gods took notice that we were still using the engine and reminded us that we were indeed guests in their realm by dropping the breeze to 8 and backing to the west. We took in the now slatting jib, secured a preventer on the boom to keep it from slatting, and enjoyed what shade remained as the sun arced toward the zenith.

Point Judith marks the transition to Narraganset Bay and half way to the Cape Cod Canal - about 45 miles of the 90 mile run. It was logged abeam at 1130. We were on our time line to reach the Canal by out target 1800 hours - 6 pm. With the early departure, and 36 hours of sailing ahead, watches were set up early. Each person was on for four hours, with a new person coming on every two hours. Steve & Mel were on watch at 1200 (noon), with Paul coming on to relieve Mel at 1400, and Rick relieving Steve at 1600. The rotation continued for the next 30 hours and our arrival in Boothbay Harbor, Maine.

We passed Newport and crossed into Buzzards Bay at 1423 as the wind increased to 16 knots, but still dead astern. Cumulus clouds bubbled up over the land to the north, and spilled southeast out over the water into the afternoon. Grey-black bottoms and snow-white tops blossomed until clusters merged into cells. We dug out our foul weather gear as a few raindrops blew past. A solid black curtain of rain fell from one cell moving across in front of us. It blotted out the shore and left a faint rainbow as it moved southeast over Woods Hole and dissipated. Another system converged from the north as we turned up past Cleveland Ledge Light toward the Cape Cod Canal entrance.

We radioed an outbound tug and barge and agreed on a "two whistle pass", starboard to starboard. As we entered the Canal at 1758 the latest cell crossed the channel astern with its streamers of rain pelting the water we had recently crossed. Blue skies and sun were our shepherds as we made the Canal transit. At Sandwich, a tiny port of refuge at the eastern end of the Canal, we stopped for fuel. Then on into Cape Cod Bay at 1910.

Two more cells lurked. One big and dark lay five miles dead ahead; it eased to the east before we arrived. The second rose north of west and stretched almost to the first. It's southern extent gaped like a giant jaw grasping at the setting sun. A defiant blazing sun slipped down into the shore, but you could swear that the alligator cloud had enjoyed the last bite of sunshine. The tail of this cloud lightly sprinkled Steve & Mel on their watch between 2200 and midnight.

It's called the graveyard watch, between midnight and 4 am. It can be either beautiful or dreadful. This Tuesday started beautiful. Millions of stars in the Milky Way arced across the masthead. Ursa Major, the Big Dipper, low off the port bow, pointed perfectly to the North Star dead ahead, with Cassiopeia high to starboard. From horizon to horizon stars blazed, except above the bright glow of Boston's buildings 25 miles away to the west. If it weren't for a modest dew, the warm, light west wind would have kept jackets towed.

Things change. By 0130 a low band of stratus blotted out the stars, the wind shifted first north, dead against our course, then northeast. It increased to ten to twelve knots, then on up to fourteen to fifteen knots. Seas built; Javelin punched and pounded onward, slowed from 8 knots to 6.2. At 0254 we rounded Cape Ann, and turned left 12 degrees for Portsmouth, 25 miles ahead. The wind veered farther east and we set the jib, increasing speed to 8.5 knots with the engine. As dawn approached the wind eased and backed to the north. In came the jib, but we arrived at Portsmouth, or more precisely, Little Harbor and its Wentworth Marina, at 0610.

Steve called Brian at 0615, just as agreed the night before, and, also as predicted, we were now tied up and waiting for Brian to board. While this may sound like great navigation, the estimated time of arrival over the past eleven hours had varied from 0300 when we first departed the Canal, to 0745 as we pounded into the waves approaching Cape Ann. Being the Type A crew we are, a judicious mix of engine and sail worked to get us back on the original Plan whenever possible. This time it turned out to be possible. We grabbed a quick breakfast of coffee, juice and the second helping of a giant Costco crumb coffeecake as Brian came aboard and stowed his gear. We were back at sea by 0655.

Months ago, as The Plan was debated, an initial destination after picking up Brian was Jewel Island, on the outside of Casco Bay, just east of Portland, Maine. But, our major goal was to get east, to Northeast Harbor at Mt. Desert Island and ultimately beyond to Cross Island. A stop at Jewel meant a very long 97 mile run on Wednesday to NE Harbor. Two weeks before departure, Steve elected to stretch Tuesday's run by 20 miles to Boothbay Harbor and gain 25 miles of easting. So now we were powering east-northeast into the remaining wind and seas on our way to Boothbay.

Back in June, Rick had cruised these waters with a Chicago friend, Mark Wurtzebach, aboard Passage, a Passport 47. Mark, now joined by his wife Sandy, were now headed from Rockland to Portland to pick up some friends. We had tentatively talked about a dinner rendezvous at Boothbay if our mutual plans converged. On Monday, while still in Buzzards Bay, a cell phone call confirmed we were both still heading for Boothbay. Early Tuesday we estimated our arrival at 1700.

True to a forecast, for a change, by noon the wind shifted favorably to the southeast and went light. The sun came out and slowly the confused seas flattened. At 1237 we were abeam of Cape Elizabeth; at 1500 due south of Seguin Island; and at 1640 we were taking on fuel at Carousel Marina in Boothbay. We picked up a Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club mooring at 1657. Passage was one boat length away on the next mooring.

In surprisingly short order, our crew was shipshape with fresh faces and shirts. Mark & Sandy were piped aboard shortly and Sandy's shrimp were added to the cockpit table hors de oeuvres as Brian assumed the bartender role. As cruisers do, we exchanged sea stories of recent days at sea and the usual mechanical challenges of shipboard life. Rick had salad made, onions sauteing, and potatoes coming along below. Steve tended steaks on the grill at the stern rail. All hands continued our conversations below over dinner. It was an early evening as Sandy & Mark returned to Passage and the Javelin crew settled in for the night. In the fading light, Sandy cast a fishing line into the flat waters. We were asleep before we heard of a catch.

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0530 Departure ...
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Steve is cautious ...
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Javelin is ready ...
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nav station shows ...
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Westbrook departure ...
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now where?
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Baked goodies ...
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freezer full & ...
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fridge stocked.
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Sunrise at sea ...
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is a warm welcome.
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Paul's turn.
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Connecticut River abeam
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Mel checks in.
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Paul checks out!
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Rick relaxed?!
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North Dumpling
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Fishers I. light
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Easy going.
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Fisher's I. Castle.
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Watch Hill light ...
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catches morning sun ...
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full on.
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Environmental Police!
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The long watch ahead
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Light going.
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Weather ahead has ...
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faint rainbow.
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Weather to windward
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Cleveland ledge light.
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Easy approach to ...
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Cape Cod Canal.
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Tug Comet & ...
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barge pass.
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Storm slides ...
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southeast & goes ...
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politely by astern.
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"Thank you," say ...
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Steve & Mel.
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Railroad bridge ...
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marks Canal entrance ...
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& goes down behind ...
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for a train.
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Great lasagana ...
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thanks to Paul!
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In the canal.
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Approaching Sandwich ...
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for a fuel stop.
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Sunset rain goes east.
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Clear above.
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Monday's sun ...
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eaten by ...
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large alligator ...
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Yum!
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Tuesday sunrise ...
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Rick does log ...
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and afternoon.
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Seguin Island ...
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coming abeam.
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The Cuckolds Light.
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Opti sailing
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Into Boothbay
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Boothbay Light
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Fuel dock?
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Landmark church
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Evening headboat ...
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looks classic ...
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with a crowd.
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Next one.
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Coming home.
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Passage waits ...
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for mooring grab ...
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"Got it?"
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Boothbay Harbor
Yacht Club
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Goodies galore
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Sandy ...
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Mark ...
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Paul & Mel ...
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great smile ...
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ditto ...
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"What?"
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Great group!


Canal Bridge Going Down



Wednesday, August 6th

Brian had boarded with the prediction of "drenching rain" for Wednesday. Serious scowls prompted a caveat that this applied to New Hampshire - at least. Rain played a gentle tune on the cabintop as the crew rolled from their bunks around 0600. All hands dug out boots and wet gear before finishing off the last of the crumb cake and sliced into Steve's traditional Entenmanns Raspberry Danish Twist, juice and coffee to stoke the inner fires.

This resolute determination mollified the rain gods, and when we cast off at 0631 no rain was falling. Though clear, and calm, it was still cool. Cries of "thar she blows" drew all eyes forward as a whale breached about three times, blowing a great spout and splashing large about a mile or two ahead. Maybe it was wishful looking for more whales that finally called Rick to snap a picture of the elusive Loch Ness Monster. It certainly would have been an unpleasant day for any vessel meeting this cellulose monster of a tree.

By 0828, southeast winds at 10 were good enough to set the main to add speed, but still too close hauled for sail alone. Dodging lobster pots and rocks, we were grinding down the 72 miles to Northeast Harbor at a good clip. By 1053 we were making the most open water leg of this route across the bottom of Penobscot Bay. Pretzels and the last of the brownie bites added warmth as the wind backed a bit and progress slowed.

Rain was our reward. Wet gear was in order. We crossed north of Isle au Haut and up into Merchant's Row, then on through York Passage, Bass Harbor Passage and into Western Way and the familiar waters of Northeast Harbor. It was till raining lightly, so we passed up fuel at Clifton Dock and went to the city dock. After pumping our holding tanks, Steve backed us into our assigned slip, right at the end of the public dock. Easy to get ashore, and pretty to see for all the tourists riding the small ferry to Cranberry Island.

Hank Jonas, of On Rush fame, joined us for cocktail hour aboard, then we all walked up to the Docksider for our 7:30 dinner reservation. Lobster was the meal of choice and all ate their fill. Must have been the long rainy day, because it was lights out just before 10:00. The heating system was left on to keep out the chill and all slept soundly.

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Whale watching ...
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finaly sights ...
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the Loch Ness Monster!
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A rugged crew
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Steve calls ...
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Heron & Atlantic
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Log time.
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Nasty weather abeam
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Two Bush light
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Master & Commander ...
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Twisted Pretzel!
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Easy going
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Isle au Haut
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Entering Merchant Row ...
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Lobster Pot Tree
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Hard trees ...
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typical tree line.
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Rainy toursists ...
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and cruisers.
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CG buoy tender
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On Rush!
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Looking good ...
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crossing over ...
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double click.
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Tabor Boy ...
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brings smiles.
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Into NE Harbor ...
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fender time.
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Javelin - NE Harbor.


Thursday, August 7th

A call from Hank said he was skipping our breakfast invitation - not wanting to get wet going around two docks in the light morning shower. He missed Rick's eggs & Smokies, English muffins and the attempted potato pancakes from Tuesday's leftovers.

The rain had stopped and we topped off fuel at Clifton Dock before setting sail just outside Northeast Harbor. Rick jumped at the chance to drive Javelin to windward out Eastern Way. With 9 - 10 knots of breeze, Javelin sliced along at 8.5 knots. We easily caught a departing cruising boat and headed out to sea.

It was cool and cloudy, but a good wind and smooth sea made for good sailing. All hands took a turn on the helm as we tacked our way east. First we crossed the bottom of Frenchman Bay, where one of the tourist catamarans was racing back up the Bay to Bar Harbor. Two tacks, and a couple hours later we were east of Petit Manan Light. Lunch sandwiches were quickly gobbled down, followed by Oreos, and then a pot of hot coffee. Warm gloves were the order of the day.

The autopilot stopped working for no apparent reason somewhere around noon. A project to trouble shoot later. Though the wind instruments continued to read winds at 9 - 10 or 11 knots, it was not reflected in the sea surface, and our speed dropped down to 6 knots or less. A cold inversion layer just on the sea surface wasn't moving as fast as winds 75' higher. At 1540 we dropped sail and powered upwind for Mistake Harbor.

Moose Peak Light and a long abandoned tiny house sit on the bare rock eastern end of Mistake Island. It sits about half way along the 67 mile stretch between Mt. Desert Island (Acadia National Park & Bar Harbor) and the Canadian border. Mistake "Harbor" marks the only sheltered cove along that stretch that is right off the open Atlantic Ocean. To call it a Harbor is a bit of a stretch - more a lagoon bounded on the east by Mistake Island, and then six or seven unnamed barren rocks that are not quite covered at high tide. Note in the "Low tide" picture from Friday morning, the small sand-colored section of rock that is all that remains above water at high tide. When a sea is running, a surge ripples between the rocks. Still, it's a cruising favorite because it's easy to reach, and the holding is good for perhaps half a dozen cruisers.

By 1640 we were into the main channel, and by 1730, after two passes, we were satisfied with our anchor set. As you can see in the pictures, it was a chilly day. Sea temperature was about 56 degrees, and the air temperature was much the same. when we first turned on the generator and the heating system, the main cabin was only 57 degrees. It quickly warmed to 70 and the wet gear was stowed.

Paul's turkey chili was the main course for dinner, served over rice, with Rick's cole slaw salad. Blueberry shortcake with whipped cream finished it off. Most of the crew stayed up for the evening movie, the first for this cruise. Played through the navigation laptop's DVD, with sound patched into Javelin's stereo system, "The French Connection" started at 7:45 pm. Despite the gunfire and crashes, a second crew turned in directly below the fury. By the final credits, at 9:30, it was a race to the bunks.

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Breakfast goodies
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Weather picture
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Fuel time, but ...
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what are they ...
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looking at? ...
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Fuel Man ...
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done!
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Rick is ...
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enjoying life.
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Lookout
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Cool weather garb
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Fast Cat headed ...
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for Bar Harbor.
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Sea dog ...
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Viking dog ..
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Polar dog!
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Afterdeck crew
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Beating to Mistake I.
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Moose Peak light ...
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up close.
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Into the channel ...
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confident crew?
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Rockbound coast ...
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pure Maine!
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Where to anchor? ...
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ready to anchor ...
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all secure.
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Rigging the ...
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riding sail.
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time for heat!
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Blueberry shortcake.
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French Connection


Friday, August 8th

Nine hours of bunk time is unusual for this crew. But it was after 0715 when Steve started up the generator to warm up the cabin - Mel's Rocky Coast roast coffee hadn't even been started. One destination choice for the day was rounding Machias Seal Island, in Canadian waters, about 16 miles east and ten miles offshore. We'd made the run in 2007, thinking the fog would lift by the time we got there. We never saw it though we were within a quarter mile of nasty rocks. Once you wiped away the cold condensation on the inside of the cabin ports, it was still a blur - fog had arrived in Mistake Harbor.

Steve further encouraged the crew with his Blackberry radar image of a solid band of rain stretching north-south from Canada down across Maine about 60 miles to the west of us. NOAA Weather Radio's inland forecast droned a Flash Flood Watch, with up to 2" of rain in some locations. It was all grinding inexorably toward us.

Hot oatmeal & fruit primed the crew. Three potential projects made the To Do list: the autopilot; the main engine charging system; and an apparent burned out white bulb in the head. In short, despite resetting a fuse and putting a voltmeter on the main generator, removing and checking the wires to the autopilot, and fiddling with the switch on the light, nothing got fixed. (Actually unusual for this crew!) Leaving the field of battle, Paul plugged his iPod into the stereo system to accompany the crew's serious reading. Rick manufactured things to write in the log.

The screens for the ventilation dorades got cleaned. The fog cleared by 1000. Magazines got read. Slowly the "drenching rain" crept toward the east. We ran the generator around noon to charge batteries and warm the cabin. Rain reached the western side of Penobscot Bay. Paul & Rick read in the cockpit. Rain reached the eastern side of Penobscot Bay. By dinner time it reached Northeast Harbor - heavy rain as reported by Hank Jonas. But it never rained more than a drop or two at Mistake Harbor. If we had not had radar-by-cell-phone, we would have gone sailing for the day in a nice 8 - 10 knot breeze, wary only of NOAA's standard "rain likely in the afternoon". So much for technology.

Paul cooked up a delicious green bean, onion, eggplant and celery medley to go with the evening's pork chops. "Eastern Promises", was our movie, where "criminal mastermind Nikolai finds his ties to a notorious crime family shaken when he crosses paths with Anna, a midwife who has accidently uncovered evidence against them." One hour and forty-one minutes of violent "murder, mystery and deception." Once again we were all asleep by ten.

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Foggy morning ...
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laid back lay day.
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Mistake Harbor ...
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low tide & ...
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high tide.
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Harbor edge ...
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is porous.
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Paul cooks up ...
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green beans for ...
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dinner.
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Dishwashers
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Evening movie ...
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cuts deep.


Saturday, August 9th

We awoke wrapped in a blanket of fog. Fog, and no wind. French toast for breakfast passed a little time. It wasn't until after eleven that visibility began to improve. First the trees could be seen. Then a few farther rocks. Vapors hung above the low-tide exposed, seaweed covered rocks until the faintest of zephyers mixed them out. It was time to leave.

At 1150 we were anchor up and under way from Mistake Harbor. Slowly a little wind rippled the water. By the time the engine-driven compressor had restored the freezer and regrigerator to their desired 25 and 34 degrees respectively, we were fifty-five minutes down the coast and there was enough wind to sail. Main and jib hoisted.

Between the threat of rain and the lack of wind, the wind had hit The Plan. We were now headed back west toward Trafton Island. Mistake Harbor had become our eastern-most anchorage, and return visits to Cross and Roque Islands would have to wait for another trip. Naturally, the wind, which had been easterly as we worked east, was now southwest - we were again beating toward our destination. Javelin loved it. In 10 -11 knots of wind she drove to windward along the coast on port tack at 8 knots. Even though were had departed around noon, we were already closing in on our destination by 1400.

A quick check of the chart and angles, and we tacked to starboard and out to sea. An hour, and eight miles, later, we tack back toward shore. Out went the sprit, making Javelin look like a great green narwhal, and the asymetrical spinnaker quickly followed. Rick was on the foredeck, Steve at the mast. Brian and Mel on sheets, and Paul at the helm. Nothing quite matches roaring along with the rail down across a smooth sea with a spinnaker full and drawing and the speedo reading between eight and nine knots. It was obvious from the smiles as various crew steered, with finger-tip control, guiding Javelin around lobster pots and taking advantage of the long period swells to tack on an extra tenth of speed.

About three miles to sea from Trafton Island is Jordans Delight. Plus Jordans Delight Ledge and Black Ledge. It lay directly in Javelin's path. In a space of a quarter mile, depth rose from 125 feet to a rock awash at low tide. Even with the small swells raised by 12 knots of wind, white breakers appeared in an otherwise unbroken blue sea. "Bear off 10 degrees to 345," came the call from the nav station with one mile to go. Seven minutes later, Javelin sped past the eastern end of the breakers and rounded back up to course for Trafton Island.

Depending on your point of view, the last mile and a half, past Pond Island, was either the perfect chamber-of-commerce picture of coastal Maine, or a helmsman's grand challenge. The afternoon sun shone from a clear blue sky on deep green conifers, their ragged tops stretching up from polished granite shores. A virtual rainbow of lobster pots sparkled against the dark-blue ocean, tighly packed like a hand stitched quilt. A casual glance would likely miss that most were toggle pots, with a single, small white float, then a color coded pot attached up to fifteen feet away to leeward. Sail between the two and you have a way too likely chance of catching the line and pot on the keel. Steve had the helm, and gracefully Javelin danced through the open spaces, occasionally grazing a toggle to line up for the next one.

At 1645 we bore away sharply. Brian let the spinnaker sheet run, Rick hauled down the sock to snuff the sail. Paul eased off the halyard as Rick guided the sail into the forward hatch. In a minute it was safely stowed; two minutes later all lines were secure in their place; and five minutes later the main slid easily down the Dutchman lines and was secure on the boom. At 1655, a total of ten minutes, Javelin was anchored behind Trafton Island.

Steve grilled the marinated chicken to a perfection that matched the wild rice and mixed veg for dinner. Far to the west, thunderheads blossomed into anvil tops, then drifted off and dissipated into the sunset. "3:10 to Yuma" roared to life on the mini-screen with Russel Crowe playing Ben Wade, the leader of a vicious western gang that finally gets its taste of justice. And once again the crew of Javelin was in their bunks before 10:00 pm.

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Fog clearing
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Rock astern
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Happy campers ...
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are sailing ...
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in sunshine.
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Great ride ...
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fine set ...
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ride 'em cowboy.
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Bug catcher ...
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takes a rest.
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Go Paul.
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Driving ...
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toward Trafton.
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We need to skirt ...
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Black Ledge ...
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see why?!
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Steve grills ...
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great chicken ...
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that's plated for ...
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smiles.
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Distant thunder.
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Trafton sunset.


Spinnaker Sailing


Sunday, August 10th

It was earlier, by an hour, when the fog lifted enough to see the shore. At 1030 the anchor was stowed and we headed for sea and the passage around Schoodic Point into Frenchman Bay. The wind slowly rippled the water - 3 knots; 7 knots. 10 knots by 1130. But with the southeast wind came fog. Less than a quarter mile visibility as we passed the tip of Bois Bubert Island. Less than an eighth at Whale Ledge. Our "Securite" call on channel 16 as we aproached the Petit Manan Bar Passage went unanswered, and the radar was ambiguous. But the roar of engines, ghostly images, and the heave of wakes marked the close passage of three lobster boats and a cruising power boat.

Once through Petit Manan Bar, there was no traffic on the seven mile run to Schoodic Island. Red #2 was briefly seen then nothing as we threaded between the Island and Schoodic Head, or for that matter for the first five miles up Frenchman Bay. Then above us, clear blue sky appeared. Next, the tops of trees as we approached Ironbound Island. To the east, over land, it was sparkling clear. To the west fog hugged the water and wrapped up the Porcupine Islands that bound Bar Harbor. Just the rounded cap of Cadillac Mountain poked above the fog.

As if pinched off at Halibut Hole between Ironbound and Jordan Islands, the fog ended in a sharp line. Up went the main, out rolled the jib, and Javelin roared north at 9.5 knots with a wall of fog to port and a sparkling bay and shore to starboard. Above to the west alto cumulus billowed above the rolling hills. One stretched up to an anvil top that was blowing away to the northeast. It was a glorious afternoon for sailing.

Paul plugged his iPod into the stereo system, and Enzio Pinza and the original South Pacific cast blared from the cockpit speakers. It doesn't get much better than flying along at 9.2 knots on a close reach, with the crew singing along to such favorites as Bloody Mary and Some Enchanted Evening. Check out 47seconds of movie clip fun!

Some Enchanted Evening



Approaching Eastern Bay, above Bar Harbor, the fog marched north as the wind increased with gusts to 18 knots. We tacked back and decided to test double reefing the new main. Even though the wind had dropped to 10 knots, Javelin sailed close hauled at 6.9 knots with the double reef. We had been doing 7.6 with 14 knots of breeze just 20 minutes earlier. All hands were pleased with the experiment. As we closed with the shore, the wind went lighter still and another sailboat appeared. Up went the main to full hoist and we tacked down wind to overtake the casual cruiser.

It was 1630 off the entrance to Flanders Bay when the sails came down. Half an hour later Javelin was anchored just beyond an expansive field of lobster pots in the wedge between Jordan Island and the Schoodic Peninsula. Paul's Lasanga # 2 was dinner: Clint Eastwood's Absolute Power was the movie.

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Sunday morning ...
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at Trafton Island.
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Heading to sea ...
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Douglas island.
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Into the fog ...
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Emerging from fog ...
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Cadillac Mountain ...
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buoy ahead ...
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into sunshine & ...
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thunderhead!
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Frenchman Bay
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Practice with ...
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double reef.
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Cozy anchorage.


Monday, August 11th

Grey skies, glassy slate water, and green-black mounds of islands were all Frenchman Bay had to offer this morning. Given the day's plan, maybe it was appropriate. Even the best of cruises needs a "chores" day once in a while. Today's chores centered around Northeast Harbor and included getting a week's worth of log files uploaded to the Internet, replenishing the ship's stores and doing laundry.

It was a short run after eggs for breakfast in Flanders Bay across to the waterfront of Bar Harbor to look for a lighthouse that Mel's sister had photographed, but not identified. Along the way we passed the powerful catamaran that runs tourists to and from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia at speeds of 60 knots. The VHF radio crackled to life at 0858 with a Securitee call, Two Coast Guard small boats roared up to the ferry dock, and two minutes later the behemoth Cat crept from the dock. It roared to life as it rounded Sheep Porcupine Island in front of Bar Harbor with the two Coast Guard boats struggling to be flank guards. With bushy rooster tails flying, the Cat left everything in its wake and bounded past Egg Rock and out of Frenchman Bay.

The Javelin crew nosed into Bar Harbor and then back out again, Mel's lighthouse not found. We passed Egg Rock and took a picture - this appears to be the light seen from shore. With mystery A solved, Steve called for all plain sail to be set. After all, there was 6.7 knots of wind. Javelin, being the fine steed she is, loped along at 4.8 knots. Fog crept in from seaward; a long and two shorts was sounded at two minute intervals -- we were a law-abiding vessel. Hardly had the crew's ears adjusted to the din, than the breeze faded and speed dropped to around 3 knots. Back to the engine and a single horn blast as we entered the Eastern Way approach to Northeast Harbor.

The nicest part of lunch was having Hank Jonas and his friend Rebecca McDowell join us. But, well fed did not get the chores done, so it was picture processing, log writing, list making, shopping, laundry & stowing. Dinner was ashore at the Main Sail restaurant in the motel a short walk from the dock. Returning at 9:35, it was declared too late for a movie.

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Quick Ride to ...
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Nova Scotia on ...
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The Cat ...
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Coast guard chase.
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Egg Rock haze.


The Cat


Tuesday, August 12th

A drum-beat of rain, even before seven, announced the arrival of the wrap-around rain of a relatively deep, fast-moving low pressure system scooting from Cap Cod to Nova Scotia just to the east of us. To go, or not to go, that was the question. The Plan called for a run to Castine & Holbrook Harbor. A check with the Dockmaster said the boat that had been kicked off the dock yesterday for our reservation wanted back in -- 1100 hours please. So, wet suits and boots were the dress for the day. A 1025 repeat call to the Dockmaster found an available slip on the next dock. In a steady, heavy rain, we moved, logged between 1033 and 1047.

Cooking our swordfish on the grill was no longer an option now that we were at the dock. OK, swap out sword for spaghetti. "Wait," says Hank, who had walked over to help. "How about lobster rolls? I'll buy." It was a done deal. Hank & Paul walked to Sea Street and returned with lobster meat and rolls, french bread, lettuce and cumbers - lunch and dinner were well in hand.

By 1345 lunch was done; the rain had stopped. Paul grabbed the free shuttle bus to ride into Bar Harbor. Mel worked on emails. Rick labored along on the log and uploads. Brian finished the dishes. It was a laid back lay day.

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Steve asks for
new slip
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Rain ready ...
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let's go ...
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Casting off ...
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Brian on bow ...
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it's just water ...
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note rain streaks ...
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quiet harbor ...
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splash!
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Fresh lobster makes ...
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great rolls & ...
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many smiles.
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Our new slip.
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Old timer.
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Hank's: shaken
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Dessert.


Docking in the Rain


Wednesday, August 13th

Mel's offer of a mug of Rocky Coast Roast roused Rick from a deep sleep. The crew was stirring. All hands turned to their usual positions for casting off. Javelin eased quietly off the dock. We were under way - noted, as usual, in the log: 0554. Juice and breakfast came later.

It was a beautiful morning with just a wisp of vapor here and there with the sun just coming up. The water was still. A local patch of fog surrounded Green # 1 in Western Way, but that too quickly vanished as we motored west. It was a great morning to be on the water. The miles rolled by. By 0630 we were across the Bass Harbor Bar; by 0740 we had crossed Blue Hill Bay and were above Swans Island. By 0900 we had also passed Isle au Haut and started across the bottom end of Penobscot Bay.

Steve is always ready to sail, and when the wind finally climbed above 6 knots, all plain sail was set. At first it was great. About 9 knots of wind and Javelin was making 7+ knots. With the wind in the south-southwest, and our course southwest, we were on a beat to windward, but it was a great day to be on the water. Slowly the wind faded. At 1245 we tacked out to sea when we were at Mosquito Island at the western edge of Penobscot Bay. At 1257 we gave up and dropped sail as the wind fell to 4 knots and boat speed to 3.

An hour and a quarter later the wind returned to the 7-8 knot range and we sailed again. We threaded our way through the islands south of Boothbay Harbor, then turned back east, set the spinnaker and headed for the John River. At 1730 we were anchored just above Poorhouse Cove in front of the Eastern Branch.

Paul & Steve grilled swordfish to perfection. Rice & mixed veggies rounded out the plate and fruit for dessert finished off the meal. By the time dishes were done, a long, twelve hour day running 82 miles in sun and fun claimed the crew even earlier than usual. No movie this night, and lights out ranged from 8 PM to 9 PM.

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0555 under way ...
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very quiet ...
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still sleeping ...
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nice Luder 16 ...
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out to sea.
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White Island has ...
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burned house ...
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but looks bright.
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Fast company
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Ram Island light
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Spinnaker set ...
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makes Rick smile.
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Paul's happy that ...
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Steve does ...
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great swordfish.
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Yum-o!


Thursday, August 14th

It was nice to sleep in - but all were up by 0700. Little good it did though if you wanted to see scenery. Maine fog was in abundance. From below you could look out the ports and see the water - barely. Today is passenger day, picking up Rick's sister-in-law and two nieces, plus another youngster in Boothbay Harbor for a little mid-day sail.

Getting south out of Johns Bay took a little extra effort. With manual steering rather than autopilot, the helmsman needed constant feedback on the actual course over ground. When starting from a waypoint, a compass course was given. Then, thirty seconds to a minute later there would be a call for a correction left or right to adjust for current. Visually, the helmsman could see if the displayed course to the waypoint was changing, or, if reading a hand-held chart plotter, check the GPS course over ground. But that looking around while also dodging lobster pots would sometimes result in getting even farther off course. The image on the computer below, showing a line projecting the boat's path was super sensitive to course changes and thus it was easy to pass along corrections to the helm even before they were evident on deck.

Even in the fog we found and followed the Thread of Life inside Thrumcap Island, then through Fisherman's Passage and up into Boothbay. Fog started clearing as we neared the harbor, and when we tied up at Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club, it was mostly clear there. Kristen, married to rick's brother Robert, brought their daughters Sabina (10) and Natalie (7.5), and a friend, Collett aboard for a sail. Collett's dad, Pierre, and grandmother victoria came aboard for a tour, but had chores to do ashore and didn't join us for a sail. While Rick & Kristen made a short shopping run, Brian told the girls that there was a stash of Oreos on board, and if they could find them, they could have some. That hunt would last the whole sail. We cast off just after 1100.

Though there was no fog in the harbor, there was also almost no wind. But Javelin picked up what little wind there was and we worked our way out to sea. Passing Burnt Island the wind picked up to 7 knots and, naturally, added fog. We picked up speed and as the wind and fog increased; speeds rose to 8 knots. Sabina took the helm and held a steady course - her first time steering with a wheel, though she is well experienced with a tiller. After tacking around the outer sea buoy, Kristen took the helm close hauled as we drove between the islands outside Boothbay - not seeing them for most of the time.

Then suddenly we broke out of the fog and could see the shore. Poking our nose into Linekin Bay, the wind went light, the sun call for sun screen and we enjoyed a scenic, if progressively slower sail in and out of Linekin. But the wind went ever lighter, and so sails came down as we left Linekin. The three-girl search for Oreos had probed behind, under and around every cushion, drawer and closet they could find. But the stash had not been found - even though the tray had magically appeared for a brief round of treats immediately after lunch. As we closed with the final buoy, Rick led the troop toward the dry locker drawer in his cabin, and the hungry pirates quickly devoured a whole bunch. A happy gang departed Javelin at 1430.

There was plenty of time for us to work our way around to the Townsend Gut Bridge which next opened at 1500. While on the way, we wondered if the girls had left us any Oreos - there were exactly 5 left in the package they had found. On through the bridge, we threaded through Goose Rock Passage to Robinhood Marina in Knubble Bay. This area had been first explored, and eventually steeled, apparently by a John Parker in the period 1607 to 1625. By 1648, John or perhaps his son, acquired a "deed" for land from the Indian Sagamore, also known as Robin Hood. Thus the Robinhood Marina where we took on fuel, water and Steve impressed the dock crew (as he frequently does) backing Javelin neatly and precisely into the fuel dock. Our track had covered an enjoyable 36 miles for the day.

We walked a little over half a mile to the Free Meetinghouse restaurant where Steve treated the crew to a fine five star dinner. The walk back to the boat was a welcome way to digest diner. The crew headed for their bunks while Rick lingered in the little house at the head of the docks where wireless reception enabled him to upload log files.

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Kristen & kids ...
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having fun.
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Sabina takes helm
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Collett & Natalie ...
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watch lobster boat.
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Kristen driving.
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Argh..........
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Happy Natalie
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Camera hounds
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Going to ...
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Townsend Gut bridge ...
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waiting ...
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while clouds build ...
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bridge opens ...
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safely through.
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Mighty Virginia ...
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flies flags.
Friday, August 15th

Only light fog, that quickly burned off, greeted the lazy crew this morning. There was plenty of time for a French Toast breakfast and minor chores while waiting for a little wind before shoving off for a planned short day's run of about 25 miles around to Quahog Bay. Our hopes, however were for a longer day's run with enough wind to add in miles of open water sailing before heading for the night's anchorage.

It's a short run to Goose Rock Passage from Robinhood where we took a sharp right into the narrow channel inside MacMahan Island. We squeezed through and emerged into the lower Sheepscot River where an old acquaintance was waiting in the distance. We suspected as much from the radio calls, and with hardly a comment, we rounded Outer Head and slid into a wall of fog. Rick called courses from the nav station, and confirmed buoys for Mel watching the cockpit radar repeater. Paul was at the helm with Steve and Brian standing lookout. It was all routine. Radar blips grew ever closer, then turned into passing boats when within a sixteenth of a mile.

One fun blip turned out to be a Danish yacht going in our direction. We slowed so Brian could give give them a hail in Danish, and learned that Selene was headed for Portland this day. That was one small step in a longer journey to Florida for the winter before returning to her home port of Aarhus in Denmark next spring.

Around Cape Small we debated setting sail, but wind around or under 5 and continuing fog nixed that idea. We turned north between islands heading for Quahog Bay. But it was barely after noon and no one wanted to sit on an anchor the rest of the day. We spun the boat and headed back to sea, turning west to go explore Cliff Island, one of our initial anchorages that we passed up when we went straight to Boothbay. Maybe it was our determination that drove away the fog.

With the wind still light, a short detour took us to a mooring behind Eagle Island where Paul & Brian went ashore to tour the Admiral Peary house. Rick, Steve and Mel had been there before, and stayed aboard. When they returned, we pushed on to explore Jewel Island, and confirmed that, beautiful as it is, the swinging room for Javelin would, as Steve put it, keep you awake at night.

Finally, at 1521 we set sail in 5.8 knots of wind. Mel steered us close hauled parallel to the shore making a little over 5 knots as the wind briefly strengthened over seven knots. Fifty minutes later we gybed around the end of Junk of Pork Island and set the spinnaker for an easy run back to Jewel Island. In a dying breeze we dropped the chute just before the Jewel Island cove. With sails furled, we turned across the shallow bar into Calif Island Harbor and dropped anchor just beyond the one boat already there. Grilled steak, garlic & anchovy spinach, with pears and cheese for dessert passed for dinner. A songfest trumped a movie this night.

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Goose Rock ...
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buoy ahead.
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MacMahan channel ...
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got narrow ...
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see?
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Beautiful morning ...
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where fog lurks ...
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around the point.
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Into the fog.
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Danish rendezvous ...
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with Selene ...
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makes Brian happy.
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Little Mark Island
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The Admiral's house ...
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and dock ...
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and rocks!
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Checking out ...
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Jewel Island ...
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it's tight!
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Our neighbor at ...
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Cliff Island ...
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ready for dinner.
Saturday, August 16th

The boat anchored next to us was visible, and the darker grey was probably the shore. Otherwise, it was fog as usual. Even eggs for breakfast didn't change things. The weather forecast stretched ahead as it had behind: light winds, "patchy fog with visibilities under 1 nautical mile," with "showers in the morning, then showers & thunderstorms in the afternoon." Not exactly auspicious for taking Leighton & Karin McIlvaine sailing.

At 0958 the anchor was up and we were under our usual fog navigation routine leaving Cliff Island. The black teeth of Whale Rock seethed in the morning swell. Little Mark Island, and it's big concrete monument were only exposed by the foam of breakers on its rocky perimeter. Only as we eased up Merriconeag Sound into Harpswell did the shape of shore emerge from the gloom. Steve cell-phoned Leighton about ten minutes before eleven, and, thanks to 8.4 feet of high tide, we were tied to their float at 1105.

Karin needed to make a post office run, so Rick uploaded log pictures before we were ready to sail half an hour later. Harpswell Sound sparkled in sunshine and a fair breeze as we hoisted sail for a mid-day romp. But as we reached off to the north, channel 16 blared a clear call from Steve's friends on Metaphor. We had heard them giving a Securitee call about an hour earlier when they were clearing Boothbay in the fog. A quick check with Steve, and Rick replied, "We've just picked up some great friends and are sailing in sunshine, but Steve can't pass up an opportunity to rendezvous with you guys out in the fog."

So we tacked south and headed for the white wall of fog. It wasn't even a clear shot out to sea, we had to tack out the channel. At red nun "8", the outer end of the channel to Harpswell, we called again and Metaphor was now 3 miles east headed for Little Mark Island on a course of 282 degrees. Steve called to Rick, "Figure out a rendezvous point." Though Metaphor was under power and we were under sail, Rick assumed we were both making about the same speed. So rick laid out a reach 1.5 miles long, planning to tack at the end of it and return to the starting point, just off Little Mark Island, after covering 3 miles. Of course the fog was a thick as ever, and lobster boats were within about 100 yards before we saw them.

A few minutes later Rick called for a tack as we reached the 1.5 mile mark. Back we went. As we closed on the hoped for rendezvous point we started checking radar for an image that might be Metaphor. At about half a mile out we saw a blip forty-five degrees off the bow and closing. As we crossed the starting point of our 1.5 mile run, Metaphor emerged from the fog. We tacked to parallel her course and sailed alongside past Little Mark Island exchanging news like square riggers passing in mid-ocean. Then they turned off into Casco Bay and we headed back toward Harpswell. In the pictures you can see our 1.5 mile course, our track, and our estimated path for Metaphor.Going back in, land emerged from the fog at about the mid-point of Bailey's Island, and shortly Harpswell Sound was again before us bright and clear. Karin had mentioned that there was a casual Saturday afternoon race that started just off their dock. It was supposed to start at 1400, but from the look of six boats milling around, it hadn't started yet thought it was about 1410. Javelin sailed, almost dead down wind, toward the starting area. The guy with the shotgun pointed up standing in the stern of the little Race Committee boat suggested a start was near. We yelled for a course and starting time, and as they aimed a chalk board in our direction, the gun sounded and they yelled, "Two minutes."

We had our answers, and in one sweeping circle, we gybed, smoothly trimmed main and jib from a dead run to close hauled around the stern of the Committee boat. With starboard tack starters closing on the line, we tacked in the middle of them and crossed just after the starting gun with a Laser 5 feet and an Ensign a boat length from our windward bow. The other four were astern. We accelerated through to leeward, then pointed up and soon left all in our wake. In 8 knots of breeze Javelin drove to windward at 6.5 knots. We rounded the weather mark and headed back to the starting mark. Coaxing as much speed as possible, we sailed wing and wing with the main to starboard and the jib to port. We rounded the starting mark and headed upwind for the second time around. As we rounded the weather mark for the second time and headed for the finish, the unmistakable peel of thunder rumbled from the black wall of towering cloud to the west. Yet the breeze went lighter and we crossed the finish line to a victory gun doing a bit over 3 knots.

After the cheering, we dropped sail and put Leighton and Karin on their 24' Grady White runabout, Summer Girl, moored off the shore so they could then pick us off of Javelin and take us ashore. There was no longer enough water at their dock, so we anchored in deeper water in front of their house. When Summer Girl's engine refused to start, the Javelin crew dug out our inflatable dinghy and pumped it up in about ten minutes. Steve rowed over, but was also unable to get her started. A cell phone call brought out a neighbor in another small boat and soon everyone was ashore.

Karin served chipollili onion, herb & garlic and blueberry stilton on the deck. We sipped our beverages and enjoyed clear skies to the east, a black wall and lightning to the south, and a boil of advance guard to the west. Shortly before six, a few drops signaled time to move inside. With food stowed, we piled in two cars and drove in a light rain to the lobster shack Estes overlooking the Harpswell channel on one side, and Casco Bay on the other. Lobster and halibut were the meals of choice, and before we were finished the rain blew through and bright sun sank toward setting. The long drive up Harpswell Neck to Brunswick, passing Bowdoin College, to The Gellato Fiasco made room for some great dessert. A full moon rose as we emerged, and gave us a great path to row out to Javelin. Once again the crew was nestled in their bunks by 2130.

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McIlvaine's house ...
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guest house ..
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and flag.
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At the dock.
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Rendezvous point ...
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with Metaphor ...
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then she turns for ...
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Broad Sound.
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Happy Karin.
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Growing thunder.
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Tourist boat.
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Finish line ...
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fleet in distance.
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Fun saiing!


Javelin's Finish at Harpswell


Sunday, August 17th

The full moon reflected in the pre-dawn still water of Harpswell Sound. A clank of anchor in the bow roller and the shift into forward gear at 0537 marked the start of another great day. Razor-cut shore stretched in all directions. Not a hint of fog anywhere. The wind was building out of the west. Bailey's, Little Mark, Eagle and even Junk of Pork Islands were perfectly clear. Even Cape Elizabeth, below Portland beckoned on the horizon.

Steve, reluctantly, kept the engine running until the battery monitor signaled the "float" stage - full charge. At 0740 up went sails, off with the engine, and Javelin was off to the races. With 9 - 10 knots of westerly breeze, we headed right down our course between 7.5 and 8.5 knots. Approaching Wood Island, at Biddeford Pool, we spotted four boats under sail going our way about two miles ahead of us and half a mile to windward. By the time we passed Goose Rocks Beach, where Mel called Molly on shore, all four boats were astern and to leeward. Go Javelin!

Just after we passed Kennebunkport we spotted two high speed small boats heading out from shore. As they zoomed by astern of us, Mel recognized them as Fidelity IV, driven by George Bush (41), and a dark Secret Service RIB. Obviously we were in good company. They disappeared over the horizon out to sea, possibly heading out beyond Boon Island for some whale watching or fishing.

The wind headed us and began to die as we approached Portsmouth, so we reluctantly droped sail and powered into Wentworth Marina, arriving at 1318. After refueling and pumping the holding tanks, Steve did his usual masterful job of backing Javelin into our slip, and the crew set to an afternoon of chores. Rick and Brian headed ashore to upload log pictures and start laundry at Brian's house, then head on for a reprovisioning run. Steve, Mel and Paul gave Javelin a scrubbing from stem to stern. On their way back to the boat, Brian & Rick stopped at the Kittery Point Yacht Club to check on Brian's Special K moored just off the Club's dock. She was riding fine in a strong 3.9 knot ebb current, and ready for our planned Monday power boat cruise. Not doing so well were two gals trying to kayak upstream against the current and one wound up walking her boat around the rocks just inshore from the docks.

By 5 pm we were all reassembled, and Lise Klinger joined us for nibbles at 6. Then on to a fine dinner at Rudi's in Portsmouth. Brian dropped Steve, Rick, Mel and Paul on the boat before heading home. Once again the crew hit the sack around 9:30.

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Moonset
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Anchor detail
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Bye.
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A great morning.
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Sunrise watch.
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Little Mark Island
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Cape Elizabeth light.
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Happy crew...
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passed them all ...
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go Steve!
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Cell phone call.
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George Bush 41
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Cape Neddic aka ...
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"The Nubble".
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Paul's drivin' ...
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Brian's checkin'.
Monday, August 18th

Even for 0745 breakfast Steve had on his Special K hat. Rick had his out and ready to go. But while eggs and muffins were being served, a call from Brian changed the plan. Despite our encouragement for Brian to stay aboard Javelin last night, he insisted he "had a better offer" at home. Alas, this morning his back had gone out and movement was near impossible.

When the wind hits The Plan, you change course. Our next leg would normally be a 0530 departure for a 90 mile run all the way around Cape Ann and down through the Cape Cod Canal to visit Jay & Hasty Evans at Scraggy Neck. So, why not cut that by at least a third by rounding Cape Ann and spending a night in Gloucester? Steve laid a course in the Northstar GPS; Rick did the same on the computer.

By way of differentiation, the Northstar is the ship's GPS and has a small monochrome screen. Routes established on the Northstar drive the Autopilot (when it's working). The Nobletec Navigation program on the computer gets the ship's latitude and longitude position, course over ground and speed over ground from the Northstar. The computer screen is 14" with full color and the Nobletec program has lots of features to enhance navigation. First, a green icon for the ship appears on a chart image, and you can zoom in or out easily. A projected course feature (we call it the Narwhal) can be set to a given distance or time and is very helpful for visualizing instantly where the boat is headed. We set it for 5 minutes. Range and bearing lines can be taken from the ship or two points to determine proximity or estimate time of arrival. Routes in Nobletec are independent from the Northstar and thus serve as a double check that the boat is traveling in safe waters. When working into anchorages where there are rocks but no buoys, the bearing line is especially useful for guiding the person at the helm safely around the obstructions.

So by 0945 we were powering along 15 miles from Cape Ann into a light, 5 knot, southwest wind with bright sunny skies and a lazy rolling sea. We rounded our Cape Ann waypoint at 1147 and the wind had built to 10 knots from the south - dead on the nose. Ever eager to sail, save fuel and enjoy what Javelin does best, Steve called for all sail at 1222 when the wind backed to the southeast. But now Gloucester was a scant hour away and it was still mid day.

Steve's route in the Northstar showed be could even make the Cape Cod Canal (in a straight line) by 1900. A scan of the chart showed two possible alternatives: Provincetown at the end of Cape Cod, or Scituate on the western shore below Boston. Since a long port tack would take us across Massachusetts Bay and meet land about half way between Suituate and Boston, this seemed like the most reasonable plan. So off we went for the next two hours romping along in 10 knots of breeze making around 8 knots under blue skies with summer cumulus bubbling up over the shore. We ticked off the landmarks as we sailed on: the power plant stacks at Salem; downtown Boston building just above the horizon; then the dark line of shore around Cohasset.

This spot, centered in Massachusetts Bay, we cross twice; going up and coming back from Maine. It is a special time when the essence of sailing a boat on the ocean sinks slowly, but deeply into your thoughts. Though not great by ocean cruising standards, here you are in a circle of at least 10 miles where there is only water. No mall, no McDonalds, no gas station, no telephone - just water. The number of people might be only your crew of 4 or 5. In 314 square miles you are on your own with the water, the wind and the sky. If you call "911" the fastest help might be a couple of hours away - a long time to tread water if that's where you are. Here is where you can also be free to let your thoughts roam. The shapes in the clouds. The dreams of things you could do. The rhythm of wind and boat and waves stretching indefinitely down the course. You think of the ones you love. You think of your goals and desires. And you realize how elementally your life is tied to the people you are with. It's both a great and humbling thought. Your safety is bounded by your shipmates' knowledge and skill of reading the signs of weather and knowing the limits of your vessel. But when you know your ship and and your shipmates, it like Joshua Slocum wrote as he sailed his boat around the world, "I trusted my ship, and so, I lashed her helm, and let her go."

The forecast called for a cold front later in the day with a shift to the northwest, plus the usual "thunderstorms with lightning, high winds and possible hail." We noted a few of the cumulus blowing out and over us from west to east. But our surface wind was from the southeast, and backing toward east. These opposing forces finally cancelled out as our easterly died and we dropped sail at 1421. Half an hour later wind filled in from the southwest and sails went up again. Steve was still looking at a Canal destination - Sandwich - for the evening, but arrival time was getting later, and later - about sunset just before eight.

Now blasting along on starboard tack at eight knots with the wind increasing to 12 - 14 knots, we were able to hold a course just above the course for the Canal, but not quite high enough to fetch Scituate. The projection was that we would be 3 -4 miles off the shore when we passed Scituate. A phone call about 1530 confirmed that we could get a mooring at Scituate. We said we would be there in about an hour or hour and a quarter. At 1558 we tacked to starboard, and, in a building wind, entered Scituate and were on a Scituate Harbor Yacht Club mooring by 1645.

We took the launch ashore and walked up the street to the Satuit Tavern for dinner. We asked our waitress about the different spelling, but she couldn't help us, but the food was good. We walked back to SHYC in twilight. The southwest wind still blew fresh and the sky above was clear. Three minutes short of three hours after we got back aboard, at 10:40 pm, "Braveheart" ended. With some minor lapses, the crew stayed awake throughout. Though no cold front seemed close at hand, we buttoned up the ports and turned in.

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Leaving Wentworth ...
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Steve concentrates.
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Cape Ann lights.
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Breezy entrance past ...
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Scituate Light ...
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and jetty ...
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whoa.
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On mooring.
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Harbor launch
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Still blowing.


Tuesday, August 19th

Still no cold front. Due in the neighborhood around mid-day now according to "Scratchy", our name for the automated voice that spits out NOAA weather on VHF radio. Scituate Harbor is a beautiful place, but it's shallow. The chart showed 7 - 8 feet in the area of our mooring. Low tide this morning, at a -0.3 feet, was at 0800. Captain Bligh Blecher whipped the crew to stations and we had cast off at 0637 with an extra 1.5 feet of water under our keel.

Eight miles down the course we hoisted the main. The wind instruments showed 10 knots, but that is at the masthead and it had not filled in down to water level yet, so we kept the engine running. Plymouth Harbor Light was logged abeam at 0826. Plymouth, of Plymouth Rock fame, is today more a mariner's nightmare than a safe and inviting location for a settlement. Inside barrier dunes, the "harbor" stretches about 6 miles north to south, and 4 miles east to west between Duxbury on the north and Plymouth on the south. Fully 80% of this vast area dries at low tide. Today's serpentine channel to Plymouth is marked by 19 buoys, and that's after the 8 buoys leading to the Duxbury Pier lighthouse between the headlands.

But Plymouth brought us wind down to the water, and at 0842 with 11 - 12 knots of wind showing, we rolled out the jib, turned off the engine, and sailed down the course between 7 and 8 knots. Drat! Ten minutes later the wind sees that we are tweaking trim and starting to move the jib lead out to the rail for better reaching. It drops to 8 knots and our speed goes to 6 knots. Back on goes the engine. For 360 degrees the horizon is clear, if hazy; the sun climbing in a milky-blue morning. Ten miles to the Cape Cod Canal.

At 1000 we noted the first clouds far to the northwest. Twenty-one minutes later we dropped sail and entered the Canal against the current. Over-the-bottom speed dropped to 5.4 knots though speed through the water was 7.7. As we threaded our way through the Canal, clouds to the west billowed with cauliflower tops and eggplant bottoms. Steve's Blackberry Weather Underground image showed a mighty mass of rain just north of us - over Boston.

Black clouds passed over us as we exited the Canal channel at Wing Neck and turned for Jay & Hasty Evans' house at Scraggy Neck. At 1230 we picked up Jay who had rowed out to their J 27 where it was deep enough for us to pick him up. The wind shifted to the northwest at the same time. Twelve minutes later we had hoisted a double reefed main, set the jib and were blasting off to the southwest hitting 9.5 knots. A great afternoon for sailing. Jay suggested his favorite Buzzards Bay cruise, down through Robinson Hole into Vineyard Sound, then back north through Woods Hole and back to Scraggy.

We shook out the reef as we headed southwest. Steve declined Robinson Hole for lack of water and we stretched a little farther west to Quicks Hole. By 1500 we were through Quicks, but now the current in the Sound was running against us and at times were were doing only 5 knots over the bottom. Far to the north and mostly east another black mass of cloud formed. We noted that maybe Hasty was getting wet back at Scraggy Neck. We passed Tarpaulin Cove on the south side of Naushon Island. Jay tells the tale that this was a favorite stopping point of returning New Bedford whaling captains because it offered female companionship but was still an island from which the men could not desert ship. Two square rigged ships did indeed lay at anchor as we passed.

But our attention was now on that black mass to the northeast. The crew gathered foul weather gear from the lockers and put it on. One dangling dark grey cloud structure hung at the back corner of the storm. Several black whips hung nearby. Within minutes this too had formed a hanging mass - it was time to roll in the jib. The gust front hit as the last of the jib rolled in. We turned to windward and dropped the main. Gusts hit 24 knots as this back corner of the storm crossed over us. Ahead lightning flashed. But not a drop of rain. We turned into Woods Hole at 1627 and rode a powerful flood through under engine, hitting 10.5 knots over the bottom. The wind shifted to 019 degrees - dead on the nose for the seven mile leg back to Scraggy.

So much for a nice close reach home in a northwest wind. We powered north into the new wind and now building seas. We called Hasty to say we were fine but now under power coming home and should arrive about six. She was glad to hear from us because an hour of torrential rain had just ended and she was wondering how we were doing. But the wind didn't last long. Slowly it decreased, and as we turned for the last mile into Scraggy, the wind went back northwest and the sun was shining. Jay's dinghy, however, attested to a deluge. Rolling up his pants, he rowed to shore alone to dump water out of it, then returned to give us a ride to shore.

Nibbles on the deck, with a crisp wind rustling the trees and Javelin gleaming in the setting sun, was a great way to wrap up the day. After a tour of Jay's new painting studio, Hasty laid out a fine baked salmon and ratatouille dinner. Rick rowed the crew out to Javelin with the help of flashlights and a rising moon just past full. Another early evening, with an early start ahead.

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Beach morning.
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Tourists tour ...
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Cape Cod Canal ...
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1st bridge ...
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That's a BIG ...
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boat.
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2nd & 3rd bridges.
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Picking up Jay ...
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welcome aboard.
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Front through -
we thought
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With double reef ...
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sleigh ride!
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All smiles.
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Jay is a ...
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sea dog!
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Driving in to ...
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Quick's Hole.
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Clouds north of us.
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Tarpaulin Cove light ...
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and ship.
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Heading west.
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Here it ...
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comes!
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Mostly past.
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1800 - back at ...
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Jay & Hasty's.
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Going ashore.
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Anchor detail.
Wednesday, August 20th

There must be something in the crew's Union Contract that prevents a Skipper from abuse of departure times. The advertised departure was 0700 for the 40 mile run to Newport and a noon lunch rendezvous at the New York Yacht Club with Bob Miller & Mary Ann McElroy. The route and timing had already been laid and calculated Tuesday morning, and the 0700 departure clearly understood. But a fair 13 knot northwest wind and clear sky proved irresistible to Steve. After all, he would emphasize, Javelin is a SAIL boat.

So Steve was up and turning on the instruments when Mel stuck a steaming cup of Rocky Coast Roast in Rick's cabin door at 0605. Rick had heard the stirrings and knew the drill - he was already half dressed. A glass of juice, a fast cup of coffee and a gulp of oatmeal and bananas disappeared in record time. Anchor up and we're away at 0624. By 0633 main and jib are set and we're charging off down the route at 9 knots. A puff and we touch 10.2. At 0828, two hours under way and already 18.0 miles down the route we hit 10.9. Wind 357 degrees, 18.6 knots. Darn it's tough to write the log with one foot straight out horizontally against the sink to stay in the nav station!

The wind oscillated between north-northwest and north-by-east, and strength varied between 12 and 14 knots with gusts a little higher. Approaching Brenton Reef, the guard to entering Newport, it was highly variable. We hardened up and beat up into Newport Harbor, passing the well-named Castle Hill with its mansions along the way. The real delight was the parade of classic 12 Meters going out for a day of sailing. Gleam, Columbia, Heritage, & Northern Light among them. Puma, the brand new Volvo Ocean 70 was strutting her stuff too. She will soon be sailing around the world.

We picked up a mooring and rode the launch Navette ashore to New York Yacht Club's Newport station - Harbour Court. Steve's friends Mary Ann and Bob joined us for lunch on the terrace overlooking Newport Harbor. Against the sparkling blue water over a hundred beautiful boats swung from moorings. The sky was clear, with friendly cumulus to the west, and the clubs flags flew gently on the northerly breeze. Picture perfect.

While forty miles of sailing and a great meal consumed would make a day for most, the Javelin crew pushed on. Another 12 miles up Naragansett Bay, Bristol and the Herreshoff Museum was waiting. We were under way at 1335. At 1535 we were tied to the pier.

After the morning's dash and bash, Javelin had her share of salt water splashed on the foredeck and places aft. Remarkably, Mel counted six drops that actually splashed into the cockpit. But now they were all dried into tiny salt circles on the ports, on the dodger, on the hatches and on the now spotted green hull. Our inflatable dinghy, revived back at Harpswell to help Leighton and Karin, had ridden lashed upside down forward of the mast. It too was salt spotted. Hank led the hose brigade to remedy the situation, and an hour later all was washed clean. The dinghy was sucked empty and lost its shape to return to its green bag. The topsides again gleamed green.

It was a Wednesday night Beer Can race evening for the locals. 25 - 30 boats gathered in the starting area, and at 1800 the first class started. Spinnakers blossomed, and successive classes followed. The course seemed to be around Hog Island, with a beat back on the eastern side. In bunches they tacked north across the line in the fading light. A great way to be on the water.

With the end of the cruise in sight, and Steve reminding the steward that returning provisions to Scarsdale, let alone retaining them until next year, was bad form. So, instead of going out for dinner, Rick used up the last of the lunch menu's Chicken Chow Mein for dinner - followed by fresh strawberries and the last of the whipped cream. Alfred Hitchcock's, black and white, 1944 "Life Boat", with Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Walter Slezak and Hume Cronyn followed dessert. It ended at 8:45. You'd have thought it was a snoring logger's convention by 9:00!

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Morning romp.
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makes Steve happy.
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Fast and ...
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furious!
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Rail down and ...
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flying.
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Newport: Castle Hill
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Local lovely
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Parade of ...
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Tewlve Meters ...
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from America's Cups ...
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long past, but ...
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still beautiful.
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New Puma ...
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Volvo Ocean 70.
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Slow, long ago!
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New York Yacht Club
Harbour Court
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Mary Ann McElroy
& Bob Miller
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Heading for Bristol
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Rose Island lighthouse
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Mount Hope bridge
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Herreshoff Museum
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Laid back.


High Speed Sailing



Thursday, August 21st

No rush to depart on this beautiful, clear morning. With a straight line distance of 43 miles to go to Stonington, Connecticut it promised to be an easy day. Though offered eggs for breakfast, the crew opted to finish off the leftover mac and cheese. Then Paul & Steve walked up the street to get a newspaper. So with all this accomplished, we didn't shove the dock until 0755.

NOAA got this day's forecast right - "5 to 10 from the north, going south in the afternoon." Unfortunately our first course was 12 miles south from Bristol past Newport and down Naraganset Bay to Point Judith before turning west. We had a fair bit of big ship traffic to watch on the way out. A big barge, a ship with several power boats on deck, another anchored, and a tanker upbound. But with the wind dead aft, there would be little morning sailing.

It was 1135 when we set the spinnaker after we turned west at Pt. Judith. We were making 8 knots in 8 knots of wind and having a great time. It lasted for thirty minutes until the wind went west of south. With the jib set and a favorable current with us, we altered course to sail on the ocean side of Fisher's Island rather than the usual run north of Fishers at Watch Hill. that would also have had us a Stonington by 1330, and it was too nice a day to end early.

With wind in the 8-9 range we were making 7-8 knots clouse hauled over the sparkling blue water. The current pushed us right to Race Rock, the entry point into Long Island Sound. With the wind now more southwest, we rounded the Race and again set the spinnaker. A short leg to the north, then a gybe back to the east and we slid along north of Fishers Island. The current was changing and we now had a boost going east, making an easy 7-8 knots with the rainbow spinnaker drawing attention from all angles.

We dropped sails at 1530, and were tied to the Stonington Yacht Club dock at 1543. Air conditioning was a welcome way to remove the humidity and cool us off as we took showers and got ready for company to join us. A graduate school classmate of Paul's, Gary Gerstein, lives a few houses away and is coming aboard at 6:30. Steve's friend Barnaby Blatch and his wife Mari Ann will be joining us for dinner at the yacht club at 7:30 after an evening beer can race. Such is the social schedule for Javelin.

Well, like any good Plan, this one changed a little too - for the better. Barnaby & Mari Ann climbed aboard shortly after Gary and we had a lively cocktail hour that stretched right up to dinner. And a fine dinner it was at Stonington Harbor YC. In a tradition that echoes naval tradition, we all responded to the hail from the Steward, "All stand for colors," as the American flag was lowered at sunset. Though no one had room for dessert, good conversation lingered well into dark. We said goodnight beneath a sky full of stars.

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Hog I. Shoal
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Big barge
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Ship & boats!
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Self unloader
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Here comes ...
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lots of ...
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energy.
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Fish?
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No, a Cat.
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Pt. Judith Light
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Great day ...
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for sailing ...
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trim!
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Race Rock
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Mighty fine.
Friday, August 22nd

While a beam reach and a fair sea would be one perfect way to wrap up a cruise, the next best ride is a 27 mile straight line on a dead flat Long Island Sound. That made it easy to do the extra scrubbing of the stove and burners to polish the stainless. Double clean the counters and galley sink. The halyard block gets stowed, and the sail cover goes on cleanly. The dorade covers go back on. All sheet tails get re-coiled and made ship shape in Bristol fashion. Odds and ends of check lists and notes get sorted out and stowed or tossed in the nav station. Bunks get stripped and duffels packed.

Our departure from Stonington was intentionally delayed so we would not get back to Westbrook before there was enough tide to get in the channel. That was somewhere around 1130. We departed at 0808 after a Leftover Omelet, sausage and English Muffins helped clean out the fridge.

Our Plan had laid out routes totalling 892 miles. Though we didn't get as far east as planned, we added lots of sailing miles when the weather cooperated. In the end we were just a dozen miles shy of 1,000 miles of cruising. Here's our Plan vs Actual Cruise Log. We were already talking about 2009 dates and destinations.



Clear Sailing.

Rick Van Mell vanmells@ix.netcom.com




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