2018 – Solo Surfing to Maine with Steam, Storms and Whale

Back once more for two weeks of viewing the world from the water. We had some great sailing on the way up and suffered the usual mechanical issues. DRAFT!

Bath, High & Dix, Rockland, Perry Creek, Cabot Cove, Georges Harbor (aka Allen & Benner). 

We followed our usual pattern of staging to Duxbury, then shooting for Isles of Shoals. It’s always a long day, but arriving at Gosport Harbor at sundown is always dramatic. This year we had two days of strong southwest winds that would have been a nightmare in Buzzards Bay. But here, it blew us handily up the coast in long gybes, going outside Cape Ann.

No fog this year, but thunderstorms were a part of most days. And we caught up on zero lobster pot floats. Okay, one dinghy line (our own). Steam? Out the exhaust from a raw water system in need of maintenance. And the whale, the first one we’ve seen in a decade and a half of Maine cruises, a finback, a bit south of Cape Ann on our return trip.

And the solo? For the first year, we headed north (or down east if you prefer) without the Merries on Valkyrie accompanying us. We’d have to be extra careful with lobster pots and other dangers, without a rescue crew. They did join us for the trip back.

New anchorages: Cabot Cove (Vinalhaven) and Bath’s Maine Maritime Museum (up the Kennebec River)
New fuel dock: Knight’s Marine in Rockland
Best new restaurant: Anna’s Water’s Edge in Sebasco
Best new boat gear: Garmin GPSmap 742xs (bigger is better)


Click to see the photo gallery.

Click to see the photo gallery.

The Short Version…

The Long Version…

Monday, Tuesday, July 24, Clark’s Island, Duxbury Harbor 28nm
Off Onset 2:00 pm to catch the canal current and arrive by dusk
Canal 2:20 to 3:00
DDW genoa only tack out 40 deg 6 kts
4:30 gybe in towards shore
Sun, clouds, blue sky. 15 kts apparent wind and a pleasant 5 kts boatspeed
Hazy shore line, just rush and slap of water.
5:15 Maryann Rocks
5:55 wind drops; motor across to Brown’s Bank and cut across Saquish Flats
7:10 pick up mooring north of Clarks
Calm at night
BP Thai peanut curry + chicken
Faint sounds, perhaps the moan of the MAR buoy
Bump of the mooring ball as the wind and current play

Wednesday July 25, Isles of Shoals 65nm
Warm, light breeze
Sunny, hazy, quiet
8:30 off mooring
1/3 tide, adverse current
9:00 cut Saquish flats again
9:30 off Gurnet through the practice pots
10:00 full sail – wish had whisker pole
Sun hot; chilly when clouds
1 reef in each sail +/- 6 kts
Plan to gybe around Thacher Island, Cape Ann
Wee spot o’ rain.
11:00 Rockin and Rollin.
Gyb’easy working while genoa flaps.
Noon. 20+ kts. Reefs good idea!
2:30. pull in jib 35 kt gusts
Better! T-storms on land
3:30 rain gone
Gybe for Isles course 000
Surfing on the seas; breaking next to us.
4:00 way off Thacher, 4 mi
No pots!
5:00 power for arrival hah! Wind back.
5:30 power but no exhaust water.
6:30. All is well after checking impeller
8:00 Harbor. 8:15 on mooring.

Thursday July 26, Richmond Island 41nm
Big rain overnight. And winds upper teens.
Calm overcast in am. Actually 15.
Maybe fixed FW leak at HW tank. Bilge pump cycling.
Other boats staying put, too.
Star Island guest wifi. So-so. Stay or go?
If a day late, makes kennebec current tough
Wind to lessen, end small craft
10:30 off. Wind okay, but v rolly
Course 50, usual reefed main and genny
Noon rolling up the coast
Thin clouds to east, dark to west on shore.
Little green blobs on weather radar.
Plan stop at Richmond is.
App wind building. 13+6.
12:30 prep for rain. May work. Like are Ying an umbrella. ???
1:00 rig for silent running. Dunno what this cloud will bring. Genny in. Main centered.
2:00 clouds and rain gone, taking wind with them. Left the seas, though!
3:00 more clouds building on shore. Motorsail DDW directly to Richmond
PUMP OUT DINK! [Done.] 3:45. Storm prep again. Drop main.
Real lengthy rain with some flash bang.
Arrive rich is 6:15. Anchor 6:30. Free dinghy line from prop and re-anchor.
Anchor in 20 (low) rocna
Anchor plot looks like an Arrival symbol.
Old rocks calling to us.
V rolly.

Friday, July 27, Bath, ME 34nm
6:00 shallow as drifted (no, not dragged)
Calm, warming
Everything wet.
7:00 off
8:30 add genoa
Odd, still cut Fuller Rock even though coming from south of Cape Eliz. .
9:00 halfway rock
genoa helping speed and rocking.
Pretty glassy seas. Spies is forecast 5-10.
10:00 tide pushing us in. Aim a bit to stb
10:45 Fuller
11:30 the K
Boats with sails up. Motoring or very slow.
Had been foggy; now hazy. But reflector up!
Fun up the river. Found moorings, picked up one.
With the help of the dinghy, two boat hooks and two dock lines later, untangled it and settled in at 1:45.
MMM quite a place. Showers. Ferrier. Fill-size ribs.
Dinner at Anna’s Water’s Edge in Sebasco with Yves and Linda
Row back across current as skies darken
Downpours. Thunder and lightning
Hear from Jamie Frankel; he and Starkey be in BB harbor tomorrow.

Saturday July 28, Bath
Warm light clouds and breeze
Run ‘beke for fridge
Delightful, if not scenic nature.
Reset dinghy air floor.
Yves gives ride to Bath natural food market
Can one buy too many cc cookies?
Clean up more and read, relax.
ADD OIL! [Done.] Check strainer [done] Yammie gas. [Not.] Grill finally! Steak.
Run ‘beke again
8:15 Rain without accompaniment
Occasional sounds of wedding music from shore
Rush of current past.

Sunday July 29, High & Dix 48nm
Sunny, calm. Like to be a scorcher.
8:30 off with flood.
Harbor? Rockland? Too close. Too far.
High and Dix!
Flies! Biting!
10:30 da mouth! Open seas! Pots!
11:00 genoa out to 2nd reef
So can see pots under it.
Genny useless
12:30 pemaquid
1:30 e egg rock
2:30 Port Clyde. Pots galore!
DDW. Roll up genny
5:00 Hi ‘n Dix
Anchor Rocna 15’ (low) w 120 (150 for high)
Day trip powerboats. Take up usual anchoring spots then leave. Like Hadley!
Cheese and cold chicken.
Various birds cawing and squeaking.
Boat arrives as sun sets. Getting the usual good spot! Can even see the rock now.
Brrrrr blanket

Monday July 30, Rockland, ME 7.6nm
Cool, thin clouds, sun
Fridge cold.
Tide/current favorable to owls head, rockland
Still bobbing near the harlequin float, as when anchored.
Rumble and hum of motors of distant work boats.
Occasional airplane (transportation museum at airport).
Off 10:00
Owls Head 11:10
Odd light NW wind.
11:45 Samoset #3 (furthest out)
Should we stay or should we go?
Now that here, pleasant.
Hope no wind tomorrow turns out to be wrong
But when in Maine…
Joe’s taxi to town. Still $5. Odd not to need anything from Hamilton.
Atlantic Baking Co cookies, cheese bread
Coop for berries, Journey’s End for ice
No milk! (Well, organic for $7 half gallon, not)
Honking 17 in harbor. When you are at full fetch….
BP mac and 3 cheese and peas
ABC Cookies!
Cool and calm after dark.

Tuesday, July 31, Perry Creek, Vinalhaven 13.5nm
Windless. Payback for hanging overnight in Rockland.
Birds and motors.
Popcorn clouds.
Glassy harbor.
11:45 off to knights
Funky fuel dock. No uniforms. No superyachts. Helping old boat with blind sailor.
Just avoid the ferry dock to the south!
12:45 off for the foxes (islands)
1:30 sailing! Not fast, but perfect
Main reef still in. Genoa reefed for viz
2:00 chilly! 4.5 kts.
Light haze, with sun
Aerodyne with code 0 closing behind us
Shake out main reef.
3:30 pooping out in the FIT
But made it through!
Westerbeke overheating alarm as approaching the creek!
Drift into the initial wide spot and drop anchor.
Evening star, Boston, comes over in dink and moves us to a mooring.
4:30 on Perry creek mooring
Lovely spot, like a big family reunion – all boats seem to know each other.
Impeller looks fine
Starts with water, then not.
Outward bound type boat rows in
Steak and cheese bread.
3G 1, sometimes.
This the outer pond of the creek.
More populated than way in!
Fireworks? Sound only.

Wednesday, August 1, Carver Cove, Vinalhaven 2.7nm
Dew on everything, sun quick
Check seacock and hose for flow. No problem.
Tighten everything, Groco and HX.
Starts, water, not, then again.
Dive on intake, nothing.
Noon motor out with water working
1:00 carver cove with hope for better cell to help with problem analysis
22 feet high tide. Rocna 120′
Like an ad. Drop. Catch. Never move. Come up easily.
Any better cell? Not much 3G 2 had been LTE on way in.
Wind 10-15. Higher than f’cast.
Nice spot. Few houses or boats, as described in ancient Tafts
View out to Deer island. In the haze
Email Brownell for quote on transport back. LOL!
Hope make it home ourselves: $2300 by truck!
TowBoat better deal.
Old Tafts said two houses here. Pretty much still true. Big ones, though.
Boats silently pass through the east end thorofare
Sailboat from H&D on mooring here. P40?
Valiant 40 PH? ketch back to machining below
Chilly and gray! Only few sprinkles
Rain and fog roll in after dinner. Horn.
Then rain and gusts for bedtime.

Thursday, August 2, Rockland 13nm
Howl all night. Some rain
Forecast 25 kt gusts
Up here gusts are real, not just normal
9:30 sun! Burning off fog/haze
10:00 breezy thorofare
11:00 around monument
Bouncy wind on nose. Chilly
11:45 wind off land warm!
Usual warship for lobster festival
12:30 Samoset 3 again
To Hanniford, walk/hitch and taxi back
Block ice and food, cheese
Music from festival then low roar from carrageenan factory

Friday August 3, Georges Harbor 22nm
Bennett and Allen
Calm, sunny
Lobster boats
Current adverse MRC 10 to 2.
9:00 off wind? Sail? Motor?
Still still down MRC.
Odd mid-level haze
10:30 wind! 10+. On nose.
11:00 whitehead. Chilly!
Fog! Warm breeze off land
12:15 mosquito.
1:30 mooring
It’s Valkyrie and the Merries! Finally together again in Maine
Val rafts up to HW – a good idea?
No AT&T but Verizon
5:00 “no barging” says the keeper of the islands
Val heads north to anchor in the NW cove off Allen
Ashore for pics. Birds (terns?) attack; not gulls like the movie.
6:00 oddly quiet!
7:30 steak
Bugs flying
8:00 storm big

Saturday, August 4, Cliff Island, Casco Bay 40nm
Warm and hazy.
Wind forecast not so bad but SW
8:00 clearing and hawt!
Looks busier, but not a home port
Drop off for pots?
Bird S mostly gulls
9:00 off south exit too shallow
10:00 egg rock
Rolling seas
Crossing Muscongus SW ugly as always.
Wind on nose.
Noon Ram island
Seas nice now.
Rain from onset to here on radar.
12:30 cuckolds
12:45 rain, under dodger
1:45 The K, rain over. For now.
2:30 Fuller rock. Seas poor again once barrier islands gone.
3:15 wind and seas lessening.
A dull gray day, punctuated by rain and rollers.
Pleasant stop at Dolphin – lots of room on the face pier and helpful staff
5:00 off to Cliff
But if rain…
5:30 rafted up again with Val on mooring
Steak and corn together
Amazing skies
Roar of rocks
LTE 1/2
3:00 slide HW back split swaying masts

Sunday, August 5, Isles of Shoals 50nm
Warm, still
Fog comes and goes
9:30 off in fog nice fewer pots
10:00 fogged in good
10:30 junk ‘o pork appears!
12:00 Richmond island “1”
Will sailing wind come up as often does?
2800 rpm 6 kts
2:00 Cape Porpoise
Lovely day, but boring motoring.
Quite an adverse current.
3:45 Boone is sighted
5:00 passing Boone
6:30 Scavenger
7:15 raft
BP alfredo with chicken
Wind to W

Monday, August 6, Clark’s Island, Duxbury Bay 63nm
Sunny not so much dew. Is good?
6:30 up dink on foredeck.
8:30 off
Not so warm yet
Breeze, hazy
Wind feels nice, but light
Which is good when on onna nose!
11:00 Wind lessens.
Might have more angle when stronger.
11:30 flat ground.
Noon, out into Mass Bay!
12:30 whale! Finback?
Another beautiful sparkly day.
With light wind on nose.
Long, tedious day.
6:30 Gurnet
7:15 Clarks mooring
Chops past their date by smell
BP Cocoanut curry
1:30 Hamstring cramp

Tuesday, August 7, Onset 27 nm
Clear and a breeze
Of at 8:30!
At channel warm breeze
Then glassy and not so breezy!
Hot breeze from shore.
MAR 9:30
Canal 11:30!
Or even 11:00? Now getting some current
10:45 canal buoy
Bouncy, not particularly fast.
12:00 complete transit
12:20 on mooring.
Do we want to go ashore and face the heat?

What Worked…
SeaFrost – replaced the clutch at the end of last season and still freezing after 32 years!
Gamin GPSmap 742xs – bigger is better
Wichard Gyb’easy helped control the main on the trip north
Furler fairlead repositioning made all the difference in ease of furling

Not worked
at&t cell and data coverage remain disappointing
The raw water pump just not pushing enough water through the HX.