Onward Cruise Journal 2008

Cruise in New England to Maine – July - September 2008

20 Sep 2008 Manhasset Bay

  • A sunny and calm morning. The weather shows the off shore gale will be strong. A day for more boat chores.
  • Well, the weather predictions for the NJ coast on Wed and Thurs are even worse than they were last night. No Hell Gate today! Looks like I will be here for a while. Spent the day putting the interior back in shape after all my electrical work. I arranged for Mike’s diesel service company to adjust the valves on my engine on Friday. Mike and I have had fun “hangin” around with each other. He is still adjusting to being a new member of the retired.
  • Back into the stern locker! Today I was bound and determined to be get the NEMA Lat/Long data routed to my DSC VHF radio. After several climbs in and out of the locker, I met success getting the NEMA signals correctly routed. I brought Onward into the pier at MBYC to take on water in preparation for an early morning departure. Mike and I had lunch and ran errands.
  • Mike and Maureen came aboard for cocktails and light snacks. While showing them the Sirius Weather receiver in operation, I discovered that the forecast for Wed and Thurs now showed a near gale off the NJ shore. Not good. I decided to take another look in the morning – but if this held Onward would not be making the offshore passage until it passed.
  • Today was the day to install the Raymarine AIS. This involved may trips in and out of the stern locker. The good news was that it worked. I also ran the wire that will allow me to use a loudhailer/foghorn mounted on the wind generator post. The loudhailer/foghorn is a nice feature of the Raymarine 215 radio. I also moved the remote VHF mike/controller from its original location on the starboard side of the starboard wheel. It is now located on the port side of the starboard wheel pedestal. Here it is easier to reach from both helm positions and my center navigation seat. In the evening I went ashore to take Mike and Maureen out to dinner.
  • Today was the day to fix the wind instrument. Mike Yorke came out to run the electric winch while I went up the mast. I tried to pull a new wire for the new wind sensor but the old one could not be pulled out. I then spliced the new sensor mount and wire into he old wire. This worked great and I now have a working wind instrument again!
  • That was sufficient for the day and I went ashore for lunch. Mike and Maureen invited me to their home where Maureen had prepared a superb “High Tea” that proved to be sufficient for both lunch and dinner!
19 Sep 2008 Norwalk to Manhasset Bay; Friday
  • At 0730, I suddenly remembered to check the tide and found it was an hour before low. I then looked at the depth and found that on the inside of the floating pier where Onward was berthed it was touching bottom. I made an instant decision to leave immediately and plowed my way through the mud before Onward was stranded for several hours. This turned out to be easy and I was soon on my way. Out on the Sound, the wind was out of the NE at ~15 kts and while I could have sailed a direct coarse for Manhasset Bay, I tacked down wind in order to handle the large swells more comfortably on my stern quarter. A great sail brought me into Manhasset Bay after noon where I picked up a mooring at the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club. Mike Yorke came out to greet me. We had lunch and then later met again that evening for dinner at the club.
18 Sep 2008 Thimbles to Norwalk; Wednesday
  • Another beautiful day and a good sail along the E coast of Long Island Sound. I took the E entrance into Norwalk harbor and it was easier to negotiate than it looked on the charts. It helped that I was traveling at high tide (6’+). Also, having negotiated Maine’s cuts and passages, I guess I’ve gotten used to it. I arranged to tie up at the Norwalk Visitors Center pier as the Norwalk Boat Show was in progress and many of the marinas were full.
  • My cousin Tom Bunting whom I hadn’t seen since he was in high school many years ago drove down to pick me up and brought his mom. I hadn’t seen my Aunt Betty for many years. At 92 she is still moving along well. We drove to see my cousin MaryAnn at her office. That evening Tom, Mary Ann and I went out to dinner and enjoyed catching up on each other’s lives. This has been a wonderful visit and an example of how, through cruising, I’ve been able to make connections with my scattered family.
17 Sep 2008 Fishers Island to the Thimbles
  • I decided to take the dinghy in to explore the inner harbor of West Harbor. I was surprised with how extensive, if narrow, it is. It would make a good refuge in a storm if they would allow you to anchor. I went ashore to the yacht club marina but it like most of the island was deserted now that the summer season was over. I would like to come back to walk around when the island is alive.
  • Another beautiful, clear, windless day. For the first time sailing the Sound, I could clearly see both sides – neat. After leaving Fishers Island, I headed W on Long Island Sound while I looked for a good place to spend the night. I considered Gilford but the entrance channel looked too shallow. I then decided to visit the Thimbles just E of Branford. These are a series of small rocky islands that stream out from the shore – much like the islands in Casco Bay but on a much smaller scale. I anchored Onward at 1500 in the channel between High and Pot I – very beautiful and peaceful. I gave myself the rest of the day off to read.
16 Sep 2008 Greenwich Cove to Fishers Island
  • I ran last-minute errands in town and then departed after taking the dinghy to look at Masquerade – what a beauty! The day was cool and clear with little wind. Block Island could clearly be seen from just S of the Jamestown Bridge -- I had never seen it so clearly before. I went through the cut at Watch Hill and anchored in West Harbor on Fishers Island at 1900. The sunset was spectacular with gold followed by reds – Wow!
See: http://www.fishersisland.net/
  • On the trip I managed to finally make contact with my cousin George Rocchio whom I had not talked to in years. Through him I got the emails and phone numbers for his sister, Irene, and brother, Ray. My brother, Bob, maintained contact with my dad’s brother’s family. When Bob died, I lost the thread. Now I’m looking forward to maintaining it. I also managed to contact my cousin MaryAnn whom I’ve not seen in years. After talking with her, I decided to go to Norwalk CT to see her and her mother, Betty. The end of this visit to RI has been great in allowing me to renew contact with family. Great!
10-15 Sep 2008 Greenwich Cove
  • Late Wednesday morning, Merlin came in to drop off their guests. We then moved up to moorings at the EGYC in Greenwich Cove. After picking up the mooring, I was busy below when I heard a dinghy motor approach. I thought it was Ed and Tina but it proved to be Chris and Bob Kozak. They had just come into the harbor on their catamaran, Masquerade, that they built themselves and launched this spring. When they saw Onward, they decided to come by and look for me. I joined them in the dinghy and we went ashore for dinner where we were joined by Ed and Tina. We had a great time discussing boat building and cruising.
  • Merlin announced they were leaving in order to get to Mystic and meet some friends there. It was a sad parting of the ways after such a great summer together. We will meet up again in the Chesapeake before leaving for the Bahamas.
  • I rented a car to run shopping errands and then went over to MaryAnn’s to spend time with her before going out to dinner with her and Ed. This was good timing because they leave on a Mediterranean cruise next week. I got back to EGYC just in time to make the last launch run.
  • Today I went to visit my Uncle Lawrence who I was surprised to find out was in a nursing home. He lived with me and my family all the time I was at home before going off to college. He was a second father. I spent much of my youth helping him on weekends build his cottage at Boone Lake. It was sad to see this once vital man now so frail. I managed to get him pumped up by talking about things I remembered from my youth and making him reminisce. I was also Virginia, the daughter of his late wife, Mary from her first marriage. Virginia and I were essentially cousins even before her mom married Lawrence and it was great to renew this relationship.
  • I also went to visit my Aunt Mary who is in assisted living near EGYC. She is the youngest of the eleven children in my Mom’s family. We had a great visit talking about things we did together when I was young. She told me of her work during WW II in wartime factories – quite a story. All in all, a good day touching the past.
  • I drove to Newport early in the morning. I took the time to stop and visit a couple of historical sites I’ve always just driven by in the past. The first was Smith’s Castle site of a farm / plantation from the 1640s and the mill that is the birthplace of Gilbert Stuart, the colonial American portrait artist. Neat places.
  • I then drove on to Newport and the New York Yacht Club’s Harbor Court estate where I met Maureen and Mike Yorke. After talking boat stuff on Certa Cito, Mike’s C 470, we drove Maureen into town to do some shopping and then we took the launch to the Newport Boat Show. Here Mike and I went around to have technical discussions with many of the companies that equip our boats. After a pleasant drive around Ocean Drive followed by a great dinner at Harbor Court, I drove back to EGYC
  • I went to church with Kathy and Andy then dropped off the rental car. Kathy and I hung out together for the rest of the day doing such things as food shopping where we passed helpful hints back and forth to each other.
  • Today I spent the day stowing all the food and gear I purchased in RI and updating the ship’s inventory.
5-9 Sep 2008 Wickford Cove & TS Hanna
  • Onward and Merlin were ready to get underway before 0700 but the anchorage was socked in. By 0730 the fog had lifted slightly and we departed. For some reason, my radar gain settings were maladjusted and I was not getting a clear radar picture. I had grown quite comfortable with moving Onward through dense fog and rocky waters based on the radar overlaid on the chart display. Without clear radar I was now out of my comfort zone. As I was familiar with the area from my visit last year and as I still had good chartplotter/GPS data, I continued. It also helped to have Merlin following along and keeping lookout. Shortly after exiting the narrow N gap between Dutch and Conanicut Islands, I got the radar gain properly adjusted and it was an easy trip up the bay through the bridge. By the time we reached the N tip of Conanicut, the shore was visible. We finished the trip in bright sunshine.
  • Unfortunately, when I got to Greenwich Cove, EGYC informed me they had no moorings available due to members staying at home for the storm. Ed & Tina called and found a slip at Wickford Marina and I was also able to get one there in what is a fantastic hurricane hole, Wickford Cove. So we retraced part of our morning voyage and put into the marina. It is a very nice facility although there is < 0.5 ft. of water under Onward’s keel at low tide. I took advantage of being at a slip for the first time since leaving Baltimore in May to use the hose to scrub down the cockpit. I figured the tropical downpours from Hanna would wash down the decks and hull. As usual, the day before the storm was sunny and perfect!
  • While in the slip, I noticed a Corinthians burgee flying from a sailboat across the way. Curt & Susan Koster, Carpathia, came over to say hello. They had been on the Corinthian cruise to Maine and had been anchored with the group off Eggemoggin Reach when I sailed by and called in by VHF to say hello to the Corinthians. Ed and Tina happened to walk over to tell me about a great fish market they found and I introduced them to Curt & Susan. That led to us planning a fish grill for a group dinner. The marina has the nicest facility for guests to grill and eat that I’ve yet encountered since starting cruising. It is on a concrete deck overlooking the marina with nice umbrella tables set around a beautiful garden. As we were talking at dinner on the marina’s deck, we discover that Ed and Curtis both graduated from Stephens and I found out Curtis is a Chi Phi fraternity brother. Connections happen in cruising!
  • Tina, who has been the chief garden and horticulture consultant on this cruise, surprised me with a gift of a small Rosemary plant to keep under Onward’s dodger in the sun. Neat! And it had beautiful small purple flowers, too.
  • The first feeder bands from Hanna began dumping heavy rain starting near midnight Friday. The bands were fairly well spaced so I was able to use the dry times to prepare Onward for the oncoming storm and to clean up the interior. I decided to leave the dinghy on the davits and to leave the enclosure canvas on – but with the stern sections in place so it was fully enclosed. All my good intentions of working on my To Do List that I’ve ignored for the last few weeks were to no avail. After doing a few big tasks (like scrubbing and hosing out the stern head) I decided to tackle book #9 in the Hornblower novel series. Reading and storm tracking kept me busy for the afternoon.
  • After sundown, the crews of Merlin and Carpathia came aboard Onward for an extended cocktail hour. This lasted until the outer bands of Hanna’s eye began to dump rain. After guests returned to their boats, I continued to read until almost midnight. Onward tossed a bit as gusts of the E wind hit but overall in was minor – not as bad as the passage of the average Chesapeake Bay thunder squall. I fell asleep before the eye passed by and was not awakened by its effects. Good!
  • I awoke at sunrise to a beautiful clear sunny day. Hanna is gone having left minimal impact on boats in the marina. Great! I invited my sister, Kathy, and her husband, Andy, to come to the marina for a cookout. The five cruisers visited the great fish market on the harbor and we had a feast: steamed clams, muscles, corn and broiled haddock and salmon (and steak for Kathy who still hasn’t developed a liking for fish). The seven of us had a great evening.
  • I spent the morning washing, waterproofing, and sewing the dodger connector. In the afternoon, I moved out to one of the town buoys and continued my maintenance and organization work.
  • A front came through so I decided to stay and continue boat tasks.
4 Sep 2008 Nantucket to Dutch Island Harbor
  • I was up early this morning to say good-bye to Merlin as they left for Newport. I called Ed on VHF and he suggested I look at predictions for TS Hanna because the track had changed and was now targeting southern New England after it made landfall in the Carolinas. I took a look at the NOAA National Hurricane Center web site and now saw there was a ~50% chance of 50-kt winds coming to Nantucket. Instant decision: time to go! I immediately made ready to leave and weighed anchor about 45 min after talking to Ed.
  • There were > 10 kt WSW winds so I motor sailed down Vineyard Sound to RI where I was hoping to get a mooring in Greenwich Cove at EGYC. Onward made good time in spite of mostly adverse current and I caught up to and passed Merlin off Naushon. As the winds lightened up, Onward reached Beaver Tail light and I sailed up the West Passage of Narragansett Bay and anchored in Dutch Island Harbor. Merlin came in a few minutes later and we spent a quiet night at anchor.
2-3 Sep 2008 Nantucket
  • I weighed anchor at 0600 to catch the slack tide in Woods Hole. Once in Vineyard Sound, the wind came up and provided for a brisk close reach up the Sound to Nantucket. After making the turn for the entrance near “1” I furled the main – and the wind dropped. So, I deployed it again – and the wind came up substantially. By the time Onward was at the outer buoy for the breakwater, I could furl the main and flew down the channel and up to the anchorage under just the genoa. I anchored again near 1st Point and Merlin anchored nearby. The wind continued to build and hold at 15-20+ kts. With the tide coming in, the wind and current were opposed so Onward did the Nantucket trick I’ve become used to of sailing forward on the anchor rode with the wind at its stern and the current on the bow – the boat aligned with the current. Again the Manson Supreme anchor bit and held immediately. Wonderful! I felt tired, achy and chilled so I had lunch and then climbed into bed with a book and got up only to have dinner. I decided to leave the straightening up of things below to tomorrow.
  • The winds were slightly lighter. I felt much better. Time to get on. I think that all the body motion necessary to maintain balance and / or move around Onward while sailing in winds > 15 kts really tires me out all over. It is a subtle effect while moving but when I come to rest at the end of the day - I really need rest. I don’t remember this being an issue when I was 10 to 20 years younger. But the important thing is I can do this and I recover with a bit of rest and Ibuprofen. I have managed to wean myself from the 3-times a day dosage of Ibuprofen for my back. Thank the Good Lord! I now need to start working on stretching and muscle building exercises for this.
  • After cleaning up Onward and me, I took the dinghy ashore and met Ed & Nancy as they drove off the ferry. I introduced them to Ed and Tina. We quickly decided to meet at their house and put together a simple meal. So a couple of hours later, Ed, Tina and I took a cab out to the house and arrived just in time to help them unload the car that had a back seat full of stuff. After a long walk along the beach aided by some wine, we returned to the house to make dinner. Nancy, as executive chef, had bought some fresh salmon and swordfish along with pasta. She then turned this over to me, the sous chef. I cut into mouth-sized pieces and sautéed the fish in olive oil and spices. Next we added asparagus steamed by the executive chef. I cooked the pasta, and then poured the fish and olive oil over the pasta. Ed Burke grated in fresh Parmesan cheese. Delish! Together with a salad made by Tina, we sat down to eat at the table set by Ed Brown. This was a real team effort. A great meal and great conversation ensued. We finished off the night by driving into town for desert at the Brotherhood before being delivered back to our dinghies for the trip back to the boats. A fantastic evening!
1 Sep 2008 Hadley Harbor
  • Onward was underway early to catch the beginning of the tide change to take us through the Cape Cod Canal. A brisk wind for a close reach and Onward flew across the bay to the canal where we had peaceful transition on a beautiful sparkling sunny day. The wind was light on the W side of the cape and we ghosted to Hadley Harbor. Of course it picked up as soon as I furled the sails. We took a tour of the inner harbor but it was still full of boats that had enjoyed the Labor Day weekend there. I anchored again in the outer harbor near where I anchored last Sep.
  • As we sailed in, I remembered that in grad school, there were 3 Navy nurses living across the hall from my 2 roommates and me. We were good friends and often did things together. One nurse lived in Nashua NH and I drove her home several times when I had gone home to see my parents in RI. I remember her telling me about spending summers on Naushon when she was young. But I did not appreciate the fact that the Forbes family owned the island and had summer homes there. I remember her as Sunny Forbes. It would be nice to say hello. Google (and my memory for details) failed me and I could not locate her. Ah well!
31 Aug 2008 Provincetown
  • Set sail early to make use of the WNW wind to cross Cape Cod Bay to Provincetown. Somewhere just off shore from Marblehead a swarm of black flies targeted Onward and Merlin and climbed aboard. I have encountered a number of fly swarms that just appear at sea but never as many as this time. There had to be in excess of 400 flies at one time. I was too late to recognize the threat and the got into the cabin too. I spent the day killing flies in the cockpit – hundreds. Baaah!
  • We sailed into the bight behind the hook at Provincetown and anchored W of the CG pier fairly far off shore as moorings took up all the nearer spaces. We took the dinghy into the town pier behind the breakwater and walked through town. The place was hopping with all kinds of people – quite a show. Cruising friends of Tina and Ed whom they had met in the Bahamas came out and we stopped for pizza – not as good as that in Cuttyhunk.
30 Aug 2008 Salem
  • Light winds resulted in another transit under power around Cape Ann. We made an easy transit through the Salem Channel into Salem harbor and picked up a rental mooring that included launch service. This is a huge harbor and it is easy to envision it full of wooden ships in the hay day of Salem’s seafaring era.
  • We spent the afternoon and early evening visiting the new Peabody Essex Museum and on a walking tour of historic homes. The museum has a great new exhibit of a Chinese merchant/trader’s home. It is about 120+ years old and was disassembled in China and brought to Salem and reassembled.
  • I was amazed on the walking tour at the number of huge Georgian, Colonial Revival, and Greek Revival style homes that were built here from the late 1700 to mid 1800s. The size and number seem to exceed those in Savannah and Charleston.
  • Our great lunch at a waterside pub ashore led to a light “dinner” of foccacia bread and cocktails. We wrapped up the evening by watching the extensive fireworks display over Gloucester where we hope to see part of the schooner races tomorrow on our way to Provincetown.
29 Aug 2008 Rockport
  • We made an early morning departure from Isle of Shoals and headed SW toward Gloucester. An attempt to sail was soon abandoned as the winds faded away. With light winds, a gentle swell from a low in the N Atlantic, we decided to look into Rockport. There were no moorings available in the small harbor but we found a suitable anchorage in the small Sand Cove – just W of town. We spent the afternoon on a walking tour of the town that is famous for its art galleries and artists. I bought a Glice print of a great photo of the iconic lobster shack on the breakwater of the inner harbor. Due to strange wind and current conditions, Onward would like parallel to the gentle swells leading to a lot of rocking. Merlin, a 100 yards W had it worse.
28 Aug 2008 Isle of Shoals
  • An early start from Portsmouth led to a beautiful sail in brisk N winds out to Isle of Shoals where Merlin and Onward picked up moorings. John Smith first reported this island that are only 6 mi. off shore from Portsmouth. He liked them so much, he named them after himself. Well, the name didn’t stick but was changed to refer to the “shoals” of codfish that were caught just off shore. In the late 1800s, there were several hotels on the islands serving as a getaway from Boston. When the largest burned, a consortium of 2 churches to preserve a summer conference facility bought the land. We spent the rest of the day exploring the islands by dinghy. First we toured Smuttynose, small and not inhabited except for summer volunteers who spend a week or two in the two cottages that remain. We then toured the main island, where the conferences are held in the old hotel buildings. Finally we hiked around the largest island, Appledore, which is also the home of the Shoals Laboratory of Cornell U -- but is largely a bird sanctuary.
26-27 Aug 2008 Portsmouth, NH
  • An early morning start as the sun rose on a clear sparkling summer day. Brisk N – NNE winds provided conditions for a great broad reach SW where Onward reached speeds of 9 kts SOG. The wind gave out in early afternoon just before reaching Portsmouth. Onward picked up a mooring at the Portsmouth Yacht club while Merlin picked one up in Pepperille Cove across the river. We then spent the afternoon walking around the small island where the YC is located. We walked around the shore to the Wentworth Hotel – a landmark from the 1870’s now operated by Marriott. We returned to Onward where I whipped up a fantastic pasta dinner based on some pasta from Italy I had recently picked up in Wiscasset. We accompanied it with a great Italian wine – Sangenovese, made with the same grapes as Chianti but not in the region. Delish!
  • We spent the day exploring Portsmouth. Strawberry Banke is an area of historic homes close to the riverfront now operated by a non-profit corporation. It had been reduced to a slum by the 1960s when it was to be razed as part of an urban renewal project. A local librarian, watching this about to happen, rallied local citizens and the remaining houses were saved. They are being restored based on historical and archeological efforts. We had a great time and took two tours with excellent guides. The gardens here and in the city park along the river were amazing fields of color and varieties of flowers. Neat!
19-25 Aug 2008 South Freeport
  • 19-20 Aug. In the early morning with minimal fog, we made our way the short distance across Casco Bay to the Harraseeket River to pick up a mooring at Brewers South Freeport. We took advantage of LL Bean and the shopping outlet stores they have attracted to do some shopping.
  • 21-24 Aug. I left Onward on a mooring and flew back to Baltimore where I stayed at Laura’ s home. Joseph and Amie had also flown in to attend Joe’s friend, Jeff Schissler’s wedding, and I joined them. It was great to spend time with all my family
  • 25 Aug. Time to do a bit more shopping and provisioning before heading S.
18 Aug 2008 The Goslings, Casco Bay
  • Another beautiful day. I took advantage of it to go for a swim to scrub the boot stripe at the waterline. I found more tendrils of kelp caught in the forward edge of the rudder – the tubular fronds are really tough.
  • With the wind on our nose, we headed out of the anchorage and W to Potts Harbor at the tip of Harpswell neck where we picked up a mooring at the Dolphin Marina and went in for lunch. We had the fish chowder and Haddock with cheese recommended by the Taft guide – good call! Delish!
  • We took advantage of the building SW wind to reach up the inlet past the Goslings to the Wilson ledges. Casco has the same look as Penobscot: rock ledges and rock islands with conifers but there are significant differences. The scale here is much smaller than Penobscot – less sailing room. There are many more homes along the shores. The rock structures have a different character; probably less granite. And there is more gravel and soil evident with more beach areas.
  • As we turned back toward the Goslings, the wind picked up to > 20 kts on the nose. There were a number of empty moorings so we picked one up for the night.
16-17 Aug 2008 Snow I, Casco Bay
  • Saturday morning started with a bit of fog that soon cleared and we made a late morning start to head back S down the inlet and then to cut across eastern Harpswell neck and then head N to the anchorage at Snow Island The cut is challenging because of the need to weave a course through many rocky ledges. There are good buoys along the way so we weren’t’ concerned. About half way through, I shut down my radar because it was unnecessary. And then, a few minutes later, I couldn’t see one of the marks – fog had started rolling in. By the time the radar was warmed back up and transmitting, I could no longer see Merlin. Of course, this happened in the narrowest part of the cut where there are ledges and islands close aboard on each side. Again the Raymarine E120 chartplotter with radar overlay makes navigation in these conditions very easy. A short time after turning N to go up the inlet, the fog lifted and it was another beautiful sunny day.
  • We anchored N of Snow Island in 20+ ft and I took the afternoon off to take a nap in the cockpit in the sun to work on my tan that had begun to fade after about 2 weeks of rain and fog. It is a tribute to the beauty and great sailing in Maine that the clouds and rain didn’t seem to be a problem. Onward is set up to be nice and dry with the cockpit enclosure so rain is a minor inconvenience. Friends of Tina and Ed were to join us for dinner but a threatening thunderstorm front caused them to delay until the morning
  • I baked scones for breakfast and joined Merlin for breakfast with Rob and Allison. Rob is a wooden boat builder who has built and sailed replica of a Viking ship across the N Atlantic. He is now organizing a project to build a replica of the first pinnace built in Maine. After breakfast I explored the area around Snow I with Tina and Ed. We found a beautiful secluded swimming hole in the SE corner where the rock formations as they come down to the water are strikingly beautiful. After returning to Onward it was time for a nap in the sun and to read the Costal Maine, A Maritime History by Robert Duncan – fascinating!
14-15 Aug 2008 The Basin, Casco Bay
  • Guess what? Fog again this morning. We set off down the river with the intention of picking up a mooring at small Seguin Island just off shore. We manage to get there with less than .2 nm visibility in the fog only to find out the harbor is extremely small. The moorings were so close to the rocks that there was no way Onward could pick one up without the danger of rubbing its stern on the rocks. So, we headed out in the fog toward Casco Bay. At the mouth of the E passage, the fog lifted and an E wind picked up that enabled us to sail up the river to within a mile of the Basin. The entrance was very narrow but I had no problem moving Onward through and saw no less than 9.6 ft at the shallowest point.
  • While approaching the entrance, I received a VHF call from Brian and Sue Schanning aboard their Gozzard 37 Sogno. I had met them in Black Point in the Exumas and then had called them in July for local knowledge of Marblehead where they have their home. They were visiting Minnesota at the time so we were not able to get together. But here they were with other boats from the Blue Water Cruising Association coming up behind Onward to anchor in the Basin. I invited them over for cocktails with Ed and Tina. We had such a grand time that I invited all to stay for pizza. I made 2 Sicilian pepperoni pizzas using the rosemary/olive oil bread dough that I had prepared in the morning. As an experiment I used some Blue Velvet, a Maine blue cheese, on part of one and Asiago cheese on part of another. Delish!
  • A beautiful clear, sunny, day! A piece of Focaccia bread with bacon and eggs is a great way to start the day.
13 Aug 2008 Wiscasset
  • The torrential rain was over and the morning opened with fog, of course. Onward & Merlin wended our way out of Linekin Bay and through Townsend Cut. The fog began to clear by the time we reached the swing bridge so we could see the banks. This was one of the most beautiful passages encountered on the cruise thus far. The cut is narrow but with good depth and easy to navigate. We timed the trip to hit the bridge on its every half-hour schedule so passage was easy.
  • At Wiscasset, we located the town moorings. Not an easy thing. The first moorings we picked up were private and the painter for Onward’s was tangled. Ed and Tina reconnoitered ashore and located the town moorings so we moved both boats. Ed and Tina assisted from their dink to make sure the painter for the new mooring wasn’t tangled. We immediately went ashore for a walk and of course visited the town library. I mentioned that Tina was a retired librarian and this led to an invitation for a car ride to and from the grocery store that was well out of town.
  • After shopping and stowing the food, we went back into town to see some of the historic homes. Wiscasset bills itself as the prettiest town in Maine. I’m not sure of that but it is nice. Once an important seaport in the early 1800s, it went through a few cycles before settling into a quiet backwater. The result is a number of large homes that are on the hill overlooking the river; these were built by prosperous ship captains. Historic New England foundation now owns 2 of them and we toured Tucker’s Castle – a large imposing brick mansion with unusual oval contoured wings. Both crews joined the foundation to support their efforts to reclaim and maintain historic New England homes. We wrapped up the day by stopping at Le Bar that overlooks the anchorage for beers and great appetizers that became our meal. The bar tender was also a history teacher who gave us a snapshot of the town’s history.
  • Today I made plane reservations and marina reservations in Portland so I can leave Onward and fly back to Baltimore to attend Jeff’s wedding with Joseph and Amie.
11-12 Aug 2008 Lewis Cove, Linekin Bay

  • Took advantage of being at Carousel Marina to use the laundry facilities to wash sheets & towels to get Onward’s guest suite ready for potential visitors. We took a morning walk around town while the clothes were drying and visited the great shops again.
  • We took Venture (T/T Onward) to explore Boothbay Shipyard where we saw two schooners on the ways having new planking installed. Very interesting watching how old techniques, updated with modern electrical and pneumatic tools are applied to keep these venerable vessels in operation. It still requires a lot of physical strength as well as know-how.
  • There was no wind so we moved to Lewis Cove on Linekin Bay just E of Boothbay. On nearby Cabbage Island, they do old-fashioned New England Clambakes and we were hoping to go only to find that they don’t serve to people coming in by dinghy.
  • Hard rain at 0700 so we decided to lay over a day for good weather. A good time to catch up chores like updating this journal. I went over to Merlin to watch a movie and share dinner. It took 20 min for my small portable electric bilge pump to empty the rainwater in the dinghy!
10 Aug 2008 Boothbay
  • Onward & Merlin left Rockport in the fog and motored in the calm out of Penobscot Bay toward Boothbay. In early afternoon the fog burned off and left a beautiful sunny day but still no wind. We picked up moorings at the Carousel Marina for the night. After a walk around town during which Ed & Tina encouraged my shopping, we returned to Onward to grill the great pork chops we bought at the Northeast Harbor Farmers Market.
9 Aug 2008 Rockport
  • Before leaving Rockland, I called Tanker Ann, a fuel barge that services the out islands. I arranged for them to come alongside Onward at anchor and took on 100 gal of diesel – at more than $1 under shore prices! Wonderful!
  • I then took advantage of the sunny afternoon and good SW wind to reach under genoa out of the Rockland harbor and N a few miles to join Merlin in Rockport. After getting settled on the mooring, we walked into town to the Prism Gallery & Café. Ed and Tina had had lunch there and found the food so good they wanted to go back. We ate on the outdoor patio that is beautifully landscaped. The menu offers a number of Italian items as well as other dishes. I had tree-meat (pork, beef, lamb) meatballs and linguini in a plum tomato marinara sauce– Fantastic! Far and away the best meal I had in Maine and the best meatballs and spaghetti I’ve ever had. I don’t think I will be able to order that dish at another restaurant.
8 Aug 2008 Rockland
  • We left Pulpit at 0830 and motored to Rockland in order to be there by 1200 for Laura and Kurlen to get their car and drive to Manchester for the flight to MD. Of course, as soon as I got near the anchorage it began to pour. I took a chance and pulled Onward into the inner harbor to see if I could put in at Knights Marine where the car was parked. Luckily there was a short space of dock that I could pull into for the 3-4 min it took to offload luggage and family. I felt badly about rushing them off the boat – but it kept them relatively dry. We had a great week together and I will miss them. After they left I was so cold and wet that I just anchored and then climbed into bed to read a good book.
7Aug 2008 Pulpit Harbor
  • I invited Ina and Fenner aboard for morning coffee and fresh-baked blueberry scones. I made one batch the usual way with Bisquick and a second batch with a “traditional oats and barley” mix I bought at a local store. The consensus of all my guests is that the Bisquick batch is better.
  • Fenner then brings us ashore to his pier and we walk up to his beautiful home that overlooks seal harbor. We pick up his car for a short ride to the Abby Rockefeller Gardens that David Rockefeller opens a few days a year to invited guests. As beautiful as Thuya garden is, this is more so and on a grander scale. What a wonderful experience. After the garden tour it is back to Onward to begin the journey back toward Rockland.
  • We manage to get a little wind and are able to reach up Eggemoggin Reach. On the way we pass the large home where Wooden Boat Magazine is headquartered and where the Corinthian Maine Cruise group is anchored. Unfortunately I couldn’t stop because of the need to get Laura and Kurlen back to their car in Rockland tomorrow. I called the cruise by VHF and gave them my regards.
  • We anchor for the night in Pulpit Harbor – but there is no fantastic sunset in the overcast.
6 Aug 2008 Seal Harbor, Mt. Desert Island
  • On the way I find two C470s on nearby mooring floats: Lady and Pipe Dream. I get to say hello to Jim Seemann in his dingy as he is preparing to leave the harbor. I stop by to spend some time talking with Charlie and Jenny McNamarra on Lady.
  • Laura & Kurlen take the bus from Northeast Harbor to explore Bar Harbor and Acadia park then meet Onward in Seal Harbor
  • At noon, I moved Onward from Northeast Harbor to a mooring at Seal Harbor Yacht Club arranged by Fenner. Fenner came out in his RIB and we took Onward out for an attempt to sail in the light air. We managed to get over to Little Cranberry Island before the wind died completely
  • In the evening Fenner and Ina picked us up and we take his RIB to the Dock Restaurant on Little Cranberry where we have a great dinner.
4-5 Aug 2008 Northeast Harbor, Mt. Desert Island
  • When the fog lifts, we leave the anchorage for the move to Northeast Harbor where we are lucky to get the last space available on a mooring float. I then take apart the outboard’s carburetor and clean it. I never see anything dirty but when I reassemble it the motor starts on the first pull – go figure.
  • We then take Venture ashore to visit Thuya Gardens. I then led Laura and Kurlen on a hike through the woods to the azalea garden. The earlier downpour turned the road and trails into streams so we just enjoy wading for a while. The azalea garden also has a Japanese garden and is very beautiful even as light rain showers begin.
  • We finish up the day with a walk through town. I discover that almost a city block has been burned down in a fire that started the day after we left last time. Only luck prevented a larger part of the town being destroyed. We had a great dinner at the Redbird Provisioning Company that overlooks the anchorage.
  • Laura & Kurlen took Venture ashore to do an early morning run. Later, I took them ashore to rent bikes to explore the carriage trails. They stopped at Jordan Pond House for lunch and the requisite popover muffins. When they returned we had a great meal at the tapas restaurant.
  • I contacted a colleague, Fenner Milton who has a home in Seal Harbor and I invited him and his wife, Ina, for cocktails aboard Onward. We had a great time together.
3 Aug 2008 McGlathery Island
  • I allowed my guests to sleep late and treated them to freshly baked blueberry scones and an Onward signature omelet. Then we headed out under cloudy skies after checking weather radar and ascertaining we would not be hit by thunderstorms. Well, as soon as we clear the harbor, a thunderstorm materialized out of nothing at sea (I hadn’t seen this before – usually they die out over the cold water) and we got beat up by pouring rain while there a nearby lightning strikes. All this while moving through very narrow Fox Island Thoroughfare. God bless the radar overlaid on the chartplotter.
  • The rainstorms passed and we moved through the Deer Island Thoroughfare and past Camp Island where I anchored previously. Laura and Kurlen reviewed the sailing guide and selected McGlatherty Island as our anchorage for the night. I would have been very put off at the thought of maneuvering Onward through the narrow channels between islands if I hadn’t done a bit of this when first sailing into Maine – now it doesn’t seem like much of a challenge. However, the lobster pots were particularly thick. In a narrow passage between two islands, Onward’s speed dropped by half and I realized I’ve snagged a lobster trap on the keel. After getting to a wider area, I slowed down and then reversed and the lobster pot and floats float free – Lucky!
  • We anchored and immediately launched Venture to dinghy to shore – only to have the engine conk out and refuse to start. Laura & Kurlen rowed us the few yards to shore – would have made a great Utube video. We explored the island, find lots of mosquitoes in the interior, and then had a great time circumnavigating the small islet by climbing the rocks that have been exposed at low tide. Back at the boat, Laura went swimming and found out just how cold the water is in Maine (63 F).
30 Jul- 2 Aug 2008 Rockland
  • We visited the Farnsworth Museum. They have a great permanent collection of American art primarily focused on Maine and New England. It includes many by Andrew Wyeth and has an extensive Wyeth study and research center. It also includes a tour of the Farnsworth home, an 1850s era mansion on the grounds. Well worth the visit.
  • After visiting the museum and after receiving a free postcard size watercolor from a local artist, it brought back all the memories of my watercolor painting as a youth. I remember producing works: Mud 1 through Mud xhundred. A local art storeowner said there is always hope so I decided to buy some watercolors to play with. I will strive not to recreate the Mud series…
  • Time to focus on preparing Onward to receive guests, Laura and Kurlen, tomorrow.
  • I spend the morning continuing to clean up Onward in preparation for guests. At 1600 they arrive after being delayed in weekend traffic on Rt. 1 going through Wiscasset. We go off to do food and wine shopping for our cruise and return to load shopping and luggage aboard – never has Venture been loaded so much. After freshening up, we dinghy ashore to the Maine Lobster Festival where we enjoy a lobster dinner.
30 July 2008 Pulpit Harbor to Rockland
  • We dinghied ashore and walked to the grocery store. A local resident stopped to give us a ride in her minivan that already had 2 other cruisers from MA aboard. On the walk back to the dinghy I ran into a woman from another sailboat who was picking wild flowers for a bouquet for the boat. Great idea, so I did the same.
  • On return to Onward it was time to do repair a tear in the leach of the genoa. Yesterday the leach line snagged its end knot on the cleat for the burgee halyard on the starboard spreader and tore about 3 ft. of the leach. With Ed’s help I dropped the genoa and then set up the SailRite sewing machine on the foredeck. A new leach line covering made out of a double layer of Sunbrella was then sewn in place. It will serve until I can get some sailcloth and dark blue Sunbrella.
  • We set sail after a quick lunch. After exiting the harbor I set a course close-hauled on the port tack to Rockland. The wind picked up to > 15 kts but fairly steady. I was able hold Onward on a single tack all the way to the mouth of Rockland harbor where I furled the main and reached into the anchorage under just the genoa. We anchored in the center anchorage of the large harbor that is protected by a granite seawall that took 18 years and 700,000 tons of granite to build in the 1800s.
  • Onward managed to catch Merlin which left the harbor first and pulled ahead when Merlin had to tack. Ed has been towing his dinghy. I thanked him for using this sea anchor as it made catching him easier. Given his competitiveness, I think this will be the end of towing the dinghy.
  • We went ashore to find that the public dinghy dock was right at the Maine Lobster Festival grounds and that the festival started today.
  • Maine does now allow drinking of alcoholic beverages in open venues so there was no beer at the festival. We went to a ramshackle bar on the pier and had a draft before exploring the town. Rockland is the largest city on Penobscot Bay and offers a lot of interesting restaurants, shops, and galleries.
  • We returned to the festival for a lobster dinner. I also had clam chowder and steamers. Delish.
29 July 2008 Warren Island to Pulpit Harbor
  • A day without wind so after an attempt to view the museum near the ferry landing across the anchorage (closed until noon) we decided to sail on to the NW corner of Vinelhaven I. It was a short sail under power down Gilkey harbor where we got to see the large summer cottage of the artist who created the Gibson Girl – including its castle playhouse built for his grandchildren.
  • Pulpit Harbor is a very nice and well-protected anchorage that one has to sail by the namesake pulpit rock at its entrance – a bit narrow with rocks on both sides. The anchorage had a number of boats visiting so Merlin rafted to Onward. We then spent the afternoon relaxing in the cockpit and watching thunderheads go by N and S of us.
28 July 2008 Belfast to Warren Island
  • After a trip ashore for errands we dropped the moorings and headed S along the W coast of Ilesborrow Island to Warren Island where there is an anchorage and state moorings for the island which is a state park. There was a stiff wind of 15-20 knots blowing so it as a close-hauled sail all the way.
  • I took time as I left Belfast to attempt to linearize my wind direction instrument as it has been acting flakey since just before I left the Bahamas and is now gives such strange readings it is of little use in sailing. This didn’t work so it looks like I will have to go up the mast to check the wind vane to see if the feather is loose on the transducer shaft.
  • While I was messing with my instruments, Merlin put up sails and accelerated away. This of course set up an informal race as I trimmed Onward to give chase. As the wind was coming almost directly up the W channel we needed to sail, there were many tacks. Onward managed to catch Merlin on the 4th leg and then pulled ahead. This gave my back and upper arms a real workout. As the sciatica attack has been slowly tapering off, I will find out tomorrow how my back took it.
  • We came into the cove at the NE tip of Warren I and found all the moorings taken so we anchored just N of the mooring field in 26’ of water. Ed and Tina explored by dinghy while I recuperated from sail handling.
27 July 2008 Castine to Belfast
  • We decided to go to Belfast in the hope of sailing a bit. There was a good SW wind of > 10 kts so we had a nice close reach NW across the head of Penobscot Bay and Turtle Head on Ilesborrow Island to Belfast where we picked up a town mooring ($25) from the Harbormaster.
  • We dinghied ashore for lunch at a local pub recommended by the Harbormaster. A good choice good food and a number of great beers on draft. The town is built on a hill sloping up from the harbor. Downtown is mostly brick buildings from the late 1800s.
  • I found a good book store and bought 2 of the last 4 books I need to complete my collection of Patrick Obrien’s Aubery/Maturin series. My goal had been to buy the series by visits to used book stores but as I got near the end of the 20-book collection it has been hard to find the missing books so I will have to buy them new when I find them.
  • There were two classic boats leaving the harbor as I sailed in. I later found three of them in slips at the town warf. They were Barnagate Bay A class gaff-rigged sloops designed by L. Francis Herreshof and built by their yard in Bristol. The three were beautifully restored with Herreshof classic lines and beautiful bright work.
26 July 2008 Bucks Harbor to Castine
  • I baked scones with the fresh blueberries and invited Ed and Tina for breakfast.
  • Again we waited a bit until the fog began to lift in the harbor before weighing anchor – but it saw us and immediately closed in as soon as the anchors were up. We managed the short trip to Castine in fog with < .4 nm visibility. It is amazing how well the radar picks up small runabouts. Just as we approached the entrance to the harbor the fog began to lift. It is amazing the difference between visual and radar cues: the shore looked to be a very comfortable distance away in the fog by radar – but when the fog lifts it looks uncomfortably close. I need to work on this.
  • We picked up a mooring from Eatons Boatyard – a good thing here as we saw from the strong tidal current. After a delicious chicken salad sandwich prepared by Tina we went for a long walk in town.
  • A lot of history in Castine. The French first settled there in 1611 and the ownership went back and forth between them and the English with the Dutch kicking out the French for a short period. But the English and then the Americans prevailed. Numerous forts remain. Including those from a major Revolutionary War amphibious invasion by the Americans. Unfortunately American leadership wasn’t up to par on land or sea and the British prevailed. Paul Revere got his reputation tarnished by the poor leadership he displayed.
  • Many huge homes from the 1800s and a great town green make it a very pleasant visit.
  • When the fog burned off, we were amazed at how broad the water was we sailed through but didn’t see in the fog.
  • We completed the day with a great dinner ashore at Bennett’s Warf restaurant with Onward and Merlin moored just offshore. Good food and a great selection of unique draft beers. Another case of so many beers, so little time!
25 July 2008 Mt. Desert Island to Bucks Harbor
  • We decided to cut the umbilical cord and leave our floating mooring dock in Northeast Harbor. It was a great experience and a good place for me to begin to recuperate from my sciatica attack. We waited for the fog to lift to get underway but we hadn’t gone far before the fog came in along with rainsqualls. I’ve now seen enough of the beautiful Maine scenery to know how much I’m missing due to the fog!
  • The only challenge of the day was crossing the bar at Bass Harbor. It is well marked at both ends with a dredged depth of 14 ft. – and we went through at low tide but saw a minimum of 14.6 feet.
  • We then headed N for Eggemoggin Reach but did not see much of the land due to fog. This passage is rated as one of the prettiest in Maine and because of its orientation one of the must fun to sail in either direction – on a reach. Of course, today there was fog and no wind. I’ll just have to come back!
  • By the time Onward powered under the suspension bridge, the fog had lifted enough to barely see both shores. We then put into Bucks Harbor and anchored in the NE quadrant.
  • We took a walk ashore in the small town. The little grocery store provided treats: wasabi peas, Cape Cod Coarse Pepper and Sea Salt potato chips, and fresh blueberries.
  • As we returned to the boats, a large 3-masted schooner, Victory Chimes, ghosted into the harbor being propelled by its small push boat in the light winds. It then came about and dropped anchor off Onward’s starboard side. Then Nathaniel Bowditch, a 2-masted schooner came in under sail and proceeded to sail under Onward’s stern and anchor off the port side. Interesting… They were well behaved during the night.
  • I invited Ed and Tina aboard for a steak dinner with a great combination vegetable dish: garlic sautéed Brussels sprouts and snow peas with a bit of shallot – delish. A desert of fresh blue berries in a liquor of choice finished it off.
16-25 July 2008 Northeast Harbor; Mt. Desert Island
  • Northeast Harbor is a quiet and well-protected harbor. The town is small but has several good restaurants a grocery store, liquor store and hardware store. The free bus sponsored by LL Bean stops at the town marina and goes to several places on the island.
  • Acadia National Park is a gem with many trails to hike and bike.
  • John Eicke, a colleague from ARL and his wife, Vivian, arrived in Northeast Harbor for a week’s vacation.
  • The five of us spent four days exploring the island. We went to Acadia and hiked the trails. Beautiful terrain and vistas.
  • We went back to Acadia and took a carriage ride along the carriage trails to see several of the bridges built by JD Rockefeller. Went to Jordan Pond House for lunch.
  • We took the dinghy ashore to visit the Thuya gardens. A beautiful set of terraces going up the side of the hill from the harbor with a beautiful and peaceful evergreen and flower garden at the top. The garden was developed by a Boston landscape architect at his summer cottage in the early 1900s and he gave it to the town when he died. In the evening, I took the bus into Bar Harbor with Maher Elmarsi and his family and met Jim and Sue Seeman for dinner.
  • Had a farewell breakfast with John & Vivian before the headed back to the real world. Spent the rest of the day changing fuel filters and doing engine maintenance.
Tuesday – Thursday.
  • The day I arrived, I twisted my back while stepping down the companionway stairs. This progressed into a severe case of sciatica probably aggravated by all the walking and bus riding. On Tuesday, my doctor prescribed a muscle relaxant and I took the bus to Bar Harbor to get it. The bus ride really aggravated it further. So I spend several days in bed or just taking it easy on the boat to get it to calm down.
16 July 2008 Camp Island to Northeast Harbor; Mt. Desert Island
  • Another clear sunny morning and we took the dinghy ashore to explore Half Acre Island that is part of the Maine island park system. It was a small gem and a good example of how nature has managed to establish a toehold on an outcropping of granite. There was virtually no sandy beach – just well worn granite curving off into the deep.
  • I discovered local phenomena: cracks in the granite of the island that moan, whistle, and groan with the wave action. I decided to try to record these with the Optio. I can just see a CD of Maine costal island natural songs….
  • There was no wind so it was a diesel day E through Casco Cut and the channel at Bass Point on the SW corner of Mt. Desert Island. We came up the estuary to Northeast Harbor – avoiding a sailing race in progress at the mouth – and took a floating dock mooring. This was my first encounter with these: 4 x 40’ floating docs that are moored fore and aft with a berth for a boat on either side. This allows stacking of more boats in the crowded harbor – especially when they raft 2 boats to each side.
  • Maher Elmarsi saw me come into the harbor and came out to help me tie up. I later when ashore with Maher to meet his wife Inez and then went to dinner at the Tan Turtle Pub – a great pub with an amazing menu. When we returned to the mooring I found a former colleague John Eicke and his wife Vivian aboard Merlin. They will be vacationing in the area for a week.
15 July 2008 Tenants Harbor to Camp Island
  • Awoke to a clear day and made an easy exit from the harbor. The winds were light from the SW and I sailed E across Penobscot Bay and then N up to Deer Island Thoroughfare. This is a relatively narrow channel that is well marked. I got the flavor of sailing the Gulf of Maine – ledges and small granite islands sprinkled about. No movement without constant careful position plotting and checking the charts for obstructions. The E120 chartplotter is a delight for this it makes navigating tricky passages very easy. With the light winds I sailed Onward through the Thoroughfare past Stonington and the granite quarries on Crotch Island to an anchorage N of Camp Island that had been recommended by Maher Elmarsi. A beautiful spot and we anchored in ~25 ft. with a muddy bottom and good protection from the prevailing SW winds. The anchorage was surrounded by rugged granite islands with pine forests. Beautiful.
  • I invited Tina and Ed over for spaghetti and meatballs and the also got to watch me make a batch of pepper biscotti. I had decided to experiment with the baking process with the results being this was not a good way to go – but the biscotti are still pretty good.
14 July 2008 Boothbay to Tenants Harbor
  • A foggy morning but we took off in the hope it would soon clear – Wrong! The Raymarine E120 display with radar integrated with the chart actually made the complex route navigation easy. Only one encounter with a moving boat that was moving fast and came close gave us pause and that turned out to be a Coast Guard cutter. The myriad lobster posts were a challenge because they could not be seen until they were close. The pot floats got closer together as we approached the entrance to Tenants Harbor. Soon thereafter it just disappeared leaving a sunny day.
13 July 2008 Boothbay
  • A lazy day to explore the area. We took a cab to the Maine Costal Botanical Garden for lunch and a delightful time walking trails through both natural and landscaped gardens. A kinetic wind sculpture exhibit was amazing. Several whimsical sculptures made of bright polished stainless steel whirled as the winds blew and sparkled in the bright sun – what fun. I used my new Optio camera to take videos of them in action.
12 July 2008 Portsmouth to Boothbay Harbor
  • Ed called at 0530 to say Merlin was underway from the pier because he wanted to leave before the current got worse. I had just gotten up and managed to be ready to move by the time Merlin made it down the river against the flood. There was no wind in the morning so we powered on to our planned destination of Portland. About 3 hours into the trip, we were making such good time we decided to look at a destination beyond Portland. We considered Monhegan Island but decided against it because we could not be sure of finding a mooring and anchoring was not recommended. Be decided on Boothbay instead. In the afternoon a bit of a wind picked up so we motorsailed arriving at Boothbay about 1800. We took moorings at the Carousel Marina in the inner harbor – there were many empty moorings in spite of it being a weekend.
  • Boothbay has a very picturesque harbor with pine trees along the rocky shore. It obviously caters to the tourist and offers may shops and restaurants. There is a local aquarium, train museum, antique auto museum, botanical gardens and a trolley to take you around. Lots to explore tomorrow.
  • Yesterday, a local shipyard that builds large tugboats burned down potentially destroying the jobs of 120 people – sad.
  • After dinner aboard Merlin we dinghied into town for a walking tour and ice cream. We also found a store with great items made by local craftsmen: The Mung Bean.
11 July 2008 Marblehead to Portsmouth
  • We got an early start for the trip around Cape Ann to Portsmouth and arrived at ~1430. I took a mooring at the Portsmouth YC just inside the mouth of the river while Merlin proceeded up to the Marina at Harbour Court just N of the highway lift bridge. I took the dinghy up river to meet Ed & Tina and their friends for a lobster dinner at the Old Ferry Landing restaurant on the river. After dinner we took a walk around town and had ice cream, of course. Portsmouth has many neat stores and restaurants in its nicely restored downtown area. Much to see on future visits.
10 July 2008 Plymouth to Marblehead
  • Left Plymouth in early morning and had a pleasant sail to Marblehead where we took a mooring from the Boston Yacht Club. All guest moorings in the harbor for the other 3 yacht clubs were full and Onward and Merlin got the last two at the outer edge of the harbor – by the size of their mooring pennants these were obviously intended for megayachts. The Corinthian YC on the port side on entering the harbor is quite a pile built in the “shingle” style. We took the BYC launch to town and spent a pleasant afternoon exploring and shopping. We found a West Marine and a gourmet wine and food store within easy walking distance. We also stopped for a beer and great nachos at a local bar/restaurant. Marblehead is a very pretty town with all the colonial era homes well restored and nicely labels with a sign showing when it was built and for whom.
  • On returning to the boat, I whipped up a batch of Onward Chili Stew and invited Tina & Ed for dinner. We made it an early night for the trip to Portsmouth tomorrow.
9 July 2008 Plymouth
  • Plymouth offers good bus service that we exploited to go out to spend the morning at Plimoth Plantation. An enjoyable visit. Interacting with the reinactors was quite enjoyable. We then took the bus to town for a great lunch at T’s Roadhouse. We then bussed to the shopping center where I was able to have a couple of non-functional hand held VHF radios replaced at the West Marine store under the extended warrantee I bought. The salesperson actually drove to another store to get the replacement radios and then delivered them to me at the Yacht Club. There we joined their junior sailing program’s family night cookout for burgers and salads on the porch.
  • After I read Nathaniel Philbrick’s Mayflower last summer, I had asked many people about visiting Plymouth to see the plantation and the ship. All had given me to understand this was not easy to do. This trip has shown Plymouth to be a delightful place to visit and Plymouth Yacht Club has been very hospitable.
8 July 2008 Onset to Plymouth
  • Onward & Merlin left Onset at 0730 and caught the change in tide to go N through the Cape Cod Canal. At the N end, a good sailing breeze came up and we sailed toward Plymouth with the wind continuing to build from light to brisk by noon. We motored up the winding channel to Plymouth harbor and picked up moorings from the Plymouth Yacht Club. Onward’s neighbor was a reproduction of a 17th century sailing shallop similar to one the Pilgrims used for costal cruising.
  • We spent the afternoon and early evening exploring Plymouth and the Mayflower II. It is amazing that 102 colonists and 30 crew made the crossing in that ship. I got to have a good conversation with the master who discussed the businesslike reasons why he has taken the voyage. We also explored the old burial ground that crowns the hill and the lovely park that follows the town brook.
7 July 2008 Cuttyhunk to Onset
  • At 0830 we cast off from the moorings in thick fog and exited the narrow channel with Onward in the lead. Only one side of the narrow inlet could be seen at any time and I moved at idle speed guided by the E120 chartplotter and radar. Such an exit would not have been possible for me without this technology. After clearing the inlet and outer islands, we set a direct course for the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal.
  • At 1230 we entered Onset Harbor and picked up moorings from Onset Harbor Marina. We then explored the town and I had a fried clams and clam cakes lunch. A nap on the beach followed while Tina and Ed took a dip. After hiking back to the marina we returned to the boat where I continued my nap. All this walking is good for me and really makes naps delicious! Onset is a neat seaside town with great beaches.
  • We met Tony from West Point who retired from the USMA West Point and invited him to cocktail hour.
6 July 2008 Greenwich Cove to Cuttyhunk
  • Onward departed the East Greenwich Yacht Club in Greenwich Cove, RI at 0900 to begin the adventure to Maine.
  • Good friends Tina and Ed Burke aboard their recently acquired Pacific Seacraft 40, Merlin, joined Onward at the EGYC on 3 July to complete getting Merlin ready for the cruise. We rented a car to do all the myriad things one has to do to outfit a boat for an extended cruise. We also had time to join my family at my nephew Robert J. Rocchio’s home for a 4th of July cookout. This is a memorial to my brother Bob whose birthday is the 4th of July. It was great to spend time with family and to experience the fact that one has almost never been away.
  • There was virtually no wind so we powered out the West Passage into RI Sound and thence to Cuttyhunk Island. We entered the harbor and found moorings in their unique mooring field with stand up mooring pennants. As it was early afternoon, we went ashore to explore the island and hiked up to the highest point on the island and thence to the old WW II bunkers designed to protect Buzzards Bay from marauding U Boats. Fog moved in and we explored the outer sand spits at the harbor entrance with less than 100 m visibility. On shore we discovered a massive wooden trestle structure that is now in ruins – I now have a driving need to find out what this was for. We visited the Soprano’s – a house that runs a pizza parlor / restaurant out of its garage – where we had Godfather Pizza - of course! My son and I did this last July and the pizza was just as good.