Summer 2014 Aboard RESOLUTE

June – September 2014

Having had so much fun blasting around Casco Bay aboard KATIE MACK the previous summer, we couldn’t imagine not getting out on the water while she was on the hard undergoing her restoration.  The solution was to transport our 21′ wooden cutter, RESOLUTE, from Southwest Harbor.  Hey, after KATIE MACK’s 3,300 mile cross-country transport, this was nuthin’!

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Preparing to step the mast and bend on the sails

We had talked about doing this for years, and once RESOLUTE was back in the water at Falmouth Town Landing, we sailed every chance we got.  At the end of August, we talked about how to transport her back to Southwest Harbor, and I said I thought we should sail to Bass Harbor over the course of 2-3 weekends.  We had always dreamed of sailing down east — this was our chance!  Hugh jokingly (sort of) asked if he could remind me that this was my idea.  In addition to fulfilling a dream, this would be a good opportunity to try out some of the gear and clothing we had purchased fro KATIE MACK.

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Course plotted on the chart
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Sunday morning — the storm front cleared out!

The night before we departed, we drove both vehicles to Port Clyde, left the truck there, and drove home in a WICKED thunderstorm.  So glad we postponed our departure by a day!  The next morning, Sunday, September 7th dawned bright and clear.  We slipped the mooring by 8 and off we sailed.

When the wind died, we fired up the Minn-Kota 2.5 hp electric motor, but soon realized it was not up to the task of getting us very far very fast.  Hugh lashed the dingy to the portside and it pushed RESOLUTE along like a tug.

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Our inflatable dinghy as a tug
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Love the new Mustang PFD’s.

We hadn’t spent ALL DAY together on a boat since our honeymoon aboard TUKEY in 1981, but oh, we had such fun on this trip.  I was the navigator, and Hugh taught me dead reckoning — we were exactly where we were supposed to be when we checked with the GPS.

The auto-inflate PFD’s proved to be terrific.  Easy to add and shed layers while wearing them — good to know!

For the first weekend leg, I had made reservations at B & B’s.  We spent our first night at Edgewater Farm B & B, after enjoying dinner at Sebasco Estates, where we moored RESOLUTE.  The next day we had very light winds in the morning and again at sunset, and needed the help of the dinghy-tug to get to New Harbor.  We didn’t arrive at the Gosnold Arms until well after dark, with the innkeeper flashing his light at the end of his dock. Luckily, Hugh had prepared for all eventualities, and we had portable running lights, even though we never expected to be sailing after dark!  Lesson learned: you can set a place, or you can set a time, but you cannot set both a place and a time, because the weather doesn’t always cooperate!

The seas were mostly 1-3 feet and the wind was 5-15 knots the next day.  We put a reef in and still we blasted along!  Glad I had my new-to-me Helly Hansen sailing coat and alpaca hat, gloves, vest, and socks!DowneastSailDay4.WarmWifeHappyWife09.14.14

The coast of Maine is well-known for the number and variety of its lighthouses which mark the jagged rocks — I can’t imagine sailing these waters without good charts, bouys and lighthouses in good weather, let alone in a gale!

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Ram Island Lighthouse
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Cuckolds Lighthouse
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Franklin Light
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Marshall Point Lighthouse at Port Clyde

 

 

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Whitehead Island Lighthouse
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Goose Rocks Light
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Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

 

 

 

 

Our first weekend ended as we came into Port Clyde and arranged with the PC Market to leave RESOLUTE on one of their moorings until the next week weekend.

Because of our experience with arriving after dark to make our reservation at the Gosnold Arms, we decided to forgo reservations on the second leg.  As we were heading to Camden from Port Clyde, we reasoned that there would be PLENTY of places to stay this time of year.  What we didn’t anticipate was the wind direction — after beating up the Muscle Ridge Channel, where we passed the J & E Riggin under full sail, we realized we’d NEVER make it to Camden before dark, so we turned hard to starboard and made for North Haven.

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J & E Riggin sails out of Rockland Harbor

While North Haven IS a year round community, there isn’t much open by mid-September.  We were lucky to find a room at the Nebo Lodge.  We called the number at the desk and spoke to the innkeeper.  She was having dinner at her in-laws but offered to come over to show us to our room.  Or, she said, we could go upstairs to Room 3 and we’d settle up in the morning.  THIS is Maine, the way life should be!

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RESOLUTE under sail in Southwest Harbor
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Richard Stanley’s new boatyard in Bass Harbor

Our last day was our best day.  The wind and seas were perfect, and we arrived in Bass Harbor in time for a late lunch.  Richard Stanley, who did most of the building of RESOLUTE, runs his own yard now with his wife, Lorraine. Richard Stanley Custom Boats is gearing up to build commercial or pleasure craft that feature wooden hulls, for their seakindliness, with fiberglass tops, for weather resistance and ease of maintenance.  We think he is on to something!

What did we learn from this adventure?  First and foremost, we have a great time together, even spending hours in cramped quarters!  It confirmed our desire to take this major step of spending our summers cruising the Maine coast.  Having back-ups for back up plans and systems takes a lot of angst out of any situation.

“On the Hard” at Six River Marine

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Leaving Yankee Marina on Rt 88

October 2013 

After a fantastic cruising season on Casco Bay, it was time to return KATIE MACK to Yankee Marina to be hauled out and transported to Six River Marine in North Yarmouth.

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Passing under I-295
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Route 1 to East Main Street
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Over the RR tracks on North Rd
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Pulling into Six River Marine

Six River Marine, owned by Scott Conrad and Chip Miller, is in an old 15,000 s.f. chicken barn. We considered three bids to do the restoration, but agreed that Chip and Scott’s set-up and expertise most closely fit our budget and expectations.  What sealed the deal for me was seeing CHAUTAUQUA, a 38′ Lawley standard cruiser, originally built in 1926, which they restored in the late 90’s.  When we met her owners, the Lees, they were still as enthusiastic as ever about the work Chip and Scott had done: an extensive rebuild of the structural

Chautauqua
CHAUTAUQUA

framework below the waterline, the decks, trunk top, and canopy top — which they covered with Dynel cloth set in epoxy to retain the appearance of traditional canvas. They also put innew cabin and cockpit soles and all new exterior mahogany rails, hatches, and trim, reusing all original hardware throughout the restoration.

Initially, we expected to rebuild the keel, replace several frames and many   planks above and below the waterline, and rebuild the transom.  Scott and Chip estimated it would take 18 months, and offered to split the job in half so we could enjoy the 2014 cruising season.  We decided not to split the job.

And so the serious work began:  part of the keel needed rebuilding.  In the process, it was discovered that it had been altered at some point.

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Rebuilding the keel

With advice from a marine surveyor and a marine architect, Hugh, Chip and Scott made the decision to bring the keel back to its original, more open, design.

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Keel: new wood grafted to the old

All floor timbers, except those under the engine, needed to be replaced.  At one point, Hugh poked his finger through a plugged spot where a through-hull fitting had been.  It’s scary to think what could have happened if it had let go while we were out on the bay.  This hull restoration is definitely the right thing to do if we are thinking about extended cruising.

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Stateroom
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Passageway
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Saloon and galley

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rotted transom knee

 

 

The transom knee had far more rot than we expected, and in fact there was more rot to be found once tanks were removed and everything was opened up.

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Rebuilding the transom

 

Summer Cruising on Casco Bay

As soon as KATIE MACK was shipshape following her long haul from Everett, WA, we moved her to her mooring off the town landing Falmouth.  I was off doing something with the alpacas, so our neighbor, Brian, agreed to help Hugh “thread the needle” of the very narrow Royal River,

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out past Littlejohn and Cousins Islands to the mooring field.  Hugh had already arranged to have a much heavier mooring set to replace the one where we used to keep our 14′ North Haven sailing dinghy.

FalmouthMooringField

Every chance we got, we spent aboard KATIE MACK, cruising around Casco Bay, joined by friends and family.

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With all the lobster pots to avoid, this is harder than it looks, but I am determined to learn how to safely handle KATIE MACK in all conditions and eventually earn my captain’s license.

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Casco Bay is so different from the water! This is Fort Gorges, a former US military fort built on Hog Island Ledge in Casco Bay. A bit of history: it was built from 1858 to 1864.  No battles were fought and no troops were stationed there. Advancing military technology, including iron clad ships and long range guns, made the fort obsolete before it could be used. The fort is now a park, accessible only by boat.

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Our first dinner aboard.

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And our first overnight.  Hugh is washing up the dinner dishes, while Annie looks on hopefully.  The next morning, Hugh caught (and released) a mackerel on his fourth cast.

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Later that morning we joined several friends for lunch at the Chebeague Inn.

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On many different occasions, we enjoyed the view from the deck of the Cockeyed Gull, a restaurant on Peak’s Island,

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as well as trips out to Eagle Island, the former home of Admiral Peary.  It is now a park, and well worth a trip out.

 

Coast-to-coast Transport

With the purchase of KATIE MACK completed, it was time to move her from Washington to Maine.  Jack, the seller, recommended a boat transport company that he had used to transport her from Southern California.

KM.06.09.13Trailer KATIE MACK was loaded onto the transporter and  headed East on June 9, 2013.  The driver called us with regular updates of his progress.  He had easy driving the first three days until he crossed the Mississippi River– at which point the State regulations for wide loads became more cumbersome:  no travel allowed through this state on these days or at these hours, and no travel through that state on those days and hours.

06.18.13TransportMap It took another 6 days to finally arrive in Yarmouth, ME on June 18th.  The driver said everywhere he stopped, KATIE MACK drew lots of attention and he could have sold her a dozen times.  He did an awesome job — the only damage sustained over the 3,300 mile trip was to part of the portside navigation light foot and a little “road rash” on the pilothouse caused by low branches along the streets leading to the marina.

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We are fortunate that the closest marina to us, Yankee Marina, also has a four-sling travel-lift.  It is owned and managed by a friend of ours, Deborah Delp.  A nice feature of the marina is a webcam that allows viewers to point the camera to see their vessels tied up at the slips!

The Search

Once we decided to look for an old wooden powerboat, our search began in March 2013 on the internet at Yachtworld.com and Wooden Boat Magazine’s classifieds to give us an idea of what was “out there”.

Hugh ran across the listing for KATIE MACK before we looked at our first boat — there was something about her that grabbed our attention, and we found ourselves comparing everything else to her.

While attending a medical conference in Washington, DC, we took a side trip to Annapolis to check out TEMMA, a “Maine Cruiser” built in 1928.

Temma

Locally, we looked at BURMA, a 57′ R.O. Davis-designed motorsailer built in 1950,

Burma

WITCH, a 1929 Elco 50, beautifully restored by the Shannon Boatyard in Bristol, RI;

witch

and PROMISE, a 1930 William Hand-designed motorsailer currently undergoing a full restoration at the Shannon Boatyard;

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By May, we were ready to fly out to Tacoma, WA to see KATIE MACK.  The broker, Jill Heslin of Capital City Yacht Sales in Olympia, WA was very helpful throughout.  We scheduled a sea trial which included an engine inspection and hot oil test by Tacoma Diesel & Equipment.  The 6-71 Detroit Diesel passed with flying colors.  In fact, the young man stated that this engine will probably outlive us all, as the 6-71’s were used on landing craft during World War II, and were designed to be easily maintained by Iowa farm boys.

Jack

Jack, the seller (above), took her north to Everett, WA to be hauled out for an all-day survey by Roger G. Morris of Seattle.  The yard in the Port of Everett is the only one nearby with a four-sling travel-lift which offers far more support for an old wooden boat than the more usual two-sling models.

HaulOut

The survey found more rot than Jack had expected, and there would likely be more in the places Roger couldn’t access with his awl.

As long as we were out on the west coast and planning to visit family in California, we arranged to see two Stephens Brothers tri-cabin cruisers.NORTH STAR II was built in 1928 and ALLURE was built in 1931.NorthStarII  Allure

Lovely vessels all, but none fit as many of our needs and wants as did KATIE MACK.  We knew in our hearts this was the vessel for us, and the negotiations began.  We made an offer, conditional on the final results of the survey.