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’!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.