Javelin 2003 Maine Cruise
July 27 - August 13, 2003

Steve Blecher and "delivery crew" of Rick Van Mell, Fritz Schweitzer, Hank Jonas & Jeffrey Blecher take the 53' J-160,
Javelin, to Rockland, Maine, where Amy Blecher & Alice Schweitzer board and Hank departs. Jeff departs at Northeast Harbor. Returning to Rockland, Amy and Fritz & Alice depart while Mel Converse and Brian Klinger board for the trip back to Westbrook, Connecticut.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Jeffrey & Hank were already aboard Javelin, having arrived on Saturday night. Fuel had been topped off earlier in the week, water too. Steve had picked up Rick at Westchester Airport Saturday night, grabbed dinner and finished filling two shopping carts at the A&P shortly before it closed at 10 pm.

Rick & Steve drove into Fritz' driveway Sunday morning about 15 minutes early at 0745, found room in the car for one more duffel and Alice's lasagna, and continued on to Westbrook, Connecticut. A blizzard of white shopping bags, duffels, ice chests and even ice were piled aboard Javelin, stowed and secured in short order. Steve had the engine running and lines cleared except for one spring line as the last of the crew stepped aboard at 1005. Another adventure was under way.

For a change, the weather forecast, steady for the last three days, filled in as advertised. We hoisted the main a half mile clear of the channel, and Javelin bore away to the east with the wind building in at 12 knots from the southwest. We didn't even bother to set the jib, but immediately set to work hoisting the spinnaker. In five minutes, it was full and drawing and the knot meter quickly jumped into the 8 knot range.

Javelin raced parallel to the Connecticut shore inside Long Sand Shoal. As we cleared its eastern end at the mouth of the Connecticut River, the course debate intensified. Plan A was to hold to the shore and pass north of Fisher's Island, emerging into Block Island Sound at Watch Hill, the shortest distance. Plan B was head higher, through The Race, with higher current, and pass south of Fisher's Island. The speed freaks won the toss, and with the wind building to twenty knots, we charged toward the white froth of The Race. Cheers were going up as the knot-clock inched higher as Javelin planed off the waves building from astern.

Click on images to enlarge, click "Back" to return. Photos by Jeffrey, Hank & Rick.

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Jeff & Fritz check strobe & Life Sling Hank sets up iPaq & GPS watch! Mr. Gadget clicks crew Jeff hits 11 knots

Jeff nailed 11.0 knots, 13.2 knots over the bottom. Watches started at 1200 and Rick took the helm with Race Rock looming on the lee bow. A gust, a wave, a surge and 11.68 knots topped the charts as we cleared The Race and headed east for Point Judith 27 miles ahead. Wind still building.

Not content to let someone else hold the tiller-tweaker title, Jeff worked the helm as we closed on Point Judith and Javelin roared to a 12.4 knot burst in 26 knots of wind. "Enough", said the bill-payer. Now the challenge was how to get 1200 square feet of taught-stretched nylon out of the grasp of the sou'wester. Over-trimming and blanketing the chute in the wind-shadow of the main was the plan. Then we pull down the "sock" around the sail, and finally lower it into the forward hatch. Sounds simple, but still charging through the building seas, the bow would dig into a wave and pour six inches of green water back over the deck before rising and shaking it off.

We dodged a small boat under main alone that decided to turn and run back into Newport right in front of us - not a terribly smart move with a 53 foot spinnaker driven missile closing from 50 yards on their leeward quarter. They looked up a bit surprised as our shadow darkened their cockpit and we roared across their stern.

Fritz trimmed the spinnaker sheet against the boom, Steve bore off. Jeff used all his weight to drag the sock about half way down the luffs, Hank blew about 8 feet of the tack line and Jeff squeezed the sock on down. Rick & Jeff pulled the skirt of the chute clear of the water, things were now under control. We were now down to only 9 nine knots and the bow was no longer digging into the waves. While Rick held the bottom end of the now socked spinnaker, Jeff went forward and opened the hatch. Rick passed the chute to Jeff and went aft to lower the halyard. Definitely not done at racing speed, but safe, secure and everything intact.

The wind stayed in the 20-27 knot range deep into the afternoon and hauled more to the west. It was now dead downwind to the Cape Cod Canal. Still, with a preventer rigged to avert an accidental gybe, Javelin surged across the waves at 8-9 knots with only its main. By 1800 we gybed to port tack and laid a course to intercept the middle of the entrance channel up from Cleveland Ledge light.

Bands of black clouds had passed astern to the southeast earlier, but this one looked like it would pass over us. Donning wet gear did the trick, and it slid just north of us and off to the east. We celebrated the passing squall and the canal channel with lasagna for dinner. A ruddy translucent sunset provided the last light passing under the railroad bridge into the Canal. With the current with us, and under power, as required, we were doing 10 knots over the bottom and the graceful curves of the canal slid past in growing darkness.

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Rick "Jar Jar Binks" & Steve Rock & Roll Spray flies at 10.5 knots Lasagna at the Canal Sunset through the clouds
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Day's end RR Bridge on CC Canal! Sandwich bridge at 10 knots Safe astern

We emerged into Cape Cod Bay at 2051 with shore lights bright, the water dark, and a strange mix of weather. It was hazy along the shore, but a cool, damp wind swept across the cockpit. The wind gauge still read SW at 21 knots, but there was less than ten knots at deck level and no waves on the water. We opted for a comfortable ride and easy sleeping for the watch below over maximum speed. We hoisted the main with a double reef tucked in - the forecast cold front and shift to northwest winds was still due. With the jib rolled out, we varied between 6 - 8 knots as the wind filled in and retreated.

Monday, July 28, 2003

0030 the front blew across. Ten to fifteen minutes of rain showers and a direction shift from 225 degrees to 285 degrees marked its passage - no big deal as fronts go. Our course had been set at 14 degrees to take us off the tip of Cape Ann, just east of Gloucester rather than the 25 degrees direct to Cape Elizabeth just to give us a weather gauge should the wind go into the northwest. With the new wind, we were able to hold our course for the moment.

On the 0200 watch the wind vacillated, going as far forward as 346 degrees, forcing us to bear away to the east to a 30 degree course. Velocity varied as bands of clouds rode from northwest to southeast over us, alternating with star-studded sky in between. When it could be seen, the Big Dipper's pointer stars aligned vertically to the North Star - a perfect guide for our course. (With 15 degrees westerly variation, a 14 degree magnetic course is within one degree of true north.)

In the clear patches, stars splashed across the sky, slowly clearing more and more each time a bank of clouds blew past. The Plieades, herald of winter's warrior Orion, could now be seen low in the eastern sky.

When Fritz came on watch at 0400, the wind had dropped and speed was as low as 4.9 knots. We shook out both reefs, and, naturally, the wind increased into the teens with occasional puffs to 20 until we were again making 8 to 9 knots. As we completed the sail change and Hank went off watch, he observed the first faint brush of color in the northeast sky.

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Steve checks Cape Cod Bay course Radar & Instruments glow Dawn watch Hearlds of the sun

The wind backed, and we sailed an easy reach on the rhumb line to the Cape Elizabeth sea buoy. Slowly the majestic transformation from night to dawn unfolded along the leeward horizon. Deep purples and then crimsons tinged the departing front high astern. Above and ahead the sky was clear except for a few tiny strips of thin stratus off to the east. Like charcoal beginning to light, the bottoms of the clouds warmed from black to red as slowly brushed by the returning rays. Red clouds turned to orange, then white hot as the paint show crossed the sky. The sun's rim sliced cleanly, red and shimmering through the horizon's line. A beautiful day had begun.

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Growing warmth First cloud light Charcoal to warmth Warmth to fire
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Mornin' Sun! Fritz enjoys it Celebration! Full and by & flying
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Silver streak Doesn't get much prettier A glorious morning 9 Knots to Cape Elizabeth

Each cloud, the horizon, and Javelin cantering along were crisp in the clear morning breeze. It was a joy to steer, even to just sit and watch the sparkling water fly past. By mid-morning, the sun was warm and the pace had eased to 6-7 knots. Hank & Jeff raced radio controlled mini-cars on the cockpit floor. By noon the wind had again hauled aft and gone even lighter.

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Jeff has her in the grouve. Sea, sky harmony A happy Hank! Mr. Gadget updates toys!
Here Hank gazed to the northwest and announced to the crew, "The sheep are in the meadow." Blank stares greeted this pronouncement. Almost patiently Hank explained his wisdom that low puffy white cumulus clouds moving offshore from the northwest were a sign that wind would soon arrive. This bit of climatological wizardry he attributed to Gary Jobson - whom three of the five of us had known in college days. Unfortunately these sheep were uneducated and quite content to stay in their meadow munching on the wind which continued to decrease. We set the chute to try to keep up a pace, but finally turned on the engine with the last 8 of our 227 miles still to go.

Harpswell Sound's approach was carpeted with the usual blanket of lobster pots - one wonders how there is a lobster left when day after day and year after year the water is filled with pots. But we threaded our way among them, on a classic Maine Chamber-of-Commerce day and dropped anchor in front of Leighton and Karin McIlvaine's house at 1335.

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Hank's breakfast catch! Harpswell Sound approach
(note sheep in meadow)
Clutter of lobster pots & boats Pick your path!

Leighton rowed out to say "hello." Amid the chatter, Hank and Jeffery ran their mini-cars fore and aft on deck. Their deft experience kept the tiny toys from a disastrous dive over the side. Fritz & Rick tried their hands on the safety of the cockpit floor. Leighton then offered a tour of the Sound on his 24' Grady White outboard, which we quickly accepted.

Threading our way south like a slalom course at 24 knots, we nosed into a little bay with a square-sailed schooner visiting from Auckland and the majority of the local lobster-boat fleet in another postcard setting. We threaded our way through a pass at Land's End where the chart showed no water - yet we had a minimum of 9 feet - a classic example of "local knowledge".

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Close aboard Chamber of Commerce morning Light Tuesday sail. Jeff catches rays.
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Javelin in Harpswell Sound Turning into Merriconeag Cove A casual cabin! Fritah from Aukland

Turning north, we followed a narrowing bay until it appeared to end at rocks usually occupied by local seals. They must have been out for an early dinner, but one lazy soul rolled on a shallow rock to verify their existence. Like the eye of a needle, a narrow, low bridge provided a place to slip between rocks back into Harpswell Sound. We zigged and zagged through a pair of coves, then flew back down the Sound to Javelin.

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Lobsterboat central Maintenance float Quintisenntial Maine Processing central
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Looking for scraps! Headed for a shortcut Narrow going Lazy seal
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Low bridge ahead Rocky approach Pots at the bridge Tuesday morning

At 1830, we all went ashore for a lobster dinner at Morse's, a simple array of perhaps ten tables sitting on a dock above the tide line. A gentle wind was comfortably cool in the setting sun. Lobsters steamed in a tiny kitchen in a trailer, corn on the cob, hot butter, coleslaw, and french fries all washed down with a cold beer nourished both body and soul.

Touring Leighton and Karen's beautiful additions to their house wrapped up the evening, and we slid comfortably into our bunks by 2200.

Tuesday, July 29,2003

Morning's glassy calm prompted Hank to remark, "It's building." (Followed, of course, by inquiries from the crew, "Are the sheep in the meadow?") Plan A was to head for The Basin, a small land wrapped cove a mere 15 miles up the next river. Threading our way past the army of lobsterpot centurions, Steve wanted to go sailing. The wind had, indeed "built" as Hank predicted to a gentle 7 knots. Javelin responded to the challenge as gracefully as ever, slipping onto a close reach headed southeast into the ocean at 5 knots.

Hank reached for the "tunes" and soon Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville" echoed through the cabin and cockpit speakers. "Cheeseburger in Paradise" and "Brown Eyed Girl" followed in sequence. Then a shift to some classical and even Gene Autry's "Back in the Saddle Again", reported by Hank to have been their fight song going out to the race course in days long past. General toe tapping and gentle humming were the rule as the picture-perfect sail continued.

Ten miles out we had already sailed well past the entrance to The Basin, so we called our next destination, Robinhood Marine in Knubble Bay and asked if we could come a day early. Plan B shaped up as we tacked and bore away back toward land. It was easy sailing. Hank continued to fine tune the toys and rejoiced when his GPS watch and compass, iPAQ handheld computer and Javelin's system all finally agreed on where we were!

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Light going It says here... Lunch bunch Back toward shore

Rick served up lunch of soup and fresh baked bread sticks spread on the cockpit table, complete with oyster crackers, Worcestershire and Tobasco sauce. Going upwind in light air is soft and easy, downwind can be hot and slow. The solution is to set the chute and tack downwind as far off the wind as possible while maintaining speed. We gybed to a northeast course along the rocks and ticked off a string of green buoys for 7 miles across the mouth of the Sheepscot River, gybed northwest and did 3.5 miles up the river, gybing again and holding west of north for another 1.5 miles as the wind increased and speed soared to 8.6 knots. The crew had the gybes down to a smooth routine and Javelin hardly slowed as each was executed.

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Almost there Red Right Returning Chute crusin' 75' of curved carbon!
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Comfort cruiser Running up the Sheepscot Nice ride Goose Rocks Passage

One last gybe just before Goose Rocks Passage and then the spinnaker came down smoothly. Rounding head to wind, the main slid down the Dutchman and got furled quickly on the boom. Power on, we closed on the Passage, pushing against a 2.5 knot ebb. The Robinhood Marine Center sits west of the narrowest part of the passage and is neatly tucked in a cove. We stopped at the dock to refill the water tanks, and after a short debate, elected to hang on a mooring where we could cook our steaks on the rail grill.

After a short cocktail hour, Steve grilled the steak back aft while Rick whipped up mashed potatoes and broccoli below. It all came together around the table with butter, salt & pepper and olive oil to adjust as desired. Jeff, not known to be a broccoli lover, opted for seconds after trying olive oil as a dressing. Other than a piece of steak reserved for another day's Chef's Salad, there was not a spoonful left.

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Robinhood Marine Ospreys guard anchorage The Skipper splices Family lobstering
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What ya got? Dinner in hand! Cellphone check-in Ditto

Dishes were done, the engine run to cool the frig and freezer, and the generator cranked up to provide the juice to produce popcorn in the microwave. Jeffrey rigged the surround sound, DVD master theater with the laptop on the edge of the salon table with power and audio cords stretched to the woodwork. As darkness fell, Pierce Brosnan's James Bond filled the screen with "Tomorrow Never Dies", and the popcorn hardly lasted ten minutes. A thoroughly enjoyed show, though all remarked at how many shots could be fired from a handgun! (As Sandy would have said, "It's a movie!") We set a record for the cruise by being up until 10:30, but were quickly sound asleep.

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Steak on Javelin Hank's mascot wants some

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

In the morning, the sheep were lying down. Whispy fog drifted above the glassy harbor waters. The orb of the sun shone through by the time the French toast breakfast with Little Smokies was finished about 0930. It looked like the fog had cleared away, and we dropped our mooring and headed south in the middle of Goose Rocks Passage into the narrow channel behind MacMahan Island where the deep water narrowed to a scant 50 feet with the banks perhaps 50 yards apart. We never saw the banks, however, as zero visibility fog filled the channel. We proceeded with the radar watch looking for any boats, and the GPS crew calling courses from the nav station. We cleared into the Sheepscot River without a hitch and set sail for a beat out to sea as the fog thinned. We bore away as we cleared Cape Newagen at the southern tip of Southport Island and set the chute to run northeast.

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Shortcut ahead?! Radar time.

Sunshine replaced the fog, and the wind both "filled" and "built". Hank held school again, "Remember, it has to fill first, then build. When it goes away, it fades." Everyone was having too much fun playing the spinnaker and getting every last tenth of a knot of speed possible. A few gybes, then down it came as we approached Turkey Cove and Maple Juice Cove - one of which was to be our anchorage for the night. Both are large scallops on opposite sides of the St. George River - their advantages are open water reducing the chance of mosquitoes at dusk, and shallow enough to anchor easily. Turkey Cove was open to the southwest, and Maple Juice to the northeast. After touring both, we anchored in Maple Juice with a mild southwest wind. Evening cocktails were served in the cockpit, followed by chicken dinner below. Woody Allen's "Annie Hall" was the evening's feature movie.

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Muscongus Bay Goodies in Maple Juice Cove Racing mini-cars Off & running
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Disaster avoided Parked at the rail Fritz in Muscle Ridge Channel Sister ship Atlantic!

Thursday, July 31, 2003

The wind gods continued to be sleepy, so we powered out to sea in search of some wind to play with. No luck. We powered up through Muscle Ridge Channel with plenty of scenic islands, lighthouses, classic cottages and all the trappings of the guide books. At the top of the channel, we spotted Atlantic, Ben Blake's sister ship J-160 headed in the opposite direction. We circled for a chat and learned that they were bound for Nantucket, around the outside of Cape Cod, with an intermediate stop that night at Monhegan Island. Hank offered their crew some Dunkin Donut holes - and promptly delivered them via airmail, as in a cannonball bombardment. Their crew were good catchers when Hank had the range!

We rounded the corner into Rockland and tied up at Knight's Marine around high tide. We filled the fuel and water tanks, did laundry, scrubbed the deck, cleaned up below, and generally made ready for the arrival of Amy & Alice later in the afternoon. We used their car to make a reprovisioning run and returned with piles of bags - all quickly stowed. Dinner at Primo's ashore was absolutely delightful and lingered until almost ten. We said good night and good-by to Hank who was taking the car and heading back to Providence.

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We chat with Ben Blake They're Nantucket bound Rockland - Owls Head light Aegis missle cruiser

Friday, August 1, 2003

Without Hank, the sheep left the meadow, the wind neither filled in, built or faded. Besides, with a minus tide of half a foot, Javelin sat tied to the dock with her keel firmly planted in the mud. The rocky piers of Knights were exposed right to the bottom. We coped with a leisurely breakfast, and by 1015 we had six inches of water under the keel and eased away from the dock.

NOAA's forecast for the weekend was monotonous: light winds up to ten knots and rain, probability 70 to 90%. We powered out of Rockland without a ripple on the water, across Penobscot Bay into the Fox Island Thorofare between North Haven and Vinalhaven islands. This is one of the two well known thorofares, the other being the Deer Island Thoroughfare just to the east. Just before leaving at the eastern end, we dropped the anchor for lunch in Carver Cove. It was a good move, as the wind gods thought we had given up and began to blow a noticeable 6-7 knots.

We hoisted the main right off the anchor and sailed slowly out of the cove. Close hauled against an easterly wind, Javelin cleared Vinalhaven southeast out into the upper end of Isle Au Haut Bay. Isle Au Haut may be more generally known as the home base of Linda Greenlaw, the woman swordfish boat captain who survived The Perfect Storm. After tacking and heading northeast the rain began and Steve, Jeff and Fritz donned their wetgear. Rick stayed below to "navigate", while Alice retired to her cozy cabin with a good book, and Amy curled up with a blanket below.

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Neat & clean below Steve gets damp Alice reads;
Fritz readies for rain
Amy relaxes;
Jeff suits up

Sticking it out until the rain backed off and the wind shifted to the south, the gang on deck had fun sailing the boat as fast as they could. Finally the wind, as Hank would have said, "faded", and down came the sails as we turned on the engine and headed for the twin options of Winter Harbor and Seal Bay to anchor for the night. Steve really wanted to go back and anchor in the open Carver Cove where we had lunch, but of the two before us, Winter Harbor was Steve's tried and true choice. Rick championed Seal Bay because it looked more challenging and had lots of nooks and crannies. Of course, there were lots of rocks just below the surface if you chose the wrong cranny!

But we took the hard left into Seal Bay and, with Jeff at the helm and Rick calling courses, we threaded our way past the visible and submerged rocks deep into the Bay. So far we had seen just two other small boats at anchor, a powerboat and a sailboat. Turning the last rock, with Steve still on the skeptical side we could suddenly see a string of at least six boats, including sailboats as large as Javelin riding at anchor in a neat line along the narrow end of the bay. Steve's biggest concern was the close proximity of the shore and the threat of mosquitoes. As we slowly worked our way past a beautiful 50' sailboat, with a 40 footer rafted alongside, we asked how the bugs were. "Not bad," was the reply, and then they added, "much better than Carver Cove where we were last night." The anchor rattled down five minutes later.

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Cruisin' off Vinalhaven Ain't this fun! Snug in Seal Bay A cozy spot

Secure in a beautiful spot with rocks and trees close by protecting us from weather from any possible direction, we went below. Hardly had we closed the hatches to keep out any stray bugs than the rain began a gentle tattoo on the cabin top. Time to turn on some classical music, update the log, get ready for cocktail hour and a swordfish dinner with corn on the cob, and then Robin Williams' "Bicentennial Man" for the evening movie of choice.

Saturday, August 2, 2003

Early morning's low tide exposed rocks and bars close aboard - though we were still comfortably in 18 feet of water. One of the rafted pair of boats nearby had a particularly fine awning for keeping off both light rains or sun. But fog, condensing and dripping from the rigging kept Javelin wet. We wiped off, as best we could, then stowed the grill. Steve had used our GPS track on the way in to set waypoints for the route out of Seal Bay, and we were under way at 0933. A pair of eagles squawked and majestically marched from tree to tree on Hen Island, admonishing us to leave their hunting grounds. We headed northeast for the Deer Island Thorofare.

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Our course in. Movietime: Bicentennial Man Low Tide @ Seal Bay A great awning!

Stonington sits as the only town on the passage. Large granite blocks were lined along the high stone pier on the southern, quarry side. The stiff-leg crane and heavy forklifts attested to the centuries of stone that crossed the dock headed for buildings near and far. With no wind and continuing damp, we elected to skip a lunch anchorage in favor of eating under way. Piping hot chicken chow mein with fresh-baked biscuits slathered with butter seemed just the right combination to warm body and soul. We were secure at the dock in Northeast Harbor by 1335.

The fog retreated to treetop level and the dripping stopped. While Amy & Alice wandered through town, the crew set to work on a series of chores. First the topsides were hosed down and the transom cleaned of diesel exhaust. The stanchions and all the stainless steel fittings were rubbed down with Never Dull to chase the brown stains from salt water. Jeffrey and Steve passed a hose below and cleaned out the bilges and shower strainers. Rick & Fritz made a marine store run and returned to erase scuff marks from the fiberglass with rubbing compound, then topped it off with fresh wax. Fritz added heavy rubber feet to the little boarding stool which had shown a tendency to be a skateboard on the slippery docks of Knight's.

Finally, all hands turned to using bronze wool and the rubbing compound to slowly remove the rust stains from the toe-rail which were several years old and the result of an inadvertent use of an SOS pad! Though someone once thought it was a great idea to remove dirt with SOS pads, a day or two later, with the help of a little salt water, the tiny broken pieces of steel wool had etched rusted spots into the aluminum rail. About an hour's worth of work with four of us scrubbing removed 90% of the stains from about 60% of the starboard rail. With the sun now well over the yardarm, we declared at least a partial victory and moved on.

Nibbles below, then we headed up for our reservation at the Docksider. Usually packed and with a waiting line outside, the Docksider is a favorite, family-run, tiny lobster shop a block up Sea Street from the dock. Built-in wooden booths along the walls and a few wood tables in the center declare this to be a working restaurant. Hand written menu items, t-shirts and a few food labels decorated the walls between the exposed studs. We had just completed ordering lobster all around with fries and 'slaw when the sweep second hand on the clock over the door notched 6pm - we even got the 10% discount for ordering before that magic hour. We were surprised there was not a long line waiting for tables, and even when we left at 7:15, there was a table available for a walk-in party of four. The slowed economy seems to have washed clear to the shores of Maine. "Catch Me If You Can" was the evening's movie.

Sunday, August 3, 2003

Though Hank's infamous sheep were nowhere to be found, their fleece lingered for another day - in fact the forecast suggested soft white stuff could remain all week! We speculated if Jeffrey's flight out of Bar Harbor airport would even operate, but the taxi was called for 10:30. It arrived on Maine time, about ten minutes late, despite several cellphone calls to prod it along. The crew bid Jeffrey a safe trip home, then Amy & Alice took the free Island Explorer bus to Bar Harbor for a day of shopping and nosing around the various shops.

Skipper Steve was determined to go wind-finding, so we cast Javelin free of the dock and headed out into the fog. Visibility was not bad - up to a mile at first. We headed east into Frenchman Bay in search of wind. Wind we didn't find, but fog we did. It closed around us until we could see hardly five boatlengths. We set a course for Winter Harbor (the one on Schoodic Peninsula) and took up stations with one person steering, one glued to the radar screen looking for boats, and one watching for lobster pots. A midway buoy was just barely visible as a dark shadow against the lighter fog - it was only an eighth of a mile away. We picked up an empty mooring in Winter Harbor just long enough to have lunch, then started back.

Fog again shrouded the passage as we listened on the radio to the "Security" calls as vessels approached and departed Bar Harbor, about five miles north of our course. When we were just two miles off Mt. Desert Island, again the fog quickly retreated in all directions. Baker Island out to sea was sharp and clear to the south, Cadillac Mountain to the northeast, and Cranberry, Greening and Sutton Islands ahead to the west. Three yawls were headed east close hauled, so Steve called for all sail to give chase. In five minutes we were making 4 knots in 6 knots of wind and quickly closing the mile or so that separated us from them. Just as quickly the fog swallowed first one, then all three yawls. We found one as we tacked back to the west, then, as if to say, "You win," the fog retreated again.

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Fog lifts at Mt. Desert Getting whispy OK for the moment

The wind, however, wasn't as quick to relent, and we glided slowly along making 3-4 knots until we were due north of the Cranberry channel. With wind slowly building to 8 knots, Javelin kept pace and reached 6.9 knots before the wind faded and shifted. We drifted along, then caught one more streak of air for another two miles of sailing before turning on the power and returning to the dock in Northeast Harbor where Alice & Amy were waiting. Shrimp scampi, mashed potatoes & broccoli sprang from Javelin's galley, and "Rabbit Proof Fence", about the attempted management of half-caste Australian children and three children's escape, was our evening movie.

Monday, August 4, 2003

We weren't exactly fog bound - we had the choice of electronic navigation yet again if we chose. But wind under five knots and quarter-mile visibility fog kept us tied to the dock all morning. We made a shopping run, did a few chores, but otherwise read books, papers and updated the log. Javelin's heating system held a comfortable 70 degrees below, and drove off dampness.

Rick updated the log and managed an Internet connection at the Chamber of Commerce cottage to upload the latest version of the log, 50 more thumbnails and all 107 full size images to date. Fritz arrived to say our Skipper was anxious to cast off as the last were being uploaded.

Shortly after 1500 we departed our snug slip at Northeast Harbor which was now almost clear of fog and with enough sunlight to almost cast a shadow. That lasted about a quarter mile until we approached the harbor entrance where visibility again dropped below an eighth of a mile. We felt our way with radar and GPS to the west, and emerged from fog about a half mile toward Greening Island and the entrance to Somes Sound. Off to port, at the back end of Southwest Harbor, the magnificent 138' ketch Rebecca rode to a lone mooring. We circled her and took pictures before hoisting our sails and heading for Somes Sound.

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138' Rebecca Right propper yacht!

The wind was well aft and about 6 knots, so Steve called for the spinnaker and we gracefully slid past the green entrance buoy and headed up the only fiord in the lower 48 states. Its rocky hills and deep water running north-south into Mt. Desert Island make for fun sailing, even if the wind occasionally veers or backs along the way. We boys were intent on maximum speed and were reaching up on a starboard tack when Alice commented from below at the nav station that it looked like we were headed for shallow water. Right she was - there is a short stretch of 7 foot shelf along the eastern side - so we gybed to port and headed through the narrowest part of the Sound. Ahead a fleet of 17 International class sloops were beating toward us in a closely contested race as the wind increased to about 12 knots and Javelin closed the distance going 8 knots. As we swept toward them, a rain shower overtook us at the same time as we passed another cruising boat headed into the Sound. Smart work by Steve on the foredeck pulled the sock over the spinnaker, our speed settled to about 6 knots, and Fritz lowered the chute while Rick gybed Javelin between the farthest right racers - no sweat to the racing fleet.

We rounded up and dropped the main before motoring into the dock at Abels Lobster Pound. We had time to celebrate the sun being below the yardarm (though, of course, we couldn't see the sun, nor did we have a yardarm) before our dinner reservation at 1800 hours. When we walked in there was perhaps one table filled, but a dozen people were getting out of cars, and in 20 minutes not a table was free. Steve's plans for a "sunset cruise" back to our slip in Northeast Harbor were replaced by yet another trip by braille and radar watch motoring through the fog.

Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Fleeced again! Making the lie to Carl Sanburg, this fog, sitting silently on cat's feet, failed to move on.........

We had contacted Will & Beth Aphold on Excaliber, another J-160 moored in Southwest Harbor and planned to rendezvous with them for breakfast. Since we couldn't see more than a few boatlengths, finding them would be a bit of a challenge, so Steve called them by cellphone and got their exact latitude and longitude coordinates at their mooring. Adding that waypoint to our system, we left Northeast Harbor into the fog and slowly threaded our way past buoys and the few boats moving early in the morning and entered the open roadstead of Southwest Harbor. The radar showed Excaliber's waypoint at the back end of returns from a cluster of boats moored directly in front of us. We could see, at best, one or two boats at a time, and we slowly worked our way past them to find Excaliber.

When we arrived at our target waypoint there were two similar boats and it took a second look to confirm which was Excaliber. We rounded up and tied alongside, inviting Will and Beth aboard for a French Toast and sausage breakfast - leisurely as there was no reason to rush on. After breakfast, we toured Excaliber and marveled at the even greater array of electronic toys Will had aboard - single sideband radio, and two flat-screen monitors, one for the computer and one for the Ockam navigation system mounted back at the wheel pedestal in the cockpit. Steve remarked he was glad Jeffery had not seen all this.

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Excaliber alongside for breakfast Will leads tour group Steve, Will, Beth & Amy Kayak fog attack!

At 1050 we were under way for our planned destination of Bucks Harbor, about 30 miles to the west. By now our fog navigation had become quite routine. Steve at the helm, Fritz calling lobster pots and Rick tracking returns on the radar screen. Buoys were no problem. Our route waypoints were often located alongside buoys, so the black dots on the radar screen near or in the circle which represented our current waypoint destination were comforting. Less so was the fact that we were usually less than 1/8 of a mile from them before we could see them - once or twice we didn't even see them at that range!

Of much more concern were the black dots or smears that weren't buoys or land, particularly those directly on our course line to the next waypoint. While there are thousands of possible destinations a boat could be headed for, and even a few dozen city harbors along the coast, there are natural passages between the bigger bays which concentrate traffic. From Northeast Harbor headed west, for example, these include the buoy at the entrance to the Western Way, Bass Harbor Passage, Casco Passage, Deer Island Thorofare, Fox Island Thorofare, and Eggemoggin Reach. Our course to Bucks Harbor included the first three and the Reach. Boats headed on a reciprocal course between passages are likely to be met head-on. In addition, boats converging at the start or end of a passage will approach from an angle. Finally, lobster boats tend their traps in all weather and are likely to follow an erratic course.

So as you sit and watch the radar screen you locate the black dots ahead on your course line that are not buoys, and any dots that appear to be converging from left or right. Straight forward as all this might sound, the radar screen is often peppered with dots which are reflections from waves and lobster pots - these usually last only a second or two and are either not refreshed as the radar sweeps around again, or dance to a new location. You mentally sort out these options, focusing on the persistent dots ahead, then announce them to the helm when they are about half a mile away. If you can you add if they are to port or starboard of the course line. As they close the distance, you adjust the radar range down to a quarter mile and determine the likely passing side. You may call for an opposite course adjustment if they are particularly close. If they get within 1/8 of a mile and are not seen, it's time to throttle back, sound another long blast on the horn and watch for the loom of a dark shape out of the fog. Then you take a deep breath and start the process all over again.

We met and passed perhaps 15 or 20 boats this way enroute across the bottom of Blue Hill Bay, through the Casco Passage and up Eggemoggin Reach. Amy stuck her head on deck and remarked, "Why don't we go straight on to Castine where we can go ashore, rather than hang on a mooring at Bucks Harbor?" A quick phone call established there was, just barely, dock space available at Eatons, so we added waypoints to the route and changed our expectations. There is one suspension bridge over Eggemoggin Reach stretching out to Deer Isle. Its vertical clearance of 85 feet just exceeds Javelin's mast plus antennas, as long as we pass under at the center. From tower to tower, just off each shore, the clearance is 1030 feet. As we passed under the center we could see the roadway and, faintly, the base of each tower. The tower tops and the shore were not visible. A zig west and then north around Cape Rosier brought us to the entrance to Castine Harbor. A little break in the fog for the last two miles was appreciated.

Steve adroitly backed Javelin into a berth on the inside of a long dock, much to the pleasure of proprietor Ken Eaton who inquired if Steve were available to teach others how to do the trick. Once secure, Amy explored ashore and returned with "Analyze That" for the evening movie. Like Bucks Harbor, lobsters are available right at the dock - literally by opening a hatch in the floating dock and pulling up one among several large plastic tote boxes holding lobsters sorted by size. Five were dropped into a bucket, weighed and paid for, then dropped in two pots of steaming water. Twenty minutes later we added them to plates of baked potatoes and salad to complete our evening meal.

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Wine & Lobster Salad man

Wednesday, August 6, 2003

Castine had been our planned destination for today, and since visibility remained at near zero and rain pattered on the cabin top from time to time, we settled in for a true lay day. Round one was the Bangor and Castine newspapers, followed after 0930 by a trip to the corner store for the Boston Globe and the New York Times. That took care of the morning. The entire crew set out to explore around the town. Castine was first settled in 1613 - before Plymouth Rock - by the French. It was taken and lost by the British and Americans, and even held for two years, 1672-1674, by the Dutch. Funny how you don't read in our history books about Castine as one of the preeminent early settlements. Maybe it's because an American fleet with 14 ships and 1000 soldiers sent from Boston in 1779 to oust a small British force with three ships and four transports setting up Fort George above Castine dithered for three weeks about how to attack, only to be routed by a relief British squadron arriving from Nova Scotia! One Colonel Paul Revere was third in command.

Fort George is now reduced to an earthen berm with a stone foundation at one corner. Standing there today it seemed an impossible place for a fort - you couldn't see the water in any direction. 150 years of tree growth and town development have blocked the views. Gun batteries had been placed outside the fort walls to be closer to the shore and to spread protection around Castine Harbor and the Penobscot bay and river to the west and northwest.

The Javelin regiment descended the heights of Fort George and headed straight for lunch at a little dockside stand. We munched burgers and fries while a well-fattened seagull stood watch, snatching up thrown bits of fries, and audaciously standing on one end of a table waiting for a youngster to relinquish a scrap from the other. The boys ambled off down Landing Road in search of the old lighthouse. Along the way we passed the site of the original French fort, and an American and British Fort Madison. A small museum of natural history was an interesting diversion before continuing on. One little porcupine was munching lunch along the side of the road, and paid no mind as we paused to observe - except to arch his back and flatten his tail as we stepped within ten feet. The lighthouse was also almost overgrown, its light having been replaced by an electric beacon down by the shore.

Dinner at the Castine Inn was fabulous. A culinary tour de force from soup to petit fours, followed back aboard by "John Q" as the evening's entertainment.

Thursday, August 7, 2003

Not only was the fleece blanket still firmly in place, but the rain pelted down for twenty minutes around 0830. As it ended, but without either disbursing the fog or increasing the wind, we prepared to get under way for Rockland. Once again the routine - steer, radar watch, radio watch, and occasionally there would be a glimpse of a shoreline or an island in the 30 miles passage down Penobscot Bay to Rockland.

We tied up at Knight's around 1230. Though assured there was plenty of water though the tide was low, we bumped the bottom as we were directed to a side dock with half of Javelin hanging out over shallow water. We stayed there only long enough to start some loads of laundry, then used the rising tide to power around to another dock for fuel and holding tank pumpout. The fog had revealed half the harbor when we came in, but returned to obscure even the fish plant not 50 yards from the dock. All agreed in our collective 125 years of sailing experience none had seen persistent fog for this long. I guess we haven't spent all that much time in Maine!

Back in a good slip at Knight's, we finished off the laundry and tidied up for the impending crew change. Brian arrived in time for cocktail hour before dinner at Primo's. Mel spent the afternoon and evening at Tenants Harbor enjoying the Allied Seabreeze rendezvous - six boats were represented, even though not a single one had made it through the fog. When we returned late from dinner, Mel was aboard to greet us.

Friday, August 8, 2003

Mel and Brian reported aboard from their motel promptly at 0745. The coffee water was already on, and Mel resumed his rightful role as chief coffee maker with his Rocky Coast Roast. Scrambled eggs with sausage and hot biscuits for all hands was our celebration of crew change day. Amy, Alice and Fritz packed up their duffels and loaded the rental car Brian had driven up. They departed about 0915 to drop Amy at the Portland airport for a flight home, while Fritz & Alice drove for Darien.

The now all-Dartmouth crew did one last load of laundry, topped off the water tanks one more time, and shoved off at 1015 into the - what else - fog for Boothbay. We practically rejoiced that visibility was around a quarter mile, even improving to a half on occasion. Same routine - helm, radar and lobster pot watches. Brian had brought along a pair of hand held personal radios, so Rick had one at the nav station below and Steve the other at the helm. That way Rick could call out potential targets without having to get up and go to the companionway. It was a bit much however, since there is a separate radar screen in the cockpit where Mel and Brian took turns calling targets. The only advantage from below was having the computer screen close at hand to correlate targets with buoys along the route. Ho hum, we nosed into the mooring field at Boothbay Yacht Club at 1505.

Some snacks held us over until the sun fell below the yardarm around 1730, then cocktail hour and steaks on the grill with mashed potatoes and broccoli. After dinner the real fun began. Out came the guitar and songbooks. As fast as we finished one song, Steve had picked out another from our "newest" songbook - songs from the 70's mostly, compared with the original songbook of folk songs sung in college days.

Though the harmony, timing and strumming were less than precise, the warmth and pleasure were palpable. Song after song was tried, perhaps 2/3 of the 63 songs in the new book and a dozen from the old. It was pushing toward the witching hour when we finally laid the guitar and ourselves down to rest.

Saturday, August 9, 2003

Oh yes, it was foggy when we awoke and there was no wind. A light breakfast, then we hailed the tender to take Brian ashore at 0800. He and Mel had positioned Brian's car at the yacht club on their way to Rockland, so Brian could now easily return home for a wedding today, then rejoin us when Javelin arrived at Portsmouth on Sunday afternoon. Steve, Mel & Rick dropped the mooring at 0820 headed for Harpswell Sound and another visit with the McIlvaines.

Our plan was to take a scenic detour to the northwest out the backdoor of Boothbay Harbor through Townsend Gut to the Sheepscot River, just across from the Goose Rocks passage we had traversed on the outbound trip. Unfortunately the swing bridge keeper tried twice to open the bridge only to report that something was stuck and it would be about an hour before he could get help to fix it. We retraced the half mile back to Boothbay Harbor and headed straight out to sea.

Visibility was in the half mile range, and we were now quite relaxed even if there was still no wind and no scenery to look at. We turned the rocky end of Southport Island and the Cuckolds and headed west to clear The Sisters, Seguin Island and Cape Small along the route to Harpswell. Long swells, perhaps two to three feet, rolled in from the south to give a roller coaster ride with no wind against which to hoist sail to steady the boat. But visibility continued to increase and soon we could see over a mile. Dark rocks were splashed with the listless waves driven from wind hundreds of miles to the south. Occasional seals and porpoises broke the water, and there were the endless lobster pots to watch for.

Harpswell's entrance is particularly thick with pots. We picked our way among them, seeking "lanes" wherever we could for 50 yards or so, then searching for another clear stretch along the 2.5 miles to the inner bay. We had received a call from Karin McIlvane that they were in Rockland for the boat festival and would probably be returning late in the afternoon, so we rounded up and dropped our anchor just off their dock just after noon. Lunch of soup and breadsticks with a side of avocado and cottage cheese was completed as a light rain began falling on deck. Classical music filled the cabin while Mel & Steve napped and Rick updated the log. Oh yes, the fog returned and there was a light rain on deck.

Leighton called about 5:15 as they returned from Rockland, at first not seeing Javelin anchored in the fog right off their dock. Leighton & Karin rowed out to join us just after 5:30, and Leighton rowed back to shore for Karin's brother Rich about 20 minutes later. It didn't take long with good conversation, hors d'oeuvres and libations to successfully kidnap them into staying aboard for dinner. After all, it was too cool, foggy and damp for more lobsters at Morse's. So at 6:25 dinner was started, and at 7:25 we sat around the table for a spaghetti feed.

Durring dinner the fog totally closed in. When Leighton went to row Rich ashore around 9:00, it so foggy and dark we couldn't even see the shore. The current had changed and by spotting Leighton's little boat, about 70' from us, we were able to determine that we were not paralled to shore, and given the relative position of Leighton's boat, approximated the general direction of the dock with the beam of a big flashlight. Leighton rowed off into the fog and disappeared.

About three minutes later a dinghy with two people in it appeared from our port quarter - 90 degrees from the direction Leighton had departed. It turned out to be father and son neighbors who had been kayaking when we arrived. They could see Javelin's bright cockpit light and had come for a look-see. We invited them aboard for a tour. Leighton returned from shore and we could just make out two spots of light where he had turned on the dock lights. Everyone safely followed those beacons back to shore and the Javelin crew turned in for the evening.

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Rick could hear Mel running water into the kettle for coffee and the floorboards squeaked a little as he set up the pot and grounds in the galley. Rolling out of bed he went through his morning ablutions, straightened out his bunk and put on the clothes laid out the night before. Mel handed him a cup of coffee as he emerged from his cabin. After saying "thanks", he glanced at the time on the microwave - 0558 - then blinked a few times.

It was good to get an early start this day as we had a 50+ mile haul down to Portsmouth, into Little Harbor and the Wentworth marina. Steve was up shortly thereafter and quickly polished off a light breakfast. When we awoke, the fog was slightly better than it had been the night before, and "improved" to about an eighth of a mile by the time we hauled the anchor at 0648. As we picked our way out through the lobster pots visibility steadily improved to a quarter, then a half mile. By Half Way Rock we celebrated having a horizon at least a mile away, and it continued to improve. It was a great feeling after a week of radar watches and no visibility. The wind even increased, and some sun appeared. We set sail even though it was a beat southwest along the coast. As the breeze had increased to the 18-20 range, we set with a double reef in the main and Javelin responded with a 7-8 knot romp.

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Steve's in heaven. Rain ahead Sitting pretty at Wentworth

We carried the first tack about 13 miles down the coast, took a short tack out, then tacked back toward Wood Island. A second tack out cleared Wood Island and Biddeford point, and a wind shift to the east enabled us to also clear Cape Porpoise and lay our destination waypoint off Portsmouth. Mel took the opportunity to call his wife Molly who was staying with her sister at Goose Rocks, just above Cape Porpoise. Mother Nature must have thought we were having way too much fun actually sailing Javelin and sent along a series of rain squalls. One arrived just as Sandy Van Mell had called from California with a computer problem for Rick. We dropped the main and powered through the last of the veil of rain into bright sunshine.

A wave of hot, humid air engulfed us as we crossed the main Portsmouth channel and headed for Little Harbor. It was now apparent why we had watched stratus build into cumulonimbus all along the coast. It was one of these that had provided our afternoon shower. Brian was waiting for us at the fuel dock when we arrived. After a twenty minute wait for a power boat to fuel up, we took our turn, then settled onto a long dock with five mega-yachts. It isn't often that Javelin looks like a small boat, but here she did! There was one 80' sailboat with a 100' foot mast on the dock. She carried her 15' inflatable with a big outboard right on the foredeck. Look closely at the baby stay in the picture, however, and you will note that it goes right through the dinghy! They have a plug that filled the hole before they launch - it takes about 10 minutes to go through the drill and get it in the water.

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Tashima makes Javelin look small Look at the baby stay!!!

Rick and Brian made a short shopping trip, then picked up Brian's wife Lise at their home in Rye, NH, just 10 minutes down the road. The original plan was to have cocktails at the Klingers, but when Lise learned the air conditioning had Javelin free of heat and sticky humidity, she opted to come aboard. After an offering to Baccus and a hearty serving of cheese and crackers, we headed off to a local restaurant for a delicious and casual dinner. After a long day, and with another ahead of us, we all turned in before 10:00.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Once again Mel's coffee brewing exercise roused the crew. We had cleared away our water hose and electrical shore-power cord, returned the keys to the dock gates and cast off by 0608, bound for the Cape Cod Canal. For the first time in nine days we didn't have any fog to deal with. We cleared Little Harbor and set our waypoint for the end of Cape Ann, with Gloucester tucked just around it on the south side. With light wind, considerable cloud cover, and a fairly smooth sea, we powered along just under eight knots, but touched nine knots with the current in our favor.

The wind increased and hauled a little west so we set the main which gave us an extra half knot. The wind was fickle however, and backed to the south, rattling the main until we took it down. As we rounded Cape Ann the wind went west, so up it went again. Fifteen minutes later it went back south, and the main came down again. By now it was 1005 so Rick gave Sandy an early morning (west coast) wakeup call to wish her a happy birthday. The sky cleared, the sun came out, and we powered south past Boston, 22 miles to the west.

It was fun while it lasted. Fog, yes fog, returned. We heard it first through the "Security" calls on the radio down at the Cape Cod Canal. Then we could see a bank to our west along the shore south of Boston and ahead. We converged with it around 1230 and took up or regular stations. Brian was at the helm, Mel watching the radar in the cockpit and Steve at the nav station with the walkie-talkie. We passed several targets a quarter mile away and didn't see them, but generally visibility was around a quarter mile. It was a very thin layer of fog. The sun shone down through it and we could see patches of blue sky and building cumulus overhead.

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Brian on the helm Mel cockpit radar Steve at nav station

Thirty minutes later the good news was that visibility suddenly improved so we could even see shore five miles away. The bad news is that we could see the black cloud and rain driving down on us. Time to don wetgear and close the hatches and ports. We dug out one more toy in Javelin's toy box and attached the remote control autopilot unit. This way the crew could sit under the dodger, out of the rain, and change course when necessary. So many toys, so little time. Let's see, with only a dozen miles to go to the Canal, what else could happen?

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Rain watch Hand-held autopilot Rain passes on radar

The rain passed. The sun came out and it was sparkling blue and beautiful. Then Steve noticed the engine seemed to be losing power. Instead of making about 8 knots, we were down around 7. Stopping and trying reverse cleared the prop of anything that might be there. Then we reved up again and discovered that the turbocharger, which should cut in at about 2350 rpm wasn't engaging. Further, extra black smoke was mixed in the exhaust. So, after several repeats of the reverse exercise, and a phone call back to Steve's mechanic, we continued on at 2200 rpm making about 7 knots.

Seven knots is just fine most of the time. But our slightly slower speed and the headwinds had delayed our arrival at the Cape Cod Canal until 1600 - and the current had turned against us. Our speed over the bottom quickly started dropping as we entered the canal. By hugging the shore, preferably on the inside of curves, and trying to hold a course over the 40' depth contour, we could reduce the current against us. The center of the canal carries 50 - 60' of depth, but edging to the 40' line was at times less than a boat length from the rocky bank. As the current increased against us, our over-the-bottom speed decreased to as low as 2.6 knots, though we were going 7.1 knots through the water. This liesurely pace gave us a chance to watch the scenery - and it to watch us. There were many people and even familes fishing among the low-tide rocks, lots of bike riders and skaters racing along on the 8 miles paths on each side, and even groups who had brought chairs down to the path to sit and watch the boats go by.

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Back in the Canal Fishin' & crabin' Watching others fish Lookin' & snoozin' Lots of skaters Wonder woman waits for her friends

We picked up the mooring in front of Jay & Hasty Evans' house shortly after 1830. This wonderful spot is tucked behind Scraggy Neck, less than a mile from the Cape Cod Canal Channel. Jay being another Dartmouth sailor, it was old home week once again. Nibbles on their deck overlooking the bay and Javelin riding at their mooring were smoothly moved inside when the evening shower drifted overhead. Hasty served up a perfectly broiled salmon with capers and salad to finish off the evening. And, the rain had stopped before we went back aboard late in the evening for our early morning start home.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Mel started the coffee around 0445, and the crew was on deck ready to shove at 0535. Cooling the engine overnight did not restore the turbocharger to working order and it would spew out thick clouds of black smoke if the engine was run up above 2200 rpm. We throttled back to 2100 and headed down Buzzards Bay making 7 knots - respectable, or even joyous for most folks, but frustrating to the type As who wanted 8. Further, running at 2400 yesterday had burned almost 3/4 of a tank - at least a third more than expected. We detoured into South Dartmouth (yes, that really is the name of the port, also known as Padanaram) to refuel. Mother Nature helped wash down the decks with a heavy shower as we headed back on course for Westbrook.

Slowly the wind started to fill from the south, even though the prediction was for southwesterlies. Soon we had the main hoisted, and added the jib just before leaving Buzzards Bay. With a little current behind us we were making about 7.5 knots over the bottom, the cloud bank had slid north leaving us in a sparkling sea with sunny blue skies. With only a few reversals, the wind slowly built as we crossed the mouth of Narraganset Bay, passed Point Judith and then Watch Hill to leave Rhode Island and return to Connecticut waters. The current now turned against us behind Fishers Island, but switched again as we reached Long Island Sound and the final leg home. With the true wind abeam at 12 knots, Javelin was in her glory. Her speed pulled the apparent wind well forward and she accelerated to 8.5 knots - now without the engine at all. Current astern pushed the speed over the bottom to 9.5 knots and we raced home.

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Rolling home Sliding down a silver beam Beautiful sailing 8.5 through the water Home is in sight

Calm water marked the entrance to Westbrook harbor as we nosed in at 1900 - thirteen and a half hours under way, including our stop for fuel. As soon as the dock lines were made fast, Mel & Brian departed on a pizza run while Steve and Rick picked up the chores. The shore power cord was connected and the air conditioning started to ward off the humidity. Cushions were stowed. Hosing down fore and aft washed salt from the cabintop, deck, cockpit and topsides. A mop helped remove the black, greasy engine exhaust from the transom. Putting the cover over the steering wheel completed the project. Steve & Rick shook hands on a great cruise and Steve noted it was three minutes until the sun, hidden by the haze to the west, officially set. In three minutes Steve retired the colors for the last time and wrapped the ensign on its staff. We all toasted a great cruise when the pizza team returned, then turned in early.

Wednesday, August 14, 2003

Epilog: The yard boss and engine mechanic had been invited for breakfast, but arrived a little after 0800. They missed a final breakfast of a Denver scramble, LIttle Smokies and fresh baked biscuits. A quick cleaning of the air filter and a trial at the dock showed that the engine was still not performing. The question was again raised about anything wrapped around the shaft or propeller that would put extra load on the engine, so it was decided to haul Javelin out of the water to take a look.

Steve backed Javelin neatly into the slings of the travellift and the yard crew started hoisting while Steve & Rick aligned the slings. She came out of the water smoothly - always a pretty sight to see the graceful underwater shape of a fast boat. We passed a camera ashore to capture the moment. The good news was that the prop and shaft were clean - no problem there. The bad news was that the source of the problem was still a mystery, and each next option took more work. When Rick & Steve left for the airport, the mechanic was starting to take apart the exhaust system to see if there were any blockages there. Ah, the joys of boat ownership!
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Elevator going up! Mel & Brian watch from shore Top floor.
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Coming inland. Checking the prop Going down. Bottom floor - swimming pool!