(If you like, you can skip down through the prose and go straight to the pictures below!)
Continuing a Dartmouth summer in Maine, Steve Blecher's J-160 Javelin came alive with DCYC crew Rick Van Mell '63, wife Sandy, and Brian Klinger '62. Mel Converse '60 and Molly, in their Allied Seabreeze yawl Whim, joined Javelin at Northeast Harbor for Sandy's birthday and for a day sail from Northeast Harbor to Abel's at the north end of Somes Sound for a lobster dinner. And Jay Evans '64 & Hasty, plus Bud Heerde '66 and Betsy made up the delivery crew to return Javelin to Long Island Sound at the end of the trip.
Camden, Maine was the jumping off point for the cruise. Rick, Brian and Sandy bought out the store and loaded provisions Friday afternoon, then all enjoyed a seafood dinner at the Lobster Pound in Lincolnville. Saturday we sailed a short way to the Fox Island thorofare, then powered upwind all the way to Northeast Harbor to rendezvous for a lobster dinner at the Docksider to celebrate Sandy's birthday.
Sunday the wind gods continued their contrary ways with light northeasterlies - just the way we wanted to go. So again under power under grey skies we pushed the 60 miles to Cutler. With the sun breaking into blue sky and Canadian Grand Manan Island on the eastern horizon, we rounded Western Head into Little River and a picture-perfect Cutler, Maine. We picked up an empty mooring and settled in for cocktails and a grilled swordfish dinner. Our repast was hardly ended when the lobster-boat-owner returned from sea to reclaim his mooring. We glided to another in the fading twilight and slept soundly until the putt-putt of the working lobster boat fleet started up before sunrise.
Meandering Monday began with a detour into Cross Island Narrows, skirting the spider's web of towers and wires at the navy's Cutler communication center, until we emerged in Machias Bay. Turning southeast, we navigated Foster Channel and north of Halifax Island into Roque Harbor. We toured Lakeman pond, then anchored off Roque beach just in time for a rain squall. Nourished with hot soup and fresh baked breadsticks, the rain ended and we pulled the hook and headed for Mistake Harbor - the hard way.
Heading into Eastern Bay through Seguin passage, we picked our way along 20 waypoints to dodge between the islands and channels. We even crossed paths with a kayak party - silently thinking that one or the other of us was surely out of place in this crowded, narrow, island and rock-studded bay. At the head of Moose Peak channel, we put our bow into Mistake Harbor and, after looking around decided it would be a mistake to waste the remaining hours of daylight. So turning down the channel and out to sea, we set the spinnaker and were soon making 9 knots over the bottom headed west. After a gybe, we closed with the shore, rounded Schoodic Island and picked up a mooring in Winter Harbor. The roast beef was done by the end of cocktail hour, and another evening ended early with a sound night's sleep.
Maine continued it's dreary ways with a Tuesday morning of fog thick enough to warrant radar. We picked our way from Winter Harbor along the nine waypoints back to Northeast Harbor, and spent the day topping off the tanks and stores. Sunshine returned in the afternoon and Mel and Molly joined the crew for a lamb dinner aboard, followed by their treat of fresh Docksider blueberry pie and ice cream. A lively songfest, with Sandy and Molly taking pictures, rounded out the evening.
Fog returned thick and damp on Wednesday morning. The plan was to take I-36 friends Mike and Leslie Bennett, who were spending the week in Southwest Harbor, for a lovely day sail and dinner at the head of Somes Sound at Abels Lobster Pound. Like the J Boat race scheduled for a 10 am start, we postponed our intended start until 11 am, and instead of going over to pick them up, they got a ride to Northeast Harbor, and a little after 11 we pushed off into the fog. Mel and Molly, with Brian aboard for crew, followed close astern in Whim. Working waypoints inside the harbor, and along the edge of the mooring fields, we rounded up into Somes Sound with the fog thinning as we worked north. Lunch in Valley Cove rafted up to a mooring was a good way to let a little more fog dissipate. Lunch was ended with a new tradition - Oreo cookies and "dip". Dip being the remaining vanilla and chocolate chip ice cream which was a bit on the soft side and scraped very nicely into a tasty treat. With visibility increasing we went up to Abels to check dock space, then sailed Javelin up and down Somes Sound, racing a large touist schooner along the way until a rain shower sent the guests below while Rick & Steve furled sails. Abel's lobster dinner finished off the evening in style.
Thursday morning we departed early for the most unusual reason any of us had ever encountered. At 0630 a crew was pulling up boards to move the floating dock section and wanted us on our way. We exchanged farewells with the Whim crew and headed down a beautifully bright and clear Somes Sound. Hoisting sail just below Northeast Harbor, we stood south and west doing 9 knots over the bottom toward Boothbay Harbor. Our fickle winds both died and headed us, so once again it was the iron sail that got us there easily and enjoyably. Approaching Boothbay, Steve heard a call for dock space and recognized a true Limey, Tony Waldeck who had crossed the Atlantic in May and was cruising the coast. Tony, his wife Adrian, and Richard and his son Edward all came aboard for spaghetti dinner with fresh baked bread and a last round of Oreos and "dip".
Crystal clear, an autumn morning (though it was still mid-August) crisply defined Boothbay as we headed west on Friday morning for Harpswell. Taking advantage of the morning, we entered the Kennebec River, passed Fort Popham and headed upriver the ten miles to Bath. Fort Popham, a hulking stone mass looking as much like a prison, was just upriver from Popham Beach, first settled around 1605, but failed in its first harsh winter. At Bath we idled abeam of Bath Iron Works observing the construction of Navy frigates and a major expansion to accomodate the building of 12 more ships. Back down-river and headed west again, we threaded the channel-choking lobster pots and arrived at the McIlvaine's in Harpswell by 1430. Karin came aboard for a drink, then we headed ashore to meet friends and the trek to Morse's Lobster restaurant. Morse's is a totally open air experience perched on a dock high above the river. The passing shower had us in wet gear as lobsters steamed, but departed allowing for yet another fine dinner. We even convinced Karin's guests, despite a dreary and drippy sky, that they should join us the next morning for the last leg from Harpswell to Portsmouth.
Shortly after 0700, Louise (Weese) Osborne, son Mark, and Valeri Whitmer and son Christian joined Karin for the dinghy ride out to the anchored Javelin, and we were off. "Just enough blue to make a Dutchman's pants", as the saying goes, gave hope of improving weather. Before we had cleared the point into open water, the sky was blue from zenith to horizon out to sea. With little wind, we motored along as everyone took turns steering and watching the instruments count down the miles to each waypoint along the route. A happy crew arrived at Portsmouth a little before 1500 to complete the voyage.
Two hours of refilling water and fuel tanks, draining holding tanks, scrubbing down fore and aft, and a big load of laundry had Javelin ready for the departure of one crew and the arrival of the next. The watch change occurred as Jay Evans '64, wife Hasty, and Bud Heerde '66 and wife Betsy arrived in Portsmouth. Brian and Lise hosted cocktails at the Klinger household, then all enjoyed the lobster and seafood offerings of Sanders where we toasted the great completion of this cruise. A late evening run through the supermarket and provisons were aboard for the next leg from Porstmouth back to Javelin's home port of Westbrook, CT by the following Wednesday. As Brian drove Rick & Sandy to Logan airport and a return to San Francisco on Sunday morning, a clear and sparkling northwester conjured great visions of Javelin racing south at 10 knots to Cape Cod Bay and the Cape Cod Canal.
Click on images to enlarge, click "Back" to return. Photos by Rick and Sandy Van Mell, and Mel and Molly Converse.