Monday, October 27, 2008

This adventure begins for us with a conversation that Laurel ,my wife, and I had one Monday morning in early October, 2008 while sitting on the couch in our home in Bowdoinham, Maine. We had for a long time planned to do a long sailing trip with our children. We originally thought we would do this in the summer of 09, but with the economy in the tank and business slow we figured this might be the best time to go.
Our kids were at a good age, Laurel wasn't working yet, and we had the savings to do it, so we made the decision to go. Right away there was a long list of things to do, but none more important than getting the boat further south quickly so the northeast weather didn't shut us out.

We loaded the boat with gear right away and had it hauled at Brewer's in Freeport, Maine. I painted the bottom, we took out an old transducer, had the engine checked out and finished a list of must do stuff so I could leave as soon as possible. The folks at Brewer's John Brewer, Kristin, Mike and Bob were really great. I had the boat back in the water by Thursday morning and by 11:00 I was on my way. The plan was that I would take the boat to the Chesapeake alone while Laurel stayed with the kids, got the wheels going in renting the house, figured out homeschooling, packing, etc.Then I would hurry back to help and take care of my business. Our goal being to have the family in the Chesapeake, ready to roll down the intercoastal waterway by November 1st.

That afternoon I anchored just below Biddeford Pool by the Saco River. I left at 6:25 am in the dark and was in Gloucester, Mass, that afternoon at 4:00. I had passed Boone Island to my port and the Isles of Shoals shortly thereafter. Some of you may have read Kenneth Robert's book about shipwecked sailors on Boone Island, titled after the Island.

I left at a leisurly 8:00 AM the following morning. I could afford to leave late because I had to go through the Cape Cod Canal and the current would not be in my favor until 7:30 that evening. (Most sailboats must go through the canal with the current as it can flow at over 5 knots) I had some migrating visitors and saw a shark, which we later identified as a Basking shark, huge fellow.

I arrived a couple of miles from the canal at 5:30 and let the boat drift while I made dinner and waited for the current to turn at 7:30. I went through the canal in the dark but the canal is well lit and is easy to go through at any time of night. We were also approaching a full moon so the sky was bright, with the moonlight sparkling on the water. The ebb out of the canal had me going a good 8 plus knots. The canal spits you out into Buzzard's Bay and you can carry that strong current right up the bay. I had originally planned to anchor just on the other side of the canal but this was a golden opportunity to make good time. One of the cool things that night was the phosphorecence in the water which left an 8 foot woosh of glow in the prop wash. I reached Mattapoisett, Rhode Island at 11:10 that evening. I picked up an empty mooring set my cell phone alarm and was gone again by 6:15 the following morning and so went my days leaving usually early and in the dark and arriving at night late but having put many miles beneath the keel. A couple of items of interest were visiting my brother in law Matthew his wife Nancy and their dogs at Hammonasset State Park were they brought me a much needed chart and some supplies, seeing a submarine in the East River. Leaving Sandy Hook, NJ at 1:00 AM under a full moon and having a really beautiful sail at night, really magic. Pushing through the Delaware despite huge ugly pounding chop and high wind but saving 3 days because of worse weather coming down the pike and realizing my goal of getting the boat there fast by making the Chesapeake in just over 7 days. I've included more photos below:

Matthew and Nancy Waterman at Hammonasset State Park

Sub in the East River, That's LaGuardia Intl. in the background

Manhattan Financial District, so odd without the W. Trade Center

Bright beautiful moonlight off the Jersey Shore

Dawn off NJ

Dawn off NJ


End of day in the Chesapeake


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