>I write this we are anchored off of Devil’s Island in Merchant Row near Stonington. On Friday afternoon we had a rousing sail ahead of a stiff southerly over to Buck’s Harbor at the head of Eggemogin Reach. The weather was fairly snotty but the wind was from the right direction for a down wind sail so off we went. The forecast was for rain overnight, which did not disappoint, as a front came through on Friday night. After an overcast start to the day the winds shifted to the north and the sun came out giving us a nice run down Eggemogin Reach and into Merchant Row under blue skys.
As I paid my bill at the Camden Yacht Club, one of the launch drivers said that Velsheda had come in the night before and dropped anchor off of the harbor. Velsheda is one of the grand classic J class of racing boats from the 30s, the largest class to ever compete for the America’s Cup. Velsheda was purchased in the 90s as a bare hull, was meticulously rebuilt and launched in the late 90s. She is owned by a European business man and splits her time between Europe, the Caribbean and, it would seem, here in New England. The J class was never a class with many boats and as the largest yachts to compete for the America’s cup, actually raced during the depression. I guess there were some financial winners, even in those difficult times. In recent years untold sums have been spent by caring owners to rebuild these yachts to their former glory. A few have also been built to plans drawn in the early days but never actually constructed. The class has an active racing circuit and recently came together for a series in Newport. There are actually more boats of this class sailing today than was the case in the 30s. Check out the class association site as it has great info on all of the yachts out there including some info on Velsheda who has as one distinction among many, boasting the largest single piece carbon fiber mast in the world. With 11 yachts total in the class, this has to be one of the most exclusive associations there is as you have to own one of these mega yachts to join.
We went by her on our way out of Camden harbor but she passed too close to get good photos. Yachts like these really make you wonder how someone amasses the money to own one.
It was rough outside the harbor and even she was rolling as she headed in to calmer waters.
Speaking of having money. It would seem that this yacht was the “mother ship” for Velsheda who came in and anchored while I was on top of Mt Battie the prior evening. I could tell that she was related as she flew the J class flag from her mast head. This yacht is a real classic. With a major yacht like ByStander, a J class yacht and who knows what else, I can only imagine what his home is like. Probably more than one home at that.
The yacht is named Bystander and was recently launched for her owner. This link to a yacht charter site, talks a bit about her details and notes that she is a support vessel for her owner’s J class boat. Amazing display of wealth, however, with a sense of style. This is a link to an interesting article about Bystander and Velsheda.
Well, back to more pedestrian thoughts and our visit to Buck’s harbor. The course from Camden to Bucks winds among some beautiful islands in upper Penobscot Bay as this chart shows.
Along the way we passed many islands and one was packed with seals. There must have been 50 of them on the rocks. It’s hard to see but the light spots on the rocks are all seals.
As this photo shows, they were really working hard to keep the boat afloat. They say that the best bilge pump is a terrified crew member with a buck. That would apply here. Clearly motivated.
It got a lot lower before they were able to stabilize the situation and it wasn’t until they fully plugged the exhaust that things were under control.
This is every boat owners greatest nightmare, having your boat sink from under you. Good thing that they weren’t far from shore. When we finally left the tide was headed out and they were assessing the damage. It doesn’t seem like the owner will be out on the water again any time soon.
While we were in Bucks one of the schooners that take passengers out for trips came in and dropped anchor. The next morning she headed out under a solid north wind. It’s really a sight to see one of these schooners weigh anchor and head out under sail. They have a push boat at the ready in case of problems, but do most of their work under sail. Looking good.
After leaving Bucks and heading down to Merchant’s Row near Stonington we passed a number of lovely little sailboats including this friendship sloop with a whole gang aboard.
Well, this post has taken way too long with the weak cell coverage in the area so perhaps that’s enough for now. On with my day as we have to head back to Rockland for better cell coverage and the beginning of the work week.