Monthly Archives: July 2010

>Enjoying our first week in BoothBay Maine

>After a great trip to Maine aboard Pandora, we are settling into a nice visit to cooler climes.  While my trip up the coast was uneventful and allowed for some great sailing, Brenda wasn’t so lucky getting here.   For some time now our 10 year old SAAB has been smoking a bit from the turbo with assurances from the garage that any failure would be a gradual loss of power and not a total engine shutdown.  Ha!  When Brenda was outside of Worchester MA last Sunday afternoon the turbo gave out in a dramatic, smoke bellowing final shudder.  While the engine wasn’t damaged, it wouldn’t run and had to be towed to a nearby shop.  Yes, we have AAA towing.  After the diagnosis, we decided to put in a used turbo (hope that was the right decision) and get a rental car so she could continue her way to BoothBay.   By the time she got to Maine she was bushed.  

Unfortunately, that’s not the end of the SAAB Saga story as when she picked up the car on Wednesday, after a four hour ride back to Worchester,  she headed out only to have the car die again.  This time things had a somewhat better outcome as after a frantic call to the garage, the preliminary diagnosis was that it was a loose vacuum hose.  The mechanic diagnosed this over the phone as the likely problem as the engine smoothed out when the AC was turned off. 

Anyway, the car’s not completely well yet but Brenda did get back, albeit a bit later than she expected last evening.  Ed took pity on her and we greeted her in the driveway with a glass of wine followed by a (late) lobster dinner and a wonderful evening with Ed, his son, daughter-in-law and their son. 

That wasn’t the first taste of Ed’s lobster as we have been enjoying his hospitality here in the Oven Mouth, a wonderful spot off of the Sheepscott River near Booth Bay for the last few days.  Ed is retired and enjoys being on the water as a part time lobsterman.  At 82 Ed is an amazingly spry guy and a wonderful host.  In the last two days I have personally consumed 5 of his lobsters. 

Here’s a picture of Ed hauling first thing yesterday. 

Ed also has a 1800’s vintage catboat that he has converted into a small (really small) trawler.  It’s a sweet boat with a nice little Yanmar Diesel.  Very cute.

The Oven Mouth is a piece of water that is very narrow and drains a large area upstream through a very constricted rocky cut.  As a result, the currents at full tide can run upwards of 7kts.  It’s impressive to see whitecaps build as the current races by.  It’s particularly amusing to see the local duck population go by with the current without a care in the world.  I swear that they are out there for the ride. Very funny.

The scenery here is wonderful with the light changing on a nearly hourly basis from ephemeral mists in the early morning to the dramatic light and dark of the sun on the pine trees.  Happily, the temperatures are a lot lower now than we had experienced in Annapolis, CT and Martha’s Vineyard where things topped out in the 90s most days.  This morning I turned on the Espar heater for the first time this sailing season. It went down into the mid 50s last night.  Very pleasant. 

Work has been incredibly busy with my partner developing grant submissions to both the NIH and some pharmaceutical companies with some medical society partners.  I am hopeful that things will begin picking up in a few months as some (lots?) of our requests are approved (hopefully).   Starting a business isn’t easy but a lot of fun.  Also, with the cell phone booster, fax and printer that I have aboard, it’s been very easy to stay in touch.  Each day is incredibly busy with scheduled calls and lot’s to do. 

I am looking forward to a cruise with The Corinthians this coming week when I can put work aside (mostly) for a week. 

I should also note that if BoothBay Harbor isn’t on your list for a visit, it should be.  Yes, there are lots of tacky t-shirt stores, but the natural beauty and friendly people are wonderful.  It’s one of my favorite places to visit by land or water.

I was particularly amused by this sight as it “motored” by the other morning.  Is it a car, a boat?  It’s tacky and wonderful, that’s for sure.   I guess it’s a caboat.  No kidding, it’s steered from inside the car by wheel.  Notice the Maine registration on the front fender.  Good thing that it has a spoiler on back to help control it at speed. 

On a somewhat more sublime note, this old tug motored by one evening with what looked like a very comfortable “crew” aboard.  What a nice way to enjoy a cocktail cruise in BoothBay Harbor. 

Yes, Happy Birthday Lisa indeed.

Well, it’s nearly 8am and time to get to work.  Lots to do but TGIF (In Maine, no less).

>Mystic CT to Boothbay Harbor Maine

>At 05:30 today I dropped the mooring in Mystic to head to Boothbay Harbor Maine for our annual visit Down East.  I am not certain of exactly what year we first went to Maine but I think that it was about 14 years ago.  This year the plan will be to keep Pandora in Maine waters for the month of August and head back to Mystic and ultimately to Annapolis in the Fall.  This trip has become something of a tradition for Brenda and me.   As she doesn’t enjoy the long delivery trips, I assemble crew through my connection with The Corinthians, a great sailing group that I belong to and am very active with, and Brenda joins me by car.   The Corinthians will also have their cruise this year in Maine and will be joined by members of the Little Ship Club of London.  Some 35 members of the LSC will make the trip and join for a total of 65 boats for a week of racing and cruising in Maine waters.   Interestingly, two of the LSC members joining us will have made the trip over on their own boats.   The Corinthians and LSC clubs have had a long and very close association with members of each group visiting the others to sail together every few years. 

With me on this trip to deliver Pandora to Maine are three others, all quite experienced sailors.   Having left first thing this morning from Mystic we will reach the Cape Cod Canal mid afternoon, in time to catch the fair current that will help push along to the eastern mouth and into Cape Cod Bay. 

Our trip across the Gulf of Maine will take us through some of the most productive waters on the east coast and the home of many whales, including the endangered Right Whale.  Unfortunately, we aren’t likely to see many on this crossing as we will be crossing the best whale watching waters over night in the dark. 

When I heard the recent report about the whale that landed on the deck of a small sailboat off of Cape Town South Africa, I had to think about that happening aboard Pandora.  After a bit of searching on the Web, I didn’t find many references to whales striking boats, however, it does happen from time to time.   When I saw a photo that someone sent me from the NY Post yesterday, I thought that it must have been a doctored photo but it seems that this really happened.  I wouldn’t want to have a 40 ton whale land on Pandora.   I tried to find a photo that I could post on the site but the best I could find was a link to the New York post story.  Check it out.

The most famous of these “encounters of the whale kind” was the ramming and sinking of the 87′ Nantucket based whaling ship Essex.  On November 20th 1820, while some of the crew were hunting a pod of whales in the South Pacific, a very large whale repeatedly rammed the Essex and sunk her.   Some have speculated that toward the end of the height of the commercial whaling industry, some of the whales that remained had become more aggressive and were more regularly attacking the ships that were pursuing.  Who knows if that was what led to the ramming of the Essex but it’s fun to think about.  Herman Melville drew inspiration for his book “Moby Dick” from the Essex incident.   To learn more about this incredible story click here.

Anyway, I hope to be able to post my own photos of my own “whale encounter” from my trip to Maine.  Who knows.  For now, I will just have to put up this photo of me piloting our dink with a “whale’s load” of luggage.  Yes, it’s not the best analogy and a literary stretch.  However, it’s my blog.. You’d think that this amount of stuff must be able to sustain us for a year at sea.  Alas, it was for just a one week voyage. 

Yikes, perhaps I need to eat more ice cream.  Kind of a scary image.

>Hadley Harbor with Senator John Kerry, sort of.

>Brenda and I were sitting aboard Pandora in Hadley Harbor, near Wood’s Hole MA, on Naushon Island when this magnificent yacht came into the harbor and picked up a mooring.  I have seen wonderful yachts many times but was struck by this one in particular.  At first I thought that it was a Hinkley but that wasn’t it.   I did notice a tall gray haired gentleman aboard who looked familiar but it didn’t connect until someone else on another boat that I talked to clued me in that it was Senator John Kerry.   Over the next few days that we were there the Senator did indeed take Isabell out a number of times.  The boat was launched in the last year in New Zealand by Friendship Yachts and is one of their 75′ designs.  Take a look at the photos of the actual boat, as it must be the first one of the design to be built, on their site.  It’s a magnificent yacht by any measure and the boat on the site looks just like Kerry’s boat Isabell.  And it’s really massive as this shot from her stern clearly shows.  The “glamor shots” on the site look so elegant. 

 Not a great shot but that’s the Senator on the helm.   I guess he doesn’t always wear a suit.

This is a shot of the boat from Pandora’s viewpoint.  The lines are really sweet.  At night the mast is lit all the way up, the cockpit is wonderfully lit and there are even lights below in the water that make the area below her glow green.  Against the dark star lit sky it’s breathtaking. I wish that I could have taken a picture of that sight.

Brenda and I have been visiting Hadley Harbor since the late 70s in a succession of boats from our first 20′ catboat all the way up the line to Pandora, and have always enjoyed the hospitality of the Forbes family who place moorings in the harbor for guests/visitors to use.  While you can’t go ashore unless you are the guest or relative of the Forbes clan, they do set a small island with trails aside for visiting boats to use for picnicking and dog walking.   The main house up on the hill is really impressive and massive.  I have a good friend who was a guest of the Forbes for a week as part of a group of visiting artists.   What a place.

The senator is no stranger to the island as he grew up visiting the island as a member of the Forbes clan.  Wikipedia has an interesting article about the island and it’s history.  So pleased do know that the Boston Forbes clan made it’s money running drugs in the China opium trade.

Some of the homes on the island are much more modest like this one at the head of the harbor.  Years ago Brenda and I were invited for dinner with some Forbes friends of us and this is where we had dinner.  It even had an outdoor shower.  No, it didn’t have one indoors though.  I was wonderful as our boat at the time didn’t have any shower at all.

All the boats in Hadley Harbor aren’t massive like Isabell.  There is even a small fleet of Herreshoff 12 1/2 boats.  This design is considered by many to be one of the finest small craft ever designed and the design looks as good now as it did a century ago when the first ones were launched at Herreshoff’s yard in Bristol RI.  They are lined up on the dock and are sailed regularly like this one. 

Prior to visiting Hadley we spent a few days in Vineyard Haven and on our way over to Hadley, we spied this wonderful little schooner.   What a great boat and flying the burgee of the Black Dog Cafe, an institution on Martha’s Vineyard. 

Well, we are off the boat now and won’t be back until I head back to Mystic to bring her to Maine later this month.   Here’s to more great sailing left this year.  More to come soon.

>Cuttyhunk Island July 4th Parade


We visited Cuttyhunk MA over the weekend on our way to Martha’s Vineyard and were thrilled to see our first golf cart parade.  As Cuttyhunk is a very small island served by a passenger ferry from New Bedford, on the main land, there are very few cars.   The island is only about 1/3 built up so there is plenty of openn space.   However, think twice before you go bushwacking into the wild spaces as the island is overrun with deer ticks, something that Brenda and found out the hard way years ago.  With only very limited shopping on the island, you’d better come with everything that you need.  It’s still quite rural and the views from the top of the “hill” are really impressive.  Pandora’s outside in the bight on a mooring.

When we arrived on Saturday evening it was late and while we tried to anchor twice but couldn’t make our Bruce anchor hold well enough for my comfort so we took the last mooring available.  The weekends of the 4th and Labor Day are the two busiest of the year for the island.

We visited the Cuttyhunk Historical Society museum and enjoyed a wonderful exhibit on the history of fishing for striped bass on the island over the years. The island has been known as a great spot for stripers for ever and it’s a major draw for fisherman.   The museum is worth a visit.  Very nicely done.

 There was even a nice exhibit of model boats, some on loan from nearby island residents.  I was particularly intrigued by this model, some 6′ long that was used to instruct new sailors on how to set the sails. 

The homes on the island are very tasteful and all have the weathered shingle look that fits in well.  Unlike so many coastal communities, it seems that the locals guard the look of the architecture and don’t let homes  that don’t fit in get built.  Lots of wonderful gardens, all neatly tended.  

The dock for tenders was all the evidence you would need to know that this is a busy weekend.

Just about all of the residents on Cuttyhunk get around by golf cart.  So it’s fitting that a parade for the 4th would feature decorated carts. 

A wonderful vintage Ford lead the procession. 

 Even though the winter population is less than 50, that doesn’t keep the locals from having their own police officer who carries a gun, night stick and a two way radio.  I wonder who he talks to on that radio anyway as there wasn’t any evidence of another officer.  Hmm…  He also has the only new vehicle on the island.

After leaving Cuttyhunk we headed up to Martha’s Vineyard to Lake Tashmoo, a wonderful harbor on the western side of the island.  By the time that we arrived it was blowing nearly 20kts and the tide was running hard.  Going into the channel was a nerve wracking moment as the depth sounder counted less than 1ft under the keel.  As it was nearly high tide I am not sure what will happen when we leave today.   However, the tidal range here is less than 2 feet so I hope that won’t get stuck. 

When I was below making lunch Brenda called me up because we were being approached by this yacht.  I wasn’t able to take a photo quick enough to show her bow pointing straight toward us and just a few hundred feet away.  This boat was massive and very fast, beating into a 20kt wind against the tide.  They were incredibly quik.  What a sight.  It’s hard to imagine the money it takes to keep a thoroughbred like that in oats. 

Today we are taking two friends out for a sail and a visit to Hadley Harbor on Naushon.   With a little wind and the wonderful lunch that Brenda has prepared, it should be a great day.  Time to do the dishes and get ready for their arrival.

>The Wooden Boat Show, Mystic and off to Cuttyhunk Island


Last weekend my son Christopher visited me in Mystic for a weekend aboard Pandora.  Our plan was to head over to Shelter Island for a rendezvous with other SAGA 43 owners.  While just over 50 of these boats were made, we were able to assemble 5 of them for an evening of fun over drinks in Pandora’s cockpit.   As is so often the case when you want to sail, there just wasn’t enough wind so we motored much of the 25 miles there and back.

However, prior to leaving for Shelter, we took in the Wooden Boat Show at Mystic Seaport, a show that you just don’t want to miss if you love boats, wood or otherwise.   The display of big and little boats, all wonderful and VARNISHED like you’d hate if you had to do it yourself.

How would like to be responsible for all this varnish?  You’d need a crew with brushes just to keep up.  Yikes!!!  But wait, they do have a crew.  Of course, if you have someone delivering your G&Ts you probably don’t have to put on a painter’s hat anyway.  In this case, I am thinking “another Pims Jeeves, and be snappy about it”.

As I write this I could certainly see this as an appealing option and it as a cold one would fit right in about now as we sail along about 5 miles north of Block Island headed to Martha’s Vineyard.  The wind is on the Port quarter and we are moving along at a stately 5.5kts.   The sun is shining, there’s  fair wind.  How idyllic…

Well, back to last weekend’s boat show.  Here’s a perfect hatch aboard Spartan a recently rebuilt NY 50.  It’s just back in the water after a 4 year rebuild.  Everything about this boat is perfect.   Acres of teak decks and a crew of 6.  When we were standing there there was a swarm of able bodies using chamois (plural?) to dry off every speck of water lest it leave a water mark.  Heaven’s no…not a water spot!  Spartan is the only one of her kind left of a fleet of 9 launched in 1915 for members of the New York Yacht Club.  This link is to a site from a boatyard that had acquired Spartan as old hulk that was soliciting someone to rebuild her.  The photos of her under sail are something to behold.  This is indeed a yacht.  Interestingly, she is really a day sailor and not equipped for ocean sailing.  That makes her one massive day sailor at 72′ overall. 

I defy you to find a finer, sweeter bow on any boat than this shot of Spartan. 

It’s not all about big and expensive. Here are a dock load of wonderful small boats.  There were literally hundreds of boats at the show built and maintained by amateurs.   However, you have to love varnish and working on boats to own one of these babies.

A wonderful runabout, YNOT.  And, a great name too.
Now,  this is a real yacht.  Amazon has been visiting the seaport (check out the seaport link for her) for some time now as a guest. I spoke to the owner, from Guernsey in the UK, who told me that he had been struck by lightning.  So their visit will be extended.  The 120′ Amazon was launched in the late 1800s and was designed by Dickson Kemp.  I understand that Kemp was of the stature in the UK that Herreshoff was here in the US.   Amazon was originally a steam yacht but was converted to diesel in the 30s.  The owner told me that when steaming at 6.5 kts she only burns 1.9 gal per hour. Not bad for a boat that is 120ft overall.  She holds 800 gallons of fuel and has taken him and his family throughout the Med and now here to the States.  He won’t be going anywhere soon until he gets his electronics fixed. All were fried by the power surge of the lightening strike. 

Amazon isn’t much wider than Pandora and is nearly three times her length.  No wonder she slips easily through the water.  What a wonderful boat, one of a small number that has survived from the Victorian era.


Now it’s 13:30 and the wind has freshened a bit to 14kts with 10.5 apparent and we are moving nicely at 6.5kts.  We have decided to go to Cuttyhunk which is located at the western end of the Elizabeth Islands just west of Martha’s Vineyard.  Check out the article in Power and Motor Yacht about the island.  It’s wonderful to be making time like this under sail and we should be in early enough for “opening time”.  Unfortunately, it seems that Jeeves has gone AWOL so we will have to fend for ourselves.  It’s so hard to find good help these days.  Perhaps there will be a proper yacht anchored nearby that will lend their “man” to assist.  Hmm, perhaps not.  One can always wish, can’t one?

This week when Brenda and I returned to Mystic and Pandora to head up to Martha’s Vineyard for a week aboard.  One thing that we particularly enjoy when we visit Mystic is an evening cruise aboard the Sabino, a 1908 steamboat at Mystic Seaport that runs cruises down the Mystic River to Noank and back each evenings.  Our routine, since the early 80s, is to bring a bottle of wine and jhors-d’oeuvres so we can properly enjoy teh 90 minute cruise.  Oddly, having done this for many years, alost know one else ever seems to have the same idea, so we ate alone.  Bummer for them.  It’s an idyllic way to spend time as and we sat in the bow alone and undisturbed.  Here’s Brenda holding our spot.

Of course, what blog post would be complete without a shot of Pandora in the evening light taken from aboard Sabino.