A Down East Idyll, with Hurricanes! Page 3

We were ghosting toward the mainland, gybing back and forth to make the most of a faint morning breeze. The sun was out and it was hot. To the north I could see swells breaking over Horseshoe Ledge and a rock formation called The Drums. I was also keeping an eye out for lobster buoys. The tide was ebbing, setting up a wicked crosscurrent in spots, and I’d already been forced to alter course
Author:
Updated:
Original:

After dinner, we went ashore to go swimming at the public beach just south of Hadlock Cove. Once again, we had the place to ourselves. There wasn’t a breath of wind, and everything was bathed in the warm late-summer glow that is so unique to New England. It seemed a shame there were so few people there to enjoy it. Although the mosquitoes became pretty ferocious as the sun went down, the water was warm and the beachcombing first-rate.

The next morning we listened to the weather forecast during breakfast, then started back to Southwest Harbor. It was incredible how few boats were still on their moorings when we got there. I wouldn’t have thought it possible to haul so many boats in such a short time. Once again it was sunny and warm, with just a thin, low haze. I felt a little guilty leaving Pattie and the rest of the crew to batten down the hatches, but she said not to worry. It looked like Earl was heading offshore. The forecast was improving by the hour.

In fact, it continued to improve all day. Even though we took the scenic route through Lincolnville, Camden and Rockport, which meant we didn’t get home until well after dark, we barely saw any rain—the perfect end to a perfect Downeast holiday.

Getting Your Bearings

When sailors go bareboat chartering, they typically rush straight to the boat, provision as quickly as possible, and then cast off lines. The idea is to get out on the water without delay and make the most out of the time available.

There’s something to be said, though, for taking things slowly and easing your way into a charter. Trying to rush the checkout process, for example, inevitably creates stress for everyone involved. Same thing goes for stocking up on supplies. I don’t know if I’ve ever been as hot, sweaty and grumpy as the time I was loading up a 35-footer one hot, breathless afternoon on Mobile Bay.

By hurrying onto the boat, you also miss the chance to get a feel for the area where you’ve chosen to go sailing. Before our Maine charter, for example, Shelly, Bridget and I all went camping for a few days on Mt. Desert Island. We visited Bar Harbor, drove up Cadillac Mountain, swam in Echo Lake and spent a morning looking for seals and dolphins off the rocks surrounding the Bar Harbor Head lighthouse.

Shelly and I have done the same thing on other occasions, in the Caribbean, down in New Zealand, in the Gulf of Mexico and on Lake Champlain. We’ve never once regretted the lost sailing time. When we’re finally ready to go, we’re not only more relaxed, we also have a much greater appreciation for the locale in which we are sailing. The result is inevitably a much richer experience afloat.

cruisenotes_large

Related

Canal-1-Marina-Hemingway-looking-west-spring-2016

Cruising: A Farewell to Cuba

For a few sweet years, American cruisers had the freedom to sail to Cuba. It was good while it lasted, says Addison Chan Cuba has assumed near-mythical properties in the community of sailors around the world. It is almost impossible to utter the name without conjuring up images ...read more

brickhouse

Is Cruising Still Safe?

It is with great sadness that we read of the murder of New Zealand cruiser Alan Culverwell, and the attack on his family, by criminals who boarded their boat in Panama’s Guna Yala/San Blas Islands early in May. The San Blas were known as a “safe” area to cruise. Aside from petty ...read more

QuarterdeckBuildingWatercolor

Bitter End Yacht Club 2.0

Amid the widespread devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria when they swept across the northern Caribbean in September 2017, the destruction of the iconic Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands was particularly keenly felt by sailors. The ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com The back door Satisfied with your headsails? So was I, until one day I took a long, hard look up the luff of my genoa, making sure I inspected the leeward side as well. The sail had plenty of life ...read more

02-Lydia12-01

Losing Sight of Shore

I arrived on the docks of Beaufort, North Carolina, in late April with two backpacks filled with new gear—everything I’d need for my first offshore passage. Though I’d been sailing for 16 years, graduating from dinghies to keelboats to a J/122, I’d spent my time racing and, in ...read more

Squall

The Face of a Squall

They are the worst of times, they are the best of times There’s a fabulous line from an old Paul Simon song that I often sing to myself while sailing: I can gather all the news I need from the weather report. It is part of the magic of sailing, this ancient process by which we ...read more