Monthly Archives: July 2007

Non-smoking Cruise

Good morning everyone. We sit quietly at anchor here at Great Cove in Brooklin. There is not a breathe of air stirring and the fog that crept in overnight is dripping from the rig onto the awning. Evidently a trough just west of New England is spinning a series of frontal systems across the region creating a very interesting weather week.

A look at the sailing schedule will tell you that this is a non-smoking week. So no smoking on board but that did not deter me from enjoying a cigar at the lobster bake ashore last night. The great thing about a good cigar is that one has to sit still to enjoy it. Now I am not advocating smoking by any stretch but every once in a while I do enjoy the chance to sit quietly on the beach with a good cigar and watch the sun burn into the western sky. I guess you could substitute a cup of tea for the cigar but the effect for me is not the same.

So this week we are smoke free aboard the schooner. Other than that this is the first non-theme week of the season. We are just out exploring and poking around with no agenda in mind. A minke whale came up just off the port side on Monday, a sign, if you wanted to see it as such, that despite the forecast this was going to be a good week. The Minke was right (or maybe I am just a superstitious fool). The forecast has improved greatly since Monday and yesterday was just beautiful. We spent the entire day in Eggemoggin Reach tacking back and forth in very light and variable winds. The fog is slated to burn off today with a wonderful wind filling in from the south.

Have a great day. Be well. Do Good.

If I had a boat…

Good morning everyone. It’s a sleepy morning here ashore as the rain softly falls. Everyone is still in bed recovering from the exciting week of sailing. There were so many moments to remember and tell about: the day before the race with all the rain and wind showers passing (topsails must have gone up and down at least 5 times!), race day with the slow beginning and great ending, (thanks everyone for all your hard work trimming sails!), picnic day with all the great food and sail (did anyone get a photo of the wild sail to Merchant’s Row?) and of course the race thru all the thunderstorms (we came in first in that race and managed to slide right thru two storm cells to anchorage!). There were just as many great people moments to go with all these great events: Lois’s bandanas for team spirit and luck, Dudley hanging on to Merchant’s Row always with camera in hand, Andy’s wonderful guitar playing…the list goes on. It’s all these memories that will carry us for another year. We’ll look back at these photos and blogs during the slow & cold winter months and crack a smile or even a laugh and say Yeah, this is why we’re still doing this. It’s not a bad office after all…
We had yet another great moment this week as parents in this crazy business just have to share (hopefully Grammy’s will see this)….Sawyer managed to find a great treasure on Pickering Island during the picnic. The great engineer we hope he will be (to make lots of money for our island rest home!)managed to invent his own boat…his first boat built all alone from scraps. Dad was a proud Papa!
So naturally he tried it out and it worked! With a few calibrations and a bit of advice from passengers, he set out on his maiden voyage…from the beach to the schooner a good 50 yards with just a dream and a drift wood oar. We all watched anxiously to set out to rescue, but never got the chance. He made it! Proud parents were we.
Side Note: The second voyage proved to be a lesson in lifesaving. Sawyer set out in Gilkey’s Harbor for a row, with a bit of wind this time. His boat fell apart and he was quick to learn to stay with a floating boat until help arrives…The boat has made it’s way to shore and will be repaired today in hopes of a trip in the swimming pool….
Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Misty Morning

Good morning everyone. We are having our first real fog of the
summer yesterday and today. Dense fog has again settled upon us over
night and the scene is surreal. The spruce trees along the shoreline
are the only relief to the white canvas. Drip, drip, drip… the
moisture strained from the air by the rig falls on the canvas
awnings. Some might think it is raining but the islands know better.

For most islands with thin topsail and little to hold the moisture
the fog is a welcome source of life giving water, every spruce needle
another drip point for life below. The mossy floor holds the
moisture releasing it slowly over time. Rain has been scarce here
these past few weeks. For some folks the fog is a scary obstacle to
be navigated around. For some it is a chance to sit quietly at anchor
and read a good book or go for a walk ashore. But with good planning
we manage to keep moving and enjoy the chance to see the ghostly
apparitions first detected by radar and, better yet, human ears and
eyes. The bold shore becomes a welcome sight. The sound of waves
surging against the rocks, the birds singing in the trees, the echo
from the woods become our navigational aids. My skin welcomes the
break from the sun.

Jen and I were up on the midnight watch last night as a thunderstorm
passed very nearby. We anticipated the wind and rain and stood ready
to pay out more anchor chain. In the darkness we could hear the
rustling of the leaves in the trees ashore, the rain pouring out of
the sky in torrents, the rumbling of thunder, the chilly feel of the
air in the shifting wind. The radar showed the storm close by just a
half mile to the north. And then nothing. Wow…how can that be?
Such intensity so close by raising the hair on our necks as we stood
on the quarterdeck in the darkness poised like cats wary of an
approaching stranger. How cool is that?

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Great Schooner Race

Good morning everyone. This is our Great Schooner Race cruise week.
Monday we "tuned up" with the rest of fleet tearing up and down the
West Bay in a beautiful northwest wind. A few small squalls passed
through so topsails were alternately set and doused as conditions
dictated. The crew got a real work out. We sailed 40 miles by days
end and anchored up with the rest of the fleet a mere 6 miles from
Camden. Just crazy!

Tuesday was Race Day. The course was planned to carry us north
around Isleboro and then back to the southward to the finish line at
the head of Cape Rosier. The smaller Coaster class had the first gun
at 1015. The Leeward and Windward classes sailed together across the
line at 1025 and had an extra leg that added about 5 miles onto the
Coaster course. By starting time the northwest wind had pretty much
died and the drift was on. Just after lunch the wind came onshore
and away we went.

Mary Day managed to ghost along with most of the fleet almost
catching the Coasters by the first mark. They headed off for their
second mark while we continued down wind with a comfortable lead on
the rest of the Leeward and Windward classes. The schooner Heritage
made a real run at us as we closed on the second mark. Rounding the
second mark we came hard on the wind and began the long tacking duel
to weather. A few lifts in the wind along the shore gave us the
ability to keep the weather gage. We even managed to catch a few of
the Coasters. The schooner American Eagle was flying along close on
our heels. One exciting moment in the day was our close tacking
encounter with the slippery Lewis R French. Their bowsprit wasn't a
boat length astern of us as we tacked ahead of them.

In the end, we never did catch the Overall Winner, Grace Bailey. She
finished neck and neck with the Stephen Taber, in what looked like a
amazing tacking duel to the finish. We were several minutes behind
the first boats but several minutes ahead of the rest of the fleet to
take third place overall and first in class. With a few lucky breaks
Mary Day performed admirably, a reflection of her crew and passengers
who worked diligently to keep her trim through the six hour race. We
shall keep the trophy polished for another year. The Americas Cup has
nothing on the Great Schooner Race.

We had our celebratory picnic on the beach yesterday and are anchored
this morning in a tight little tickle between two lovely islands.
Last night's rain has moved off, replaced by light fog that promises
to lift as the day goes on.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.
PS. Thanks Lois for the wonderful team bandanas! They came in handy after all & brought us the luck to keep the cup! Go Blue Team!

Natural Beauty

Good morning everyone. We have had a wonderful week. Friday was the icing on the cake with a cool NW wind and sunshine aplenty. The NW wind died and went SW with little intermission so our sail was especially good. Wednesday and Thursday were quiet days with afternoon showers and thundershowers, most of which missed us. We were talking on the quarterdeck about how we sail in this little bubble out here. We stayed out of the heat and humidity and away from the hub bub of the mainland.

I have always tried to get the schooner as far from the trappings of life ashore as I can. It is interesting to see how quickly we run for the newspaper or the cell phone when we finally find a town. The message that our naturalists Linda and Turk have conveyed is about taking the time to really look for the goodness in nature. With butterfly net and camera in hand they have guided some very cool explorations ashore and aboard and helped us all take a little closer look at the coast.

I know Linda and Turk were heard by the results that Jim Dugan shared in our “class” slide show last evening. My heart always leaps when I see what others have seen during the week. Jim spent the entire day pouring through hundreds upon hundreds of digital photos taken by everyone aboard. Jim was gratified to see how hard folks worked to experiment with some of his suggestions, framing subjects and capturing light in new ways. The slide show is a way that folks can share with absolutely no judgment and with complete acceptance of what each of us sees through the lens of a camera. Now wouldn’t that be an interesting way to work through conflict resolution. The slide show is also a beautiful example of folks focusing on the beauty and wonder in nature. No one told anyone to focus on beauty in nature. Participants naturally do that which says alot to me about the natural goodness of people. Now how cool is that?

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.