Monthly Archives: July 2008

A Great Finish and a Wonderful Start

Good morning everyone. We finished of f the Wooden Boat sail training experience with the “final exam” on Friday. We did not have much wind but this group really capitalized on the opportunity to take the reins and sail Mary Day back to the “barn”. I could not have planned things any better than how they happened. This particular group chose to elect captains for each watch group. The individual captains did a great job with tremendous support form their “crew”. I encouraged everyone to taste a piece of the cake. I can only hope that happened even if it might not have happened exactly as people might have dreamed. The lack of wind was offset by some beautiful sunshine… an element we did not see an awful lot of last week. We actually came out quite lucky with the doom and gloom forecast we faced at the beginning of the week. For the first time in weeks I actually had my rain gear on for a couple hours on Friday morning. My fruit trees back home were thankful for a refreshing drink.

We are off to the Sweet Chariot Folk Festival this week. Yesterday we sailed all the way from Camden to Brooklin at 8-10 knots most of the day and anchored up with time to have a walk ashore. We are due to attend the festival Wednesday night. There is quite the concert happening right now on deck. We have some very talented guests this week. Great voices and some fantastic guitar to go with it. The folk festival will be its usual diverse collection of folk genres. It isn’t Dylan but it is always entertaining. We will get a picnic in tomorrow with any luck. It is another forecast with showers here and there throughout the week. But as I always say… a bad day on a schooner still beats the heck out of a good day at the office.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Sail Training for Big Kids

Good morning everyone. We are anchored here in Pretty Marsh Harbor for the first time this year. I can hear the laughter of folks on deck from our little cabin in the fo’c’s’l. One of the things I love about this anchorage is that the stately old spruce that stand sentinel over this harbor toss the sounds back and forth across the harbor to each other. All night I could hear loons yodeling and calling in the stillness.

We have finished Day 2 of this Wooden Boat course. We picnicked in a nearby cove at days end. We have had two great days of learning without a whole lot of wind but just enough to give us a feel for tacking without too much stress. The navigators are putting together the pieces of the speed. distance, time calculations and course plotting. Steering by compass is not as easy as it looks. Tacking topsails is an exercise in timing and teamwork. The bow watch is keeping a watchful eye on the many lobster boats that keep crossing under our bow. This morning several folks were wandering the decks early studying their pinrail diagrams. Thankfully there are only 47 lines to memorize. It will all come to a head on Friday when the “crew” has the chance to take the reins and guide us back to Camden.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Photo of Tom by Jessica with Tom’s camera. See… it pays to bring your camera. And your sister in law!

Great Expectations

Good morning everyone. Well it has been some old busy around here. Like the bees in our field we just go, go, go. We have had some great cruises and seldom do we have time to bask in the glow of each week. We are attempting to make family time on the “weekends” our top priority. We have actually mowed the lawn twice since we started sailed, already ahead of last year! Some one recently asked me if we get tired of this crazy life we lead. My response is simple. I get tired, yes, but I do not get tired of this. I just wish I had more juice to give to each day. As I explained the real balancing act for me is one of self-expectations. Trying to be all things to all people ends up making me feel more tired and more like a failure which in turn makes me feel more tired and the now you got the dog chasing its own tail. Expectations would seem to be easy to keep in check but as one friend recently explained to me expectations are premeditated resentments. Not sure I believe it but there is a Zen quality to that idea makes some sense. Perhaps Popeye was right… I amsk what I amsk. It is what it is.

So the schooner is doing great. I can’t tell you how delighted I am with the crew. They have been working incredibly hard. We are starting to get time off for folks with Rob and Sara each having had a week off. Molly has just a few weeks to go before she has to head back to school. Curtis just keeps smiling. And how does Mary do it? Day in and day out she just keeps creating beautiful meals.

This week is our annual Wooden Boat sail training course. So for all you folks who have dreamed about being a deckhand on the schooner, keep your eyes peeled. I should be able to get ashore to the office there and get a few pictures on. In the meantime…

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Photo of Mary Day from this years Great Schooner Race by Neal Parent.

Happy Birthday!

Good Friday Afternoon!

It’s been a great week on the bay, lots to tell and lots to show. We’ll try to catch up this weekend with a blog. But this day is a special one we can’t let slip by, for one person we owe a hugh “Thanks” to….Curtis’ wife, Peggy. Thanks Peggy for letting Curtis join our crew. He’s doing great, mighty tired, and still smiling. Everyone here at the Mary Day loves him and hope YOU have a wonderful day on your birthday!

Great Schooner Race 2008

Good morning everyone. A look at the schedule will tell you that this is Race Week in the Windjammer fleet. The Great Schooner Race is unlike most races in the yachting world. No set course… the course is made up the day of the race depending on the weather. The classes are divided up by age and relative speed and size. The handicap system tries to even things out but goodness knows it is all just guess work. In the end it boils down to skill, luck, and just plain fun with guests jumping in where they see an opportunity.

Mary Day starts at the back of the pack along with the American Eagle… the only other schooner regularly in our class. The schooner Roseway was up for a visit and sailed in our class as well. The J & E Riggin, Nathaniel Bowditch, Heritage and Angelique sail in what we call the Leeward Class sailing a slightly shorter course and getting a 15 minute head start on us. The pre World War One coasting schooners, Victory Chimes, Grace Bailey, Lewis R French, Mercantile, Stephen Taber, Isaac H. Evans and Timberwind start 15 minutes ahead of them and sail and even shorter course. In the end it usually works out about even depending on how the winds hold. In the case of yesterday’s race the early bird got the worm but the second mouse got the cheese.

On the up wind leg the Leeward class really showed their stuff and were in a cluster by the time they rounded the windward mark. American Eagle luffed us up from our weather advantage shortly after the start forcing us to tack away. Not to worry. I had personally given up any hope of catching the fleet so sailed my merry way to the far side of the bay. It was there that the wind and tide gave us a boost. In most places the breeze seemed to be easing up with the last of the ebb tide but held where we were and gave us enough lift so that we had a clear weather advantage on American Eagle when we crossed tacks. The Leeward class all of a sudden started to loom a little larger but distant none the less. All we needed now was a little luck (OK… a lot of luck!).

I lost track of the Coasters whose course was several miles down wind of ours but evidently they sailed into a hole, a place with no wind whatsoever. The Leeward class rounded the weather mark and promptly sailed in to a hole as well. I was frustrated to have to sail around yet another island just to weather of their turning mark until I realized that the we might hold the wind. And sure enough we did. The extra mileage began to look like an opportunity. We sailed a very fine line of wind while their sails hung limp in the hot afternoon sun. We had just lowered one of the small boats to tow us through a brief calm (yes, under oar power as allowed by the rules) when the onshore breeze came with the turn of the tide. Away we ran on the downwind leg to the finish line. Could we catch the Coasters? No way, no how. But as they say, it ain’t over ‘tyil the big lady with horns on her hat sings the final note.

The Coasters were stuck only a ¬Ω mile from the finish in their own private calm as we whisked our way toward the finish. We managed to close the 3 mile gap in short order before hauling the wind with us. There was a very fine edge of wind close up under the Little Deer Isle shore that carried us past most of the Coasters. The Grace Bailey had clearly crossed the line under sail a good 5 minutes before us but the French and Taber lay close ahead. The perennial winner of the three master class, the Victory Chimes, had also cleared the line and won for an unprecedented 19th year in a row! The French sliced the ribbon just a minute ahead of us and the finish between the Taber and Mary Day was neck and neck. With the weather guage in hand we crossed just moments ahead of the Taber covering her in our lee. So it was not our day to be the fastest in the fleet but first in class and third two-master over the line was a fair prize in my book all things considered. The Leeward class finish was taken by Angelique who narrowly beat out the Heritage. The racing was all in all quite exciting and we loved the final lap down the Eggemmoggin Reach in company with the rest of the fleet to our evening anchorage at Wooden Boat.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.