Monthly Archives: November 2008

Rock and Roll in Camden

Good morning everyone. Wow… did it blow Tuesday night. An intense low pressure system passed in land from the coast and brought a good southeasterly wind with it. Seas to 21’ and wind gusts to 67 knots were observed offshore. Rockland had sustained winds in the mid 40s with gusts to 53 mph. Here in Camden harbor the swell kept the windjammers rocking and rolling all day long. Jen took these photos at low tide late in the afternoon and the wind picked up even more through the early evening. She had everything she could do just to stand against the wind and keep the camera somewhat dry.

We worked aboard the schooner painting and varnishing in the galley on Tuesday. Have you ever felt the land moving under your feet after a day on a rocking boat? That happened for both of us when we got home. What a peculiar sensation. The bay was feather white. At high tide that night the swell came roaring over the outer ledges and tossed the schooners about even more than we experienced aboard. We couldn’t capture the scene in the dark at the evening high tide around 9 o’clock but it was just wild with waves washing over the bulkhead and wind howling in the rigging. It is all very exhilarating but moving about the streets proved to be quite challenging. Trees and power lines were down everywhere. Many of us on the fire department were up all night clearing downed trees and pumping flooded basements. By dawns early light the schooner was still afloat with the cover intact, one more thing to be quite thankful for. Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving Day.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

A Very Cool Visit

Good morning everyone. We had a fabulous weekend with the kids playing tourist in our own backyard. Guests always ask what we do during the winter and this weekend was “Courtney’s Pick.” We were celebrating her 8th birthday and she wanted to go visit Fort Knox (no gold here) and Fort Point State Park. Just a 45 minute drive from home and with a few friends in tow we explored the coldest day of the season. Wow, was it cold! See what I mean about bragging rights. It was so cold… well, you get the point.

Fort Knox is a small state park built around the largest granite fortification in Maine. Built between 1844 and 1864, long after the Revolution was over, the fort protects the narrowest section of the Penobscot River, the key to the highly valued timber resources up river in the deep Maine woods. I can’t imagine the amount of energy it must have taken to cut, move and build the fort from the tremendous number of granite blocks that are still as intact as the day they were placed. I can only guess that many schooners were kept busy moving granite blocks in their holds. The kids loved running through the tunnels armed with headlamps and wild imaginations.

Just a short drive away we visited Fort Point Sate Park, a place quite familiar to Mary Day. We anchor up in Fort Point Cove a few times each summer especially during our lighthouse and natural history tours. Ranger Terry Cole always welcomes us ashore and gives tours of the lighthouse (complete with original fourth order fresnel lens). The Coles were not home, nor were the summer residents of this berry filled nest but the familiar fruit trees, the bell hanging in its tower, and the sand spit of a beach covered with rockweed were in season. Walking around the park was like visiting an old friend. As we walked back to our car a lone seal poked its head up from the icy waters below the bell tower. I did my usual “oooh-oooh-oooh… look, a seal” dance, as much a kid as the kids. How cool is that?

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Walking on Water

Good morning everyone. We are in the midst of an early cold snap here in Maine. Temperatures are about 10 degrees below normal so what should be lower 40s during the day are just barely breaking freezing. Every little snowflake sends the kids into their own flurry of excitement. I don’t mind the colder temperatures. As I have said in these blogs before, cold temperatures give us 1) bragging rights, and 2) bananas left out on a cold day may turn brown on the outside but they are still good to eat on the inside. So to my delight I found bona fide ice on Camden harbor filling the entire northeast corner. Most of the ice around the windjammers melted away in the heat of the day. The local boat yard sent out a skiff with an outboard and 2 fellas (one up forward as ballast) to break up the ice around their pilings, some of which have been lifted out of the mud in the past by clinging ice and rising tides. I shook my head and thought that these fellas are in for one long winter. By the way, nature will win.

Jen and I have been working in the galley this week. I finished winterizing the systems and then I poked at a soft spot in the lower corner of the ice box.
After a little surgery I discovered that entire lower third was filled with rot. There was never any vapor barrier to prevent the moisture from the atmosphere from condensing against the inside layer of fiber glassed plywood. I found some old polyester filler when I took things apart indicating that someone had been here before. It will all be as good as new in a week or so. I can actually stand up inside the ice box. I guess that makes it a walk-in. Now that is a lot of food as you folks who have sailed with us know. Jen has buffed out the main cabin dining tables until they are smooth like a baby’s bottom.
I like this one shot of the gull walking on water. See, the wonders of the cold never cease.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good

Foggy Fall Windjammers

Good morning everyone. Nothing can be stranger than the weather around Camden. Temperatures have been extremely warm these past few days. Fog was hanging heavy on the harbor on Saturday morning and I just couldn’t resist getting my camera out to photograph the windjammers and the ducks that were hunkering down at the head of the harbor. We had a strong blow on Saturday night that took down a long deceased wolf pine here in the dooryard. Oddly enough we slept right through it never hearing the crash over the howl of the wind in the trees. Thankfully the leaf reefing process is done and the windage on the limbs has mostly been alleviated.

We had a spring tide on the fourteenth that was quite a phenomenon with water lapping at the flukes. The moon was at perigee and also full (the full Beaver Moon) within a day of each other causing the tide to rise high above the wall as the leaf line tells. I am amused to see duck heads bobbing along at eye level with the wall and to see the docks all uphill. The jump up on to the wall is an easy one. A lone gull stood watch on a now isolated piling that supports summer docks that rest quietly ashore.Today is supposed to be the last warm one we will see for a while so Jen and I will be aboard painting the off-white trim in the galley. This next week will be spent tearing apart the very tired old paint floats and securing the last of the schooner’s systems. Deckhand Rob has moved on for the time being. With luck we may be seeing his smiling face gracing the decks again in the spring.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Details, details

Good morning everyone. The weeks have been flying since we stopped sailing. Crunch time is here before the docks are taken out and we are forced to stop working aboard the schooner. Deckhand Rob has been diligently picking away at numerous small projects all of which add up to a tremendous jump start on the fit-out process for next spring. The weather has been quite warm, relative to the state of Maine. I know you folks from south of the Mason Dixon line might shudder to think we consider anything over 40 degrees to be varnish weather. We look at the directions on the varnish can as just guidelines.
All of the cabin houses have been sanded and numerous repairs to the aging fiberglass are made. Whoever said fiberglass is maintenance-free must have been kidding. Yesterday we laid down a second coat of oil on the deck to seal things up for the winter and to guard against the inevitable small drips of paint that come with new hands painting each spring. As you can see, Rob gets the finesse work while I just get nuns knees after 4 hours.
I finally got a chance to level out the port midships companionway threshold, a project I have been waiting to get to for years. Ever since the mid 70s when the companionways were shifted from their outboard position to the current configuration the port side has been 2” higher than the starboard side (or any other threshold on the schooner for that matter). While it may seem a small detail that extra 2” makes a difference when climbing up that last step. Ronny Hawkins, whose dad Buds Hawkins designed and captained the schooner for 20 years before handing the business over to his sons, was aboard visiting last week and admitted he had never noticed the discrepancy. All these little details add up in the long run. I have a long list of detail work that I will get to eventually. One of the great things about windjammers is that the list of details can go on forever. We call that job security. No fear of down sizing in this business.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Anchors Aweigh

Good morning everyone. I was in New Hampshire yesterday and the top of Mt Washington has a heavy dusting of snow. The view across the Mt Washington Valley was just beautiful and afternoon snow flurries confirmed the coming of winter. I attended a day long recertification workshop for my wilderness EMT credential. We spent the better part of the day practicing scenarios outdoors. I attend many of these kinds of workshops and trainings all winter long. Next week I will be attending the local EMS seminar here in Rockland including a day long intensive in pediatric issues.

So it is busy, busy, busy. Today we will be spreading another coat of varnish onto the spars while the weather is warm. We are trying to get the deck oiled as well. I will continue vacuuming the bilges and cleaning the nooks and crannies below decks.

Even the anchors on the wall get a coat of winter protection in the form of 50/50 gloss black paint and Penetrol. Penetrol is one of those sakes oils that helps seal metal work and paint flow. We love it as an additive to everything including our morning coffee. Someone asked how we get the anchors up onto the wall. We used to just grab hold of the anchors and physically lift them (all 540 lbs) up onto the wall. Well, 16 years and one hernia later I finally devised a long overhanging beam that mounts to the rack on my truck to which I attach a chain fall hoist. I back the beam and its hoist out over the paint float on which the anchor has been transported and raise the anchor clear of the wall. Pull ahead 3 feet and lower away. As simple as that. No fuss, no muss. Now you know just how slow on the uptake your beloved captain really is.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good. Please VOTE!