Author Archives: Captains Barry and Jen

A First Time Guest’s Perspective

Good morning everyone. I do not often get a chance to see our cruises through the eyes of a first time sailor. Chelle Walton and her husband Rob sailed with us. As a travel writer she is no newbie to travel and leisure. She has seen a fair amount of different vacation opportunities. So any words of praise from her feel good. Of course I don’t know what those folks who had a lousy time have to say but let’s start the new year with a positive outlook. Check it out.

Jen, Sawyer, Courtney and I wish you all the best in the year ahead. Of course tomorrow will not
be any different than today really but I like the the idea of starting anew with resolutions firmly in mind. Every new day is really the same. Don’t you think? I don’t know why I wait for December 31st to make my resolutions. So here is my resolution: To treat everyday like December 31st, all year long. Oh yeah, if you don’t mind me saying, I also resolve to go sailing as much as possible next summer. How about you? Anyone else up for a cruise? As my Dad always said,”it ain’t a dress rehearsal here folks.”

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

A Beautiful Sight

During one of our 6 day cruises in July 2010 I was up early one morning and caught a neat reflection of this good looking schooner in Great Cove off Brooklin, Maine. It is one of the loveliest schooners with a graceful sweeping sheer that goes on forever and lovely douglas fir spars that receive a good scraping and slushing every fall. I am a sucker for a beautiful windjammer.

OK, you schooner experts out there. Which windjammer is it?

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Moving Mountains

Good morning everyone. Katie, Jen and I have been wicked busy trying to clean up fall outdoor projects before the snows of winter bury everything in the door yard under several feet of snow. “Twitching” tree length logs from the woods is the easiest way to get firewood to the splitter. One of our woods roads was blocked by the presence of a small building used to house our harbor tug “Chadwick”. Katie was a little taken aback when I suggested we move the building to a more suitable location. “What could possibly go wrong?” Is it me or do all guys in their late 40s say, “Hold my beer. Watch this!” Hanging on to what tiny shreds of youth are still available it is like we pre-geazers are taking one last stab at believing we really are competent in the wrinkled face of our impotence.

Caution thrown to the wind we jacked the building up on to our 16 foot tandem axle flatbed. With this 20’X 12′ building being of economy construction, 2x4s and recycled shrink wrap from the schooner, gross tonnage was hardly the issue. Our old 1941 Ford 9N scarcely missed a beat towing the entire rig up the hill and backing said building into a tight spot between a few other lumber sheds in the back 40. I only nicked one pile of firewood during the journey which is OK by me considering the “house of cards” potential at hand. I think Katie was impressed to have something new to put on her resume. Jen had a crook in her neck from shaking her head at the whole affair. And I, in my dream like state, believe I have staved off the wrath of time for another few minutes. But, isn’t that part of the fun of all this windjammer stuff anyway? The schooner let’s us do this superhuman stuff that folks ashore just read about. Feeling the tension of the wheel in your hand as the schooner scuds along in a stiff breeze gets the heart pounding and makes you feel alive. Now that is a sure cure for anything that ails you.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Our Holiday Topmast

Good morning everyone. Jen, Katie, and I decided we needed a new topmast for the holidays. What was to be a leisurely day became a mad dash when the harbormaster called with the news that the docks at the head of the harbor would be removed at noon time yesterday. Yikes! OK, so the complexion of the day changed dramatically. The holiday season was off in a rush. I am not saying we couldn’t have brought the new topmast to the boat without the docks but it sure did make it a heck of a lot easier.

So with a little chainsaw work the tree was down, limbed to the appropriate dimensions and onto the truck in a half hour. That was the easy part. Decorating an 18′ tall Christmas tree is a little more of a challenge. We decided putting the lights together on the ground would be wisest.

Next step, aloft we go. Katie sent the winter pig stick down and rigged a gantline. Thankfully Bruce stopped by and with a bit of additional Swedish steam from the harbormaster and Capt Wells of the Lewis R French the tree was sent aloft to the cross trees where Katie and I were waiting. Why I didn’t rig the tree like a yard being sent aloft I will never know. No one ever called me smart.

But with patience and perseverance the mission was a success.

Thankfully it was a warm day and the wind was only blowing 15kts from the west. Go outside next time you have a 15 kt breeze and watching the evergreens sway. I am sure the noon time quarterbacks eating lunch at the town landing must have a had a great show. I will be picking fir needles out of my hair for a few more days.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

What a Difference a Day Makes

Good morning everyone. Wow. What a difference a day makes. Friday was t-shirt weather and Sunday morning we dressed to make snowmen and shovel the deck. The first big snow event hit the East coast Saturday night into Sunday morning. The wind on the bay was gusting well up into the 30s. The heavy snow brought a pine tree down across our wires blowing the fuse at the end of the driveway. Since it was just us and no one else on the street I knew we were in for a long wait. Thank goodness for the outhouse, the hand pump at the well and 5 gallon buckets that balance well on a sled.

Sawyer and I have been walking the woods looking for something to fill the freezer. Our new game camera allows us to be where we aren’t and see when the deer and other wildlife are passing through. I love being in the woods this time of year, even if I am sitting in a snowbank. The closeness of the trees is no less marvelous than the wide horizons of summer sailing. It is all “chicken soup” in my book. Getting out to ramble around in nature is just the ticket, winter or summer. I have been re-reading Thoreau’s “Maine Woods” while I sit in the dark early morning woods listening to barred owls and coyotes off in the distance. I love this season. I try not get too distracted by the million things I have to do back in the office.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good. And have a wicked happy halloween.

Punch Bowl Ramblings

Good morning everyone. This postcard was sent to me by Oscar Richardson. Oscar and his great Uncle Jack DuBose sailed with me years ago. I thought the world of Jack and he sailed annually for several years running until declining health forced him to “swallow the anchor.” I will never forget Jack, in his thickest southern gentlemanly drawl, asking, “Capt Barry, can y’all have yaw man build me a fiah in the fiahplace?” “Jack it’s 70 degrees and it’s only 8AM!” When Jack was a child his family summered at Sedgewick on the Benjamin River, a beautiful little “hole” off the Eggemoggin Reach with a well marked but none the less tricky winding entrance. I say “hole” because the harbor is literally a hole in the ground running along a fault line that bisects the Eggemmoggin Reach and forms the Benjamin River. In the middle of this small anchorage is what I assume is a glacial pocket 60′ deep, perhaps a kettle hole created when a chunk of ice broke away from retreating glaciers. But that doesn’t have much to do with the picture on the postcard.

Anyhoo, Jack grew up summering with Havilah “Buds” Hawkins, Mary Day, and Jane Hennings at Benjamin River. Jane told me that Jack once took her out sailing and wouldn’t give her one shoe back unless she gave him a kiss. I wonder what Jack did with the shoe? But that still has nothing to do with the postcard. The picture on the postcard is of a 4 masted schooner loading ice at a place we call the Punch Bowl, a little pocket of a harbor along the edge of the Reach just west of the bridge. Ships didn’t actually tie up in the Punch Bowl. Instead, they tied up along side the granite bulkhead still visible today just outside the Punch Bowl. Ask me to point it out next time we are near the Deer Isle bridge. From the other side of the hill came ice harvested from Walker Pond, another glacially influenced depression in the landscape. The ice was elevated up the east side of the hill and gravity did the rest I guess. The three masted schooner pictured here would have carried quite a few ice cubes which was worth a fair penny on a hot and humid day before mechanical refrigeration was invented, especially in southern climates where cutting ice from ponds just wasn’t going to happen. Warm lemonade on the veranda doesn’t sound all that refreshing. Shipping ice was big business once upon a time keeping many schooners busy and huge ice houses could be seen especially along some of the larger rivers like the Kennebec above Bath.

So there you have it. My version of history with all its inaccuracies as related to me through Jack’s experience. I could probably research the truth about ice harvesting at Walker Pond and the ice industry in Maine. There are entire books about the subject. But history through the eyes of folks like Jack is quite interesting as well.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

It’s a Wrap

Good morning everyone. Holy cow doesn’t time just whiz by. Do any of you have any ideas on how to do more in a day than humanly possible and still be present with those you love and care for? Well, the 2011 season has come to a close. The schooner is blanketed in shrink wrap for the winter and most of the crew have moved on. Katie will be staying on part time to varnish, paint, and maintain everything. I will be devoting my winter to maintenance as well. The office comes first. This is the first day I have been in the office since????? I still have some winterizing projects aboard the schooner before the docks come out but now is time to sit down and get next season organized. Have you seen our 2012 schedule? has created a wonderful way to sort cruises by date, length, or cruise number. Check it out.

I finally have an answer for you folks who wonder what we do for vacation. This past Columbus Day Weekend, one of the most beautiful anyone can remember, we went “upta camp”. Thank you Joanna, David, and Cheryl for sharing Camp Puckerbrush and giving us a chance to get away. The paddling was awesome! Sunsets and My Katahdin in the background were heart warming. Such a big piece of my soul is in the North Woods. So if I have a place to go when I am not aboard Mary Day it is to the woods from which Mary Day was built. A neat circle if you ask me.

OK, that is it for now. Hope you are all being well and doing good.

A Close Shave

Good morning everyone. We have had a couple of wonderful three day cruises this past week. The weather has continued fair and the sailing has been brisk. We are all hunkered down for Irene and the tropical storm warnings she brings to the Maine coast. Looks like we will get a bit of wind and rain. We take these storm warnings seriously even if we know in the back of our minds that seldom are they as bad as the forecasts predict. We would rather err on the side of caution.

One thing I try not to take seriously is myself. Guests peeking into my office last week wondered about the carbide scraper I was hiding. I shave with it of course. No silly little razor for me. With a beard as tough as mine a carbide scraper is still kind of skimpy. With a little “help” from one of our guests I managed to apply some shaving cream to my beard.

Washing up with a swab? How salty is that?

Maybe I should try a weed wacker next time.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.