Rockland Yacht Club’s (RYC annual cruise—8/6 through the 13th) was kicked off with the usual cocktail party Friday evening at RYC’s waterfront clubhouse in Rockland—a great time to make final plans and to mingle.
Gathering at the breakwater lighthouse Saturday morning—heading down east were: Sea Monkey (Judy Turner and Alan MacDonald), Intuito (Melissa and Jim Evers with guest Elizabeth) and Spirits (Steve and Jennie Pierce and their four guests). Acadia (Gerry and Karen Hull) left Rockland later and caught up to the other boats before the Fox Island Thoroughfare, but then turned back to Rockland.
The remaining vessels continued east, running into fog at the entrance to Merchant’s Row. Although the fog didn’t last long, it was again encountered as the flotilla approached Burnt Coat Harbor at Swan’s Island. The fog at Burnt Coat was so dense “that we had to almost hit a boat before we could see it in the mooring field,” according to Steve Pierce, the cruise director.
The plan was to anchor, but there wasn’t enough visibility to see if there was swing room to safely anchor. Altair (Julie and Rick Palm) and Persephone (Toni and Gerritt Vander Veer), already in the harbor, provided guidance for safe anchoring. Also checking in via VHF radio were Sea Jab (Al Hodsdon)—on the other side of Swan’s Island at Buckle Harbor—Snowy Owl (Jody and Don Abbott) and Selkie (Terry and Bill Burrows) at Cranberry Islands. Cocktails were aboard the exquisite Altair, a Saga 48.
Sunday was forecast to be wet and windy and so it was, just as forecasted. Due to the weather, the five boats stayed put in the harbor. Spirits’ crew went to shore for a drenching walk and Adrian, one of Spirits guests, caught two Pollock. As no one planned to depart, there was plenty of time to change to dry clothes, eat a hot lunch of soup and grill cheese sandwiches and then play cards all afternoon. Snowy Owl braved the weather and came over to join the others in Burnt Coat Harbor.
The planned destination for the club cruise was Roque Island, but due to a less than pleasant weather forecast, the itinerary was changed on Monday, and the flotilla headed for Southwest Harbor. Persephone had engine-cooling problems and stayed behind in Burnt Coat Harbor along with Altair who volunteered to give them a hand in fixing their problem. Persephone and Altair got under way later. Persephone’s engine problems persisted and eventually received a tow from Altair into Southwest Harbor. We are very grateful to the crew of Altair for their generous and selfless aid to Persephone. Osprey (Phil), Selkie and Summer Salt (Bob Spencer with guest Ed Neisingh) joined the others at Southwest Harbor.
Tuesday was cool and clear with a wind from the NNE. Some sailed to Pretty Marsh while others, with less patience for the very light winds near Bass Head, motored. Persephone was successful in squaring away her engine problems in Southwest Harbor and caught up with the group in Pretty Marsh. Nine boats anchored and moored in Pretty Marsh: Selkie, Altair, Osprey, Sea Monkey, Spirits, Summer Salt, Snowy Owl, Intuito and Persephone. At cocktail hour, a large crowd assembled on Spirits, where all were able to view an underwater video, made by one of Spirits’ crewmembers.
During the wee small hours of morning the wind became very strong and gusty, causing Intuito to drag her anchor. The crew of Snowy Owl braved the pouring rain in their dinghy and gave Intuito a hand. After getting their situation under control, Intuito’s crew managed to pick up a mooring for the remaining time.
Wednesday morning, the group made the short journey from Pretty Marsh to Blue Hill, arriving at the Kollegewidgwok Yacht Club early enough to walk to town and explore. The crew of Spirits checked out the Blue Hill Library and encourages others to discover this beautiful, very popular library. Meanwhile, Selkie’s crew had a more important purpose—taking their sick dog to the veterinarian for a successful visit.
Thursday was cloudy with a good breeze right from the direction the sailors wanted to go. This proved to be no problem, as the boats all tacked out of Blue Hill Bay along the west side of Long Island for a wonderful day of sailing. Boats ending up in Buckle Harbor included: Altair, Sea Monkey, Spirits, Summer Salt, Intuito and Persephone. Although a bit of a squeeze getting the six RYC boats in the harbor, along with the other boats there, it was accomplished with fine seamanship. Buckle Island is a wonderful island to walk around and it even has a door one can pass through to Reality! Evening cocktails were enjoyed on the granite rocks of Buckle Island.
On Friday, boats split up to go to various destinations. Some headed for Eggemoggin Reach, Altair headed to Seal Bay at Vinalhaven, while Summer Salt, Spirits and Sea Monkey headed to Laundry Cove at Isle Au Haut. At Laundry Cove, the crews went ashore to see the sights: the tiny post office, the general store and the beautiful church. After this, all went exploring on Flake Island. Summer Salt’s Bob Spencer gave sailing lessons in his sailing dinghy, and Tom and Adrian, guests on Spirits, were the beneficiaries—although it was highly regarded that Bob was also beneficiary. The kids and Bob all enjoyed this, as the kids seem to be catching the sailing fever.
Later that day the crew of Spirits secured lobsters from a nearby lobster boat and had a great cockpit dinner. Crews from the three Isle Au Haut boats got together on Summer Salt and admired the fantastic results of all the hard work done by Summer Salt’s crew during the winter and spring. Saturday dawned as a splendid day with bright blue skies and enough wind to enjoy a wonderful sail from the Fox Island Thoroughfare to Rockland, completing the loop.
Although uncooperative weather prevented execution of the originally planned itinerary, all those participating reported having a great time!
____ Written by RYC Publicity Chairman, Paul White.
Reprinted from Points East Magazine, Fall 2011.