Summer Solstice Cruise:  June 21 - 24, 2007

Thursday, June 21, 2007
With work and Heidi's commute time, we couldn't leave for the boat till about 1900.  After a stop at the supermarket in Rockland for some ice and supplies, we got to the boatyard at around 2030, trekked the seemingly huge amount of gear down the dock, and then ferried it--and us--out to the boat in two very full dinghy runs.  By the time we stowed the gear and food, and cooked a simple dinner, it was well after 2200, and time for bed.  It was a pleasant, quiet evening.

Friday, June 22, 2007:  Rockland - Seal Bay (Vinalhaven)
Distance Traveled:  17.3nm | Rhumb Line Distance:  16.6nm

I was up by 0700, and while drinking coffee watched some dark clouds and showers pass by just inland of Rockland somewhere.  They weren't overly threatening, but it was nice to see them head away from our general area.  In their wake was a reasonably sunny sky, with a brisk NW wind of 10-15 steady, and some occasional higher gusts.  The temperature was chilly, in the low 60s at best, but the sun, when it came out, was warm.

We raised the main, dropped the mooring just after 0900, and scooted quickly out of the harbor on the gusty winds.  Just outside the breakwater, I unrolled the jib, and we enjoyed an excellent sail across the bay towards the entrance to Fox Islands Thorofare, about 5-6 miles away.  We enjoyed speed of up to 6.5 knots on a fine broad reach, though the angle became tighter as we approached the islands (North Haven and Vinalhaven).  The wind was up and down, but remained at a pleasant sailing velocity.  There were hit-or-miss showers to be seen all around us, but for now we remained dry.


As we approached the thorofare, the wind continued to come forward and increase.  Knowing that our course required a substantial turn even further into the wind once we cleared the markers at the point, and with a trend towards higher wind speeds, I elected to take in a reef in the main.  I was glad we did, as it was clearly the correct amount of sail.  With less and less sun during our crossing, it had become rather chilly.


In the thorofare, as we headed towards the Sugar Loaves, I could see a heavy-looking shower near the North Haven shore, and soon enough we were in the midst of a strong rain, with winds approaching 20 knots from on the bow.  A bit earlier, knowing the futility of sailing through the fluky thorofare, we had rolled the jib and started the engine.  With the cool temperatures, the rain felt very cold, but it only lasted 10 minutes or so.


We had an uneventful and nearly traffic-free trip through the thorofare, which highlighted how generally early in the season it still was; normally, we're used to being in this area only in late July and Augusts, not June, and the difference in the number of boats was obvious.  As we neared the eastern end of the thoroware, we passed two windjammers heading for their home ports:  first the Nathanial Bowditch, and then the distinctive Victory Chimes.


On the East Penobscot Bay side of the thorofare, the weather was completely different, with no wind whatsoever.  The skies were brighter, the visibility better, and the seas calm, so we continued under power the short distance down to the entrance to Seal Bay.


With a powerboat anchored in the spot east of Burnt Island, and a northwesterly wind predicted all weekend, we decided to continue past the islands and anchor further towards the western end of the area, where we'd been on a previous stay some time ago.  We found our spot and anchored in a soft mud bottom about 10' down at low tide ad around 1230.

Very soon, the skies cleared, and for some time we enjoyed warm sunshine and beautiful, calm conditions--idyllic, even. We enjoyed grilled sausage, onions, and peppers for lunch.   But the weather was unstable and changeable, and throughout the afternoon we saw many different faces of the bay, from calm and sunny to wind-whipped and rainy.  After only an hour or two of sun, we began to see frequent--but light--showers that were just pesky enough to get everything wet and force us below.  A couple thunderstorms looming in the western skies skirted us, but brought some moderate winds in the 20s and some light-to-moderate rain for a time.




The showers continued well into the evening, complicating plans to enjoy the outdoors, but we never had any serious rain or storms, fortunately.  Late in the afternoon, I rowed around for a bit, returning to the boat mere moments before the next shower began.  We enjoyed some good soft cheese and crackers, and the first cocktails of the season on board before having some pork tenderloin on the grill for dinner.


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Glissando, Pearson  Triton #381

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