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Cruise Report 2018

2018 saw a totally non-traditional Club Cruise for the Harlem. A traditional but short cruise to Watch Hill, RI, was organized for about five boats, mostly by PC Bruce Lages, but, alas, on departure day it got rained out by heavy weather the first few of its days.  But that’s not the end of the story. Several Harlemites did cruise this year, to ports away from Eastchester Bay. Some of them told me about their adventures and others did not. Lene and I sailed our boat to Maine from July 4 to September 4 (broken by a one week car trip from Maine to Quebec City while ILENE’s keel was modified by the addition of an 1140 pound lead slab to its bottom at a yard in Maine). Subtracting the seven yard days, ILENE’s cruise was only 56 days. 

Along the way, serendipitously, we met four current and former Harlem boats.

Our first night away was at nearby Cold Spring Harbor where I spied a familiar looking hull. Closing her, I was right; it was Jim Porter’s old canoe-sterned Ocean Voyager, “Aria”, with Chris Green’s partner and his friend aboard. I had helped Jim sail Aria from Baltimore to the Club about 25 years ago and it was a sweet reunion. We circled her several times while chatting before setting our own anchor.

In the mouth of the harbor of the tiny village of Frenchboro, on Long Island, Maine, about eight miles out to sea, off Mount Desert Island, there are only six moorings available. They used to be free but now cost $25 the night. The town has only one restaurant, which was closed. It has great moss-covered trails but the weather made hiking unattractive that day. The island’s other attraction is its free public library -- large for a town with only a hundred residents in the summer, half that in the winter. It is open 24/7 with good wifi, and we went there so I could catch up the blog. After dinking back to our boat I heard: “ROGER!”  It was Rick and Claudia and two year old, Dylan,  dinking back to their Hylas, “Charisma”, riding on the next mooring. We had blueberry sweet potato pancakes with them the next morning. (Lene doesn’t let me make them unless we have guests.)

Our next port was Buck’s Harbor at the eastern end of Eggermoggin Reach. It is a favorite because a) it’s less than a quarter mile from a fine dining restaurant and b) they have an outdoor shower. Former members Ken and Camille Rossner keep their Freedom, “No News” in Maine yearround these days -- at Bucks during the summer. I dinked over for a chat. They used to sail in our Club Cruises.

On our next-to-last night out we anchored behind the beach at the west side of Port Jefferson’s Harbor; up came PC Bob and Laura Fleno’s Island Packet, “Thai Hot; we had rendezvoused with them in St. Martin in the winter of 2011-12.

This was our fourth cruise in Maine, the third aboard ILENE. We made 45 passages to 44 different ports. (A second stop in Rockport Maine was needed for Witty to be helped by a vet there.) And fourteen of the ports were new to us  We took ten days getting to Maine (40.5 NM per passage) and eleven coming home (35 NM per passage). And we spent 35 days on the boat in Maine, with 27 passages there, averaging only 15 NM per passage. No need to rush it in the destination cruising grounds. Our furthest stop was Roque Island, which Bennett Webber had visited with us in 2013. It is about 40 miles “downeast” from Bar Harbor. Walking along the .98 mile long crescent beach (Orchard Beach is only .52 miles long) we met a couple with their big dog. They invited us to bring victuals to a musical evening aboard a friend’s boat. All told, four boats were in the harbor with eight folks (and the dog) aboard. One banjo, one guitar, one vocals, us and plenty to eat and drink.

One of the many delights was a day trip by ferry from Port Clyde to Monhegan Island, about ten miles off the mouth of Penobscot Bay. Why the ferry? Because there is no anchorage in the island’s harbor, a cut, exposed to the prevailing SW and NE winds, and all of the moorings in it are used by fishing boats -- unless you call the harbor master and get lucky. And it is a far piece from a safe haven if you don’t get lucky. But the island is beautiful with great views, trails, artists and a good restaurant.

The details of the cruise are recorded in 33 posts to ilenetheboat.blogspot.com.

We escaped this summer’s brutal heat back home; it was warm but not hot. We used the light quilt and stowed the heavy blue one with our winter gloves. I felt bad that I had forgotten to bring the plastic cockpit enclosures down from our locker, but such really was not needed this summer. And the rain was not frequent. We did suffer though from one condition that afflicted Western Long Island Sound this summer: light winds. Too many of the 1079 NM of the cruise were dieseled.

Fog was a problem, more than last year on our way back from Nova Scotia. It is bad enough alone but the density of lobster pot floats is a serious hazard. In the Mount Desert Region they use “toggled” floats. One float is at the end of the line leading down to the trap, but it may be pulled slightly under water by the strong currents so a second float is tied to the first, about 25 feet away. It’s fine if you are going parallel to the 25 feet of line, but when the current is across your path, you have a series of 25 foot wide barriers. In some spots the water is thick with them and you must avoid them to leeward or you will be blown into them. I had been congratulating myself for not catching any of them in 2017. But this year I had four dips into the briny. On two occasions, investigation showed that we had shaken loose. But I had to untangle the lines the other two times and caught quite a chill during one such swim.