The Lunacy Report

SPLASHED: In Early May! First Time Ever

Lunacy launched

Lunacy got launched and rigged at Maine Yacht Center on Monday. I was up there yesterday and managed to get all the sails on before the rain squalls started up. As you can see from the photo up top, I've scored some new canvas, courtesy of Richard Hallett: a replacement purple dodger, a new bright red sail cover, and a new bright blue sunshield on the headsail. At last this is close to the canvas-color configuration I envisioned when I first got the boat, lo these many years ago. (Please note: the canvas multi colors match those of the name graphic, the logic of which I've explained before.)

Every spring I've launched a cruising sailboat in New England, I always swear I'll be afloat as early as possible in May. But something always happens--endless varnishing projects (back when I had boats with brightwork), or some awful unforeseen time-consuming repair (most commonly), or simple mission creep (stuff taking much longer than expected)--and usually I'm lucky if the damn boat is in by mid-June. So I'm feeling pretty pleased about this. Apprehensive, too. As predicted in my last post on this subject, the blizzard should be hitting any day now!

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RUDDER SKEG REPAIR: Getting Ready for Spring

Lunacy hull

IT'S HERE! Spring, I mean. Though there is still snow in the forecast up here in New England, and even in Annapolis, from which I returned last night after holding forth at the World Cruising Club Ocean Sailing Seminar over the weekend. I have an awful feeling I will actually succeed (for once!) in getting Lunacy launched in early to mid-May this year... and there will then be a HUGE BLIZZARD the day after she splashes.

We are forging ahead regardless, so I stopped by Maine Yacht Center last week to see how the old girl's rudder-skeg repair is coming along.

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CRUISING VIEQUES: Top Secret Unexploded Ordinance Map Revealed

Vieques map

The current (November 2013) issue of Yachting World contains a nice feature story I wrote about all the sailing I did on Lunacy last winter in the Spanish Virgin Islands. The theory, of course, is that this will inspire people to sail there this winter. When preparing the story, I therefore made a point of including an accurate map showing which parts of Vieques (a former U.S. Navy gunnery range) are still closed to the public due to the danger of unexploded ordinance. Believe it or not, I did have some trouble coming by this information when I was in the Spanish Virgins, and I impressed upon David Glenn, editor-in-chief at YW, that anyone visiting the area should find it very useful.

Of course, the comic didn't have space to print my map, so I thought I better post it here (see image up top), seeing as how I went to all the trouble of drawing it. If you do visit Vieques this year and somehow manage to blow yourself up, now you can't blame me. But on the other hand, if you want your visit to the island to be as interesting as mine was, you might want to forget to bring the map.

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LOBSTER YACHT VARIATIONS: Research Continues

Lobster yacht quarter

My father has been unhospitalized, and I have resumed the aborted Fall Solo Mini-Cruise aboard Lunacy. I found this lobster yacht, provocatively named, in the cove just north of Malaga Island off Sebasco and thought it made an interesting contrast to the one discussed at the end of my post on Bustins Island. I like it much better--it obviously was once a working fishing vessel, but doesn't pretend to be any longer. The huge barbecue behind the house is a nice touch and makes it clear what the current priorities are.

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CASCO BAY CRUISE: Bustins Island

Lunacy at Bustins

I have a few distant memories of Bustins Island from when we used to visit my father's sister Cynthia and her family there. I remember Archie Ross, a larger-than-life character who used to run the little ferry boat that trundles back and forth between Bustins and nearby South Freeport. I remember walking in my bare feet from my aunt's cottage down a dirt trail to a little store where we bought ice cream in Dixie Cups that we ate with wooden spoons. This memory in particular still stands out in my mind as an epiphany of juvenile summer bliss.

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MAINE COAST CRUISE: Monhegan Island

Monhegan Is. harbor

I was out on the boat with my bride last week (hence the big void in the blog) and made a point of stopping in at Monhegan Island. We were last here eight years ago--aboard my Golden Hind 31 Sophie, with infant Lucy in tow--and I seem to recall spending several hours hiking some very steep technical trails with Lucy strapped to my chest. My very first visit, way back in the 1980s, was in an open 18-foot Drascombe Lugger. I spent the night trying to sleep in the bottom of the boat, worrying about my anchor dragging as a rising southerly wind set all the boats in the harbor pitching and rocking like punching clowns.

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CASCO BAY CRUISE: Eagle Island

Eagle Island dock

Last Wednesday, after sailing out on my own from Portland, I spent the night aboard Lunacy on a mooring at Cliff Island. I awoke the next morning to fog, thin tendrils that first filtered in from the east with the spreading sunlight then thickened and obliterated everything. Later, after it cleared off, I motored just a mile or so north to check out Eagle Island while waiting for the breeze to fill in. This 16-acre preserve, formerly the summer home of Rear Admiral Robert Peary, reputedly the first man ever to reach the North Pole, is now a state park and is open to visitors seven days a week from June 15 to Labor Day each year. There is a prominent dock where you can land a dinghy at the island's northwest corner and a collection of moorings that are available for day use.

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CASCO BAY CRUISE: The Goslings

Goslings anchorage

I went out on Lunacy on my own on Monday afternoon and sailed up to Lower Goose Island, just across Middle Bay from Harpswell Neck. There's a cozy-looking anchorage here, just north of two ancillary islets called the Goslings, that I've spied from a distance but have never actually visited before. According to my copy of Taft and Rindlaub's Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast, this spot is popular on weekends, but empty during the week, so I was looking forward to some solitude. But no. By the time I got there, it was already filled with boats with out-of-state plates--Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Jersey--a good mix of sail and power.

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