The Lunacy Report

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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FOURTH OF JULY: Cruising Across Casco and Back

Lucy on Lunacy

Unlike last year, when we were beset with fog entering the Kennebec River on our annual Independence Day cruise to Popham Beach, this year we had good visibility and even some wind to carry us across Casco Bay from Portland. It was just me and Lucy aboard Lunacy, as Clare was plagued with work and had to drive up from New Hampshire later in the day. Though the wind was relatively light, the screecher made the most of it and we made good time, taking just five hours in all from mooring to mooring.

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ALUMINUM HULL ANXIETIES: Return of the Leaky Rudder Skeg and More Bottom Paint Rumpus

Lunacy hauled out

Lunacy got hauled out at Maine Yacht Center soon after we arrived there from Bermuda last week, and yesterday I went up to have a look at her. As you can see in the photo up top, there's very little bottom paint left on her nether parts. She's been mostly bald like this for most of the winter. Since taking her down to Puerto Rico last November, it's been a battle keeping the growth off and she's had her bottom scrubbed five times--three times by me and twice by divers. Besides being too soft to stay on the boat for a full year, or after a few scrubs, the ablative copper-free Ultima Eco paint I had on didn't seem to be an effective deterrent to life in tropics.

So I was wrestling with the big question: do I finally abandon my quest for an effective copper-free paint? Is it time to resort to the "nuclear option"??? The MYC service manager Jeff Stack and I discussed what would be involved, i.e., lathering on more barrier coating in hopes of keeping a hard, or semi-hard, copper paint separated from Lunacy's vulnerable aluminum self.

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NORTHBOUND LUNACY: Bermuda to Maine

At sea

Just arrived yesterday in Portland, Maine, with crew members Billy "Swizzle" Springer and Adam "Twinkletoes" Cort after another reasonably fast passage on Lunacy. This time we covered a distance of 820 miles in 5 days 6 hours, again without using too much fuel for motoring--just 13 gallons. Which means in all, moving the boat 1,670 miles from Puerto Rico to Maine via Bermuda, I used just 18 gallons of fuel. Not so much because I got lucky with wind, but because I had light-air sails (see photo up top of Lunacy ghosting along under her screecher) and was willing to use them.

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BERMUDA FITTED DINGHIES: More Extreme Sailing

Bermuda dinghy downwind

Practically the first thing I learned on flying back to Bermuda to rejoin Lunacy this past Thursday was that there would be dinghy races here in St. George's Harbor on Friday. That and the prospect of a front moving through on Saturday immediately put my inchoate plan for a Memorial Day weekend mini-cruise with the bride on the back burner. No way could I miss a dinghy race. I've been fascinated with these traditional local racing machines--formally known as Bermuda fitted dinghies--ever since I first saw some racing here way back in August 1995.

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NORTHBOUND LUNACY: Sailing From Puerto Rico to Bermuda

Sunrise at sea

This was a fast passage with very little motoring. My mate Mr. Lassen and I covered the 830 some miles between Fajardo and St. Georges in less than six days and burned only about five gallons of fuel in the process. Not my fastest passage ever between the Onion Patch and the W'Indies, but I think it's the fastest northbound trip I've ever made at this time of year.

The normal pattern is to have moderate to strong easterly tradewinds for the first two or three days, followed by variable junk the rest of the way to Bermuda. If you're unlucky you may see more junk than wind and end up motoring most of way. What we saw was almost the opposite of normal--a good dose of light air during the first few days, then moderate to strong wind through the latter part of the passage.

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