The Lunacy Report

SOUTHBOUND LUNACY: Triple Gulf Stream Crossing

Lunacy in Gulf Stream

HAVING SUFFERED NO DAMAGE while lying in port during Superstorm Sandy, Lunacy at last departed New Hampshire at 1000 hours last Thursday. Aboard with me were two pick-up crew enlisted through Offshore Passage Opportunities: Minnie Burke, 23, a young adventuress from Virginia, and Chris Salas, 41, a doctor from Rhode Island. Neither had much, if any, offshore sailing experience, and I was careful not to sugarcoat our prospects. I told them what I tell anyone who proposes to sail from New England to Bermuda in the fall: this is normally a difficult passage; you will be sailing in winds over 30 knots; you will be uncomfortable.

I was as good as my word. Indeed, I was thrice as good.

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SOUTHBOUND LUNACY: Waiting for Sandy

Trop. Storm Sandy model forecasts

I've been scuttling about the past few weeks prepping Lunacy for her trip south to Puerto Rico. On Sunday we moved her from Portland down here to Portsmouth, bashing into some inconvenient head seas along the way, and starting tomorrow we'll take another jump down to Newport. After that comes a big leap to Bermuda. The fly in the ointment there is a storm named Sandy, which, as of early yesterday morning, was forecast to be past Bermuda and recurving east by Sunday or Monday. The image you see up top, pilfered from Weather Underground, shows modeled tracks for Sandy as of yesterday morning in pink and the official forecast track in white.

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ULTRASONIC ANTIFOULING: Second Full-Season Results

Lunacy hauled

Lunacy was hauled at Maine Yacht Center last week, just for a quick scrub and zinc replacement, as I plan on taking her south to Puerto Rico for the winter. This is the second full season she's had her Ultrasonic Antifouling system clicking away trying to keep her private parts clean. As you can see in the photo up top, the results from a distance look pretty good.

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FATHER-DAUGHTER CRUISE: Adventures on Cliff Island

Lucy on Lunacy

ON SATURDAY, the day after I got back from the Newport show, daughter Lucy and I decided to head out on to Casco Bay for an overnight aboard Lunacy all by our wild lonesomes. As you can see from the photo up top, after seven years of incessant indoctrination (courtesy of yours truly), she's become rather expert at hanging out on sailboats.

Believe me, sailing with Lucy wasn't always so relaxing.

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LABOR DAY MISHAPS: Racing & Cruising

Drascombe Dabber under sail

I INFLICTED BOTH FORMS of sailing on the family over the long weekend, with rather mixed results. First, on Saturday, we attempted to campaign our 15-foot Drascombe Dabber Mimi in the Round Island Regatta (RIR) in Portsmouth. The photo up top (snapped by a friend on shore with a phone) shows us in our moment of glory, with sails drawing nicely, actually going somewhere.

It certainly was a struggle getting to that point. Very soon after we pulled away from the dock, located just a few short yards from the start line, I knew something was wrong. The jib wouldn't trim properly, and the mainsail and the tiny mizzen (a mere afterthought of a sail) between them could not develop enough power to fight the strong current that was running. In only a moment it was obvious we would be swept into the low-hanging maw of the Pierce Island bridge if action were not taken.

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STORM PORN: Casco Bay Thunder Squall

Thunder squall

Clare and I finished bringing Lunacy back to Portland this weekend and spent the last night of our mini-cruise on a mooring at Cliff Island in Casco Bay on Friday night. Soon after we settled in a massive thunderstorm started zooming in from the southwest. The photo up top depicts its initial approach.

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MAINE COAST CRUISE: Brimstone Island

Brimstone Island

ALTHOUGH THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE SPOTS on the coast, I haven't been here in almost 10 years. All that time I have been dreaming of coming back. On the chart it doesn't look like anything special--just another tiny uninhabited islet in the small archipelago that stretches around the southern end of Vinalhaven Island on the outer edge of Penobscot Bay. The instant you get ashore, however, you realize you've arrived someplace very special.

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MAINE COAST CRUISE: Damariscove Island

Damariscove Island

I USED TO COME OUT HERE when I was young, in an outboard skiff or a Drascombe longboat with a spritsail. I was in love with the abandoned Coast Guard station at the entrance to the tiny slit-trench harbor and often daydreamed I would someday live out here in that house, all on my own. I was used to the tall dark pines of our island in the Kennebec, and to me the landscape of this island, altogether treeless, with grass and thick shrubbery reaching in all directions, seemed alien and exotic.

Small as it was, the very fact of the harbor also made the island appealing. We kept our boats moored on the open tide-wracked edge of the mighty Kennebec, and whenever we wanted to sail on open water we had first to clear the river entrance, a sometimes tricky affair. Here you could moor a small boat quite securely and in an instant be out sailing looking at mostly horizon in all directions.

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