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Old 03-03-2009, 17:44   #1
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Block Island to Maine

Greetings,

I'm trying to plan a leisurely trip from NJ to Block island to Maine this summer.
I'm looking for any suggestions for stops along the way and once there.
So far, I'm thinking Block, to Newport R.I. to Cuttyhunk, to Onset, to Provincetown, to Manchester, to Portsmith, To ?? Kennebunkport and points beyond.
Castine, Isle au Haut seem like good stops. I'm looking for any tips, ports, suggestions, warnings ( ie fog) from those who have sailed these waters.
Beyond Provinceton they are all new to me. Thanks!
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Old 03-03-2009, 18:07   #2
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Why not join the rally from Block Island to Nantucket this summer? July 11th, I believe. Daniel Goldberg is organizaing it. (He's one of the organizaers of the June Bermuda rally.)
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Old 03-03-2009, 18:10   #3
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This depends on the time you have and want to spend.

I start from Shelter Island and depending on what time I depart and if I am just sleeping and shoving off (usual plan since I "cruise" in Maine) I anchor in Harbor of Refuge, Cuttyhunk, then to Marblehead or PTown. if I do Marblehead I work myway up the coast to SW Harbor etc and then back down.

You can spend the whole summer in Penobscot Bay and I would suggest you get a cruising guide such as Don Johnson's 2 part guide to crusing Maine. Fog is a problem, so radar is real handy. Somes Sound is a fun spot. Drop the hook and have a bug! It's hard to find a place which is not a hoot in maine for crusiers... and it smells from pine and cedar!

BI is a madhouse and better in Spring or Fall.
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Old 03-03-2009, 18:31   #4
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Hi Bene, I'm hoping to be beyind P-town by the 11th, thanks for the tip though.

Defjef, I should have the whole summer to play with...yes, block is crowded but fun, spring is too early for me, and by fall I want to be in the Chesapeake.
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Old 03-03-2009, 18:41   #5
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I am a bit prejudiced here. I would recommend you time your passage through the Cape Cod Canal carefully. You might stop in P-Town, but it makes a nice overnight trip across the Gulf of Maine to Isle Au Haut where you can start exploring Penobscot Bay and the local area as others have recommended as this is the jewell of Maine. Get the Taft and Rindlaub Cruising Guide to Maine and spend the summer.

Don't forget to come to Castine certainly one of the most historically important Towns and beautiful harbors in all of Maine.
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Old 03-03-2009, 19:45   #6
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An idea from a broker years ago: Since the prevailing winds are SW, take an overnight ride on a SW breeze from the Cape Cod Canal as far north as you are going to go, then daysail your way back, picking your weather and where you want to stop. This plan has worked well for me more than once. I could enjoy an entire summer just cruising Penobscot Bay.

On your way to Maine, Menemsha and Vineyard Haven are nice spots on Martha's Vineyard, a little different than the more popular Oak Bluffs and Edgartown. Tarpaulin Cove and Hadley Harbour are really nice if you like quiet and don't need to do much on shore.
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Old 03-03-2009, 21:40   #7
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Two cruising guides are needed -

Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast by Taft

A Cruising Guide to the New England Coast by Duncan

The latter is a little dated in places but is beautifully written. Fascinating history, poetic descriptions, and considerable wisdom somehow is combined with tide set and bottom condition. I occasionally read it in mid-winter for enjoyment.

There are literally too many great places to put in a list. A few:

The farther east the fewer people and facilities. It is entirely possible that you could be alone in the perfect harbor and mile long sand beach of Roque Harbor (except for the loons). Go another day east and you can enter Canada by visiting the remote french speaking island of Grand Manan.

Back in the Bar Harbor area the sunset from the Cranberry Islands over Mt. Desert is magical. And stay a night in Somes Sound in the little cliff encircled cove where you can take a drink from the stream that Vikings may have used.

In Penobscot bay the Merchant Islands off Stonington can not be missed - and Duck Harbor on Isle Au Haut. If you enjoy gunk holing, thread your way into Seal Harbor on the back side of Vinalhaven - you'll see seals. What you won't see is a house or any sign of humanity (except for the ever present lobster pots).

Finally, the most special for me is tiny Damariscove Island off Boothbay. A bird sanctuary occupied by just a couple of caretakers living with no electricity. A slip of a harbor less than 100 ft wide where you go to sleep listening to the surf and a lone bell buoy. Shoreside trails take you across gorse that might be Scotland to the abandoned foundations of a thriving 17th century fishing community where the Pilgrims came to beg for food in 1622. I've included a picture that doesn't do the scene justice.

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Old 03-03-2009, 22:04   #8
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As to your challenges:

Fog is less of a problem in the days of chartplotters. You can get into a safe harbor even if you can't see your own bow. But it's no fun to sail when you can't see anything - so expect to spend some mornings or entire days in harbor waiting for the fog to scale up.

Tides are a surprise to newcomers. The range is over 10 feet in Bar harbor and 20 feet in Eastport. Getting the right anchor scope is a challenge. Always enter a tricky harbor on a rising tide. That way you'll only be aground for five minutes before the tide lifts you off.

The biggest challenge is hooking a lobster pot. It's hard to describe how many pots you'll see across some harbor mouths. The safest strategy is to pass very close to the "stick" end of a buoy. The keel catching rope is on the other side - often with a 10ft loop of line supported by a partially submerged cork toggle. If you snag one, try to sail free (don't use your motor). If that fails, cut the line with a knife on a boathook (Sailors Solutions sells a great one) and try to retie the line to the buoy. If all else fails, have a wet suit aboard. The water offshore is so cold that you actually lose the muscle control to take a breath.

I try very hard to not cost a lobsterman a pot - fortunately, in most areas the custom is to attach a buoy at each end of a string of pots so the string isn't lost if a buoy is cut. I have also installed a line cutter on the shaft. I don't make a habit of cutting a line - last summer I only snagged a few pots and didn't have to cut any - but there are some situations where any other solution is too dangerous.

Carl
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Old 03-03-2009, 23:25   #9
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Smile

Other favorite places, in no particular sequence... Pulpit harbor on the N side of North Haven; New Harbor (Muscle Shoals); Hell's Half Acre near Stonington; Mistake Harbor; Mud Hole; Seguin Island (only if settled wx); Up the Damariscotta to the end; Christmas Cove; Merchant's Row; Frenchboro; Tenant's Harbor; Great Wass Island; Cutler Harbor; Matinicus Island; Monhegan Island.
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Old 04-03-2009, 05:32   #10
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Wow, Thanks for all the Tips folks! Yes, Pete and John, I've considered an overnight trip, makes perfect sense to do it on the SW breeze, and daysail my way back.
I can wait for a good weather window!

Castine is definitely on the list! I have the Duncan Guide, but will check out Taft today!!
Carl thanks so much, it sounds like you could write a cruising guide to maine yourself!
Bringing a wetsuit is a great idea. Kamoloha, thanks, I'll print this page. So much to see!
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Old 04-03-2009, 05:55   #11
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One more to add: Rockland. Spent two summers based there. Great town, mixture of spiffy stuff (like museums) and real, honest, hardworking folk. We particularly like the Journey's End Marina.

If you have to leave your boat for awhile, Rockland is a good place served by the coastal bus hitting many towns on the way south to Portland. There's also a small airport, Hamilton Marine (fine chandlery), movie theatre, lots of good restaurants, and several summer festivals. Not to be missed.

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Old 04-03-2009, 09:43   #12
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I would suggest that you by-pass Kennebunkport. It is shallow, narrow and congested. If you want to stop below Casco Bay, go to Biddeford Pool and get a yacht club mooring. Isle of Shoals is a good stop too if you can get a mooring and the wind isn't from the North. Portsmouth - hard to get in and out sometimes. Moorings are available from the yacht club on the north and south sides.
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Old 04-03-2009, 15:55   #13
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Thanks HC38,

I was looking at Kennebunkport last night on Google earth...does look narrow and crowded....I was worried that the Bushes might be upset if I didn't stop...I ordered the Taft Guide today!!
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