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Old 04-06-2011, 08:27   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Houston
Boat: Hunter 36 timeshare
Posts: 4
Bar Harbor in August

I'm traveling to Bar Harbor in August and plan to stay overnight on a sailboat at least one night. I have completed two versions of ASA 101 and will have done three sails in Galveston Bay staying overnight at anchor on a Hunter 36 before the trip to Maine.

Looking for charter companies near Bar Harbor and Mansell out of Southwest Harbor is the only one I see. They have a couple of Cal 25's which would probably be fine for two days and one night. This would be my first time on a mooring ball, but I assume that's easier than at anchor.

I'm flexible on this, but hear are my current thoughts. Drive up from Boston on a Tuesday and get to Southwest Harbor about 11:00, eat lunch and be on the water by 1:00. Spend Tuesday afternoon in Somes Sound and overnight at Valley Cove. Wednesday morning sail to Seal Harbor and maybe Cranberry Harbor and back to Southwest Harbor by noon.

Here's my questions:

1. Does this seem reasonable?
2. Will I have time to do the sights justice or would 2 nights be better (I plan to spend 3 nights on land in Bar Harbor after sailing)?
3. Any other charter companies I should consider?
4. How crowded will it likely be? What time will I need to be at the mooring ball?
5. Any place on the Maine coast south of Bar Harbor you would recommend instead?

Thanks in advance.

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Old 05-06-2011, 07:30   #2
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Maine
Boat: Nicholson 39' ketch
Posts: 130
Re: Bar Harbor in August


I would suggest that you spend two weeks instead of two nights. We have more places to sail and anchor than you have time for. I have been sailing the Maine coast for over thirty years and there are still places I have not been to.

Seriously though, you must plan for things to go more slowly than you think they will. Southwest Harbor is a fine place to charter and sailing up Somes Sound with an incoming tide is great. Note: watch out for strong winds that are possible coming down off the mountains in the area of Valley Cove. The head of Somes Sound is a fine place for the night, either in the cove by the town landing at Somesville or in the northeast corner by the boatyard and the lobster resturant. They have rental morings. Valley cove is ok if you get a mooring but is really deep for anchoring.

The Cranberry islands are good for the night unless there is a northern component to the wind. Little Cranberry has a nice resturant on the pier but in the summer you need reservations at least a day ahead.

Seal Harbor is rolly for a night and it is full of private moorings so anchoring is difficult. You need to be a member or guest to get a yacht club mooring.

Northeast Harbor is the best yacht harbor in the area. Call the Northeast Harbor mooring agent on channel 9 for a mooring reservation. Great harbor, shops and resturants, acess to the Island Explorer bus system, showers, fuel, everything that folks on a boat might need.

My advice is to skip Bar Harbor. It is a long sail up Frenchman's Bay and overnighting in Bar Harbor is rolly.

Good luck and give a holler if you need more info.


Ansley Sawyer

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Old 06-06-2011, 13:08   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Marion, Ma
Boat: Little Harbor 38 - Safari
Posts: 177
I believe Hinckley charters also out of SW Harbor. You can't do anything cursing wise in a day. You will need at least a week.
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Old 06-06-2011, 13:51   #4
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Re: Bar Harbor in August

I agree with the others that you're trying to do to much in too little time.

Skip the land stay at Bar Harbor. It's a place for people who don't have a way to get out on a sailboat.

It's a 5-6 hour drive from Boston depending on the traffic. You're not going to be on the water by 1.

You could spend a wonderful two days and two nights (or two weeks) sailing around Somes Sound, Southwest Harbor and the Cranberry Islands. You'll probably end up anchoring instead of using moorings unless you stay a night in Southwest Harbor itself.

Even in August, you may lose a morning or even a day to fog - real "can't see your own bow" kind of fog. Don't build a schedule with no flexibility.

It's very crowded on Route 1 and in the towns. No crowds on the water. No crowds if you anchor.

Penobscot Bay is at least as good cruising grounds and a substantially shorter drive from Boston. Look for charters in Rockland, Rockport Camden and Bucks Harbor.

Since your time is so short, have you considered being a passenger on a 3-4 day trip on one of the Windjammers? This is real sailing out of a bygone era (they don't have engines beyond a little harbor push boat). You can learn a lot about sailing from the skippers who also have wonderful stories. There are a lot of choices in boats. I've always loved the sight of the Nathaniel Bowditch when I come upon her:

Maine Schooner Nathaniel Bowditch: Family Sailing Vacations on a Traditional Tall Ship

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