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Old 13-03-2006, 20:49   #1
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Cape Porpoise Harbor, Maine

We will be sailing from Portsmouth, NH to the Portland, ME area the during the first week of June and would like to make it a 2 day trip.

Looking in the Coast Pilot and at charts for an overnight stop between Portsmouth and Portland with a draft of 6' 1" in mind, Cape Porpoise Harbor looks like the best anchorage and its about half way.

Any local knowledge on our chances of finding room to anchor?

Any other recommended anchorages in the area that would work?

As always, Thanks
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Old 14-03-2006, 07:22   #2
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First piece of advice: get this book!

http://www.coastguides.com/guides.html

Cape Porpoise sounds like a magical place filled with dolphins, right? Nope! It's filled with the most lobster pots you've ever seen! The entrance channel is tricky in that it's kind of narrow and you have lobster pots every 50 to 100 feet or so.... they are everywhere. There are also about 4 or 5 dozen lobster boats that call this place home. There isn't anything in the way of moorings for pleasure craft, but there is diesel, etc... It's more of a working harbor. Don't enter this harbor at night... you won't be able to see the lobster pots.

When I was growing up in this area, we often made it from Portsmouth to Richmond Island (beautiful anchorage south of Portland) in a single day of sailing. Another good stop would be Biddeford Pool. Very easy.... moorings available... nice stop at somewhat near the half way point.

Please do ask as much as you like about this area. It's my favorite - old home cruising grounds.

PS: If you can... head out to the Isles of Shoals to start your trip - or at least out to Pepperil Cove Yacht Club (Kittery Point) to start. It will save you time in fighting the huge currents in the Piscataquog river and waiting for the bridges.... which should enable you to make Richmond Island in a single day - given the prevailing Southwesterlies are in effect.
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Old 14-03-2006, 11:48   #3
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Sean's right--as I recall from my New England days, we said of Cape Porpoise, "you could walk in and out in snowshoes", that's how many lobster pots there were (are).

I second Biddeford Pool, nice quiet harbor, easy in and out.

Is this a round trip? If so, and you get a good 15-20 knot Sou'wester, which is typical in summer, you might want to slide to Portland in one day, it wouldn't take that long. Then save the halfway port for the beat back home, when you "need" it. Or if it's a one-way trip, you might then consider using the second day to poke around Casco Bay, it's very pretty, and a little more "down East" and harbor-rich than the areas south of Cape Elizabeth.

Weather will dictate what's doable, so will fog, which may be frequent in early June.
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Old 14-03-2006, 16:15   #4
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Actually it is more of a shakedown cruise. This is a new to us boat. We got her and immediately had to put her in winter storage last December.

We are moving one way to Portland for now.

The first night we have reservations at the marina in Little Harbor so we will not be going upriver in Portmouth. We wanted an easy first day and a slip to help with anything that comes up needing attention.

The second night we want to anchor. Looking for places to anchor got me looking at Cape Porpoise. Sounds like I better keep looking...or bring the snow shoes.

Biddeford Pool it looks nice but small, what are the chances of a spot during the week? Is Wood Island harbor a possibility?

Richmond Island looks interesting and would give me an option if Biddeford area is too crowded. Is Broad Cove OK if the sou'wester is blowing?
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Old 14-03-2006, 17:38   #5
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Hi Jemsea,

Will you be taking delivery in MA, then heading up to Wentworth Marina? (Little Harbor?)

During that sail, you will probably encounter many of the initial bugs you want to work out. Since you'll know what you want to fix when you arrive in Portsmouth, maybe you can fix some items while you're at Wentworth? In Portsmouth, should you rent a car, you will be able to find a West Marine located on Lafayette Road. There is also a hardware store (the name escapes me right now) over the Route 1 bypass bridge in Kittery. They have a huge selection of marine items at low cost compared to West Marine. Wentworth isn't located near anything... it's not downtown and not very close to things. If you want to be close to the downtown area (and save $$) , try the municipal dock just to port before the 1st bridge at Prescott Park. The number is: (603) 431-8748. Or... to save money and be close to sea, Pepperill Cove is good.

The chances of getting a mooring at Biddeford Pool would be pretty good if you call ahead: (207) 282-0485. If it's packed, you can definitely anchor out in Wood Island Harbor. Best spot is north-west of the channel heading into Biddeford Pool. This area is well protected during the prevailing SW summer winds, but open to N/NE winds.

Not sure which Broad Cove you are asking about... can you let me know where that is?

But... Richmond Island is good in just about any type of weather thanks to the fact that there is land to the West, and a seawall separating two harbors (Seal Cove and Richmond Island Harbor). If prevailing SW winds, just head on in to Seal Cove... this is the ideal situation. In a pinch, if you experience N or E winds, head into Richmond Island Harbor. The place is amazing... very secluded. All nature and few people. But if you end up on the Richmond Island Harbor (south) side, it will be a bit rolly. Just a slight roll in Seal Cove... very slight.

PS: In June, you'll want bug spray, screens, and whatever to keep the bugs out during the "bugging hour" (from about dinner to 9PM - around dusk). There are also no-see-ums that can come in through your screens, so for total comfort, you might want to close all the hatches just after dinner as dusk approaches. Later in the evening, the bugs usually go away.
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Old 15-03-2006, 09:39   #6
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We will be getting the boat ready for a week in Gloucester before departing for Portland. The PO included 3 days of his time in the deal with the third day a circumnavigation of Cape Ann.

A pre-shakedown, shakedown cruise? Anyway that should help with problems that cropped up over the winter.

We will then have a week to get to Portland. We then leave the boat at Southport Marine until we get more time in the fall.

Little Harbor via the Isle of Shoals the first day.

Woodland Island Harbor or Biddeford Pool the second day.

Richmond Island the next day.

The Broad Cove I mentioned is on the Southeast shore of Richmond Island just south of Seal Cove.

Seal Cove looks like it has a story to tell by the names the rocks carry. My imagination goes into overdrive thinking about how these rocks came to such names in times past. Not something you wanted your name put on I bet!

Thanks for the Bug info, we will heed your advise.
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Old 15-03-2006, 11:01   #7
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Yeah... for some reason, the rocks have very interesting names all over the place up there.

Sounds like you'll have a very nice week. A week will be plenty of time to get up to Portland, while really enjoying yourself.

Any more Qs, just ask! I sailed those water for probably 15 years.
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Old 15-03-2006, 14:56   #8
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Instead of Cape Porpoise another absolutely beautiful little harbor would be stage island harbor on the backside of Cape Porpoise. It too is very thick with lobster pots and I would not try entrering it at night, but if you have the chance it is worth a trip in. It is a beautiful little spot, watch your depths and you can dingy to the island and do some great hiking.

Good luck, and like Sean mentioned Prescott Park dock's (cheap money) is a great stopover and walking distance to downtown Portsmouth.
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