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DennisM 04-06-2010 13:48

Advice for Cruise to Maine
Sometime near the end of this month, I'm headed out for a cruise from Kingston, NY, (up the Hudson River about 90 miles north of NYC) to Castine, Maine. It will only be my second cruise. Last year, I sailed to Greenport and back with a friend, so I think I know that part of the route fairly well enough.

I would love some advice on any and all aspects of the rest of the trip, say from Newport to Maine and back. My plan at this point is to stop at Newport, Cuddyhunk and Provincetown. I will have one crew member, (the same friend, who is far more experienced than I), and if a third person meets us in Ptown as he says he will, we'll head overnight directly to Matinicus, provided the weather godz will allow. If they won't, we'll probably bump our way cautiously along the coast from Gloucester northward.

Any insights, cautions, do-not-miss info, etc. would be much appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
- D

djmarchand 04-06-2010 17:53

Since you have been as far east as Greenport, let me start from there:

Block Island
Hadley Harbor (near Woods Hole)
Marthas Vinyard- Vinyard Haven and Edgartown
Skip PTown- nothing but T Shirt shops
Marblehead- a great harbor and a nice town with bars- Maddies and restaurants.
Portland, Maine- One of the highlights of our trip last year. Stay at Dimillos Marina and you are two blocks from all of the bars and restaurants you could ask for.
Jewell Island
Boothbay Harbor
Northeast Harbor, Mt Desert Island. Take the bus everywhere
Blue Hill- But watch the tides, the town dinghy dock dries out at low.

There are a hundred more nice secluded places to drop the hook and enjoy nature. Get a copy of Rintraub's Cruising Guide to Maine. He also has a website.



Curmudgeon 04-06-2010 20:03

Get radar if you don't have it.

It's a straight shot from the north end of the Cape Cod Canal to Monhegan Island. That's what I would do, and spend my time in Penobscot Bay, Eggemoggin Reach, Blue Hill Bay, etc. Fabulous cruising, except for the lobster pots. There are so many wonderful little harbors and out of the way places in Maine that it is impossible to see them all.

Maybe you could stop at Boothbay Harbor and Casco Bay on the way back if you are not pressed for time.

If doing the Vineyard, I would stop at Menemsha, not Edgartown. Do Block, Menemsha, Cuttyhunk, Newport and the CCC, in that order. Try to hit Cuttyhunk midweek, because the inside anchorage is small and it's a zoo on weekends.

Ziggy 04-06-2010 21:39

1) Get a copy of Rindlaub's A Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast. Read the introduction and follow the advice therein. Pick out the places where you'd like to stop, but be flexible. There are way too many interesting and beautiful spots to see in one summer's cruise, anyway. You should also bring a paper ChartKit Region 2 Block Island to Canada
2) Make sure you have enough time. From the photo of your boat it doesn't look like you have radar. That's OK, but you should allow plenty of time to wait out fog, if necessary.
3) Bring some books to read when fogged in. Also, comfortable walking shoes for taking long walks when you get tired of reading.
4) A wet suit, mask, snorkel, and a sharp serrated knife can be very useful if (or when) you get your prop entangled in a lobster pot warp
5) Bring a warm polartek jacket. In addition, my wife likes to bring a wool hat and gloves. It may get quite cold, even in July. It may also be pretty warm, so don't forget a bathing suit.
6) Enjoy! This is one of the best cruising areas in the world.

Curmudgeon 05-06-2010 04:40

Good advice on the lobster pot hazard. With repect to unfouling your prop, I would also consider carrying one of those 15 minute air tanks.

DennisM 07-06-2010 12:01

Fantastic advice! Thank you one and all! My boat does have radar, but the antenna on the backstay is not visible in the photo. My cruising companion has a copy of the Cruising Guide, which we will both study in much more detail along the route. I have had the great pleasure of sailing the Eggemoggin Reach many times in other peoples' boats. It is my ultimate destination this trip. Thank you again.

Mark_S. 09-02-2011 14:47

So how was the trip? We are thinking of heading that way in August.

tartansail 09-02-2011 15:18

I'm not the OP, but have done the trip to Maine several times. Good advice already. A couple of comments:

The overnight from the CCC to Monhegan is very doable. Visit the ports west of Monhegan when you're heading back against the wind. Tenants' Harbor makes a great first port of call. Excellent, cheap lobster at the Cod End.

I have a different take on Provincetown. The harbor is beautiful and the holding across the harbor from town is excellent. We enjoy the lunacy ashore, but it's not everyone's taste. If you depart from P'town, you will transit Stellwagen Bank which makes for spectacular whale watching.

I wouldn't make the trip without radar, but others do. If you don't have radar, go in late August or September to have reduced fog.

CDunc 09-02-2011 19:27

Ive sailed out of Boothbay Harbor Maine for three years now and Im still not able to see everything in one season, My advice is to pick a part of the coast for your trip, such as Casco bay, mid coast, down east and pick through the area as thouroughly as you can, there are so many little hidden gems here it can be overwhelming to try to see it all at once. Dont count out sailing up the Sheepscott river to Wiscassett or up the Darmascotta, Tucked away in little coves and Harbors are excellent lobster shacks and points of intrest. The lobster pots are very numerous but if you keep an eye out and thread through them you will recieve your reward. During August Boothbay Harbor is very busy so some caution there. The locals are very friendly and will assist where they can. Give a shout on 16 for Fluer De Mer and if im out ill answer back.

Ziggy 09-02-2011 20:25


Originally Posted by tartansail (Post 615477)
I wouldn't make the trip without radar, but others do. If you don't have radar, go in late August or September to have reduced fog.

I agree that radar is very useful and the frequency of fog is less in September. However, we have sailed the Maine coast for many years without radar and made out fine. The key is to have a very flexible schedule (or even better, no schedule) and stay put when the visibility is bad. Good navigation skills are still needed in case dungeon thick fog shuts in while you're out. With a bit of skill, people have safely sailed this coast long before radar became ubiquitous.

Curmudgeon 09-02-2011 20:58

I enjoy the "ambiance" of Provincetown as well, but IMHO Vineyard Haven is the best destination on the cape and in the islands, especially if you can get a mooring inside the breakwater. The Net Result and the Artcliff Diner are worth the trip all by themselves.

cfarrar 09-02-2011 21:30

We're originally from the Vineyard and the last twenty years on Eggemoggin Reach in Maine. With the exception of Vineyard Haven (we prefer Menemsha and the Elizabeths), I second all the advice in these posts, including the Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast (Hank and Jan Taft, original authors). Our favorite grounds are: 1) Tenants Harbor to Schoodic 2) Great Wass to Cutler and Grand Manan. You could spend a couple weeks in each area.

Fog just depends on the luck of the draw. You might get 7 days in a row of clear sailing, and you might get a week of fog. We've seen both, even in August and September.

Mark_S. 09-02-2011 22:59

Sailing from the Chesapeake
We will be sailing from the Chesapeake. It has been suggested that we take the boat to RI in May and then onto ME in August. I am not from the Northeast so I don't know the route or timing. It is just me and my wife. Are there stops along the way or is it better to just get there?

CDunc 09-02-2011 23:28

From RI I would set sail for Boston then make the sail to Portland, Once you get past Portsmouth NH there really isnt anyplace to pull into, your next natural stop will be in Portland (Casco Bay). Then points East from there. You might be able to get into the Kennebunks but its a narrow channel and very very crowded. July isnt that bad here if you come in August that only leaves you August and Sept to see the sights and get back down to warmer waters.

tartansail 10-02-2011 06:45


Originally Posted by Mark_S. (Post 615711)
We will be sailing from the Chesapeake. It has been suggested that we take the boat to RI in May and then onto ME in August. I am not from the Northeast so I don't know the route or timing. It is just me and my wife. Are there stops along the way or is it better to just get there?

I can't comment on the trip from Chessie to RI. The choice of overnighting from the CCC vs going up the coast is mostly a question of you and your wife's comfort with the overnight. We enjoy it though I admit that there's a lot more to be attending to on this trip than when I've been offshore. Between the fisherman, the recreational travel and the commercial traffic in and out of Boston and Portland, there's always something to be paying attention to. OTOH, it makes staying awake easy.

You're unlikely to return on a straight shot because of the prevailing winds so you won't miss seeing the coast even if you go directly up. I agree that Portland is a nice stop either coming or going. Isles of Shoals (shoals of fish, not keel grabbers) on the Maine/NH border is a good intermediate stop as well. There are good anchorages in the outer islands of Boston Harbor with the right wind conditions. The Cruising Guide to the New England Coast (your guide of choice until you get to Maine) will give you specific guidance. Scituate, just south of Boston, is a good stopover if you're on the mainland side of Cape Cod Bay and about half a day from the Cape Cod Canal. Easy access to supplies, restaurants and right off the rhumb line so not much of a detour.

It's worth a mention of tides if you're a Chessie sailor. They're different up this way. You will need a copy of Eldredge's tide charts and will want to do your route planning using it. From the east end of Long Island to Buzzards Bay, you can get a lift the entire route if you time it right. If not . . . The Cape Cod Canal should only be transited with a favorable tide so you're jumping off time from the east end will be established by the timing of the tides. North of the CCC, tide ranges will be 6-8' initially going to well over 10' in Maine. Plan your anchoring accordingly. Moving that much water in and out of bays creates currents. Very manageable, but use Eldredge's or the tide will manage you. While the scenery is beautiful, going six knots through the water and two knots over ground can get old.

I've sailed in Maine with Chessie sailors. They've all talked about how much they loved it and how different if was. Enjoy.

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