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Old 13-07-2023, 19:19   #1
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First time cruise Cape Cod Canal to Bar Harbor, ME. Ports?

Sailing a Catalina 36 from Cape Cod Canal to Bar Harbor and back for first time. Game plan is a week or less north, then a week or less back. No serious time pressure. We'd like to do a little hiking at Accadia while there.

I'm looking for any advice anyone can give for this route, in particular, for overnight anchorages on the way up, ports to visit. We're thinking to sail all day, anchor an hour or two before sundown so that we can make dinner, enjoy the sunset. Figure we'll be up with dawn, and set off shortly after sunrise.
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Old 14-07-2023, 03:36   #2
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Re: First time cruise Cape Cod Canal to Bar Harbor, ME. Ports?

Following. Hope you share the journey here. Maine, Vermont & Alaska are the only 3 states Iíve not set foot in. I enviously follow the summer weather in Bar Harbor, ME.
Hope to sail there one day when I launch my forever boat.
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Old 14-07-2023, 03:39   #3
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Re: First time cruise Cape Cod Canal to Bar Harbor, ME. Ports?

Your schedule is a function of the tidal current in the Canal which will dictate both your schedule and where you would spend the night.
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Old 14-07-2023, 04:04   #4
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Re: First time cruise Cape Cod Canal to Bar Harbor, ME. Ports?

If you are willing to have one tiring overnight, you can be anywhere in Maine the next day from there.

Note that nearly all areas in Maine are almost equidistant to the cape cod canal/Provincetown.

It tends to be worth it to do the overnight because it would take a few days to work your way up the coast.

For example, a typical trip would be from Onset to Gloucester, then Gloucester to Isles of Shoals or Kittery, then to Portland.

Because you are stopping each night, that starts to add up in terms of your defined schedule of 2 weeks. That’s about 6 days of it. And since you have to get up and go to the next morning each day, you are not really exploring these harbors. Just staying in them.

If you have it in you to suffer for that one overnight, putting the night owl on the night shift, you’ll enjoy a much less rushed and carefree vacation exploring Maine.

If you have two weeks to use, might as well use them exploring Maine.

However, I did answer your question with a typical itinerary. Onset to Gloucester. Gloucester to the Maine border, then to Portland/Casco Bay.

Time buzzard’s bay and the canal of course.
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Old 14-07-2023, 04:15   #5
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Re: First time cruise Cape Cod Canal to Bar Harbor, ME. Ports?

A pic. The distance between the various points downeast starts to become almost the same from the canal.
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Old 14-07-2023, 04:21   #6
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Re: First time cruise Cape Cod Canal to Bar Harbor, ME. Ports?

Then if you break it up doing full days up the coast, itís like this..


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Old 14-07-2023, 04:39   #7
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Re: First time cruise Cape Cod Canal to Bar Harbor, ME. Ports?

I can't argue with @Chotu's logic. But to me that sort of schedule feels like a delivery. In other words, work. It's a highly personal thing. I enjoy the journey at least as much as the destination. If you take it slow, you can get into port in time to explore ashore. In fact, you'll find a lot of anchorages start filling up in the mid- to late afternoon.

That said, my first recommendation is to reconsider your destination. Nothing against Bar Harbor. I know lots of people there. It should definitely be on your "to see" list. Go there for a day, shop for trinkets, visit the famous ice cream stand, all the tourist stuff.

But there are better anchorages, and much better marinas, all over Mt. Desert Island. There's a free Island Explorer bus which can take you to and from anywhere in the area, including many of the harbors, hiking trails and even into Ellsworth for supplies.

One last word of caution. Everyone always suggests the Isles of Shoals as a stopover, and it can be great. The problem is, there's no good place to anchor in Gosport Harbor, and all the moorings are private. Yes, some belong to yacht clubs and you might get away with using one if no members are there. Others are for local fishermen or homeowners, and, well, they can get a big grumpy. Finally, there's a large project to rebuild the breakwaters going on right now, and although it's gotten off to a slow start, it will probably impact the mooring field at some point. The anchorage on the ocean side is not bad, but totally exposed to ocean swells.
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Old 14-07-2023, 04:45   #8
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Re: First time cruise Cape Cod Canal to Bar Harbor, ME. Ports?

I very much agree with Tom about the isles of shoals. It’s dicey at best. Have a back up plan.
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Old 14-07-2023, 08:41   #9
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Re: First time cruise Cape Cod Canal to Bar Harbor, ME. Ports?

Capt Tom, you seem to have excellent local knowledge! One of the group of three wants to sail straight to Maine, and I am beginning to agree. We are much more interested in Mt Desert Island and hiking in Accadia, not interested in walking yet another waterfront touristy town.

The steward at my local yacht club (which is far less grand than the name implies) said that maybe he can call ahead and get us reciprocal privileges, maybe a guest mooring, if we decide where we want to stop.

I'm going to send you a private message.
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Old 14-07-2023, 08:50   #10
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Re: First time cruise Cape Cod Canal to Bar Harbor, ME. Ports?

I would strongly recommend going as far East as you want to go in Maine by sailing there directly from the Canal doing an overnight. Then once there you can leisurely start making your way back by harbor hopping down the coast. You never know when you might get fogged in and lose a day or two.
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Old 14-07-2023, 09:10   #11
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Re: First time cruise Cape Cod Canal to Bar Harbor, ME. Ports?

Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodsHolean View Post
...We are much more interested in Mt Desert Island and hiking in Accadia, not interested in walking yet another waterfront touristy town...
There are great hotels and campgrounds in the Mt. Desert area. There's also an airport. Sounds like the boating part could easily be avoided entirely.

I'm not trying to be snarky. Just offering something to think about.
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Old 14-07-2023, 10:36   #12
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Re: First time cruise Cape Cod Canal to Bar Harbor, ME. Ports?

Are you starting from the east end of the canal, or from Buzzards bay?
If from buzzards and through the canal then onwards time the current carefully. The current will define your passage start times.

https://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Porta...%20Version.pdf
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Old 14-07-2023, 12:38   #13
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Re: First time cruise Cape Cod Canal to Bar Harbor, ME. Ports?

After dfelsent, if you don't already have it, you will need the 2023 Eldridge Tide and Pilot book.
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Old 14-07-2023, 12:55   #14
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Re: First time cruise Cape Cod Canal to Bar Harbor, ME. Ports?

^^^^^
For the northeast us the best 20 bucks youíll spend
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Old 14-07-2023, 13:12   #15
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Re: First time cruise Cape Cod Canal to Bar Harbor, ME. Ports?

Lot's of good advice already, I'll throw in my $.02. We haul out in Boston and summer at a marina in Portland so this year we did an overnight from Boston to Portland. We timed it so that by the time we got to southern Maine it would start to get light and we'd be able to see the lobster trap buoys. Well, the winds were better than expected so got there an hour or so early and had to use the searchlight to keep track of the (very few) buoys we saw. Now there are lots of buoys even well past the 3 mi. line in hundreds of feet of water.
I would advise that you start your Maine cruise in Portland and make your way 'Downeast'. Reason is the prevailing winds are from the S to SW so it's usually an easy sail heading up the coast. When you're done you could then just shoot straight down to Gloucester or Provincetown (tacking all the way)
If you can get your hands on a copy of the Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast do it. It shows up as sold out at their website and Amazon unfortunately.

I'll give you a few of my favorite stops along the way from Portland.
North of Sebasco Harbor is The Basin. Tricky to get into and can be crowded on weekend but beautiful.
Anchored just north of Malaga Is. near the northern tip of Bear Is. You can walk around Malaga. Has a sad history.
Seguin Island about 20 mi. east. Only if the wind is < 10kn and from the S to WNW. NW to SE winds will make it uncomfortable. There are 5 moorings available (plus a USCG mooring). The two inner moorings are best for 30' or less IMHO but I just moored on one of them (35', 5' draft) and with a -1.2' low tide I made sure to pull in the mooring line as it slacked up with the low tide.
You can land on the beach about 2 hrs either side of high tide through low tide. Take a tour of the lighthouse (if keepers are there).
Easy trip up to Five Islands where there are 3 or 4 rental moorings from FIYC. They are marked with FIYC and have a stick with a jar for a donation. Lobster and rolls from the shack at the dock. Motor through Townsend Gut and the swing bridge to get to Boothbay Harbor.
Boothbay Harbor has lots of moorings for around $40-$50/night.
Round Pond on Muscongus Bay. Several guest moorings for around $35/night. If full then anchor north side of Ram Island. Also northwest side of Hog Island there are Audubon moorings (donation requested). On the way east from here check out Eastern Egg Rock for puffins.
Anchor on the north side of Hupper Is. by Blubber Is. Short dinghy ride to Port Clyde. Small general store. They have fuel as well at their float.
Rockland, lots of places to anchor but I've stayed at Safe harbor marina there.
Hurricane Is. on west side of Vinalhaven. Moorings and great hike around the quarry. Didn't stay overnight so not sure if it's rolly.
Anchored off NE side of McGlathery Is. Lobster boats at 4:30AM(it's Maine).
Nice hike through the island.
Anchored between Devil Is. and Bold Is.
Stayed in Southwest Harbor at a marina but also anchored in Somes Sound by USCG mooring to hike a bit.
If you decide to sail from Bar Harbor back down the Maine coast I'd advise starting early because the afternoon sun is right in your eyes and it's a bitch to see the lobster trap buoys.
Oh, and one other thing. As you get toward Port Clyde and Penobscot Bay the lobster pot buoys are doubled up. There is one buoy that goes down the trap and another buoy about 15' away that attaches to the first buoy with a line that's about 6" below the surface. Don't go between those buoys (Unless you have a full keel I guess).

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