Saturday, August 20, 2016

Wooden Boat

At the risk of being trite, the sunset over the moored boats at Wooden Boat (School, Magazine, ...) was ... ah... gorgeous. After a wind on, wind off haul around Cape Rosier and down the Eggemoggin Reach, we spent a tranquil evening at front of the Wooden Boat School surrounded by a mix of classic wood boats and visitors of assorted vintage.

From Wooden Boat, we hadn't far to go today, so we spent the morning touring the grounds, running into notable wooden boat folk Geoff Kerr of Two Daughters Boatworks and Accidental Sailor Girl: small world. There was evidence of much small boat building, but the only thing going on this Saturday was an oar making workshop. After peeking in a few sheds and, as always, checking out the tool inventory, we strolled back to the dinghy and rowed back to Alizée in an increasing SE wind.

As we hoisted the mainsail, we could see the minefield of lobster pot buoys in Jericho Bay, arguably the worst place in the World for lobster pots. We tried to screw on a positive attitude at our second attempt to transverse this bay under sail. The last time we tried, it was crazy, we doused sail in defeat, and carefully picked our way through, under power, to the anchorage. My heart didn't drop from my throat until the first sip of wine. This time didn't go any better. The tide was high and the current strong. The pots here are particularly dangerous because they are rigged with toggles. Some of the toggles and even the buoys were slightly under water. There were whitecaps and the rising sun in our eyes. We couldn't even give up as there was no room to head into the wind to douse the sail. You can't take your eyes off the water for a second to navigate. Of the hundreds of pots we avoided, we missed one and it brushed the hull on starboard. We held our breaths as it bumped past the dinghy. It's hard to tell whether we snagged it or it's just looks pulled under by the current. It seems to recede behind us. Whew. We snagged one a couple of weeks ago, saw another boat snag one, and heard a panicked call to the Coast Guard from a poor soul hopelessly fouled on a pot warp.

Finally, we find a slot, douse the main, and carefully power up. Now we can head straight into the current so we aren't crossing the toggles, but with the prop turning any snag could wrap the prop: much worse than hanging up on the keel or rudder. After an hour of this, the pots thin out somewhat as we enter the York Narrows and drop anchor in Mackerel Cove. Collective sigh. But wait, like a horror movie, it isn't over yet. As the tide drops (12' here on the full moon), a last buoy pops up to the surface going back and forth under our hull as the boat swings at anchor. It was a couple of feet under water when we anchored. Seriously?

Cath cooked up some haddock and, with a wine accompaniment, both the wind and our adrenaline settled down to an evening quiet. Really quiet. Lobster pots aside, they say Maine is a peaceful place. The water has turned to glass for the sunset: Alizée absolutely still. At night, the milky way is positively bright, without all the light pollution. Without the sound pollution of cars, outboards, loud music or people, we can hear a far off eagle cry, a small duck washing itself, even the exhale of two porpoises across the anchorage. When they surface next to the cockpit, we're startled. A day of contrasts: panic then peace. Tomorrow, we'll brave the pots again and, with a little luck, hole up in Acadia for a bit of park frolic.


  1. What a lovely description of the peacefulness you found at the end of the day. Thanks for sharing your adventures!

  2. What a lovely description of the peacefulness you found at the end of the day. Thanks for sharing your adventures!


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