Sunny Skies and Fair Winds
04 September 2007 | Pulpit Harbour, Maine
The excellent sailing continues. We were the recipients of good scouting by Strathspey yesterday. They headed out toward Merchants Island - our planned destination - while we were at the Frenchboro Library. Just as we were dropping off our mooring line, they called to say that the wind was right on their nose and they had decided to head for Swan's Island instead. That allowed us to go off north instead of east to meet up with them, and gave us a great sail.
The wind was forecast to be 15 -20 knots with gusts to 25 so we started out with just our yankee up. That was OK for a bit but we found we were getting too much drift so we put up a reefed main. The wind never did get that strong so we hoisted the main the rest of the way, and then hauled in the yankee and put out the staysail. That ended up being the best combination for today's conditions and the direction we were headed. We did lots of tacking to get into Mackerel Cove, but because the distance was short we could take our time and do it. We had a wonderful view of the mountains of Mount Desert Island from there, and sighted five or six tall ships cruising across the bay. This truly is a beautiful place to sail.
Anchors were up at 8am Tuesday, and we set off through York Narrows and the Deer Island Thorofare into Penobscot Bay. We had to motorsail the first bit because of wind direction and the narrowness of the passage, but once we passed Stonington, the engine went off and we sailed all the rest of the way up the Bay. A few long tacks took us up to the top of North Haven Island where we wove our way in and around Sheep, Bald, Burnt and Grass Islands, and Dagger and Grass Ledges to the east side of the island and down to Pulpit Harbour. I was at the helm most of the day today and Jim was getting a good laugh as I issued sail handling orders while I tried to get all the angles right for the turns so we wouldn't have to turn on that noisy engine. The winds were nice and strong - averaging 15-20 with the highest gust to 26.2. We managed it wonderfully under our main and staysail. This is the kind of wind Madcap likes, and while we could have gone faster if we hadn't been beating into it, it was very satisfying to do most of the trip under sail. I will get my turn soon at being crew while he makes the decisions and issues the orders. We mostly take turn about at the wheel, and consult each other on sailing decisions, but once in awhile it is nice for each of us to just be the skipper!
The lobster buoys were everywhere again of course, but we find that our approach is one of alertness not anxiety, and so they are just one factor to watch along with depth and wind direction. As Jim says, however, that feeling would change considerably if we got a line wrapped around our prop so we'll keep on being alert.
Pulpit Harbour is a lovely anchorage. We stayed in little Cabot Cove just inside the entrance and had a couple of ospreys as chatty neighbours. There is an enormous osprey nest on Pulpit Rock just at the entrance and we could see several birds soaring around as we sailed in. Millions of stars appeared as darkness fell; the silence was complete, and the night air crisp - perfect for a good nights sleep.
We'll do a short hop to Camden on Wednesday. It's time for laundry, provisioning, and e-mail, along with some sightseeing!