Good Times, Good People
22 September 2022 •
by Richard Cordovano • After a storm
We spent a surprisingly large proportion of what was supposed to be our Maine cruising time doing boat projects and boat life projects. Tasks included finishing up the transition to liveaboard life (e.g., setting up as Colorado residents again after all these years), completing jobs that were not finished when we cast off the lines (e.g., installation of a solar panel on Victory's dodger), and solving the more urgent pop-up problems (e.g., getting our refrigeration system recharged, didn't see that one coming). All of this work had us bouncing back and forth like a Super Ball between a $50 a night Lyman-Morse mooring in Camden where we had access to a plethora of shore conveniences and up to two hours a day in a courtesy car, and the serenity of North Haven Island's Pulpit Harbor, where we could lie at anchor, surrounded by pine trees and osprey nests, for free.
Finally, feeling the urgency to start south, we sailed from Maine to Beverly, MA, where we spent an extended stay addressing the fact that Victory's staysail stay had been quietly pulling up her foredeck for years. Yeah, that's a scary one. I had discovered the problem during my survey of Victory's chain plates during the early summer, which was vastly better than having Victory unexpectedly and spectacularly self-destruct a few years later in the middle of the ocean at the 3 AM time so popular for maritime catastrophes. However, we needed a custom steel part fabricated that was not ready before we left Boston, and the part didn't catch up with us until Beverly, where Kevin Montague of North East Rigging dropped off the part along with several hundred feet of new running rigging into the bargain. Even then, we still needed a final rendezvous with Kevin, the world's most awesome rigger as far as we're concerned, in Padanaram, MA to help us wrap this one up. Except that we need to put in better quality bolts when we get to Florida, but never mind that. Boat work is never done, they say, and they aren't lying.
Anyway, as I write this Victory is anchored in the harbor at Stonington, CT. We are sitting out some moderately nasty weather, keeping an eye on Hurricane Fiona, and debating whether to continue on through Long Island Sound and the challenging but exciting waters around New York City, or to head offshore for the next leg of our voyage to the Bahamas. I have to say that the prospects of sailing under the Brooklyn Bridge and anchoring at the feet of the Statue of Liberty pack a lot of appeal, in spite of the hassles and hazards. Whatever we decide, as our second month as liveaboards becomes so much sand through through the hourglass, or perhaps water under the keel, Monica and I are finally achieving a better "work-life balance." But this is not to say that we did not have some good times and meet some good people in those first two months...
In Boothbay, ME there be trolls. They are not running around loose in the city. Instead they inhabit the wooded parts of the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Check out the snapshots of them in our photo gallery. They were certainly one of the highlights of our excursion to the Gardens, but the real gem was the way the Gardens staff bailed us out of a tough spot. We had hitched a ride with a marina worker to the Gardens, miles away from town, with the understanding that a pick up would be forthcoming afterwards. It was not. There is apparently no such thing as Uber or Lyft in Boothbay, and the one taxi in town was unavailable. But Sadie Rosethorn and Co. (see previous post) were still with us at the time, and Sadie asked for help, which came in the form of two Gardens workers driving the whole crew (Sadie, Dan, Scarlett, Monica, and me) back to town in their cars. I even had the pleasure of getting my ride from a lady who had made two Atlantic crossings in a sailboat! Good times, good people.
On one of our trips to Pulpit Harbor, Monica and I rowed our little dinghy Percy up and down the lovely finger of the harbor that runs for a mile or so towards the interior of the island. We then tied Percy up to a town dock and traveled on foot to the North Haven Grocery Store. On the way, we paused to watch two teenagers and a hearty older soul jump off a bridge we'd passed under in Percy earlier. By the time we got to the store in the waning afternoon, we were pretty hungry. According to our cruising guide, the store had a cafe that served breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Well, not so much. However, they did have a pizza oven and they kindly fired it up for us. We were told to come back in an hour, so we went for another back roads walk. When we returned, now ravenous, the lady who was our pizza chef was putting a pizza in the store's pizza-by-the slice carousel. I had to ask - is that our pizza? It turns out that she had burned that pizza and was making us another one. Hmmm, that pizza did not look so burnt. Monica and I started roaming the aisles of the small store planning fantasy meals while restraining ourselves from grabbing things at random off the shelves to stuff into our mouths. Finally, Pizza #2 was ready and we were ushered to a collection of old diner booths sitting in the middle of the adjoining hardware store. Yes, hardware store. There were pegboards all around with dangling parts and tools and there was a TV mounted on the wall. We started watching a cheesy Hollywood comedy with a local man who was busy tucking into a microwaved Hungry Man dinner at another table. He finished his dinner and made to leave before the movie was over, explaining that he owned a copy of the film and had seen it a million times. Instead, he sat down with us and we three laughed our way to the end. Good times, good people.
How would you like a string of ten miniature disco balls? We have some hanging in Victory's salon, and we think they are the bomb! Our good friends Cam and Cindy Porter visited us on three separate occasions - once in Camden and twice in Beverly - each time bearing gifts, ranging from the disco balls to a drill bit that we needed for the staysail stay project, to a refrigerator thermometer. They were following us down the coast while we were within driving distance! In Camden, after a hearty brunch at a good old fashioned diner-style restaurant, Cam and Cindy and Monica and I all went to a charming little antiques store with a nautical section and then finished the day enjoying God's Gift to Humanity - ice cream. One evening in Beverly, we all hung out at the Anchor. This restaurant had fabulously low prices and otherworldly slow service. A few days later, we hosted Cam and Cindy and our good friends Dan and Sadie for a cookout in Victory's cockpit, followed by a hilarious card game. Of course, Dan and Sadie brought us several packages we had shipped to their home in Brockton, MA. Good times, good people.
One more...in Beverly, we rented a mooring from the Jubilee Yacht Club. As we got ready to begin our passage down the Massachusetts coast, through the Cape Cod Canal, and down Buzzards Bay to Padanaram (with a delightful stop in the village of Onset - ice cream!), we decided to try to get our propane tanks filled, and to try to get some boat insurance paperwork printed out. We stopped by the yacht club office and talked to Diane at the desk. She was happy to print our document and when we asked if there was a place to get propane within walking distance of the club, she called her husband John to ask. He said the nearest propane source was miles away, but he would gladly give us a ride. While we waited for John to get to the club in his truck, Diane told us stories of her childhood adventures sailing with her father. On the trip to the hardware store, we had an amiable conversation with John about sail boats, his and ours, and learned that he was a friend of our rigger Kevin since childhood. Small world, as the cliché goes. Almost before we knew it, we found ourselves lugging two full cylinders of propane down to where Percy waited at the club dinghy dock. Good times, good people.
To see Victory's current location, visit https://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/SV-Victory/
To see more photos, check out our gallery on this site or go to our Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/1victorysailing/