Vinalhaven Maine

One of the most beautiful places on earth, I wish my photos would do this place justice, but they do not. I need to bring Wayne Dion up here to take professional photos and capture this special place.

Here is the best I can do…

The Fox Islands Thorofare, the route in…
The open space for anchorage, Seal Cove
The beautiful views…and reflections…
Explore the granite lined shores with the tide 2 feet down and 7 feet more to go!
Welcome to MAINE….
The western sky in Maine, in July….at 9pm!

Boothbay Harbor Maine

What a beautiful location, here is a quick video of the church bells over the harbor last night…

Look at the interesting NOAA CHART and all the ROCKS
The blue circle is US, and where I uploaded this picture from.
We are on our way to Vinalhaven

Island Houses in Boothbay, Maine
With 9 foot tides, most harbors use mooring balls over anchorage areas
This is US, Island Spirit in Boothbay Harbor

Portland Pardise

Portland is really a great town, a good port of call, and CENTERBOARD YACHT CLUB is the place to take your lay days! The last time we were up here in 2006, we ended up getting “stuck” in Portland for days, and this year it turned out to be 5 days! Why would we stay in Portland for 5 days? Here are a few reasons:

  • Centerboard Yacht Club offers moorings, free tender service, and a great clubhouse to relax in and enjoy the friendly members who make you feel so welcome.
  • Calm harbor, relatively for a busy port.
  • Great city lights across the river to the west with beautiful sunsets over the city.
  • An easy walk to a Hanaford Grocery Store.
  • Tender services across the river to Dimillos Marina and access to the entire city waterfront!
  • Downtown Portland waterfront is BEAUTIFUL with many restaurants and pubs and interesting shops and of course ice cream parlors.
  • Hamilton Marine, Inc. a blend of West Marine + Defender is an easy walk from Dimillos and the town docks.
  • And best of all…..Great Island Packet former owners and friends; Bill & Fran who go out of their way to help out and make us feel so at home.

So…you can see, with all of this at your starboard side gate, as you enter the tender, you can imagine just how we always get “stuck” in Portland Maine. This is why I have called this post….
“Portland Paradise!” Thank you Bill and Fran, Abby, and Dave, and Ed & Beth for making our stay so enjoyable.

Portland Maine Ferry Service
Portland Harbor Chart and where we were…

Powering to Portland

After “Powering to Portland” in 20-25 knots of NNE winds and 3-5 foot seas, we arrived Portland after a very rough passage from Kittery Maine. Of course the forecast was for EAST winds, which would have worked well on a course of NE, but after about 2 hours of East winds, the winds shifted to NNE and increased to 25 knots. Now we had 47 miles to go with the wind directly on the bow. The waves became the problem as they were still running from the EAST and hitting the boat directly on the beam. When 3 foot waves hit the boat on the starboard beam, the boat first rolls hard to port, then the wave goes under the keel and then the boat lifts and rolls hard to starboard laying its midship cleat onto the water.

We had a double reefed main and a cutter up to help slow down this rolling from side to side, but it really got tiring after 6 hours. Items were flying out of all the cabins, we were tossed off the helm seat many times, and the best way to deal with this was standing up at the helm and working it as if you were a slamon downhill skiier! Oh what fun! Now its time to enjoy Portland Maine, and our Island Packet friends Bill and Fran.

The conditions at Portland Head Light as we approach

We are staying at Centerboard Yacht Club they also have a live web cam where you can see the view from the dock looking out over the mooring field and over to Portland Maine.

Powering to Portland VIDEO

Kittery Maine

Photo: Notice the rocks, 7 foot tides, this is only 1/2 way down…

We sailing/motored from Marblehead to Kittery Point, Maine, in flat calm glassy smooth waters. What a difference one day makes out on the ocean. This was a beautifully clear sunny day, one of the few we have had since departing Maryland 14 days ago! So this is what the SUN looks like?

CAVU led the way, arriving for the first time at her hailing port of Portsmouth. Ron shared fascinating information about the history of Portsmouth area. We arrived as a fleet and connected with the harbor master who led us to mooring balls at a great price of $15.00. Pepperrell Cove is the spot to go off Kittery and you can easily walk up to Fort McCleary and overlook the harbor. To run over to Portsmouth, NH, you need a cab or, if you are lucky, you could get a yacht club tender to pick you up and run you across the river. The current is enitrely too strong to run with our 4 hp dinghy.

We spent the remainder of the day taking in the beautiful sun, the blue sky, and walking the quaint little town. Frisbee’s, the oldest general store in North America has been owned by the same family since 1823. In the evening, the entire armada met for dinner at Captain Simeon’s and generously paid for our meals in thanks for our efforts for the group. Thanks everyone!

On Tuesday, the sky dawned grey and showery. Undeterred, we got a ride from CAVU and toured Portsmouth’s Strawberry Banke historic section, which is like a small, nautical Williamsburg. We were lucky to have a great tour guide, Polly, who was friendly and knowledgeable. The barrelmaker was especially interesting. Nearly everyone gathered for a late hot lunch at the Portsmouth Brewery. The evening was spent aboard in a rolling anchorage, trying to make an educated, weather-based, decision on when to leave for Portland.

Fort McCleary looking back down to our harbor

Flat Calm Sea, motoring. Notice the sea grasses

Sailing into Marblehead

What a sailing day this was, with 25-30 knots off Boston Mass, as we headed from Scituate to Marblehead. The sky was so blue, the winds topped out at 33 knots true, and we all were sailing with reefed main sails and reefed jibs. This was a first on Island Spirit; we have a rope luff in the 135% jenny, but we have never used it. At 33 knots on the beam…..YOU NEED TO REEF! So reef we did, and we had the best sail of the trip so far.

Today was also the start of the Marblehead to Halifax yacht race, so we were timing our arrival to Marblehead around noon so we could see the large race boats heading out. There were 104 racing yachts moored in the harbor!

We picked up mooring balls in what turns out to be a very tight harbor. Luckily, we connected with IP420 Entropy, Martha and Bob Rose, who helped us secure balls from the Boston Yacht Club. After the races got under way, Entropy invited all of us over to their yacht for a lovely wine and cheese party. It was so nice of them after working all day on the race course and then coming in and hosting a party for 14+ people! THANK YOU! We also enjoyed meeting Drew of IP380 Shawnee. Friendly IPers in Marblehead and plenty of sunshine, too!

From here we plan to run to MAINE, at Kittery….

Island Packet 380 Memphis Belle in 27 knots reaching hard
Island Spirit under reefed jib and cruisin at 7.5 knots!
The Boston Yacht Club at Marblehead

Scituate Harbor Mass

This is our first visit to Scituate Harbor and it has been a great time with many shore side services and amenities. The entrance to the harbor from sea is very short, and well marked but the harbor is tight with no room to anchor with plenty of mooring balls. Once in the harbor, you hail the “Scituate Launch” and they will tell you to come down to R8, stand by and then they will direct you to your mooring ball. In 2009, the fee was $35.00/night which includes launch service to and from town.

Once in town, the harbormaster’s office is the center of the hub and within two blocks there is…

  • Ice Cream
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • CVS
  • Laundromat
  • Grocery Stores
  • Pizza Shops
  • Diners & Restraunts
  • Hardware Stores
  • 3 Liquor stores
  • Shops and boutiques
  • Commercial Fishing and Charter Fishing docks

So, as you can see, we used our stay here to re-provision, do laundry, and simply walk the cliffs and beaches. July 4th we enjoyed fireworks over the harbor from 3 different locations, and during the day, we finally had a blue sky, no fog, and NO RAIN!

Next Stop…..Marblehead….after the Marblehead to Halifax race departs….

Notice the 10′ tides that is out…

The dinghy dock with 10′ tides down. Look at the ramp!

Let’s play….“Find the Island Packets”……Scituate Lighthouse in back

The Harbor Chart, look how close the services all are.
This is a great spot for provisions, laundry and a rest.

Cape Cod Canal North Bound

Departing Pocasset Red Brook Harbor, we ran the Cape Cod canal with six Island Packets as we are traveling in a fleet. The tides in this area are about 10 feet and the current in the canal can run 3-4 knots so you need to wait for, and time the run into the canal so you are going with the current. For us, the best time to make this run would have been at 1430 hrs but we decided to run earlier against the tide in order to make the 7-8 hr run up to Scituate Harbor. Weather, as usual, was rain, fog and thunderstorms, so we watched the radar and tracked the storms via and SIRIUS Weather. Lucky for us, the frontal line parted into two systems with a hole directly over the canal. So we ran out of Pocasset with a storm to our SE and one to or NW and just light rain traveling NE with us in the canal.

It was really cool to see the fleet under the Railroad bridge as that is the true beginning of the canal. We timed it and reached the railroad bridge at 1230 hrs when it was slack low, and from then on we had a push out the rest of the canal.

While in the canal, we had the special treat of being passed by Jim Grundy’s brand new TRIPP 75′ race boat called BELLA PITA. What a machine that was and she was so close, the owner yelled over….”Meet the guy who designed it….BILL TRIPP!”…..She was beautiful and on her way to Marblehead for the Race to Halifax. Google: Belle Pita and Jim Grundy…impressive!

Blasting into Cape Cod Bay, the winds picked up to 15-20 knots SE with slight rain, so we set full sails, main, jib and cutters and sailed on a beam reach to a broad reach up to Scituate Harbor. We arrived at Scituate in low viz with fog around 1730. We are geting better at running in fog and rain and 20 knots of wind. Up here, they have had 27 days of rain in the month of JUNE! We are hoping that this is now over….

BELLE PITA Tripp 75′ Passes us in the Canal
The Designer is onboard (blue hat)
Massive Rig with 3 spreaders

The Fleet sails Cape Cod Bay for Scituate

Heli Shoot


After spending a rest day in Watch Hill, RI, we headed out for a scheduled helicopter photo shoot! Yes, one of our Island Packet Fleet members, Jim is a professional helicopter pilot and he also owns his own heli. So with the coordination of another fleet member, Greg and his professional photographer friend (Wayne Dion ) we pulled off the first Island Packet Yacht Owners’ Heli shoot! The am weather was not looking good, but after staging up 8 IPs at Point Judith, we waited the scheduled time for the heli and the weather improved!

Sure enough, with the heli fueled and on the pad and the pilot and photographer ready, the weather cleared and the winds came up to 12 knots! It was unreal, after a week or more of rain, fog and no wind, that this cleared up and the heli could fly. All the yachts were staged, and the photographer ready, so the VHF call came…..”Anchors UP, we are heading out”….. and 8 Island Packerts set sail out the Point Judith harbor for a rendezvous with Greg who was sailing south out of Wickford and nearing the Point Judtih Lighthouse.

The heli arrived on sight at 1300 hrs and we sailed as a fleet of 9 Island Packets close reaching in 12 knots of wind. The heli had enough fuel to stay on sight for 1 hour and he circled the fleet at least 10 times. The fleet tacked back towards Point Judith Lighthouse and ended the shoot with the yachts sailing close hauled all on a starborad tack heading out to sea.

The photos are incredible, as I have seen a preview. They will soon be released for our review and our personal purchases. Wayne Dion of is the owner of the photographs and can be contacted about aerial photography.

What is so incedible about this event is that it was all Island Packet Owner Driven, and not factory driven. The coordination was by an owner, the heli and heli fuel was provided by an owner, and the photographer is a good frined of an Island Packet Owner. The IP ownership experience is so rewarding, that it truely is a joy to own one of these yachts and to be involved in the fleet.

The Rock Hall Fleet from MD, sailed 360 miles in 6 days to arrive on site for this event! What a day it was……

The Fleet Sails OutJim’s yellow Clipper II Helicopter Over IP440 Lyons Pride.
The Island Packet Fleet heading out to sea
! Posted while on anchor off Cuttyhunk Island…..connectivity not bad via Verizon Air card.


Milford CT to Watch Hill RI

Anchor up at 0530, pressing on to make the run to Watch Hill, RI. The reason we are pressing on so hard and so fast, is to connect with a planned Helicopter Photo Session scheduled for Monday at 1-2pm off Point Judith RI. The Island Packet Fleet has owners with many talents and resources and one owns his own helicopter and another friend is a professional photographer, so there you go. More on that later, should be really fun….

After the storm last night, 42 knots on anchor, the skies cleared and with a beautiful sun rise and we powered to the east for Watch Hill 55 miles ahead. What was in the forecast was 5-10 NW winds and “patchy fog” and what we had was 0-5 NE with TOTAL PEA SOUP FOG. Yea, as usual, that was close NOAA. After about 1 hr of running at 7.0 knots with SOG of 8+ we were overtaken with this FOG. This turned out to be really good learning and review of our radar systems and chartplotters because, at one boat length, you could hardly see the other boats. Many times we could only see each other on radar and this is how we knew where we were. Still running at 7.0 knots, we powered on full steam ahead. (note: we did back down to 6 knots eventually, but we pressed on)

The nice aspect to this run, is that it was early, we had open clean water, it was calm, and the weekend traffic for a Saturday had not yet come out. As we ran behind LONG SAND SHOAL and exited between the RED and GREEN we could only see the marks once we were within 100 yards. This is always very stressful and makes for a very long run. The fog remained with us all day until we reached Fishers Island Sound, where we could now see about 1 mile.

Upon arrival Watch Hill, RI anchorage, we were greeted to a cannon blast across the bow of Island Spirit that just about blew me off the bow! WELCOME ISLAND SPIRIT and the IP FLEET from IP420 WIND RUNNER who owns one of those really cool custom cannons. I was a boat length off his beam and I could feel the pressure on my unsuspecting body! THANK YOU JIM and VANESSA, what a welcome.

We now will take a much needed lay day (Sunday) after pressing everyday for a week from Rock Hall, MD.

We are about 240 miles from Rock Hall, MD and about 150 miles to Portland Maine as the crow flies! Not bad for one week of travel.

Actual Miles traveled since departure:
353.9 nm

Running 7.0 knots in FOG
Notice two Island Packets…about 2 boat lengths off

IP420 Wind Runner, Jim and Vanessa, welcome us with a cannon
I am now anchored off his stern where I can keep a watch on his WILD cannon!

St. Clair Annex, Ice Cream, Breakfast and Sandwiches….perfect
Watch Hill is such a nice New England Town…
The Watch Hill Merry Go Round, families have loved this since 1883!

The #1 Attraction at Watch Hill, RI…..THE BEACH
Here are the fees charged in June 2009, we go for free from the anchorage!