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ASKEW's 2001 Maine Cruise

by Kent Ross

I arrived home on August 19 after a wonderful trip from my home in Fredericton, New Brunswick down the coast of Maine on our 1970 Contessa 26 ASKEW. I thought a few of you might enjoy some of the highlights from our log.

Aug 3 – Grand Lake to Saint John NB, 40 Miles down the Saint John River Spent the night at the Royal Kenneabecasis Yacht Club.

Aug 4 – Depart 1000,Thru the Reversing Falls at Saint John, Destination Eastport, 44 miles, cleared customs and got my cruising permit, warm sunny weather, spent most of the day motoring.

Aug 5 -Eastport to Cutler, 45 miles, started out clear but fog socked in after an hour and stayed with us all day, a LOT of lobster pots, motorsailed all day, anchored in Cutler Harbor for the night. Went for a walk on shore, but the town was pretty quiet

Aug 6 – Woke up to fog again, destination, Winter Harbor, winds 20 knots on the nose, spent most of the day motoring in thick fog and 6’ seas, lots of lobster pots, rough day.

Aug 7- got a SHOWER at the Winter Harbor Yacht Club!! Today’s destination Somes Sound, had a lovely run up the sound with my Chute full and pulling us along at 4.5 knots in about 6-8 knots of wind, went for a walk into town, woke up at 0300 to a LOUD BUMP out thru the forward hatch to find a friends J36 entangled in my Rode, his anchor dragged (Fortress), no damage done, about 20 minutes to untangle, his wife commented on my “cute underwear” (I was in a bit of a rush).

Aug 8 -Woke up, just making breakfast when a squall rolled thru, about 30 knots and a lot of rain, left in the rain for North East Harbor. Arrived in North East in fine sunny weather, took a floating dock, went into town for a shower!!! did a little sightseeing, played tourist, Met another Contessa 26 owner Roland Barth, owner of “Mares Tails” author of the Book “Cruising Rules”(great book, Roland and Barbara gave me an autographed copy, which I have already read, Thanks Roland) , if you read the Good old Boat article on the CO26 you would have seen a photo of Roland and Mares Tales, decided to spend another day here.

Aug 9 – On shore leave, went with some friends for a nice dinner out in SouthWest Harbor at XYZ Mexican Restaurant.

Aug 10 -Departed North East For Sorrento, Had a beautiful day, sunny and warm, until Squall blew thru just as we were approaching Sorrento Harbor, changed into bathing suit, didn’t want to get my clean clothes wet, high winds, heavy rain, HAIL, (not bathing suit weather) Trying to dry out my foul weather gear, Rafted with j36 BLUE J on a mooring, spent a quiet evening.

Aug 11 – Left Sorrento for Bucks Harbor, had a fine sail. Had to stop and dive on a friends boat, to remove lobster pot from prop (I’m the fleet diver on most of these trips). Bucks Harbor was one of my favorites, nice harbor Outdoor SHOWERS, very protected, spent a quiet evening.

Aug 12 – Bucks Harbor to Rockland, had a beautiful sail, arrived in Rockland, tied up at the Municipal docks and listened to the last three hours of a Folk Festival that was on shore at the end of the docks, Went out for dinner at a local pub “the Waterworks” they have the largest order of Fish and Chips that I have ever seen.
Aug 13 – Departed Rockland for Stonington, Had a beautiful sail all the way to Stonington, sailed thru the Fox Island Thorofare. Gorgeous! Couldn’t dock in Stonington as there are a LOT of lobster boats and a Town bylaw gives working boats precedence over pleasure vessels (as it should be). We stayed at a boatyard called Billings Diesel, a very large full service yard about 3 miles from town, got a drive into town in the evening and had a great $9.99 Lobster dinner.

Aug 14 – Stonington back to North East Harbor. Saw Roland, Barbara, and MARES TALES again on their way back from Roque Island. In North East Harbor Had a SHOWER!! Did a little shopping, and got the boat ready to start heading home, this was the last of the easy days for a while, Tomorrow Roque Island.

Aug 15 – North East to Roque, motored all day, the prevailing South westerlies that we were counting on had changed to North Easterlies!!! Large swells, Boat handled well, anchored at Great Beach Roque Island, woke up at 0100 the winds that were holding us off the beach had died and now we were rolling beam on to the swells, re-anchor in deeper water, not much better, went for a walk on the beach in the morning, a wonderful unspoiled place, possibly the cleanest beach I’ve ever seen.

Aug 16 – Roque Island to Grand Manan tonight we’ll be back in Canadian waters, started out motoring but south westerlies started to fill in and before long we were doing 6.25- 6.75 knots on a broad reach finally this is what it is all about, 10 miles out of Grand Manan I was standing in the cockpit, just smoking along. My faithful crewman Otto was steering, and I was just soaking it up, when the waters parted 200 yards to our port side and a huge whale completely cleared the water before falling back on his side with a tremendous splash, I was yelling for Michelle to come out but she only saw the splash. Luckily our whale friend gave us an encore. What a Day! Looked down at the knot meter; the winds building, 6.75, 6.8 c’mon Baby, 6.85, 6.9…C’MON BABY you can do it! Daddy wants to see 7! 6.95, 6.98, 6.99 C’MON BAAABY!! 6.75, 6.6, 6.5… Oh well, In my mind I saw 7. Going up the Grand Manan Channel you have either 2-3 knots of current with you or against you, our Speed over Ground was 10.2 knots. Rounded the head of Grand Manan, winds now on the beam, sudden gust from the high cliffs almost knocked us down, time to get the sails down, ready for Harbor at North Head. Took a mooring for the night, cleared customs via Radio Patch to Customs Agent in Ottawa. Blowing about 30 knots South Westerly, Rolling, little sleep.

Aug 17 – 0400 time to get up, got to catch the flood tide which will give us a lift to Saint John NB Left at 0430,still dark, motored out by Radar, got under way, winds are 12-14 Southwesterly but the seas feel BIG due to the winds last night, 6AM light enough to see that the seas (not swells) are about 10’ on the stern quarter about every 5 mins a big one (12-14) rolls thru. Rough Day and only 30 miles more of this. My crewman Otto is steering well but the rest of the crew is feeling a little under the weather, Only 20 miles more, only 10 miles more, motor sailing but the seas keep luffing the sails, hard to keep a course within 20+- degrees. 1300, Made it to Saint John, just in time to transit the falls at 1315, up through the falls, back in my home river. Spent the night at Royal Kennabecasis Yacht Club. Had a much deserved SHOWER!! And a hot greasy Cheeseburger at Wendy’s.

Aug 18 – Saint John to grand lake 40 miles up river, time to dry out the boat and give her a good cleaning, she’s taken good care of us and deserves it, Arrive in Douglas Harbor (Home Port) and discover that there was a race that afternoon and the corn boil and all the people on the dock are not there to welcome us home. Oh well, give me some of that corn and there must be some cold beer left here somewhere.

Will I do it again? In a minute! Maine has some of the most beautiful cruising grounds, only second to their Neighbor to the North, The New Brunswick and Nova Scotia coasts (sorry I had to add that).

Fair Winds

Kent Ross
Fredericton New Brunswick
1970 Contessa 26 ASKEW
JJ Taylor, hull #049