August 3-August 31, 2021
We should know better than to have a schedule!
Today is the 31st of August and we just arrived back to the boat from a week in Mallorca, one of the Balleric Islands off the coast of Spain. I can’t say enough about it. It was our second visit to my sister’s beautiful house there, and it was great to reconnect with family. Also, I ate a LOT of amazing food. We toured a cathedral, shopped a historic market, zipped around on a Seabob, jumped off a cliff, played darts, paddleboarded, swam in the pool and the ocean, tasted lots of good wine, some of it local, and watched all the sailboats going in and out of the Cala. It was warm and sunny every day.
We have been so busy this past month, I haven’t even had a chance to feel guilty about not blogging. The first week of August, we started enjoying Maine. We had a great couple of days with sunny but cool weather in Booth Bay. The town is small and cute. We did have trouble getting dinner without a reservation. Several of the restaurants had signs saying they were closed for lack of staff. The food highlight was the Downeast Ice Cream Factory in town. Jeff and I both agreed it was some of the best ice cream we’ve tasted.
Another Maine highlight was going back to Jeff’s roots at Islesboro. His great uncle (effectively his grandfather as his mom lost both her parents before he was born) had a summer house there. Jeff has many happy memories of summers in Crow Cove, fishing, sailing, and learning to love being out on the water. He hadn’t been back since he was seventeen. It was really special to see how happy he was when we dropped anchor on a foggy, misty, evening. “Nothing has changed. It’s perfect.” We were about 50 feet from shore and a big semi circle of eight Adirondack chairs were set out around a fire pit in front of the boat house. Jeff has memories of sleeping in the bedroom over the boathouse instead of in the main house, and feeling spooky and brave at the same time. Facebook was happy to put me in touch with his cousin, who, incredibly, was there for the week. Unfortunately, they had unvaccinated kids in the house, so we didn’t visit. We weren’t too sad because it started pouring buckets shortly after we arrived. Our other purpose in selecting Crow Cove as our anchorage was to wait out a predicted storm with high winds. We didn’t feel any wind, but we did get plenty of rain. Not a nice day to go ashore. We hunkered down and watched movies all day.
After 2 nights in the Cove, we hurried on to Brooklin Maine. This was our ultimate destination and home of the world famous Eggemoggin Reach Regatta, at least it’s world famous if you own a wooden boat. Only wooden boats are allowed to participate, so I was surprised to see over 120 entries. Jeff’s uncle Jim is a yacht designer, and has participated in this race for many years and several boats he designed competed this year. He crewed on the beautiful boat Blackfish, and even better, he got Jeff and I spots crewing on another of his designs, Equipoise. We are so grateful to the very gracious owner and talented skipper of this boat. Thanks Joe! Equipoise is named after that awesome Guy’s and Dolls Song – “I got the horse right here, his name is Paul Revere. Can do, can do, the man says this horse can do!” Later in the lyric, you find out his father was Equipoise. Great idea for a name. I’m pretty sure the owner was delighted when he asked if we knew the song and I immediately sang out “Can Do! Can Do!” He was equally delighted when I piped right down, LOL.
Equipoise, a Jim Taylor 44, is one fancy boat. It is designed to look like an elegant wooden boat from the 1920’s with a glowing varnished mahogany coachroof, toe rail, and dual helms. However, she is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The hull is cold molded wood, the rig is carbon fiber, and the keel is custom racing foil. Oh, and why have a boring diesel? Why not all electric for the motor? But they hardly use that anyway. Basically in any amount of wind, she does 8.5 knots. More with the ‘chute up. Because we were in one of the fastest classes, we got to start in one of the last groups. Dodging back and forth thorough the fleet waiting to start was both awesome and terrifying. There was every type of wooden boat, from a Beatle Cat, just like like our beloved Owl and Pussycat, to schooners over 100 ft long. Turns out those schooners aren’t much faster than the Beatle Cats! Once we started in very light air, the wind picked up and we casually started passing the vast majority of the fleet. At the turn to the downwind leg, it was wonderful to watch as spinnaker after spinnaker popped. However, there was one boat we couldn’t catch. They had a good start, and then just pulled away until at the end of the race, they were just a gleaming golden (Kevlar actually) sail out in front of us. Oh well. We weren’t there for the glory. That went to Outlier. In the end, I have to admit I was glad Jeff flogged me all the way up Penobscot Bay in order to get there on time. Our anchorage there was also spectacular, with a view across to the Brooklin Boat Yard, which collaborated with Jim on the building of Equipoise. She was also rushed to make the race. They just launched her in June!
After the big race, I’d had enough of lobster pots, and freezing water making the breeze chilly. We decided to head off shore around Cape Cod straight to Nantucket. On our way down, we circled a rock with a giant colony of Puffins. These birds are ridiculously cute. Another interesting thing we saw in the water was a Mola Mola. These fish are the shape of a fish head, with a fin that looks like a dorsal fin on either side. They can’t survive long in cold water, so in the sun, they float on the surface, on their side, to warm up. One of the weirdest creatures we have seen. It seemed totally untroubled by our boat too. Oh did I mention it’s about 6 feet across? Weird.
Neither Jeff nor I had ever been to Nantucket before, so we were happy to cross it off our list. We had good weather, and enjoyed long walks and bike rides around the island. The bike trails to the various beaches were excellent, and we enjoyed biking straight across the island to ‘Sconset too. On the recommendation of a cruising friend, we visited the “Oldest House”, where our volunteer tour guide Diane made it a fun and informative visit. Did you know Quakers settled on Nantucket?
Taking our dinghy through the harbor, we passed a familiar boat. It was Mer Du Jour, whom we met down in the Bahamas. We had a great night out with them. Drinks at the Gazebo were strong, and led to a BBQ on Renegade with Mer Du Jour and a brother who was visiting. A good time was had by all.
Yes, we are late again. We have to rush off from Nantucket to make it the Haversham, our family summer house on Quonachotaug Pond, a nice bike ride from the Watch Hill Yacht Club, where we will moor our boat for the week. There is nothing better than family dinner for 14, out on the wrap around porch, up on the hill over looking the ocean, eating fresh lobster that the nice guy at the lobster shack steamed for us. I should mention the highlight of the week was seeing our fabulous and talented daughter. Her timing was great, because while we were together to celebrate, she received a job offer for after she graduates next summer. Now she can relax and enjoy senior year, and her parents can stop being guilty for selling her house. With a paycheck coming in, she can now put a roof over her head all by herself! She is thrilled, not only because of the paycheck, but also because she’ll be doing what she loves, and what she went to college to study. That’s not so easy these days!
No time to linger – the next stop on our itinerary awaits. We have two reasons to rush to Oyster Bay. One we have to get there in time to button up the boat and get to the airport for our flight to Mallorca. Two, Hurricane Henri is coming! When we leave, it’s aiming for Montauck, so Oyster Bay should be good. However, it takes a turn and 48 hours before landfall, it looks like Oyster Bay could see the eye and winds over 75 knots! Oh, and huge waves and a storm surge on the morning we are supposed to leave! Too much drama. Long story short, we did all our storm prep, but the storm turned again and went right over Haversham. They saw 55 knot winds but no worse, and only lost a few shingles. Phew!
This storm had a silver lining because it drove friends from Annapolis into Oyster Bay, so I got to have fun playing tour guide for the day. Kind of a lame tour – Yacht Club, Brewery, the Summer White House, and my favorite restaurant in town (2 Spring), but we managed to have fun.
Now we are back on the boat in Oyster Bay. We spent our first day back undoing all our storm prep, and bringing the laundry to the fluff n’fold. We got haircuts and ordered groceries. We finally have time to rest. We are in the Long Island Sound until September 18th. My college girlfriend’s youngest is being Bar Mitzvahed that, so it’s an excuse for a get together, and the last thing on our agenda for the Sound. Before that, we have an engagement party to go to, and a couple day sails and over night cruises arranged with local friends, but that’s it. For 3 weeks, we only have to sail fast if we want to! Phew!
It’s funny how I’ll have time to blog these next few weeks, but not a lot to report. The opposite of the last few weeks.