The Lunacy Report

LUNACY IS FOR SALE: Well-Maintained 39-Foot Aluminum Cutter With Recent Engine and Sails Seeks New Owner

Lunacy on dock

For reasons we’ll go into later I’ve decided the time has come to part ways with Lunacy, which I’ve now owned for 10 years. Not exactly an easy decision, as she is a fantastic boat--strong as all get-out, fast, with an easy motion in a seaway. Those of you who follow the blog should know her well. She is a seasoned bluewater cruising boat--her previous owners sailed her around the world, and I’ve sailed her back and forth between New England and the Caribbean four times. For fundamental details you can check out the initial post I wrote about her here on the Lunacy Report, and of course if you study this section of the blog in detail you’ll learn a great deal about how I’ve used her and what sort of upgrades she has enjoyed.

If you don’t feel like doing all that research, here’s the capsule version:

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BECOMING A BOAT DOG: The Further Adventures of Baxter Afloat

Bax in vest

There were some suggestions after I introduced Baxter here that I needed to get him a life-jacket. I knew this, of course, and wanted one as much for the handle on the back, so I could heave the beast more easily in and out of a tender, as for the flotation. You see him here, modeling his new Ruffwear vest during our recent week-long cruise from Portland to Rockland, and as the expression on his face suggests he doesn’t really mind it a bit. Indeed, by the end of our time together he had deduced that being asked to wear the jacket while aboard Lunacy meant an opportunity to go ashore, and he eagerly wagged his tail whenever I picked it up.

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BOAT DOG ORIENTATION: Can Baxter Hack It Afloat?


This is Baxter, a more-or-less 2-year-old male mongrel (we suspect a Jack Russell terrier mixed with some sort of pit-bull) who came north on the Underdog Railroad from Georgia last fall. We adopted him through Alpha Dog Rescue in Lebanon, Maine, after persistent lobbying from daughter Lucy, who is passionately interested in animals. Lucy has insisted that Baxter is perfect in every way ever since we got him last October, but I have remained skeptical. Yes, he had checked most of the boxes on my own personal list of family-dog criteria (doesn’t pass waste in the house, tractable disposition, willing to share bed with dog-besotted daughter, etc.), but whenever I tried to lure him on to MiMi2, our Melonseed Skiff, as she lay tied to her dock in Portsmouth’s Back Channel, he resisted mightily and looked at me like a condemned prisoner being led to the gallows.

I didn’t press the point at the time, but I did wonder if we would ever be able to make a boat dog of Baxter. His physique and coat (dense, tautly muscled, with short hair that does not dry easily when soaked) are not especially aquatic, and it seemed clear he had never spent much if any time in or on the water during his dark time in the South. I wondered: would we have to exile Baxter to some kennel while frolicking on Lunacy during the sailing season? Or would he be able to suck it up and somehow adapt to life on a sailboat?

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CASCO BAY CRUISE: Out and About on My Wild Lone in Late October

Lunacy at Jewell

Tis true, faithful readers. I have been missing from this space for far too long, lost in the endless maze of Annapolis and the boat tests that come afterward (more on those later), the acquisition of yet another rescue dog (no need to go into that here), and straight into a delicious week of wandering the bay alone on Lunacy before she gets put away for the winter. One advantage of cruising the Maine coast in mid to late October is you can visit high-traffic anchorages without finding any traffic. Witness the photo above, taken at Jewell Island just around sunset, where I was the only visitor in its confined nook of a harbor. This after a swift cold-air sail out of Portland late on a Monday afternoon.

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MAINE COAST CRUISE: Up and Down the Damariscotta River

Lunacy under sail

During our “adult cruise” (i.e., sans offspring) last summer, Clare and I harbored wild ambitions of ascending the Damariscotta River, but suffered a lack of breeze (and an intolerance of motoring) so settled instead for a perambulation about Knubble Bay and the lower reaches of the Sheepscot River. This summer, having once more disposed of children, I was determined to try again, and we were fortunately favored with some brisk wind early on.

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FOURTH OF JULY CRUISE: The Father-Daughter Variation

Lucy navigating

For reasons we need not go into this year's father-daughter cruise fell on the July 4th weekend rather than on Father's Day. Our big breakthrough this time out was that Lucy got interested in navigation, courtesy of the Navionics app on my iPad. This on day two of the cruise, when we were tediously motoring most of the way from Cliff Island in Casco Bay to Popham Beach at the mouth of the Kennebec River, our traditional July 4th destination.

After Lucy asked for the hundredth time, "How long until we get there?" I just handed her the iPad and said: "Here, you figure it out."

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SELF-ALIGNING ENGINE WOES: A New Prop Shaft and Some Existential Questions Concerning Corrosion

Shaft seal

I have previously mentioned the problem I was having over the fall and winter with my engine being badly out of alignment. How I'd just run the engine anyway and eventually the prop shaft would whip it right back in line, and how this seemed to culminate in a shaft-seal leak that plagued me on the last leg of Lunacy's journey home from the W'Indies leaving Provincetown bound for Portland.

Given the impressive amount of water spraying all over the place as we left P-town, all of it spewing forth right from the mechanical face of the seal itself, I reckoned there was a good chance the whole unit would need replacing once I delivered the boat to the tender mercies of Maine Yacht Center. I knew I should at least have the bellows behind the seal replaced (it was about time), but I was prepared to bite the bigger bullet if necessary (see photo up top, of all new shaft seal installed).

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PROVINCETOWN MA TO PORTLAND ME: Doublehanded With Underpants

Bear front

Lunacy at last, as of early Tuesday morning, is all the way home. I brought along crew for this last mini-leg of the voyage not because it felt necessary, but rather because an old friend, a fellow sailor, Frank "Bear" Gibney, has suddenly reappeared in my life and it seemed the perfect way to reconnect. As you can see in that photo up there, Bear quickly got the hang of Lunacy's helm and became adroit at steering with his (well-underpanted) groin.

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BERMUDA TO NEW ENGLAND: Solo Passage With Underpants (A Performance Comparison)

Masthead shot

Phase Two of this experiment began with a grand round of socializing in the harbor at St. George's, in which I was ably assisted by my bride. Clare also assisted refueling the boat and in spotting me as I ascended the mast to see if I could get the tricolor light interested in being a light again. (You can't see her in that photo there, peering up at me from on deck, because actually she was down below flipping the anchor and tricolor lights on and off countless times at my command.) I spent a good deal of time up there, and that foot you see in the maststep went numb from carrying all my weight for so long, but ultimately I wasn't able to figure out why the light was unhappy.

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