The Lunacy Report

LABOR DAY MISHAPS: Racing & Cruising

Drascombe Dabber under sail

I INFLICTED BOTH FORMS of sailing on the family over the long weekend, with rather mixed results. First, on Saturday, we attempted to campaign our 15-foot Drascombe Dabber Mimi in the Round Island Regatta (RIR) in Portsmouth. The photo up top (snapped by a friend on shore with a phone) shows us in our moment of glory, with sails drawing nicely, actually going somewhere.

It certainly was a struggle getting to that point. Very soon after we pulled away from the dock, located just a few short yards from the start line, I knew something was wrong. The jib wouldn't trim properly, and the mainsail and the tiny mizzen (a mere afterthought of a sail) between them could not develop enough power to fight the strong current that was running. In only a moment it was obvious we would be swept into the low-hanging maw of the Pierce Island bridge if action were not taken.

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STORM PORN: Casco Bay Thunder Squall

Thunder squall

Clare and I finished bringing Lunacy back to Portland this weekend and spent the last night of our mini-cruise on a mooring at Cliff Island in Casco Bay on Friday night. Soon after we settled in a massive thunderstorm started zooming in from the southwest. The photo up top depicts its initial approach.

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MAINE COAST CRUISE: Brimstone Island

Brimstone Island

ALTHOUGH THIS IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE SPOTS on the coast, I haven't been here in almost 10 years. All that time I have been dreaming of coming back. On the chart it doesn't look like anything special--just another tiny uninhabited islet in the small archipelago that stretches around the southern end of Vinalhaven Island on the outer edge of Penobscot Bay. The instant you get ashore, however, you realize you've arrived someplace very special.

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MAINE COAST CRUISE: Damariscove Island

Damariscove Island

I USED TO COME OUT HERE when I was young, in an outboard skiff or a Drascombe longboat with a spritsail. I was in love with the abandoned Coast Guard station at the entrance to the tiny slit-trench harbor and often daydreamed I would someday live out here in that house, all on my own. I was used to the tall dark pines of our island in the Kennebec, and to me the landscape of this island, altogether treeless, with grass and thick shrubbery reaching in all directions, seemed alien and exotic.

Small as it was, the very fact of the harbor also made the island appealing. We kept our boats moored on the open tide-wracked edge of the mighty Kennebec, and whenever we wanted to sail on open water we had first to clear the river entrance, a sometimes tricky affair. Here you could moor a small boat quite securely and in an instant be out sailing looking at mostly horizon in all directions.

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SAIL V. CRUISING WORLD: Secret Bilateral Talks

Elaine & Charlie

BACK IN THE LATE NINETIES when I quit my job as an associate editor at Cruising World, Elaine Lembo was hired to take my place. We've been good friends ever since. We usually have furtive encounters in vans running between BWI Airport and Annapolis in October and swap all kinds of juicy gossip about sailing magazines, particularly the ones we work for. This year for the first time we had our furtive encounter in the proper way, aboard a boat, in a fabulous anchorage in Maine (Ridley Cove, just south of Cundy's Harbor), in company with Elaine's partner-in-crime, paramour, and common-law husband, Cap'n Rick Martell.

I was aboard Lunacy; Rick and Elaine were aboard their vintage Crocker ketch, Land's End. Can you guess which boat we decided to have dinner on?

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FAMILY CRUISE: A Foggy Fourth And Beyond

Sabre 28 in fog

CLARE, LUCY, AND I (sans Una, who was off jet-setting in SoCal) packed ourselves aboard Lunacy this past Wednesday and were off from Portland none too early, heading east across the whole of Casco Bay, bound for Popham Beach and the mouth of the Kennebec River. I was afraid our late start would leave us in the end struggling against the full might of the outgoing tide as we entered the river mouth... and so it was. What I hadn't counted on was having to do this in zero visibility.

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SELDEN REVERSIBLE WINCH: Installed At Last

Selden Reversible Winch

EVER SINCE THEY WERE INTRODUCED in Europe almost two years ago, Scott Alexander at Selden Mast has been urging me to install a Selden reversible winch on Lunacy. Only problem was he couldn't get me a winch. Well... they finally started shipping these puppies across the Pond this past spring, and now at long last Scott has sold me one. I spent the morning yesterday installing it, a process that was only a little bit more involved than I hoped it would be.

Although Scott had suggested I replace ALL the winches on the boat with Selden winches (he is a salesman, after all), I opted just to replace the mainsheet winch, which sits on the coachroof beside the companionway. The mainsheet, of course, is a line that gets played a lot--trim, ease, trim, ease, ad infinitum--so a reversible winch (you can ease it without taking the line off the winch) should come in very handy here.

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MEM-DAY WKEND 2012: First Sail of the Season

Lucy on Lunacy's bow

UNLIKE LAST YEAR, Lunacy's first sail of the season with family aboard involved no humiliations or mishaps. We enjoyed a most excellent daysail in sub-10-knot winds (courtesy of the fabulous screecher, now in its second season) and sailed north off the mooring at Portland Yacht Services up to Chandler Cove, where we enjoyed lunch aboard and a short hike and some beachcombing on the south end of Great Chebeague Island.

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