July 5/2023:  This was the scene last week off Chandler Cove, on the bar between Great Chebeague and Little Chebeague Islands just north of Portland, after I intentionally grounded Lunacy to give her bottom a scrub and check on her prop zinc. This bar is quite close to my mooring behind Maine Yacht Center, with lots of hard open space, and is a great spot for this sort of operation.

The designated grounding area is that green swath of sandbar between Ricker Head and Little Chebeague. I dried out here for the first time in the fall of 2021


As is often the case, witnesses to this process assumed I must be in some sort of trouble. One nice family walked out once the tide dropped to bring me a plate of cupcakes to console me in my misfortune. They were very relieved when I told them I’d grounded the boat on purpose, and let me keep the cupcakes anyway.

One interesting problem I had drying out the boat this time was that the wind and the tide were working against each other as I floated over the bar waiting to take the ground. Several times, as the boat’s position fluctuated in response to the competing elements, it looked like she might end up sitting on top of her anchor. To prevent this, I set a stern anchor to hold the hull away from the main anchor.

A perfect chance to try out my stainless steel  folding Northill seaplane anchor! I learned about this while researching my biography of Thomas Tangvald. Thomas’s father Peter had one of these aboard L’Artemis de Pytheas when the boat was wrecked and Thomas was orphaned on Bonaire in 1991. Thomas managed to recover the anchor when he revisited Bonaire in 2008 to dive on the wreck. I was fascinated by the concept and after rooting around for a bit, managed to find one for sale on eBay. It only cost me $200! It’s basically a lightweight folding fisherman anchor. This was my first time trying it, and it made a great kedge. It dug into the firm sand on the bar promptly and very tenaciously!


Seaplane anchor folded for storing. The bucket, of course, contains my spare rode. It’s an efficient way to handle rode you want to use to set a secondary anchor


My number one goal in this exercise, actually, was to clean off my speed sensor. This is not a paddlewheel sensor, but a sonic sensor, and it is annoyingly sensitive to fouling. In bringing the boat up from Portsmouth to Portland, I often couldn’t use the autopilot, because the pilot needs boatspeed data to function, and the sensor was sending up crazy data. Every time the data went negative, which was quite often, the autopilot lost its mind and would immediately try to pull a 180. Very disconcerting!

What surprised me this time was how little growth it took to effectively disable the sensor. Now, thank goodness, the speed data and autopilot are back to normal. If only the same were true of me.

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