A friend of Brad's who is a member of the CCA (Cruising Club of America) forwarded an innocent email sometime back in the beginning of the year about a summer cruise. That set a whole chain of events into motion which will culminate for us, Brad, me, and Dan, starting August 7th when we all trek north to pick up our charter, "Cygnet" for a week of sailing along the Maine coastline with some 300 other CCA members and guests aboard nearly 90 boats!
We started the cruise planning with a rendezvous one cool February morning at the Robert Crown Sailing Center, with me meeting the boys after a spirited run with Haydn. Dan and Brad wanted to go over the charts they had and start to coordinate how they would get CALIX via a J World offshore class to the first harbor, Rockland, where the cruise starts. Obviously since then there's been one rather notable change in the whole plan when this spring CALIX unexpectedly sold.
I think that not having CALIX is a bit of a relief to deal with actually, as otherwise we'd be crazy people right now getting the boat finalized for her first offshore passage, no mean feat given her inshore set up. Deep breaths, as Dan and Brad chose a classic Joel White built 1966 ketch. And yes, she has all the modern conveniences you need for Maine, namely radar...
I am pretty excited about this whole adventure namely because I spent a good deal of time earlier this year taking a Piloting and Advanced Piloting class, learning how to use charts, plotting, etc., and how to navigate in fog, should that be necessary. Considering Maine, I think that will be necessary! However, the years of experience between Brad and Dan are vast and I'll be not only enjoying an amazing cruising experience, but gaining more of my own confidence and gleaning everything I can from all the seasoned veterans who are the CCA. Just like the movie Office Space, when asked what I'd do if I had a million dollars, I'd have a great boat and time to sail her, everywhere, and be able to be a CCA member myself. I'm working on it!
Some fun details before we even pick up the boat and start the cruise are meeting Brad and Dan in Portland on the 8th. They are driving up starting on the 7th and I'm flying up on the 8th. I'm staying with friends who are taking me racing with them that evening at the Portland Yacht Club (totally psyched about this) and the boys will be with some friends of Brad's. Should be a fun gathering that evening! Off we go early the next morning with a few hours drive to Buck's Harbor, which is just off of the above map to the south, actually passing Castine. I think it'll be a few hours at least to sail/motor around Cape Rosier. As long as we get there in time for the lobster bake!
The cruise organizers have offered various activities at each harbor and one that we are looking forward to participating in is trying our hand at the navigation simulator at Maine Maritime Academy. I think we'll be too late the first day to do the small boat racing. As if I won't have enough sailing going on already! I can't remember what we've got scheduled at Southwest Harbor, but I'm pretty sure the tour of the Hinckley facility will be something Brad wants to do. I'm not much for shopping, so the boys don't have to worry about me dragging them around too much, but I might want to look at some authentic gear made in Maine...
On the 15th, the cruise ends at Roque Island with a picnic on the beach. Brad has us scheduled to return Cygnet on the 16th. It'll be a quick turn around (probably insane) to get her back to Buck's Harbor in time but we're really hoping to make it work. Weather and tide/current will have to be in our favor. We really want to see the island with its beautiful white sand beach that is said to be so in contrast to the harsh granite and evergreen tree lined shores. Can't wait to see it in person. I think we'll need a few extra memory cards for the cameras! For Brad, he hopes to speak with one of the CCA members who is part of the cruise and wrote a book about the island. I'll be happy to be doing what I love, sailing. In due time, we'll do this again aboard CALIX II.