Offshore Yachting : October November 2007
offshore | 77 Camden, Maine is the starting point of our three-week cruise along the New England coast. Here we pick up our Swan 46, bought sight unseen last November off the Internet. Modern times! To our relief Senta is gorgeous and with its eight bunks spacious enough to accommodate our three-generation family of six and our friend Peter. Camden is a quaint seaside town not too spoilt by tourism although as the windjammer capital of Maine where tourists go out on old wooden schooners for the day. Then there's Wayfarer Marine, one of the best boatyards north of New York with plenty of big yachts being tended to here. Behind us shines the 1930 Fife 130-footer Sumurun from New York. On our first night in Camden I sample my inaugural lobster roll: a lobster mayonnaise salad on a roll with green leafs, not bad, but can be topped. Our first big sail turns into a motor sail as the little breeze is on the nose. We are not surprised, the prevailing summer winds in New England blow from the south west which is our direction. The saying about Maine weather is, "if you don't like it come back in an hour" but we have stable summer weather throughout the trip with temperatures in their mid- twenties to low thirties and moderate winds. In Tenants Harbour, a small inlet with a few moorings and plenty of lobster boats just 18 miles south of Camden, we go alongside the Cod End Wharf that is run by the Miller family. The matriarch herself sells us our first fresh 1 3G4 lobsters, alive of course. But I can convince her to boil them for us as my pots on the boat are not big enough for these beasts. The mess of taking them apart is worth it, warm lobster with salad and fresh bread, yum. A New England cruise is made more interesting by the lobster pots everywhere, you have to keep a close lookout for the buoys - night sailing is a real challenge. The local yachts have a ring of sharp knives attached to their prop shaft and just cut through the ropes. To our surprise there are even lobster pots in harbours and often tightly packed as in Boothbay Harbour, our next stop. In Kaler's restaurant where we have a late hamburger lunch, a lobster tank on the terrace entertains the kids endlessly. Jewell Island is true to its name, a secluded cove, a little beach, only a few boats. We row ashore in the dinghy, walk among the quiet forest, gather driftwood and shells with the kids and later enjoy the sunset with a nightcap. The power boat Black Swan in the cove could have belonged to Alan Bond, he owned one of that name around these waters when he was fighting for the Auld Mug. On to Portland's de Lillo marina under an old ferry where I don't even get ashore as our five-year-old Finn and I come down with a stomach bug caused by the bad tap water that we filled in the tanks in Camden. The elaborate filter systems yachts have on their water hoses make sense to us now. It turns out that tap water is not safe in many harbours. We are really sick and the grandparents spend the day in the laundry. Next day a lunch stop in a cove on the way is necessary to enter Kennebunkport on a rising tide. The small town sounds as if it is named after the Kennedys but is actually the holiday destination for the presidential Bush family, the old and the young ones. The old Bush has holidayed here for 82 years he informs us in a local magazine. The shallow river is lined with huge wooden mansions that look like hotels but are the holiday houses of the rich and famous. Bush's compound can't be seen from here but we do spot George W's Miami Vice-like power boat Fidelity III with three 275hp outboards. The boat is being detailed to take President Putin out at the weekend. Guess George can afford to pay the fuel bill. Later on the CIA practises a bit for that visit, with helicopters hovering above and black "US Secret Service" ribs zooming up and down the river. Chuck's Marina costs a fortune, around A$230 for the night, but this just has to be seen. And the ice cream here is exceptional. Wonder whether the Bush's like scoops of maple walnut? There are Harley Davidson motor bikes everywhere, a hobby of the older generation. Aging playboys, permed house wives, pensioner couples, you name it. The engine roar can be heard into the night. In York we get a mooring and take the kids on a dinghy expedition. "The Lobster Chronicles", Linda Greenlaw": After 17 years of swordfish fishing in the Atlantic Linda Greenlaw returns to her home island Isle Au Haut in Maine to try lobster fishing.
December January 2008