Nineteen days. That’s how long it took to get the boat ready for the 2016 season.
From winter cover removal to the season’s first course plot, spring commissioning concluded with goodbyes to the great folks who helped us in Maine. Heartfelt thanks go out to Colby buddies Scott and Debbie Belanger, Lisa Fink, Smokey McKeen, and Gary Jones, plus spouses, Kayli, Kevin, and Mary Lynn, and to John Brewer and his staff at Brewer South Freeport Marine. Without doubt, their welcoming attitude and complete support made this Windleblo winter layover the best ever!
Finally, at low tide on June 7th, we cast off the mooring line in the Harraseeket River and headed out to sea. Six hours later at one PM we were securely anchored in Boothbay Harbor, our first real shakedown cruise complete. All went well with the boat, but Jocelyn experienced uncomfortable seasickness, causing her to rethink the 200+ nautical mile crossing to Nova Scotia. Once more, we called on our Maine shoreside support team. Smokey McKeen dropped what he was doing at his summer home in Damariscotta and drove down 16 miles to Boothbay to rescue Jocelyn. She would make her way to the boat in Nova Scotia by bus, plane, and taxi.
The forecast was for Beaufort Force 5 and 6 westerlies (17 to 27 knots) for the next 24 hours, diminishing to Force 3 and 4 northwesterlies after that. After a good meal and night’s sleep, Jackson Williams and I awoke at 0830 for a rig check and whisker pole practice while at anchor in the calm of the harbor. At high tide, we weighed anchor for the 14 nm downwind sail to Monhegan Island, taking a mooring ball there at 1530. A brief row ashore and short walk across the island brought us to the glorious cliffs along Mohegan’s east shore, the tallest on the Eastern Seaboard.
We bought some fresh fish at Monhegan’s only market and enjoyed a pre-crossing dinner of baked haddock, pasta with basil, garlic, and olive oil, and salad. More good sleep, then departure.
The next day dawned bright and cool. Déjà vu of the trade winds run across the Atlantic, we rigged wing-on-wing on a port tack with the genoa poled out to windward, about 20 percent reefed, the wind and waves right behind us. The forecast held true and this sail plan carried us through the day and night, 160 nm across the mouth of the Bay of Fundy. Seas built to two meters on our transom, which Cousin Nav handled without undue strain. Windleblo hummed once again, happy to be in her element.
Rounding Cape Sable as the dawn arrived, we turned to port on a heading of 063 degrees. Clouds gathered and the wind diminished less than forecast as it shifted to the north, forcing us to slog 50 nm close hauled into short steep waves. I turned on the iron sail to keep up boat speed, slowed by hobby horsing magnified by the 30 kg Bruce anchor and 80 meters of chain on the bow.
Despite this last point of sail, we managed to average more than seven knots over the entire 260 nm crossing to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. We raised the Canadian courtesy flag on the starboard spreader as we turned into Lunenburg Bay. As if on cue, the wind died. The harbor’s glassy waters reflected a brilliant sunset as we dropped anchor. Once settled, we paid homage to Neptune for a safe passage as dusk gathered. Exhausted, we crashed immediately and fell into a deep sleep.
Immediately upon awakening, I tied up to a dock and checked in with Canadian Customs. Later, Jocelyn rejoined us, taking a shuttle down from Halifax.