Maine to Port Canaveral  Home   

We sailed the 1000 miles from Maine to Port Canaveral, Florida, primarily to get South for a winter cruise in the Bahamas.  The passage was mostly between 10 and 40 miles offshore, since our mast is too high to use the popular IntraCoastal Waterway.  Work intervened requiring a couple of trips home, but we made good progress, with plenty wind most of the way, and only a couple of days of adverse winds.

Helen and Neil started from Falmouth on 19th October in a calm, but winds built rapidly so we had a fast sail down to the Cape Cod Canal, which crosses the isthmus joining the Cape to the mainland.  We were over 8 knots much of the time, but with fairly deep water, the waves were not steep.

We learned that our dinghy carried across the stern could scoop up some wave tops and feed them in to the aft ventilators, so adopted the practice of plugging them in such conditions.  It was surprising how much water we had to pump out.

Ron Glowe was keen to try autumn sailing, so he swapped with Helen in Marion, Mass for a fast two days sailing to Bridgeport, on the northern shore of Long Island sound.  We stopped in Block Island for the night en route.  There were one only half a dozen boats in the main anchorage, which is normally crowded with a few hundred boats in the summer.
Helen and Neil sailed and motored in light air from Bridgeport, through Hell's Gate at Manhattan, out through the New York harbor and down to Cape May. 

As we motored under the Brooklyn bridge, the absence of the twin towers of the World Trade Center was very obvious.

We met a number of Canadian boats that had come down the Hudson River, and had their first taste of open, water off the Jersey coast.  It is quite shallow, so even a moderate wind can kick up a nasty chop.  A few new variations on the French language floated over the radio, and we listened to one boat following another into Atlantic City in the dark, without charts because they felt the sea was too rough.  Foolish move, but nobody came to any harm.

Peter Kminek joined the boat in Cape May and saw lots of wind, with some fast passages approaching 200 miles/day.  The main problem on this section was waiting for a reasonable weather window to squeeze south between the shoals off Capes Hatteras, Lookout and Fear, and the north-flowing Gulf stream.  The stream can be VERY rough in a NE wind, while making progress against it with southerly winds is virtually impossible.
The passage took several days, so it was just as well it warmed up enough for the crew to have a shower.

We heat water if the engine is running, and although we have a shower below, it is a nuisance to use, so the fresh air version in much preferred.

Sailing is really just a small step above camping.

We were close-hauled quite a lot of the time, and were pleased with Milvina's performance, although it is never really comfortable being right on the wind.

As usual, the wind paid only partial attention to the weather forecasts of constant NE winds between 20 and 30 knots.

We had winds from about 10 to 40 knots, some in water shallow enough to make the seas miserable, but mostly OK.

When the wind was aft, as in the pictures below, life was pleasant, and we started to feel like we were in the South during the days, although nights were chilly until we were off the Florida coast.