Sunday, June 15, 2014

Broken Leg

Broken Leg      Wed 11th June – Sun 15th June

For reasons that you’ll understand in a minute, I have very mixed feelings about writing this blog. However, there are many friends that we haven’t been able to contact directly and I want everyone to know where we stand.

Wednesday started well enough, we were very excited and a little nervous to be taking out our first clients on a sunset cruise 6.30pm – 8.30pm. We headed in to the dock an hour before the scheduled departure time, did a few jobs and then met our clients as planned. We had a very pleasant cruise, sailing in light winds under somewhat grey skies. When we came back into the dock, Gloria jumped down onto the dock from the side of the boat to tie off our lines, just as she had done a few hours before and countless times at other locations. Only this time she was met by instantaneous and extreme pain in her right hip as she landed on the dock.  We would subsequently learn that on landing Gloria suffered a triple fracture of her femur / hip. After assessing the situation an ambulance was called and once Gloria was safely secured on a stretcher she was taken to hospital and I followed on behind in the car. We initially went to the hospital at Brunswick, but when the x-rays showed the nature of the damage, they put Gloria back in an ambulance and took her down to Maine Medical Hospital in Portland that has more expertise in dealing with this type of complex fracture. All in all we spent some 14 hours in emergency rooms and then around noon on Thursday the orthopedic surgical team operated to repair the fracture.

Some of you may know that Gloria had a hip replacement (of the “resurfacing” type) back in 2003 and it was this joint that was affected. I’m happy to say that the surgery went better than anyone expected and they were able to plate the damaged bone together without having to revise the original hip replacement - which seemed to be fine and well bonded to the bone. We were fortunate to end up at this hospital where one of the surgeons (Raymond White) is internationally renowned for his work in fracture repair. He was the only surgeon in the department willing to give the repair operation a try rather than go for a complete hip replacement. Gloria is now recovering in hospital and we hope to move her home to our house in Sudbury in the next day or two.

At this point I want to take a moment to thank a number of people for their outstanding support. The staff at Sebasco Harbor Resort were really great in calling for an ambulance and helping support us until it arrived and taking care of Cotinga in our absence. The medical staff have been terrific and how I am very impressed with the quality of care Gloria has received. We were also very touched that our clients from Wednesday evening, Susan and Charles, stopped by the hospital on Friday afternoon to visit Gloria, prior to flying back to their home in Texas.

Our plans for the rest of the summer are very much up in the air. Gloria of course won’t be going anywhere near a boat for quite a while and will need dedicated care over the next couple off weeks. Depending on how rapidly that progresses I may try and come back up to Sebasco Harbor in early July on a part time basis, perhaps 3 or 4 days a week, and try and keep the business going. But we’ll just have to see how things progress.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Popham Fort

Popham Fort      Tuesday 10th June 2104

Well today was the day that our charter business went “live”. We checked in with the concierge at about 9am, but there were no bookings. To be honest there just aren’t that many people staying here at the minute. We knew that it would be slow the first couple of weeks – but I think it might be a bit harder to deal with than we expected. The resort should be quite a bit busier at the weekend and their season really starts with the full program of activities the week of June 23rd. We have noticed that some of our brochures are being picked up so we remain hopeful!

This afternoon we jumped in the car and took a short ride to explore the local area. Popham Beach looks beautiful, but we didn’t stay long as it is a State Park and we didn’t want to pay the fee ($7 each) so we persuaded the attendant to let us in for free just to check it out for 10 minutes or so.  We then headed over to Popham Fort and had a lot of fun wandering around and taking photos. This is an impressive civil war construction, built to guard the entrance of the Kennebec River. It was somewhat breezy outside so it appeared that the Maine State bird (the mosquito) had taken refuge within the shelter of the fort walls in impressive numbers. You have no idea how many bites I sustained to take the photos below. Gloria, of course, was just fine as the mosquitos were far too busy eating me!

It does seem a bit buggy as the sun goes down, even out on the water in the boat. But our new insect screens in the hatches work great so we can have lots of fresh air minus the bugs. Life is good!


Popham Fort

Colorful molds and mineral deposits leaching from the mortar

Lighthouse just south of the fort

Monday, June 9, 2014

Unexpected Fun

Unexpected Fun   …   June 9th 2014

Our friends Ann and Ken Coleman got in touch a couple of days ago.  They were planning a trip to Maine with Ken’s sister who is visiting from the UK.  On their way to Bar Harbor today, they stopped by at Sebasco Harbor Resort.  The pub provided a lovely lunch with a great view over the mooring field.  It was great to see Ann and Ken and to meet Brenda.  After lunch we persuaded them to come out to the boat in the dinghy.  It was fun to show them the boat.  Sadly, they didn’t feel they had time to go out for a sail, not with a further three hours of driving.  That was the high point of the day.

Much of the rest of that day was spent trying to track down the origin of a squeak in the boat’s steering.  Having emptied the large lazarette, Mike climbed in to gain access to the steering mechanism.  He detached the auto-pilot and was able to determine that the squeak is in the steering itself.  Much consulting of ‘sailing gurus’ on the web got us quite depressed about what the origins of the noise might be.  A phone call to Morris Yachts got us forwarded to the correct person, alas, he was not at his desk.  We are still hoping for some enlightenment from that quarter.  For now, the squeak goes on….

Tomorrow will be the first day of our official schedule.  As this is a quiet week at the resort, we aren’t expecting too much.  The busy time at the resort starts the week of June 23rd (once schools are out).  Meanwhile, we’ve been visiting various locations to drop off brochures—the spa, the pro-shop and the gift shop.  This has allowed us to meet some of the staff.  One idea is to take a few staffers out on short trips to give them a sense of how great a sailing trip could be.  It might also give us some idea of what a six person charter might be like!


Sunday, June 8, 2014

It’s Like Sputnik

It’s Like Sputnik      Sunday 8th June 2014

Do you really want to read about our boat jobs and how we lugged 15 gallons of diesel over to the boat? I didn’t think so! It’s much more interesting to read about some of the excellent beers that we have on board. Tonight I want to highlight “Old Chub” scotch ale … “It’s like Sputnik” … “a virtual planetoid” … not my words, just what it says on the can. But for those that are into their beer, this is one I definitely would recommend. It has a tremendously bold flavor, rich and smooth (unlike myself on either count) and goes down all too easily. And yes, it is in a can. For all you bottle snobs, you can get great beers in cans these days. We like cans for the obvious reason that they don’t break as easily as bottles and they crush down to a small size in the trash bag, both of which are good if you’re on a boat.  Just to fill you in on the context – I enjoyed this fine beer whilst slaving over the hot stove cooking pork in paprika and cream sauce with rice and broccoli. That turned out pretty well, also – but maybe that was just the beer!

Anyway we didn’t sit around eating and drinking all day, we did get a bunch of boat jobs completed, chatted to some of the staff at Sebasco Harbor resorts and went for an exploratory sail in the late afternoon, which went really well. The people here at the resort seem very friendly and helpful and we look forward to getting to know them a little better. We plan to start our scheduled trips on Tuesday so we’ve been trying to put brochures in prominent locations and also work out good routes and attractive places to stop and have lunch or drinks/ snacks. The whole area is lovely and we have figured out what we think are some good trips. The secret will be matching up the appropriate route with the wind / weather conditions. No doubt we’ll have a lot more to say on this in the future.

Right now we are just hoping to have some customers!



Two shots of our new cockpit speaker - both photographed in stereo

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Lay of the Land

The Lay of the Land   …   Saturday June 7, 2014

After breakfast, we went to shore.  Our two objectives were to talk to someone in the front office and to get Mike to his appointment with Capt. Phil and the ‘Ruth’.  Our trip to the front desk was somewhat derailed by a lot of activity with higher priority.  We will need to go back with our questions on Monday.  When it came time to board the M/V Ruth, it looked like we were going to be out of luck.  The scenic cruise for this morning was fully booked.  Coast Guard regulations limit the number of passengers and crew (not that we would be considered crew).  Fortunately at the last minute two people failed to turn up and we jumped aboard.

The purpose was to get Mike oriented with the workings of the resort’s vessel.  The hope is that he will be driving that boat when the other two captains are not available.  I just went along to start to get some sense of the local area (let’s be honest, I’m nosy).  As the morning was clear with beautiful blue skies and a gentle northerly breeze, it was a lovely trip up to Cundy’s Harbor and the Basin (a good hurricane hole).  We even managed to spot a Bald Eagle while underway.

After lunch, we set off in Cotinga to explore some options for trips.  Mike had been pouring over the chart during breakfast and had some destinations in mind. We headed west from Sebasco Harbor toward Bailey’s Island.  We took a look at a couple of coves that might provide an anchorage for a lunch trip.  All the while the breeze was freshening, having gone right round to the south.  Our return course took us past Ragged Island (another potential destination).  By the time we were off Ragged Island, we were zipping along at seven plus knots with the main sail and partially furled genoa.  The final leg provided down wind sailing at a somewhat more sedate pace.  Overall it was a great sail, even if one eye had to be looking out for lobster pots at all times.

I think we are starting to have an idea of the local geography, although there’s plenty more to find out. 


The shot you've all been waiting for … Cotinga with her new paint work and canvas work

Just look at that reflection in the awl grip !

Our next-door neighbors arrived just as I was out taking photos of Cotinga

A tighter shot that I like because it has more background and a sense of the beauty of the location

Friday, June 6, 2014

Settling in

Settling in   …   Friday 6th June 2014

43 46.056 N, 69 52.049 W

As you will have gathered from our last posting, the passage up to Maine went well. Nonetheless it still shocks me just how tiring these overnight passages can be. We were pretty much exhausted yesterday and still tired today. We have done 72-hour (Nassau to Fernandina Beach, FL) and 48-hour passages (Norfolk to New York) previously, but it still seems almost inconceivable to string together multiple nights with such limited sleep. If we want to go further afield in the future this is something that will require more work. Experienced sailors tell us that it takes about 3 days to really get into the swing of things.

It was really great that Gloria’s brother Paul and his wife Fran drove their van up to collect the three of us. My memory of the car ride back to Rhode Island was drifting in and out of consciousness for the first half of the drive and then being “wide awake” as we crawled round the outskirts of Boston in a seemingly endless traffic jam. After picking up “Tarzan” from Rod and Sue’s house we headed straight back home to Sudbury to catch up on some sleep. (FYI “Tarzan” is our Toyota Rav 4, aptly named to distinguish her from “Jane”, our former Toyota Corolla that now belongs to Tasha).

This morning we drove back up to Sebasco Harbor – so now we also have a car for the summer. We spent the afternoon moving over to our designated mooring in an area of the harbor that has less swells and then did some work cleaning up the boat. Tomorrow we need to start preparing to take real live customers out on day-sails. Yikes!

Sebasco Harbor Resort - as seen this afternoon from our mooring #28