My wife and I are planning a two week trip from Narragansett Bay, RI to Maine next year. We bought the Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast by the Tafts. We're already surprised to see so many destinations that either have shallow water, prohibited anchorages, limited moorings or too crowded to swing a boat over 40ft. We're certainly not through the whole book yet.
We don't want to make any reservations in advance, so its important to inventory many options along the way. Would love to hear your favs. I'm surprised to read that our 6.5ft draft and swinging 54ft LOA on anchor/mooring is an issue in several crowded places, so I add it just to filter out favs we can't access or stay overnight.
It will be particularly important to be able to show up late in the day and, if we can't get a mooring ball, have a secure place to drop the hook.
Thanks for the ideas. Going to be a long winter of planning.
My cousins borrowed our boat this past summer (5'8" draft) and had no problems with finding moorings. Generally, all they did was simply approach a mooring, tie up and wait for a yacht club/harbormaster/etc person to wander by. Most of the time, they paid nothing. Near Acadia, some of the moorings were $15-30 per night. BTW, the Claremont hotel in Southwest harbor has $30/night moorings and they are walking distance from some amazing restaurants in southwest harbor like Sips and Red Sky and Fiddler's Green.
I can vouch for cape porpoise as a good spot to stay. On their way back, I traded places with one of my cousins and sailed the boat back to Salem, MA over two days. The switch occurred at cape porpoise and it was a very nice protected and deep mooring (amazing restaurants on the pier as well). Also, in cape porpoise, you are away from Kennebunkport with all its craziness.
Gloucester and Rockport have moorings available as well. If you are a fan of wooden boats, try contacting the essex shipbuilding museum. The main shipwright there has some nice secret ideas for mooring in Gloucester if you befriend him; and that's all i will say about that.
A book that helped my cousins a LOT was this one: Amazon.com: A Visual Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast (9780071453288): James Bildner: Books: Reviews, Prices & more
...and another thing, if you belong to a yacht club, see if your club is part of this affiliation:Yachting Club of America
There's lots of reciprocity for the clubs listed.
We are from the other side of Maine and have cruised there the last nine summers. Needless to say, we love it.
A very valuable resource is ActiveCaptain.com It is a free, interactive, online cruising guide. And, the two people who head it up are in Castine ME.
If you have specific questions re the coast of ME north of Rockland, send me a PM.
You say: "It will be particularly important to be able to show up late in the day and, if we can't get a mooring ball, have a secure place to drop the hook."
We like to be on the hook or mooring ball by 1600 at the latest - then we get to visit with our "new neighbours".
Hope to see you next summer.
Rik, Linda and Captain Hook
Boat number 4 was 52 ft. We owned her for 10 years and sailed to Maine every year, then we got smarter and downsized to a 38 (no offense, the 52 was lots of fun).
Yes, you are a little long for some mooring fields, but this is not a problem. Places like Tenants Harbor and Christmas Cove can be a little tight, and only some moorings can take your size. But there are plenty of place to anchor, and plenty of mooring fields that can handle swing your boat. For example, if you cannot find a mooring in Tenants, you can anchor next door in Long Cove. If you cannot find a mooring in Biddeford, there is room to anchor outside the mooring field near Stage Island. There are places like North East Harbor that has organized their mooring field according to boat size. Although crowded mid season, they have a few mooring for your size. If they are full, you can take a short trip up Somes Sound and get a mooring at Ables or anchor in Somesville.
Anchorages, marina's and mooring fields are plentiful in Maine. Some additional flexibility is required to manage your length, but there are so many options, you should have no problems. As your reading Taft, if you have specific questions, PM me.
Many thanks for the recommendations so far. I had not heard of ActiveCaptain before, that is very helpful.
We knew there would be hundreds of potential locations to call home for the night, but hope to have a good inventory of favorite spots on the list. We welcome any more anyone may offer.
We started into the Taft book by looking at the 5 star locations. For example, Kennebunkport came up, but channel is 6 ft. Isle of Shoals looks very interesting, but it doesn't seem to be a reliable overnight spot. Freeport says no anchoring, which is only a problem if we arrive and all else is full. Etc. Not all need to be big tourist traps, but we would prefer the option of something to dinghy into shore to see or do, even if just the scenery. On the other hand, I won't leave the boat on anchor unless I know the hold is good. If I'm unfamiliar, I general don't let her out of my sight.
The weather and mood will be the biggest factor, but our general plan is to sail out of Narragansett Bay, up Buzzards Bay to the Cape Cod Canal and lay up the first night. From there, we think we probably want to get as far north as quickly as possible and make more leisurely stops on the way back. We could probably leave the canal at dawn, sail 24hrs and arrive in the Bar Harbor area the following morning. But, that's a big commitment and I find ruins the next 24 hrs while you're totally exhausted. We may prefer to spend a couple of days sailing all daylight hours to make progress. The days will be long then.
Any thoughts on how far up the coast is practical on a two week trip from RI would also be welcome.
I find the run from from Cape Cod canal to Gloucester to be a decent day's sail. I usually drop the hook in Onset for the night since there really isn't a good place near the northeastern end of the CCC. Depending on the current you either have to leave near dawn or can laze about for part of the morning before getting underwayMake sure you have Eldriges or some other reliable current table. As long as you miss the middle four hours of the foul current you should be OK if you have a reliable engine (you can't sail through the CCC, you have to go through under power). From the CCC it is an easy day's run to Gloucester or if you get underway real early you can make Isles of Shoals before nightfall.
Like he says...
Sounds like a trip I'm planning myself. Have you looked at a site called Active Captain? If it's an anchorage, mooring or dock it's probably reviewed there in the interactive guide. It's also free to join and use. I use it all the time and I'm a marina review writer for the Atlantic Cruising Club. One of the weak spots I've found is information on anchoring and moorings. Perhaps because there's no monetizing for anchorages. I also do some reviews on anchorages on my own website, but so far just in Narragansett Bay which you're already familiar with.
Enjoy your trip!
Here's a list of some favorites:
Onset: Plenty of room to anchor, good holding, great place to wait out he Canal.
Provincetown: Plenty of moorings, and plenty of room to anchor, great place to visit.
Gloucester: Calm night with nothing from the east, Sandy bay outside Rockport to anchor, easterlies, go into Gloucester and stay either at Eastern Point Yacht club or go into deeper into the harbor and get a mooring from the harbormaster, or dock at one of the restaurants.
Annisquam: Assuming your mast it too tall for the 65' bridge, if not, don't go at low tide, go around.
Isle of Shoals: Good weekdays, may be too crowded for a mooring on the weekend. The bottom can be like a pool table, not good for anchoring. Alternative is a few miles away in Portsmouth, if you need a marina by then, Wentworth is nice (pricey), or go up the back channel near the navy base and get a mooring.
Biddeford: Great stop on the way up, you'll probably need to anchor given your size, but the Biddeford Yacht Club has a couple of moorings that might take you.
Casco Bay: Too many places to list. Need some city, go to Portland. Need to some quiet, try places like the Basin, want a resort try Sebasco. Many times we just pass Casco on the way, because the further east you get the better in our minds, but there are LOTS of great stops here.
Booth Bay: Too many places to list. Moorings or docks at the various water front hotels. Good place to provision, tie up, and wash down the boat.
Tenants: Gateway to Penobscot. You might need to anchor outside if Cod's End's moorings are too tight for your length, but some of them can take you. Cruise around and pick one with some swing space.
Camden: The outer mooring field can take handle your size. Want to tie up, call Willies Wharf WAY in advance. Great place to watch the action, and they can fit you, but you might want to call now for next year. Ask to meet MR Willie.
Bucks Harbor: Some moorings can take you, there is room to anchor as the schooners do, try the outside showers.
Swans Island: Plenty of room to anchor in Burnt Coat.
Bass Harbor: Morris has some big moorings.
Frenchboro: one or two of the moorings will take your boat, you can anchor but the holding ground outside the mooring field is questionable. Close to Swans if it doesn't work out. Have lobsta dinner here, outside, bring in a bottle of wine as the sun sets and you look back at Mt Desert.
Bar Harbor: No problem with moorings, lots of tourist action.
Vinalhaven: They did kinda fill up Perry Creek with moorings, too bad, but there is room to anchor, and I think a couple of the moorings would work for you. Plenty of space to anchor outside as a fallback, Seal Cove, Carvers, etc.
Northhaven: Anchor in Pulpit, plenty of room, great view of Camden Hills.
And there are many, many, many more possibilities. You can hop the coast, or go directly from the canal and do an overnight. Either way works great. Given the prevailing SW, hopping back makes a lot of sense. I only wish the boat wasn't put away, it was early August, and I was on my way right now!
Is this really the end of October. I am depressed!
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