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Waking up at dawn flanked by mysterious Devil and Bold Islands, is a good start to a memorable sail in my book.



Maine’s civilized sailing breeze doesn’t rush. Following a leisurely breakfast onboard, the highering sunlight reveals a few dark-rough patches of water outside our snug anchorage. Wind!

I don’t feel it(wind), hoisting the mainsail. Then as the head of the sail reaches the mast head, the Dacron begins to gently undulate. Next, the genoa slowly unrolls itself, fills and draws our bow downwind. Silently, we ghost through the cove. We’re underway.



Today we’re headed toward Isle Au Haut. I know we can sail there, I’m just not sure what course we’ll take. The wind has the say on that. Picking up a slow but sure windward tack outside of Devil Island, the gap ahead between Millet and Saddleback Islands opens a route that the wind provides.




We run up close along the shore of Millet for a closer look at the deserted island. Coasting silently through islands lee, we’ll pick up the light Southwesterly, fresher now, at the islands end.



It’s an hour long lovely first tack, 3 nautical miles long, toward far off Southern Mark Island. But summer morning wind can be fickle. Just off Southern Mark, like a switch is thrown, our wind- suddenly-turns-OFF.

We’re left to ride the tidal current through a cats cradle of lobster buoys and warp. Curiously, we stop. Raising the centerboard relieves the tension and an iridescent blue pot buoy bursts to the surface off our stern, with a loud “Ploosh!”.

Start the engine or be patient? The silence is wonderful, the sun warm, and we have the time, to sail.

Sure enough, in a bit, Dacron begins to quiver again. After swinging the wheel and adjusting sheets, we’re finally attached to the light wind once more. A memorable sail is best, if continuous-lulls and all.



Each tack is a little faster as Isle Au Haut draws, slowly, nearer.



By mid day, a predictable robust 10 to 15 knot Southwesterly slowly fills in all around us. With increased boat speed, our pointing to windward gets sharper and our course options grow. We easily trim the leeward coast of Merchant Island that needs rounding to allow a last tack into Isle Au Haut.



Sailing briskly through lobster buoys thick as candy Jimmies on blue frosting, a few buoys thump along the bottom of our boat.
Old boats aren’t perfect but ours slithers over lobster gear under sail. That’s a fine feature for a sailboat in Maine.

A memorable sail doesn’t always come easily. Beyond Harbor Ledge off Merchant Island, we crank and pinch up for all we’re worth. I calculate a bearing that should allow us to sail between Merchant and Hardwood Islands, on one tack. We slice toward the wicket ahead. Ha! No way we’ll clear Merchant.



So, we fall off for speed and ready another second short tack, back toward Hardwood Island. Winches grind through the wind and we fall off onto the tack we need, all clear ahead.


Our final tack -the finale’ of a memorable sail- is sizzling fast. Point Lookout on Isle Au Haut is dead ahead and the waters flatten as land closes in around us. It’s all over too soon and sails come down quickly.




Tied to a mooring in Isle Au Haut Harbor, we toast the day. As memorable sails go, this was a triumph. Surely the pinnacle of the season.



“Not to be repeated”, I think to myself the next morning as the sun rises over Isle Au Haut. Then I see a dark-rough patch on the glassy harbor. Wind!
 

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S/V Calypso
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246 Posts
Very nice post! I can almost smell the fresh sea breeze.
 

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Old as Dirt!
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3,488 Posts
Lovely boat... Good for you.
 
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