We were all set to get back in the water Thursday afternoon. All we had to do was pull the rudders back up (they had been pulled down so we could paint them). Pulling them up was easy, then we had to put a pin through the rudder shaft and a collar that holds it up. The same pin that fit it the same hole a week prior now would not go through the back side of the collar. We spent hours trying to figure this out, asked for help from the boatyard guys, still no luck and the clock was ticking. If we couldn’t get the rudders up by the end of the day it would be another day in the boatyard and then potentially another weekend! Around 4:00pm one of the guys at the yard suggested that he could use his grinder to create a beveled head for the pin to see if it would slide in easier that way. It worked! Hallelujah! We were beyond happy to have figured this out and still be able to get back in the water that day. As the boat was being lifted, Dave, the fiberglass guy that we worked with quite a bit came by to take a picture of us – he’s a tough guy on the exterior but I think he developed a soft spot for our family during the 3 weeks we were there. That night we broke in our new heads (bathroom), only to find that one of the new tubes was leaking at its connection point. I’ll spare you the details on how we found that out! So, our plans to leave for Portsmouth the next morning were thwarted once again! The next morning the plumbing guy, Will, came by first thing and made a quick adjustment to the line and voila, it was fixed! It was about 9:00am by this point and we decided to get out of dodge and try to make it to Portsmouth. It was a chilly morning, reminding us we need to get South at a pretty quick pace.
Unfortunately, the seas were rough, the wind at 20knots on our nose. We were forced to motor and even then we were going slow. Everyone felt sick so we decided find a closer port to spend the night. Wells Harbor was close (just south of Kennebunkport) and I called the harbor master to see if we could get a mooring for the night. He mentioned the draft at low tide (which is when we would be entering the harbor) was 4.5ft. The draft of our boat is 4 ft. Eeek! He did not mention the massive waves at the entrance to the jetty that we would have to navigate. Holy cow, that was an experience. We lined ourselves up in the middle of the jetty and waited for a wave to take us in. The kids were under their blankets in the cockpit and we were all unexpectedly hit with the wave in the cockpit as it crashed over the boat. We surfed right on into the entrance to the harbor where we saw a dog walking on the sand next to us – not exactly what you want to see in a sailboat. We decided to hangout in the entrance until the tide came up just a bit more to play it safe. Wells Harbor was beautiful – there were miles of white sand beaches, tall grass and beautiful rocky cliffs. It really had it all. The locals were friendly and provided us good advice on how to leave the harbor the next morning without grounding or getting knocked by the waves. We went to dinner at the waterfront restaurant for my birthday and had an awesome dessert.
The next morning Noah was fishing on the dock and didn’t look down as he was walking towards the water to cast. He fell in and lost the fishing pole. Luckily it was low tide and the water was only 4-5 ft deep. I’m glad he got that scare somewhere relatively safe than out in the big blue. Later that morning the harbor master let us watch the video of ourselves entering the jetty the night before – it felt way more dramatic than it looked on video!
We set sail for Portsmouth and actually had decent winds to sail instead of motor! Portsmouth is known for its strong current in the river entering town. We had a reservation at the public dock downtown (thanks to our friends from S/V Secret Story for the recommendation) and some local boaters were there to help us dock as it’s pretty tricky with the current pushing you back and away. Our dock line was not secured to our cleat very well and the woman who took the line pulled, the line came loose, and she fell backward off the dock and into the water. Oh man, we felt HORRIBLE and super embarrassed. We got docked and brought her a bottle of wine. Their family was really nice and we ended up having sundowners on the dock. We explored town that evening – it was adorable! We spent 3 nights here because thunderstorms were forecasted for a couple of days and I had 2 meetings scheduled for Tuesday that I wanted to be in a port for. Portsmouth is a very historic town, as much of New England is. We took that opportunity to see some sights to incorporate into our boat school curriculum. One of the most impactful visits we had was to the African Burying Ground Memorial Park, right in the center of town. When slaves died they were buried in unmarked graves. In 2003, construction workers were digging and found coffins with remains. It was determined they were the remains of slaves. Construction was stopped and this memorial was built on top of the site. We are looking forward to the kids learning about the American Revolution, slavery, and the Civil War as we make our way through New England. On a very important side note, Hope finally mastered the monkey bars at park in Portsmouth!
We set sail to Boston with a stopover in Gloucester and had a great weather and winds. We finally got to test out the new (to us) kayak we bought on Craigslist in Portland.
We moored at an awesome marina located in downtown Boston. This place had the cleanest showers/bathrooms, great security and although we were right by the tour boat dock, we really didn’t get rocked much. The first afternoon we were there we explored downtown and met up with one of my good friends from high school. I love being able to see people I normally wouldn’t – it was really great catching up even though it was brief. The next day we walked the Freedom Trail and saw many historic places relating to the Revolutionary War, climbing 294 steps at the Bunker Hill monument, and signing our names to the new hull of the USS Constitution. The USS Constitution Museum was free and one of the best I’ve been to. It was engaging for the kids, we got to tour the ship, and we all learned a lot! The kids were troupers as we did A LOT of walking. The next day I needed to do some work so I went to a Starbucks downtown for wi-fi and Pat took the kids to the Children’s Museum. We met up that afternoon and let the kids play at the park downtown and then we took the “T” to Harvard.
We left early this morning for Onset Bay just south of the Cape Cod Canal. We did our first heave-to to wait in the bay until the current was weak enough for us to enter the canal. It feels so good each time we learn something new like this! We had a nice sail, but it was a very long day. We hope to get to New York by the end of the week, but the weather looks a little sketchy so, as always we are playing it by ear.
Stay tuned for an update on boat schooling now that we have started in earnest!