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TONE 2014 New England Cruise:

Hatches Battened and Sailcovers On II

  

The 2014 TONE New England Cruise was held between July 30, and August 13, 2014.  The cruise provided a sailing framework for participants to journey from southern New England to the head of Penobscot Bay, Maine, with an optional float plan and a set of three formal dinner events.  This is the second article in a series that will document this year's New England Cruise.  We're headed for Maine next!
 
Oddly, the fog on the 2014 cruise wasn't in Maine, but on the way up.  On Monday, August 4, as the intrepid sailors who had supped at Manchester headed out of its lovely harbor, they were surrounded with gray soup.  At first it looked like it was going to be a real radar and fog horn kind of day.  However, as folks cleared the rocks and navigation aids that mark the way into Manchester the range of visibility widened a bit, but it certainly wasn't unlimited viz.  For almost everybody the destination was Gosport Harbor at the Isles of Shoals.
 
To the right we see see Robert and Tricia Johnson on their Tartan 37 "Spirit" off Gloucester motoring through the light soup.  The fog would close in as we rounded the point at Gloucester, but miraculously burned off entirely just as we came past Thatcher Island.  The rest of the trip to Isles of Shoals was crystal clear, albeit with no usable wind.  This would be the hallmark of the 2014 cruise.  Wind seemed to be either non-existent or not from a usable direction.  Only the very dedicated, or very lucky, got much sailing in during the time in Maine.  Many cruisers reported record motoring hours for this year. 

The photo below shows the Isles Shoals Light on White Island.  This light guards the southern entrance to Gosport Harbor.  The gray looking sky doesn't do justice to the day.  It was really bright sunshine and blue both on sea and sky.

Isles of Shoals consists of six small islands whose ownership is divided between New Hampshire and Maine.  White Island, where the lighthouse is, as well as Star and Lunging belong to NH.  Cedar, Smuttynose (yup - that's the name), and Appledore belong to Maine.  Although the Maine owned islands get the most colorful names, New Hampshire's Star Island has the distinction of being the one with the recognizable and fun to visit conference center, as well as an interesting small hiking trail that leads to great views of the islands and the surrounding sea.  It's worth the dinghy ride to go ashore.
 
When the first boats pulled into the harbor there were many, many open moorings.  As the afternoon wore on boat after boat, both sail and power, came into the harbor and picked up moorings.  What had been a pretty empty mooring field began to fill up.  One harbor entrant that pleasantly surprised both skippers and crew was the appearance of the of the reproduction slave trading ship "Amistad".  She initially looked as if she intended to anchor in the middle of the harbor as she maneuvered in close quarters, but in the end she tied up at the main conference center pier for the night.  Her foray about the harbor gave everyone a great chance to view the ship close up.

You can get some sense of how close the big ship was to the smaller sailboats in the harbor, but this author will admit to being nonplussed when my grandson called down the companionway "Wow, Papa, come see this!" and I came up to discover the bowsprit of the ship not all that many yards from our mooring.  By the time I grabbed my camera she had backed off to a more anxiety reducing distance.
 
It's the unexpected, but very rewarding, experiences such as these that make the New England Cruise a treat.  In this case it was an interesting sailing vessel seen from a perspective that the land lubber just wouldn't get, but it can as easily be the close by sighting of a Minke whale in Casco Bay or a pod of dolphins swimming off your stern.  We always see sights that we wouldn't find in our native Southern New England waters.

As the sun was beginning to get lower in the sky and the all important happy hour was drawing nigh, the radio crackled to life with the voice of TONE President Alan Benet reaching out to the assembled cruisers.  The invite was to come to his boat 'La Retreat", a Tartan 4100, for drinks and hors d'oeuvres.  As might be expected, there was overwhelmingly positive response.   Many folks found their way to Alan's boat, but for the first, but not the last time, "Recess' " youngest crew member, Josh Van Voorhis, used the faithful Zodiac to ferry passengers from their boats to Alan's cocktail mothership.  You can see the very independent "cabby" loitering off Alan's stern waiting for his next "fare"'.  Visible in the foreground of the photo are the many TONE cruisers who jammed Alan and Laurel's cockpit quite literally to the rails.
 
No one counted how many people were in the cockpit, but take a look at the pictures and see if you can calculate the number.  It was a lot!  In the shot below Judy Allen enjoys a libation, Fran Stehman passes the crackers, and Bill Mackay sips some wine. Jeff Stoehr's distinguished gray temple is in the foreground.  Judy, Fran, Bill, and mostly invisible behind the wine bottles under the Navpod, John Allen, are all aboard "Iris" visible to the right of Josh in the "taxi" picture.  If you look over Judy, Fran, and Bill's shoulder you can see the Star Island conference center behind the blue hulled sailboat.  In fact, if you have a really good eye, you can see the hull of the Amistad tied up at the pier in the upper right of the photo.











 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
On the lower right we see Robert Johnson of "Spirit" ready to slice off a hunk of cheddar
as Joyce and Jeff Stoehr of "Ayacucho" look on waiting for their turn at the snacks.
 
After a delightful cocktail hour (or two) the various crews dispersed back to their own vessels to prepare a yummy supper at sea.

It was a quiet night in Gosport Harbor and in the morning the whole crew would begin the leg that would bring us all into real Maine waters.

That will be the subject of our next installment.













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The Mystic Seaport 2014 Winter Dinner:
Outside at the Seaport and Inside at the Dinner

Slideshow
TONE Winter Dinner - Mystic Seaport


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Feature articles include:

  • President's Letter
  • Personalized Land's End Yachtwear
  • Places We Sail:  2014 NE Cruise
  • TONE Membership Survey Results
  • Safety Corner - FIRE!
  • Tartan Tech - Rudders and Insurance
  • Tartan Factory News
  • Favorite Nautical Apps
  • Galley Notes
  • Tartans at Play

 TONE's Mission: To provide forums for all Tartan owners to exchange information, enjoy boating and social events together,
 and create a sense of fellowship in order to enhance our ownership experiences.

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