Eliot, ME to Plymouth, MA

First blog post! (I’ve got some catching up to do, so get ready for lots of retroactive blogging.)

The crew of the sailing vessel Abby B is already off on quite the adventure: sailing south from Eliot, Maine (near Kittery) to Florida, the Bahamas, and beyond(?)! The first two weeks have been a whirlwind of long days, cruising right into the wind. Not terribly ideal, but when you’ve got southern latitudes on your mind, you make it work.

25 October (Day One!): Alex and I were up until 2:30am packing the boat for a 5am weather check. At 6:30am, we made our way down to the Tiki Bar dock as our farewell team assembled. Outgoing tide, calm winds, and clear skies were the perfect send-off. It seemed almost unreal that we were finally leaving Maine after all this time and anticipation.

Since mid-October, we’ve been stuck in Eliot, ME due to engine problems. The day before our previously scheduled departure date, Alex made the unfortunate discovery of salt water in the engine’s oil. We were pretty devastated, but couldn’t risk setting sail until the cause of the salt water intrusion was determined and corrected. A new raw water pump and five oil changes later, we were ready on Wednesday, October 23rd. Too bad the weather wasn’t. For the last few days we’ve waited out rain and southwest winds until today’s weather window opened up.

Our valiant cruising machine, the Abby B (aka Home Sweet Boat) is a Gulfstar 37′ with a Perkins diesel engine and more living space than some apartments I’ve rented. Check out the “About Us” page for more background info and boat specs!

Departure Day: 7am in Eliot, Maine

Departure Day: 7am in Eliot, Maine

Sailing with us are our two dogs, Luna and Piper. Luna loves boats and being around the people she loves. Piper dislikes unstable surfaces, puddles of water, and the unknown. Quite the pair. The first mile down the Piscataqua River, Piper eagerly searched for any and every method of escaping the vessel – good thing she’s too afraid of water to jump overboard. Luna took up watch in the bow as we passed under the three Piscataqua bridges on the way to the Gulf of Maine. Alex’s brother served as our chase boat until we motored out the river’s mouth. By then (8am-ish), the sun was bright and starting to warm the decks.

Departure sunrise

Memorial Bridge, PiscataquaWe cruised along the Seacoast, to our first major way point off Cape Ann, Massachusetts. A decent current carried us along at a smooth 7 kts past Thatcher’s Island (photo below), and offshore until we entered the Boston shipping lanes. Pretty quiet Saturday on the water – probably indicative of how cold it was and how late in the season we were leaving… hmmm.

Thatcher's Island, MAAll afternoon we made good time motor-sailing with light winds across the Boston Harbor opening. Luna spent the entire day asleep on the cockpit cushions and Piper continued shaking and panting in fear. (She’ll get used to it! I swear!)

We made our goal of crossing the shipping lanes before sunset, and continued down the south shore of Massachusetts with two possible destinations in mind: Scituate or the Cape Cod Canal. By 7pm, Alex and I were both getting tired and cranky (given our two hour night’s sleep). We passed one other smaller sailboat cruising south around 7:30pm, but then the seas remained lonely and quiet for the rest of the night.

Day One sunsetAs it got darker and darker, we were ready to get off the water. Still a few hours from the Canal but beyond Scituate at this point, we decided to call it quits in Plymouth Harbor. Words of caution to the tired sailor: navigating the shallow sand bars of Plymouth Harbor between 8-9pm is not the most enjoyable experience… But Captain Al worked his navigational magic, and after an hour, we had made it to a marina pier. The dogs could not have been more excited!

Plymouth by nightFirst things first, we took them for a walk in a nice park a block from the marina. Figured we’d stay tied up at this marina and leave early, before any marina employees showed up. I somehow managed enough energy to make dinner, and we passed out immediately. Day One – success!

Shout outs corner:

  • Happy Birthday to Captain Ben!
  • Three states in one day! (Isn’t sailing in New England great?)
  • Who’s going to keep the crew at Jackson’s Hardware & Marine Supply company once we depart?
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