The "Live-Anywhere" Boat - The Trip South, 2010, Part I, Chebeague to Connecticut and Bermuda
Updated January 12, 2011
Aerial View of Barbara in the West River in Guilford

This year we decided on a slightly different trajectory for our trip south. Our big family Christmas was scheduled to be in Guilford, Connecticut, so we thought we would leave Maine in late November and spend the time before Christmas in Guilford, where there is a friendly boatyard in easy walking distance of my sister's house and where Barbara could spend some time at the Yale University library.
Approaching Watch Hill, RI, The Entrance to Fisher's Island Sound
In the event, it was December before the boat had her bottom painted, and was fueled and ready to go. There were still problems; the heater was not working quite right and the fresh-water pump was failing, but we set out anyway on the northwest wind off the back of a low. We left late in the afternoon of December 8th for an all-night run that would put us at the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal at the beginning of the (favorable) ebb tide. As we passed Cape Elizabeth we found a little more sea than we wanted, so we changed to an inshore course and ran southwest under the land to Cape Ann. Much more comfortable.
Barbara at Brown's Boatyard in Guilford

We arrived on schedule at the Canal and raced through it and down Buzzard's Bay. Late that afternoon we anchored in a small cove well sheltered from the rising north wind and ringed with fancy summer "cottages." The next morning we went on to an anchorage inside the Stonington breakwater, and we arrived in Guilford at 2:15 on the afternoon of Saurday, Dec. 11th.

We finally got the heater working right, and one day about a week before Christmas we dinghied across

The Dredging Fleet Tied Up for Christmas

the river to the Guilford Yacht Club, walked the short distance to the railroad station, and went by train to New York for the day to visit an aged uncle. Otherwise we helped with the Christmas preparations, worked at odd jobs on the boat, and did a little preventive maintenance on the systems.

For entertainment we watched the arrival of a small fleet of tugs and barges, and their preparations for dredging the channel. We also had visitors; our daughter and younger son, a colleague of Barbara's from Yale, and various family members.

I'm Talking to the Captain of the Tug Ocean King As She Slides Out Beside Us Through the Ice (photo by Barbara)

Ordnance Island at Dawn, Just After We Arrived

We had somewhat intended to be in Bermuda for the New Year celebrations, but the day after Christmas we had a north-easterly storm with gusts to 50 knots and a good deal of snow (not quite sure how much, but enough to make trouble for land travelers). Tucked up in the tiny West River the boat was fine, but travelers, including our entire extended family, were not so lucky. Trains stopped running, planes could not fly, and the roads were only slowly getting plowed. We spent more time with the family, Barbara played flute with our brother-in-law, and we all enjoyed the enforced extension.

The time came, however, when the storm went away to Nova Scotia and the forecast looked good, so on December 29th at first light we slipped down the river and followed the ebb tide down Long Island Sound, through The Race, and out to sea. Conditions were beautiful, running witih a northwest wind and a very moderate sea. The first evening we crossed the New York shipping lanes and saw several ships on the AIS, most of them inbound to New York.

The evening of the second day we crossed the Gulf Stream at about 38 N but would never have known it if not for the water temperature and that we were going sideways out to the east. We did see some squalls around, but none of them bothered us. Every day was a little warmer and we shed jackets and sweaters.

On New Year's Day we slowed down a little so as not to arrive in Bermuda in the middle of the night. This turned out not to be necessary, since Customs in Bermuda is a 24-hour service again, and that was just as well, because we had enough favoring current that we really could not slow down very much.

As the boat chugged along we stood our watches, read, and napped, and I did the daily chores, transferring fuel and checking the engine room regularly. I also replaced the fresh-water pump, the second of our Jabsco pumps to fail. It always seems to me a little sad when a "standard" brand, that one specifies almost without thinking about it, lets its quality lapse so that its products are no longer very usable.

Barbara Alongside in St. George's

We arrived in St. George's harbor just before dawn, with Barbara steering while I watched out for the channel markers, and were alongside for customs at 6:30 on Sunday morning, January 2nd. The weather was beautiful and we really enjoyed it after the snow of Connecticut. We went to church at St. Peter's, the oldest Anglican church in the New World, a beautiful building with Bermuda cedar beams and woodwork, filled with the sweet smell of the cedar.

We had dinner with our friends Steve and Suzanne Hollis in their lovely new house under their sail loft and generally relaxed and acted as though we were on vacation. Barbara roamed around St. George, meeting the Town Gardener, the Mayor, the Town Crier, and various other people. Meanwhile I did odd jobs on the boat, the small ones that did not involve major disruption.

The Little Town of St. George is All Hillside

St George is a very pretty town, but in the winter it is also very quiet, so on Thursday we left and ran the length of the country to the old Naval Dockyard on the far west end of Bermuda. This takes about an hour and a half in a slow boat. Our friend Doug Sutherland, who runs the boatyard called West End Yachts, had arranged for us to berth at the Bermuda Marine and Ports Department, outside a ferry that was waiting for its turn on the marine railway.

There is a little more life in Dockyard, as there are several people living on boats in the marina and there is all the activity at Marine and Ports to watch and comment on. Barbara took the ferry into "Town" (Hamilton, the capital) and visited museums and art galleries, and I, less energetic, relaxed and installed parts on the boat, including the new bimini made for us by John LeMole of Gemini Canvas in Rockland. It fit perfectly and will be a great asset in the tropical sun.

We went to "Wii night" at the Frog and Onion, the pub in the old cooperage of the Dockyard, and watched the bowling competition and drank the excellent locally-brewed beer.

Old Houses, Now a Cycle Livery

The Old Graveyard of St. Peter's Church

We have so far spent a week in the Dockyard, and it would be easy to settle down and stay longer, but weather windows are scarce at this time of year, and it now looks as though the weather on Friday the 14th will give us a chance to get on south, so we will run back to St. George's that morning, clear out, and head for Tortola, which is about a 5-day run.
The Replica of Deliverance, the Boat Built on Bermuda to Take Shipwrecked Colonists on to Virginia

Fitting a Piece for the Interior

Barbara in the Camber at the Dockyard, Rafted to the Ferry Deliverance

The Front of the Former Administrative Building of the Royal Dockyard

Doug Sutherland and his Daughter Kaitlyn

Bermuda Specialties Tasting in Front of the Frog and Onion

The Victualling Yard, Just About on Our Doorstep

To see our track in Google Earth click:
here for Chebeague Island to Buzzard's Bay Anchorage
here for Buzzard's Bay to Guilford
here for Guilford to Bermuda

Part II