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A quick stop in Rockland

1900 Wednesday September 29, 2010
12 miles SW of Monhegan Island, Maine
Motoring against 20 knots of SW’erly wind

Before falling asleep last night, after an evening ashore with Rockland friends who are also professional mariners, I was able to examine the near and long term weather. I discovered that the pattern of southerly to southwesterly winds preceding a cold front northwest wind due Friday were going to be somewhat more strong as well as somewhat more uncertain as to actual timing. Strong south to southwest wind would not make remaining in Maine waters comfortable; there would be more rain as well. Waiting in Maine for the cold front to pass on Friday would pose the problem of where to wait in Maine…docking is expensive and anchoring can be problematic as well as boring to all hands “trapped” aboard. An uncertain cold front following a rather strong south to southwesterly wind flow would require additional waiting to let the 11 foot estimated sea size die down in front of the northwesterly winds and likely make PRIDE late arriving Boston, causing grief for Guest Crew travel plans. However, the southerly winds that chased us into Rockland would be moderating tonight before the stronger south to southwest winds coming on Thursday. With Boston less than 150 nautical miles from Rockland, and the capability to motor at 7 or more knots in the more moderate overnight conditions we could be in Boston early Thursday, and tied securely to a dock for the coming weather. Then there would be opportunity for maintenance and crew distraction ashore when not having to work, not to mention avoiding creating travel grief for Guest Crew. After today’s lunch we departed Rockland and are pushing on to Boston with hopes of arriving tomorrow morning before the onset of stronger southerly winds.

I am disappointed we had to leave Rockland so precipitately. There are a lot of “like minded” traditional sailors in Rockland that I have come to know well over the years. Some I have been shipmates with. There is a surprising number of alumnus PRIDE crew that has collected in the area, some originally from the area who came to PRIDE to sail. But it is truly better to have made a short visit to Rockland than none at all. Schooner Captain Friends are a wonderful source of “grounding” friendship that is not as readily available in other parts of the country. After all, there is a significant fleet of windjammers that do a wonderful sailing business in Maine waters. They are great sailors with intimate knowledge of what is involved with taking care of a vessel and her crew. PRIDE “wanted for nothing” upon her arrival in Rockland; transportation for shopping, dock with electricity and water for a night (for a discount fee), ready access to shore distraction for the voyaging crew just in from 9 days and more than 1,000 nautical miles and a case of “welcome to Rockland” beer. It would have been great to have been able to return the hospitality…but it is necessary to depart and leave behind our sincere thanks to Captain Kip Files of the Schooner VICTORY CHIMES and his officers and crew, The Barns’s of the Windjammer Pier and Captain John Foss of the AMERICAN EAGLE for the case of “welcome” beer.

Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II