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Ballard Sailor

Selling Libra and Camping begins!

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Sunday morning we began unpacking the boat, emptying the holds and getting things organized to throw them in the Hunters’ Land Rover and up to the cottage we’d be staying in all week. Our sale agreement of Libra came with a clause that we would hang out for a week and do our best to teach the new owners (with no previous sailing experience) how to operate the boat, going over all the systems with them. My goal was to get them to the point that they would be comfortable getting out to the boat, leaving the mooring, motoring around the bay and returning to the mooring. I figured if they didn’t have that comfort they wouldn’t use the boat. By the afternoon we had everything ready to go and Cindy Hunter met us at the town dock for two loads of gear to be taken up to the cottage. Amazing how much stuff you can fit in a 27’ boat. Libra has some great storage!


Once Libra was empty and put away, I got to join Cindy and Jennifer for the last trip up to the Hunter’s property a few miles away. The cottage was beautiful, a studio cottage with 3/4 bath and full kitchen. Sometimes it’s amazing to think of all the things that have happened on this trip, all the chance meetings, gracious friends and simple good karma that has worked out for us - this sale certainly joins the list of amazing things on this East Coast trip. We had dinner out in Camden before hitting the sack, on the hard, in a real bed, with air conditioning, we are now officially spoiled. I know, we are in Maine, I never expected Maine to be hot, but it was in the 80’s today and not expected to cool below the 70’s tonight. So the AC is on!


Monday we headed out to Libra with Cindy and began the first of many lessons. The winds were forecast to be 5 to 6 knots so we debated on a big Jib but finally decided on the 130%, something smaller for Cindy’s first sail. Good thing we did because as we reached out across West Penobscot Bay the wind piped up over 12 and after rounding Mark Island and heading back across, the solid puffs had Libra’s rail down as we charged along, Cindy smiling at the helm. Back in the harbor we sent Cindy off to pick up her daughter from work and then spent a few hours really cleaning the boat and finding a few more things in some holds we had missed. Back at the cottage, Jennifer booked a flight to Philly to pick up our van. Early the next morning she caught the bus to the airport for her day of travel South, followed by a day of driving North, I mean Down East, Wednesday to get our van up to Maine so we could drive away at the end of the week. It took her 11 hours to bus/fly to Philly and 9 hours to drive back - and the gas was cheaper than the flight...funny stuff.


Yet another funny thing happened on Jennifer’s flight. She sits next to a guy and as they’re conversing the topic of our trip comes up and that we are from Seattle. This guy pipes up that he is from Edmonds, Washington (just North of Seattle) and that his ex-wife and kids sail on the Puget Sound. Jennifer asked where they were and he said, Bainbridge Island, they sail out of Port Madison Yacht Club! That’s our Club, seems his ex married a PMYC member, this world really is too small.



So Thursday rolls around and Jennifer is back, along with the addition of Scott, Cindy’s Husband, who has been off on his monthly work week down South. Down South being Herndon, Virginia, the town we started our East Coast adventure in so many months ago, where Jennifer’s brother Brad lives, our first stop for boat searching back in March (Small World). We took everyone out on Thursday, Cindy, Scott, Chelsea (their daughter), Jennifer, MacIntosh and myself, a full boat. The winds were forecast to be about 5 to 6 knots so we set the big jib after motoring out of the harbor. Yet soon the wind crapped out and it was time to start the motor, but nothing happened! There was no power at the idiot panel. We had all the right switches on, the fuse was good, why no power? I crawled in to the port hold to find out if there was a wire broken or fallen off. After a few minutes of hot, sweaty sleuthing I found that the fuse connector that brought the power to the ignition had corroded through and little to no power was getting through the fuse. We came all this way with no problems and today, with everyone aboard, we have an electrical problem and I don’t have any of my tools nor electrical bag aboard. Exactly what I didn’t want to have happen this week! After some serious McGyvering I jumped the power around the ignition and got her fired up. We returned to the harbor, a short day on the water, and then I went and got a nice modern waterproof fuse holder and fuse to replace what was broken. Problem solved! She worked beautifully now.


Exhausted and flabbergasted, we returned to the Hunters’ apologizing for the failure and they were thankful for us fixing it and them not having to hire someone. But in the morning we’ll find out if I truly fixed the problem. Saturday morning rolls around clear so we head on out to Libra, just Cindy, Scott and myself, and she fires right up - phew - problem fixed. We motored out and decided the glassy water dictated another day without sail and Scott helmed us up and into Camden Harbor before returning to Rockport where Cindy executed a perfect docking maneuver in her first practice attempt! They’ll get the hang of this real quick. I then took Libra in, filled her diesel tank and then brought Libra back to her mooring for the last time. She’s been a great boat for us and hope she will be years of enjoyment and exploration for the Hunters. I took Cindy and Scott ashore and then spent a few hours really cleaning and drying out the dinghy before I dismantled her and got her packed up tight for her trip back across the country. The nice hot afternoon did quick work on the drying and soon we all were headed to Camden in the cars for dinner, our farewell night from Libra and our months of cruising the East Coast.


By morning we began packing up the van and cleaning the cottage before hitting the road to begin the next leg of the adventure - camping the Northeast through Maine, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. We have 10 days before we promised to be in North Conway, New Hampshire to help Jennifer’s Dad put a roof on their Mountain Cabin and we intend to use those days seeing the sites of the Northeast by van and tent. Our first stop was Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island but we had one problem to fix, we had no tent. The previous day Jennifer had found a double air mattress but the tents she ran across were way to expensive for a 10 day car trip, we’re looking for something under $40! So we stopped at a store that I generally disdain and refuse to spend money at, Walmart. Thinking that Chinese kids deserve to have a job too, we took a look and found what we needed on their bargain, made outside of America shelves, a $30 tent - I am now officially a hypocrite, but we have a tent for our trip.


On the road now and heading up around Penobscot Bay and onto Mt. Desert Island, I learned to see things moving by me at 50 miles per hour rather than the 6 miles per hour they had been for the last 4 months. Things went by so quick! We tried for a hike around a lake but found the park absolutely packed and couldn’t find a parking space. We figured even if we did, the hike would be so crowded as to not be enjoyable. So we went on and found a good picnic spot for lunch before continuing on to the Seawall Campground. Seawall is one of the two national park campgrounds on the island and generally they are booked way out - but we thought we’d see if they had a spot. We pulled up to the booth a bit after 4pm and asked if they had a tent spot. “Hey Marge,” the park attendant yelled, “do we have a tent spot left?” “Yeah, we got one, an RV reserved a walk-in tent site online - when they got here they didn’t want it!” Yippee! We got the last site in the place! We headed off to our spot and set up our tent before it got so dark we couldn’t figure it out, Camp Valley Braden is officially in business.

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East Coast Cruise for 2012

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