WAY off the Dock

August 20, 2022

A great summer of Tardis cruising regardless of continued control problems threatening to sink it!

When Molly and I got back from land cruising up to the incredibly scenic Rangely Lakes, it seemed that the basic problem was that the throttle cable was completely frozen due to salt water occasionally getting in through a tiny gap in the engine housing that we think was put there to ease access for servicing. That was easy enough to fix, everything seemed okay. So I took off from the dock for a cruise west of the Sheepscot into Harpswell Sound and the New Meadow River — with no throttle above idle, no reverse from the forward helm.

Back to the dock with Andy the yard boss, me, Robert the mechanic and the dockmaster staring at the throttle control hanging out of the shifting box trying to figure out what happened. I finally said, “What’s that little piece of metal do?” And Robert said, “That’s what I was supposed to put a bolt through to hold things together and missed.” Fixed in three minutes.

Out for a wonderful week’s cruise, then back to the gas dock at Robinhood — and a big bang coming into the dock due to no reverse, then too much reverse when the engine finally dropped back into gear. I never really drive from the forward helm, but it was a right-hand tie up 30 yards away, so I did. Much more consultation with Andy pretty much concluded that the engine was never really in reverse from the forward helm, but with a big pull from the cockpit helm, sort of acted like it was. (They were right, now that everything is fixed, reverse is just like a manual transmission car — you can feel and actually hear the gears meshing together).

So Molly and I took off for a big-ship cruise on the Snake and Columbia Rivers following the route of Lewis and Clark. Incredible scenery along the Columbia River Gorge, great shore excursions to the historical sites and beautiful little towns along the way (followed by five days at the Portland Marriott with mild covid, but so it goes).

Meanwhile Andy called the Evinrude experts and ended up putting the boat on its trailer and taking it up the Sheepscot to the next town, where they took off the lower unit and reattached the cable in reverse gear, reattached the throttle cable with a new fitting, then worked their way back through the aft helm and up to the forward helm, adjusting everything as they went. Back on the trailer to my slip. Okay, a $1,000 bill, but just the way the boat behaves now, I really think it was worth it.

Finally, the Maine cruise of my dreams — I stayed away from the mega yacht and tourist meccas of Penobscot Bay and anchored out and took moorings in the coves of Vinalhaven Island, the Merchant Islands south of Stonington and Swan’s Island, a lobster-fishing world of its own reached only by boat. Then on to Mt. Desert Island for groceries, gas and a shower in super-quaint Northeast Harbor.

Finally, into the fog all the way up to Jonesport and Roque Island. They look so close to Bar Harbor on the chart, but it’s a different, remote-world — hundreds of lobster boats, I guess a lot of people to man them, but just not much there. Jonesport has a single pizza restaurant/convenience store and one very friendly marina consisting of four moorings! No Verizon! Roque Island, with its white sand beach is a world-famous cruising destination, but besides me there was only one other boat.

My one regret was that after beautiful summer weather it was starting to get pretty foggy and gnarly up around Roque Island. Grand Manan Island is not that far offshore, so the demarcation line between Canada and the U.S. is only about 10 miles away from Roque. I really wanted to duck out to another country, but as I left Roque and looked out toward Grand Manan, all I could see was a bank of fog like a mountain range. So I passed on international travel, figuring I’d pushed my weather luck about as far as it would go.

The trip back was just as good, starting with a stop on a mooring at Winter Harbor Yacht Club for groceries. A beautiful, friendly old-fashioned yacht club– $25 per night. Then onto a mooring at Bartles Landing on Mt. Desert arranged by my friend Steve White. Totally peaceful and after the trip north and a crazy trip to Southwest Harbor for gas, I needed the decompression.

Coming back, we more or less retraced our steps, but with a stop at the WoodenBoat School. The big Eggemoggin Reach regatta had ended the week before and the harbor was totally full or beautiful classics and dude schooners.

Heading back next week for land cruising up to Castine with Molly, then back out on the boat for a week on the Damariscotta River and John’s Bay. I want to post a little more on Maine cruising and the hot topic of boat electrical systems when I get back. Here are a bunch of miscellaneous pictures of a great summer.

Anchored in Hell’s Half Acre, Devil’s Island, Merchant Row. Tardis was the only boat.
Swan’s Island. Beautiful, quiet and remote.
Here’s how you pay for your mooring at Swan’s Island — $30 in the soda bottle.
Superyachts in Northeast Harbor.
Jonesport — lobster boats and 15 feet of tide.
Retail center, Jonesport, ME.
The white sand beach at Roche Island. Only one in Maine. Not too many surfers in 50-degree water.
Tardis at Winter Harbor Yacht Club.
Winter Harbor Yacht Club.
L. Francis Herreshoff schooner Narwhal resting at WoodenBoat School after the big regatta.
I stayed on a mooring at Seguin Island. The volunteers who stay there all summer gave me a great tour on life as a lighthouse keeper.
Rangely Lakes — breathtaking views everywhere.
Rangely Lake from the dock at Loon Lake Lodge.
The Columbia River Gorge from our ship.
Not Maine — Cape Disappointment where the Columbia River meets the Pacific.
That’s the Mt. Saint Helens crater between our heads.

2 comments on “WAY off the Dock

  1. Lou Castino
    August 20, 2022 at 5:14 pm #

    Wished you had called when you were in Portland, Covid or not!




  2. Ray Gaulke
    August 22, 2022 at 3:20 pm #

    This is what u built the boat for Glad it finally happened summer cruise in Maine


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