Miranda Merron: Quebec bound

Miranda Merron: Quebec bound

Thursday June 28 2012 Author: Miranda Merron Location: none selected

After the Atlantic Cup, we sailed to Portland, Maine, where we installed ourselves at the Maine Yacht Center, in order to undertake some maintenance/ repair work on Campagne de France in preparation for the Quebec Saint Malo transatlantic race. This superb facility is managed by our friend Brian Harris, who also races his Class40 when his work schedule allows.

We could not have found a better place. Solid docks and a vast and clean yard, fully equipped with tools, a composite workshop, a wood workshop etc, and most of all a competent and helpful team of people. The Maine Yacht Center is a well-kept secret! Given our tight budget, we did the work ourselves, but we were given access to everything that we needed, in ideal working conditions. Also, since we are living on the boat, the excellent facilities on offer were much appreciated.
The most important repair job was to the bowsprit, and so Halvard got to rediscover the joys of laminating and sanding. We also took the opportunity to haul Campagne de France out of the water to fine wet-sand the hull and appendages. Class40s may look like small boats, but the underside seems quite extensive when there are just two of you…

Once we had completed the work we needed to do while at Maine Yacht Center, it was time to head in the general direction of Quebec. But Maine being such a beautiful place, it was worth a couple of detours, and we still had a bit of time and friends to visit. For example, the picturesque port of Camden on Penobscot Bay, which happens to be near the home of another sailor, Cam Lewis, whom Halvard has known for years. The area has a long history of traditional ship-building, and there are some fine vessels in the harbour. Also moored in Camden was the legendary yawl Nordwind. This superb classic race boat was built in Germany in 1939 as a sail training boat for the Kriegsmarine. In its first year of racing, it competed in the famous Fastnet Race, and took line honours, setting a course record which was to stand for 24 years until 1963 when Gitana 4 set a new record. Halvard knows the history of the boat, and when he looked its history up on the internet to show Cam, he noticed that Wikipedia, considered by many to be the font of all information, had rather strangely and exceptionally omitted the elapsed time results for the 1939 Fastnet Race, citing only the corrected time results for the race, which was incidentally won by the renowned English boat Bloodhound. Fortunately the RORC website justly lists both boats.
We made the most of our stopover in Camden. Especially since Cam and family live in a lovely house, in wood of course, on the shore of a lake, with a seaplane on the pontoon in front of the house. Cam took us flying, so we were able to discover this part of Maine from the air (and luckily the fog stayed away for a few days…). There are thousands of inlets and islands, trees everywhere, and attractive houses under the trees. It is a cruising paradise which we would like to come back and explore in the future.

We would gladly have stayed a few more days, but the mid-term weather forecast meant that we had to leave to avoid getting nailed along the way by a low pressure system. And so the summer solstice was celebrated at sea, with a drop of red wine to accompany our freeze-dried dinner. After four and a half days of mostly cold, damp and often foggy conditions, the weather turned glorious for the approach to Gaspé, where we are now safely moored and waiting for the above-mentioned low pressure system to go through before heading into the St Laurence River. It is raining heavily and about to get rather windy...

Campagne de France, Gaspé, Canada.

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