The shack that launched 1,000 images: Rockport's iconic Motif #1 fish house, and (inset) the view of the harbor there from inside "the claws." Photo by Marilyn Pond Brigham

Rockport on my mind

July 25, 2020 at 12:00 am

When I think of this Bay State port, I recall rocky beaches, lighthouses, lobsters, a vibrant downtown, rich commercial and political histories, the iconic Motif #1 fish house – and a brief moment of panic.

The author's "new" boat, Mojo, and (inset) her happy helmswoman Diana Donahue.

A new boat for Diana

July 25, 2020 at 12:00 am

I promised I’d buy a bigger boat, with a standing-headroom cabin, if she survived a summer cruising on my J/24. She not only endured, she thrived. The ball was in my court. Big time!

Force 8 Cape Cod

Force 8 Cape Cod

July 25, 2020 at 12:00 am

June, 1994. 200 miles south of The Cape. Wind 40 knots, gusting higher. 20-foot waves. Water north of the Gulf Stream 50 degrees. Destination, Spain. This is the story of how we almost got there.

Everyone wants to know when the golf cart parade starts in town because no one can quite remember from last year. Dale, the harbormaster, always knows.Photo by Chris Birch

You’re a grand old isle . . .

June 22, 2020 at 12:10 am

And what better place to celebrate the Fourth of July than Cuttyhunk, an old-time, back-to-basics island seven miles off the Massachusetts coast that simply reeks of independence from life’s complexities?

Ponham Rocks Light, in the Providence River. Photo courtesy Roger Kalenbach

The mouse that roars

June 22, 2020 at 12:00 am

Let’s join this peripatetic cruiser aboard his Saga 43 ILENE, around the cabin table, for a breezy account of a monthlong cruise along tiny Rhode Island’s extensive and varied shores.

It is also noted that the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), in Washington, D.C., states that “. . . the average sea-surface temperature has been consistently higher during the past three decades than at any other time since reliable records began in 1880.”

Through the looking glass

May 18, 2020 at 12:00 am

Beneath the mirrored surface of the sea, a quiet drama unfolds as water temperatures and habitat health are altered by progress and the passage of time. But is all the news bad? Not by a long shot.

A commercial fishing boat on a pier at Ram Island, just outside the mouth of the Mystic River.Photo by Sue Cornell

The islands in our midst

May 18, 2020 at 12:00 am

We have a thing for islands. Since early 2019, we’d sailed to over 20 of them, from French Polynesia to our favorite, Block Island, R.I. And on this cruise, we found more of them in our own backyard.

Downwind sailing in the Gulf of Maine with crewman David Niewolski. Photo by Christopher Birch

Downeast Express

April 20, 2020 at 12:00 am

Ride the prevailing southwest wind north and east along the New England coast, and you’ll ultimately find yourself in the pristine waters of Downeast Maine. Take the offshore fast track there.

Photo by Michael LongApproaching the boat launch at hull speed, under mizzen alone, with mainsail and jib in a heap forward.

Mad dash to go-back

March 16, 2020 at 12:00 am

Experience is the best teacher, and lessons can be learned by straddling “exciting” and “really dumb.” In that spirit, I planned a 20-mile, Force 5 downwind flier from Portland to Harpswell

A good Samaritan tosses the stranded sailor a towline. But would it be enough?


January 27, 2020 at 12:00 am

The schooner was pinned against 40-foot cliffs, pounded by seas that threw spray over their tops. A former owner of a towing and salvage firm, I thought I could haul her off with my 46-foot sedan cruiser.