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.

Newly minted girlfriend/sailor Diana diligently checks, while driving, mainsail trim aboard Student Driver, the author's J/24. Photo by Mark Barrett

Cruising with Diana, Part II

January 27, 2020 at 12:00 am

On their first short cruises as a couple (see “Cruising with Diana, Part 1,” December 2019), it was two boat-lengths forward/one back for Mark and Diana as they set courses – often divergent – to perceived common grounds on which they might sail constructively, as a team, on a minimal overnight boat. However, compromises were made on both sides, and soon they were anxious for an extended adventure.

The 81-foot schooner Argia, at Steamboat Wharf near the drawbridge in Mystic, awaits her next charter. Photo by Mike Camarata

A Mystic state of mind

January 27, 2020 at 12:00 am

Mystic, Conn., is not a town, and the Mystic River, on which it lies, is not a river. So perhaps this rollicking, tarred-marline-scented village is a figment of our imaginations, which is OK by me.

Photo by Mark BarrettDiana at the helm. Seasickness? Fear of heeling? Remarkably they were non-issues during the indoctrination process.

Cruising with Diana

November 18, 2019 at 12:00 am

Part 1: I had this great, new girlfriend, and I wanted to take her cruising, but my boat was a 40-year-old J/24 with minimal, claustrophobic accommodations. Well, one step at a time.

Photo courtesy Ben SteeleSpencer and Tess on the bow in Seal Bay, Maine (above), and Gannet waiting for her boom during commissioning. The aqua-colored decks have a distinctly 1960s feel.

Our first boat: Lessons Learned

September 23, 2019 at 12:00 am

After we sold Gannet, our 30-foot 1969 Pearson Coaster, last spring, we reflected fondly on the 24 years we owned her, during which she taught us how to cruise the coast of Maine.

A blazing beginning

A blazing beginning

September 23, 2019 at 12:00 am

 The move aboard Klang II was supposed to be the start of our live-aboard lives and, perhaps, some ocean vagabond years, but a boatyard conflagration made a grand attempt to intervene.