Go someplace new

Guest Perspective/Russ Roth

Every year Marty and I try to go someplace new. For us this is primarily focused on the coast of Maine. But we believe it is something to strive for no matter your homeport.

It is just too easy to fall into a sailing rut. We all have our favorite harbors and tend to return to them over and over again. While there is nothing wrong with that, you do miss out on some hidden gems.

A friend of ours used to boast that he only went places rated with at least “three-stars” in his cruising guide. Occasionally, he would accompany us on his boat, and we would take him someplace not even listed in his cruising guide. He would ask, “How did you know about this place?” We would try to explain (again) our go-someplace-new philosophy.

When we first came to Maine some 30 years ago, we asked a local sailor to give us a list of his top 10 favorite sailing destinations. This list formed the foundation on which we have built every year since that first trip. Most Maine sailors would be able to come up with a similar list. But 30 years down the road, how do you keep exploring and your sailing life interesting? The answer is simple: Go someplace new!

While “new” can mean far-off places, it can also mean that spot around the corner. A great example for Marty and me was Horseshoe Cove. It took us over 20 years of passing it on our way down Eggemoggin Reach, before we finally stopped to experience this very cool spot. Now we recommend it to anyone as a great alternative to the more crowded Bucks Harbor, a mile to the east.

Marty and I also try to go places that can’t be reached by car. It makes that secret spot even more special if it can only be accessed by boat.

One of the advantages of using Rockland, Maine, as our jumping-off place is easy access to Canada, which is just three short sailing days away. Over the years, we have made many trips to the Maritimes. It is not hard to get there, but it does take some careful planning. Tide and currents are to be respected, not feared. The legendary monthlong fog banks just don’t seem to happen anymore. We speculate that we can thank global warming for this phenomenon. A few degrees difference in water temperature means you can now see the unspoiled coastline as you travel the Bay of Fundy.

This was not the case when we first started traveling to Canada. A service called Fundy Traffic also helps to make sure you arrive at your destination safely. Think of Fundy Traffic as similar to air-traffic control, except that the former manages all boats and shipping. In the old foggy days, it was very reassuring to have Fundy Traffic looking out for you as traveled the Bay. Do your homework, ask friends who have been there for advice, and go to Canada. It’s become our favorite go-someplace-new destination.

Near or far, just give it a try. Pick one new place and make the effort to go there. More often than not you will find a new favorite to add to your list. For those who have read this article, and expected us to list all our favorite secret spots – sorry about that. The joy in finding a new destination is finding it yourself.

Russ & Marty Roth sail their C&C 40 Skiya out of Rockland, Maine, and Portsmouth, N.H. They made their first trip Downeast in 1985, and have been back every year since then.