Places and Ports

Saquatucket Municipal Marina.

Everyone’s got a favorite place or port… or maybe more than one. But there are some that stand out. From Fisher’s Island to Roque Island, our readers and writers have visited and described them. Here are some that stand out.

Following in the footsteps of giants

October 2021 By Jack Farrell An icon of our coast passed away at his home of nearly 105 years early in September. Ned McIntosh was an inspired boatbuilder, blue water sailor and motor boat captain on the Isles of Shoals route. Most of all, Ned
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Cruising in the shallow end

That’s what Massachusetts’ Essex Bay offers – an attractive place to gunkhole – but with a fixed keel boat and a draft over three feet, the experience is both a challenge and a pleasure.
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Adopting a kinder, gentler approach

August 2021 By Jack Farrell Five days after it happened, I’m still smarting over an unfortunate conversation on Channel 16 with a local lobster boat. The captain was apparently unhappy with my course, and made a rude, and let’s just say unprofessional comment about it.
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Messing about with . . . goats!

There is nothing worth doing more than “messing about in boats,” extolled Mr. Water Rat in “The Wind in the Willows.” But you don’t want to mess with mischievous farm stock on a Connecticut island.
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The liveaboard life, Old Lyme

After years in Mystic, Conn., Old Lyme is now our homeport, and life near the Connecticut River mouth is agreeable, with a front-row seat at nature’s endless theater and a ready hurricane hole.
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A river runs through it

June 2021 By Bob Muggleston Last Friday, anticipating the weekend’s Connecticut Spring Boat Show at Essex Island Marina in Essex, Connecticut, a local news station flew a drone over Essex Harbor during their morning broadcast. Now, I’ve seen overhead shots of the area before –
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Lure of the Elizabeths

A brief history of the wild Elizabeth Islands off Cape Cod, including how a prominent Boston Brahmin family has, for generations, shared its wealth with recreational mariners.
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Resignation is not the same as giving up

A practical resignation is not the same as giving up. It is an unresisting acceptance of the inevitable – and it includes patience, submission, tolerance and fortitude.
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The river turns the wheel

And, in Newburyport, Mass., it always has, literally and figuratively, as the mighty Merrimack River has powered a shipbuilding industry, a rich international trade, mill wheels, and, today, a waterborne tourism.
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Midwinter Mystery Harbor: Camden (Maine) Harbor

Grew up in Camden The Mystery Harbor is Camden, Maine. I was born and grew up in Camden during the ’50s and ’60s. Looking out, the harbor is Curtis Island. My great-grandfather was a lighthouse keeper there when it was called Negro Island. Anson Norton
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Mystery Harbor December 2020: Gosport Harbor

I got engaged there! That’s Gosport Harbor, at the Isles of Shoals, looking across the N.H./Maine border toward Cedar and Smuttynose Islands, with Appledore (Shoals Marine Labs) at 11:00 o’clock. The view is from Star Island, Rye, N.H., in front of the Oceanic Hotel, operated
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Winter dreams

Midwinter 2021 By Tim Plouff We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came. -John F. Kennedy January in Maine can be
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Round-trip ticket: Bahamas

The author and his wife had long dreamed of cruising south for the winter and returning in the spring. Finally they did it, with two dogs, aboard the Banjer 37 motorsailer Magus.
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Fishers Finally!

The fates conspired against me in my attempts to visit Fishers Island, as though an invisible force was blocking my access to it. Last summer, I broke through, with an emotional epiphany.
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Revisiting Roque and Mistake Islands

By Tim Plouff For Points East It was to be a glorious summer day in Maine, and the promise of making new discoveries – as always, to us – was as exciting as the forecast. Our boating friends Allison and Andy Moorwood had proposed a
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Thoughts from a part-time curmudgeon

By Jack Farrell For Points East Magazine The regular visitor to this space may recall a story from a few years back when I was given permission by a wise octogenarian (and frequently cantankerous) Star Island guest to be a curmudgeon once in a while.
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September Mystery Harbor: Kingman Yacht Center, Cataumet, Mass.

View’s even better with a Mudslide This view is from the end dock at Kingman Yacht Center, in Cataumet, Mass. It’s a beautiful place to watch the sunset; even better if you are about 200 feet from this spot at the Chart Room, with one
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Mystery Harbor for September: Guess the Harbor, Win a Hat

If you can correctly identify this harbor, you’ll be on your way to winning a fine Points East designer cap. To qualify, identify the harbor AND tell us something about the harbor, such as how you recognized it and some reasons you like to hang
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Threading the needle

Some of the coast’s most interesting eel ruts are invested of a particular attraction because only rarely do the tides, our timing, and the weather align, at which occasion we get to plumb the depths of interesting places like Pleasant Point Gut. Only a few
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Harwich Port, Mass.: Home away from home

Home: safety, quietude, belonging. Port: haven for mariners and vessels. Saquatucket Harbor, in Harwich Port, Mass., has been our home port – away from our true home port – for 20 years.
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Rockport on my mind

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.
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You’re a grand old isle . . .

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?
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The mouse that roars

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.
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Snapshot of a small Maine business

In total, Ray Trombley has spent 30 years making his living on the Maine coast. His career has taken him from digging clams to selling them wholesale at the establishment he owns – Casco Bay Shellfish in Brunswick, Maine.
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Peaceful, calm and uncharacteristically quiet

So far this year, summer weather has been trading places every few days with crisp sunny days more typical of October. The water temperature is still in the low 50’s and I am wearing a down jacket in the wheelhouse of the Hurricane most mornings.
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Mystery Harbor June: Menemsha Harbor

Editor’s Note: June’s Mystery Harbor was drawing nothing but blank stares, so I posted clues on our Facebook page trying to move things along. Specifically, I mentioned the two commercial fishing boats in the picture in front of a gray building with light-blue trim. One
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Going to great lengths for next to nothing

By David Buckman In a lifetime of sailing there were no cruises richer in beauty, drama and intimacy than those we launched in the 1970s, when cash flow was tight, and we set out to discover the New England and Fundy coasts aboard an old
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Outdoor showers

By Christopher Birch Outdoor showers for the N.E. sailorSeveral years ago, on New Year’s Eve, I made a resolution: For the 12 months ahead, I would never shower without a beer. There’s something about the yin and yang of hot water and cold beer that
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They will come back

By Jack Farrell The usual spring activity along our coast has been slow to develop this season due to the pandemic. But in early May, Maine Governor Janet Mills announced a phased re-opening plan for business in the state. In addition to some other enterprises, barbershops
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Mystery Harbor May: Is it Northeast Harbor?

It is . . . and you’re the winner! Is that Northeast Harbor, on Mt. Desert Island, in Maine? My wife Julie and I have often sailed Preamble, our Island Packet 37, down that way and spent many nights on harbor floats over the past
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The islands in our midst

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.
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Mystery Harbor March/April: Edgartown

Anniversary celebrated there It’s Edgartown, on the island of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. My family chartered a boat out of Newport, R.I., a few years ago and on the trip we eventually went from Cuttyhunk to Edgartown. We spent two nights there and got to
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‘There are no ghosts on the Isles of Shoals’

As normal life on the mainland began to close down in response to the spreading virus in late March, I made a run out to the Isles of Shoals in Utopia with an especially large supply order for the caretakers. In a normal season there
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A shipyard burned, a treasure lost

A fire destroyed George W. Zachorne Jr. & Sons Boatbuilders, in Wickford, R.I., but more was ruined than structure, boats, tools and precious artifacts. A way of life was snuffed out, too.
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Rockin’ around the clock

This means we’re going to cruise clockwise around a figurative clock face in Gloucester Harbor, check out the seaport’s charms, and learn of the weed-bearded growlers and hazards that abound there.
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Cruising with Diana, Part II

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
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A Mystic state of mind

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.
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Cruising with Diana

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.
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‘Low bridge, everybody down…’

 “Low bridge, we’re coming to a town,” the old barge song continues, and these days many of those towns on New York’s Western Erie Canal and Seneca Lake are spellbinding waterfront villages. Aboard Weak Moment, our 32-foot trawler, we’ve now seen quite a few of
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Saddleback Island

By Tim Plouff For most Mainers, the name Saddleback has long been associated with the western Maine mountain near Rangeley that was a popular ski resort for decades before successive owners fell on hard times. While the ski trails remain closed, an effort to re-start
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An ode to slow

We awoke to the reflections of sunlit seas dancing across the cabin ceiling, a rich wash of blue sky overhead and the telltales hanging limp. The mate, who functions better than I in the early hours, pulled up a forecast. “Southwest 5,” she muttered sleepily
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Hurricane Dorian and the “dream wedding”

The last big weekend of the year promised a full house at the Oceanic Hotel. A two-day island wedding extravaganza was also on the schedule.
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September: New Bedford Harbor

The Mystery Harbor in the September issue is New Bedford Harbor. The picture was taken from Pope’s Island Marina looking west toward the city. New Bedford is home to the largest fishing fleet on the U.S. East Coast. It’s also our homeport for recreational boating.
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A quart in a pint pot

Sure, New Hampshire has a paltry 18 miles of Atlantic shoreline, but it packs a disproportionately wide variety of cruising sights and experiences in just New Castle and Portsmouth alone.
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A view from the top (of the bridge)

As experienced boaters know, there is much more to an outing than packing a picnic basket, picking out a destination, and heading out into the wide blue yonder. A good captain should have a lot on his or her mind: One must consider the weather,
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East vs. West: It’s all about the boats

The sign hanging over the front counter of the Islander Grocery at Lummi Island in Puget Sound reads “Keep Lummi Weird.” Nearly three thousand miles from my familiar islands back home in Maine and New Hampshire, this sign captures the essence of a common island
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Now this is downeast cruising

Part 2: For years, son Randy wanted to spend just one night where no marinas, restaurants, or marine facilities existed, just wildness. Before we turned back to Marblehead, I took him to Roque Island.
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Rowing Friar Roads

My fisherman ancestors were Campobello neighbors of Franklin D. Roosevelt overlooking Friar Roads, the open stretch of water between that island and Eastport, Maine. This day I’ll circle it in a dinghy and dust off my memory bank.
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Lessons learned from a lame duck

By Christopher Birch For Points East Not every marina has a duck house, but, lucky for me, mine does. I’m thinking now of a certain duck that once lived there. She had a bad starboard wing and a bad port leg. When she walked, she
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The freedom to be Warren River Boatworks

By Capt. Michael L. Martel For Points East Paul Dennis loves boats. He especially loves sailboats, and one type in particular, with which he’s had a long-standing affair. The humble and soft-spoken man has no qualms admitting it – he loves the often-unconvential-looking sailboats built
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Charming the snake

The Cape Cod Canal separates the Cape peninsula from the mainland in serpentine fashion, and, as with the notorious reptile of Eden, transit requires numerous encounters with tidal temptation.
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Martha’s Vineyard ports-of-call

I’ve explored five Martha’s Vineyard harbors – Menemsha, Lake Tashmoo, Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs and Edgartown – and each seems to delight visiting cruisers in its own special way
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Optimism, Catboat Bob, and Mrs. Crabby

By Jack Farrell Points East We’re five miles out of Portsmouth on an early summer freight run to Star Island. The fine bow of my Royall Lowell-designed Utopia slices through the two-foot chop with grace and power. Ten feet back at the helm, bits of
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In search of clarity

Our coasting adventures always seem to be in a certain state of flux as we fathom new ways of addressing the epic sweep of them, and meld into the tried and true. Touching on life’s largest themes and nature’s most powerful forces, it’s about seeking
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The cold, wet reality of it

Our rough and exposed stretch of Bigelow Bight between Portsmouth and the Isles of Shoals has been characteristically challenging since my daily crossings resumed in early March. While only two days so far have been rough enough to actually cancel a trip, most of the
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Maine cruise: Unplugged

Part 2: The author reveals more favorite Maine anchorages – not the “best” ones – and the crew of the Saga 43 Ilene favors small places with solitude or ones with good eats, museums and theater.
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Isle au Haut: Acadia’s offshore island

Guest perspective/Tim Plouff Mariners plying the Gulf of Maine in the vicinity of central Penobscot Bay and Blue Hill Bay are all too familiar with the landmark “mountains” of Isle au Haut. So named by Samuel de Champlain in 1604, Isle au Haut – “High
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Our Favorite Maine anchorages

Part 1: Not “Best Anchorages,” just our preferred harbors, islands, rivers and coves, and we favor smaller places with nature and solitude – or ones with good eats, museums and theater.
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Bound for Salem

And why not? This seaport on the North Shore of Boston has a grand maritime history, classic architecture, tourist haunts, boating services, and more witchcraft lore than the average salt can handle.
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Boston Light: Aloft and alow

By Rand Peck My fascination with New England lighthouses began in June 1974, on my first flight with Air New England as a Twin Otter copilot from Hyannis, on Cape Cod, to Boston’s Logan Airport. I was young, inexperienced, behind the curve, and a source
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Waterworld

New England offers countless harbors, both great and small – some bustling with commercial traffic, others quiet and “undiscovered.” For me, none is more interesting, vibrant or gorgeous than Boston Harbor.
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Marathon and Irma: A snowbird’s view

Guest perspective/Michael Camarata The 2017 hurricane season was notorious for the hardship it caused across the Caribbean and in many places in the United States and its territories. Recovery from the devastation has fallen out of the headlines, but is still ongoing. Out of sight,
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Fairy trails on the coast of Maine

Guest perspective/Ralph B. Pears Over the years, I’ve been fortunate enough to explore many of Maine’s islands, secluded coves and inlets. When visiting such places with my family, the pleasures of discovery have frequently become even more poignant, as I’ve been swept up by my
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Damariscove Island

Guest perspective/Tim Plouff “Chummie, take that mooring, ain’t no one using it,” came the deep Downeast voice over the stern of the lobster boat tied up to a float in the middle of the harbor. The issuer of the invitation stood before a hot grill
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Scituate Harbor is not just any … port in a storm

Near the cusp of Cape Cod and Massachusetts bays lies full-service Scituate Harbor, on Boston’s South Shore, a harbor of refuge ideally positioned for both southbound and northbound cruisers.
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Let’s find a fort

State by New England state, Sue presents a heady selection of swashbuckling fortresses to visit with your privateer . . . er, cruising boat, dinghy, center-console or kayak.
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The Bristol waypoint

When passing the Rhode Island shore, bound north or south, consider Bristol an optimal layover, and a base for cruises between Long Island Sound and the Lower Cape and the islands.
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Bound for Northeast Harbor

Not to Northeast Harbor, because, as Joel and son Randy ran their 33-foot lobsterboat from Marblehead, Mass., toward Stonington, Maine, her 420-horse turbodiesel began to mutiny.
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P-town on our minds

A cruise to Provincetown, at the tip of Cape Cod, will instill in visitors by boat a sense of awe in the light that bathes them, the water that surrounds them, and the history and contentment that envelops them.
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Finding Fox Creek

Tim MurphyWhen I die, daub a papyrus basket with pine tar and pitch, and set me off on the ebb in a salt-marsh trickle. I’ll go out as Moses came in. I grew up in a Louisiana bayou, which is another name for a salt-marsh
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And finally to Roque

Part 2: In the December issue, this 75-year-old circumnavigator was motoring toward the legendary Downeast island from southern Maine in an 80-year-old square-stern canoe when his cruise went figuratively south. Here’s how he reached his hallowed destination.
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A cup of Eggemoggin

Guest perspective/Bill Cheney We had just arrived at a Christmas party in Beaufort, S.C., when our hostess, a charming southern lady, asked me what I would like to drink. “I would love some Eggemoggin,” I said. I meant “eggnog,” of course, but that malapropism, or
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The Bay of Oysters

Protected Oyster Bay, at the western end of Long Island Sound, has it all in a manageable scale: shops, eateries, museums, full-service marina, ship’s store, and the shellfish for which it’s named.
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Bound south on the ICW? Read this first!

We’ve got routes and geographical waypoints. Alternate itineraries. Mileages. Shoal sections. Open stretches. Wind exposures. History of the Atlantic, Gulf and Okeechobee waterways.
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Road to the Grey Lady

Nantucket appears that dour shade when fogbound, but we love it for its “old whaling town” feeling, the historic homes, the cobblestone streets, and, yes, the pea soup when it covers the island.
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Smitten with Lady Liberty

Part 1: We were told that the Statue of Liberty must be seen at least once from one’s own boat. This was our hook for a cruise from Newburyport, Mass., to New York Harbor.
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Little Rhody, big water

Sure, Rhode Island is land-challenged, but, for recreational mariners, Narragansett Bay, with its 256 miles of coastline can be a surprising and fascinating cruising ground.
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Smith’s Castle and my search for a chart

Most people, however, are interested in the fact that the Castle – basically a fortified home – was where a thousand colonial troops from present-day Massachusetts and Connecticut massed before marching on the Great Swamp in the winter of 1675.
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Vinalhaven, Sept. 11, 2001

It was an idyllic time, on an idyllic island with perfect weather. But events spun out that changed our lives and our world forever.
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Cove Princess and a Cove prince

Capt. Bob Brown Ultimately, this is a story about a boat. But it has to start as a story about our marina – Cove Marina, in Salisbury, Mass. For 19 of our 20 years of boating, we have begun our journeys from Cove Marina and,
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My favorite passage

Hank Garfield My favorite passage on the Maine Coast is between Rockland Harbor and Naskeag Point. I keep Planet Waves, my Cape Dory 25, in Rockland in the summer, but visit family on the other side of the bay once or twice a season. Their
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Cruising the Kite Loop

Part 1: What do you do when you want to attempt the Great Loop, or the Down East Loop, but don’t have the time? You invent a new, shorter circle and name it after its fanciful shape.
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Quarry cruise

Part I: The 19th- and early 20th-century granite mining operations in Maine's Penobscot Bay were the hooks for this trailer-boat cruise to Hurricane Island, Tenants Harbor, and the Muscle Ridge Channel.
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Buzzards: A bay with attitude

The weather on Massachusetts' Buzzards Bay is notorious for its fickleness, and her waters will test the mettle of any mariner. One never knows what conditions the "Bay of Buzzards" will produce.
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A spell in the tropics

This wintertime adventure was the one I'd long sought: to sail from the island of Antigua, up the Leeward Islands chain, bound for the Sir Francis Drake Channel and the British Virgin Islands.
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Boats, bikes and beaches

A perfect summer day on the outer Cranberry Isles - with boat and bicycles - confirmed to us that this combination is ideal for scratching the surface of these islands.
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Along the Reach

A leisurely ramble, east to west along Maine's Eggemoggin Reach in wet, windless and buggy conditions still delights the skipper of the 22-foot, engineless catboat Penelope.
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You’ll never believe what we saw on the ICW

While Middle America puts on a pretty face for those who pass by on the highway, the view from the Intracoastal Waterway is of a different stripe, perhaps a more accurate display of what America is all about.
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A pocket cruise in the Elizabeths

Between Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound are the pristine Elizabeth Islands, from which it's a short hop to Martha's Vineyard. A pleasant, relaxing week of true cruising can be had in and around them.
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