Stormy Weather

A stricken Ensign off the coast of Massachusetts. The end of August in New England featured fast-moving, powerful storms. Photo by Joe Berkeley

What’s in the forefront of every boater’s mind (other than where the liquor is stowed)? The weather, of course. We listen to the forecasts constantly, we brag about the storms we’ve vanquished and we fear those moments when the sky darkens, the wind shrieks and the swells grow. Here at Points East, we have plenty of weather stories to relate.


All’s well that ends well

All’s well that ends well

While I have made many hundreds of trips from Portsmouth Harbor to the Isles of Shoals across the full range of weather and seasons (wind, rain, fog, snow and freezing spray) I had never been thoroughly scared until one afternoon a few weeks ago.
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On microbursts and mayhem

On microbursts and mayhem

Years ago I was at a dock in Connecticut when friends of mine returned from a trip to Block Island aboard their 36-footer. They practically kissed the ground once their lines were thrown, and, to a man, were visibly shaken. The hours-old experience they described?
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In the wake of Isaias

In the wake of Isaias

The surreal aspect of Aug. 4 didn’t begin until 3 p.m. This was the Tuesday that Tropical Storm Isaias rolled through New England, and I was listening to the radio, one eye on my computer screen and the other on the wildly cavorting trees outside
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Force 8 Cape Cod

Force 8 Cape Cod

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.
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A lament for the late, great, fog

A lament for the late, great, fog

A lot of coasters curse the fog. I miss it. Though a lifetime of sailing may be too brief a span to draw any reliable conclusions, it seems that the Gulf of Maine fog stocks are in decline, particularly during the last decade. During one
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Hurricane Dorian and the “dream wedding”

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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After the flood waters recede

After the flood waters recede

By Russ Roth Did you hear of last spring’s flooding on the St. John River, in the Canadian province of New Brunswick? As of June 2018 I hadn’t, and the information would definitely have been useful. After all, I’d spent the winter looking forward to
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Thank you, Heidi Marie

Guest perspective/Michael H. Sherwood Editor’s note: the following is excerpted from the preface of Michael H. Sherwood’s recipe book, “Seafood is Supreme,” which outlines the best way to buy and prepare seafood. It’s a touching dedication to the men and women who, mostly anonymously, and
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Marathon and Irma: A snowbird’s view

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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Lost in fog – been there

Lost in fog – been there

Guest Perspective/Paul Brown The year was 1987: my first year of sailing. I had a mooring at South Freeport, Maine, on the ocean side of Wolf Neck. Wolf Neck is the land separation between the Harraseeket River and Middle Bay. This was a year before
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When the water turns wicked

When the water turns wicked

We asked four skippers participating in the National Geographic Channel’s “Wicked Tuna” competition how they handle high wind and sea conditions. Here’s what they said.
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Where is Tasmania?

Where is Tasmania?

Guest perspective/Randy Randall The marina business in winter is not much fun. The river’s frozen over, the snow-covered docks look like giant loaves of white bread, and the mooring balls are gripped fast in the ice. It’s all very depressing, and spring seems a long
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Struck by lightning

Struck by lightning

A severe thunderstorm, covering many square miles of ocean, stalked our old gaff-yawl as she sailed home to Bristol, R.I., from Block Island.
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Challenging Charley

Challenging Charley

The locals told us not to worry. The forecasters said Charley would run up through the Gulf of Mexico well off shore.
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A visit from Isabel

A visit from Isabel

Belhaven seemed like a fine place for a couple of southbound New England cruisers to ride out a hurricane. Then Isabel decided she’d like to visit too.
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How nasty can the weather get out there?

How nasty can the weather get out there?

So nasty that “In the middle of the sound, and the rain is coming down in torrents. The thunder and lightning are simultaneous. No sense trying to count the seconds to see how far off the storm is – it’s here! ”
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How nasty can the weather get out there?

How nasty can the weather get out there?

August 2003 By William E. Macdonald For Points East Without a doubt the worst weather I ever encountered on the water was a snowstorm during the winter of 1983, on my way home to Frenchboro during the early evening hours on my 26-foot Trojan. And
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How nasty can the weather get out there?

How nasty can the weather get out there?

So nasty that “Lightning had struck about 100 feet off the port side of the boat. A 50-foot circle of sizzling, boiling white water expanded from the spot of the strike and dissipated into the surrounding water. ”
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How nasty can the weather get out there?

How nasty can the weather get out there?

So nasty that “the wind clocked around and before the boat could answer the helm, the boom jibed hard with a force that shook the entire boat.”
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Winter’s worst

With an out-of-season hurricane snapping at their heels, a cruising couple struggles to save their new boat.
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Remind me to call those forecasters

February, 2000 By Carlene M. Grossi For Points East It had been a relatively uneventful August cruise for the two sailboats from Newport, R.I., a Catalina 30 and a Pearson 30. Oh sure, there had been fog, and the broken spreader, and the calls in
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