Crossing the Gulf of Maine by trawler is different from doing it by sailboat. First, we can go faster. Second, we’d really rather not do it at night because of the lobster pot issue. Third, you can’t — wait for it… — sail. It’s motoring the whole way.
Our Tug is really comfortable motoring at seven to eight knots. Most of all, the noise level is acceptable and can be tolerated for long periods of time. It’s the ‘happy place’, as long as you don’t need to get somewhere fast.
Running at nine to ten knots is doable, but it’s on the edge for extended periods of time because the noise is a bit much. It doesn’t seem to affect Bruce as much as it affects me. I guess that’s because he’s a motorhead? At ten knots for any length of time, I need my fancy new Bose noise cancelling headphones Bruce gave me. Excellent equipment. And we even got some Mutt Muffs for the dogs. Who knew?
We can do close to 20 knots if we need to. That speed is really nice to have in your back pocket, but you definitely don’t want to do it long or often. It is noisy and not very comfortable. Once we were trying to beat a front and dusk, running from the Canadian Gulf Islands back to the U.S. port of Roche Harbor. It was about 20 miles and we had about an hour to do it in. We ran at 17 knots for about 40 minutes. It was hard. It gave me a headache. But we got in before the wind hit hard and before the sea state kicked up. It was worth it, but I don’t want to do it often.
When we calculated the trip from Scituate across the Gulf of Maine to Boothbay, we figured calm water and nine knots. That would be twelve hours for the 110-mile trip. Everything worked like a charm. There is variable current across the Gulf, so we kept the GPS speed at roughly nine knots most of the time, and monitored our ETA to make sure we weren’t falling behind schedule.
We left the breakwater in Scituate at about 0520, and we were on a mooring in Boothbay almost exactly twelve hours later. It was a pleasant trip, if a little dull at times. There was plenty of sea life. Although our course missed the whale feeding ground of Stellwagon Bank by ten or fifteen miles, we did see porpoises, some sail fish, lots of sea birds, and a lone shark. We also saw several mylar balloons, some trash, and plenty of weed, probably shaken up by the recent storms offshore.
We picked up a mooring at the Tug Boat Inn and got the dinghy over as quickly as possible so we could get the pups ashore. It was a long day for them, but they are troopers. They were as delighted to be ashore as we were to be in Maine.
Boothbay was very quiet. Restaurants were only partly full, the streets were quiet, and there were vacant moorings. Hmmm. It was Okay. We’re good with quiet. Dinner on board, and ice cream afterwards for the stalwart pups, a small reward for their tolerance and patience.
We spent just one night in Boothbay and were ready to push on in the morning. The run east from Boothbay always seems to be a foggy one for us. For once, we headed east under relatively clear skies. Cruising Maine had begun.