Resilience and crew have been in Maine since the 10th of July, we’ve already sailed many miles and have managed to find absolutely no dull moments. On the 11th our filmmaker, Brooke Raines, met us in Portland and on the 12th, we took off for Rockland, Stonington, Brooklin and then Southwest Harbor. All spring, when folks would ask where we’d be in Maine, I told them, “everywhere”. Looking at the Maine coastline on a chart, I took note of how close everything was in comparison to most of the sailing we had done last year. It appeared we could make it up the entire coast in about three days of day-sailing only. We could pop around all over the place very easily at nearly any time. This idea held true for the first few days and then the fog began to drift in…
Now, fog alone isn’t all that bad. We have excellent navigation equipment aboard (thanks to our donors!), and I feel comfortable navigating with limited sight, good hearing, great radar, AIS, a reliable VHF radio and accurate charts. The wild card factor that makes dense fog a no-go for our movement is the astonishing amount of lobster pots EVERYWEHRE! They’re not just here or there, in deep water or shallow water. I thought at very least they’d be out of the channels, especially the narrow ones. Nope, they’re there as well (apparently that’s where the lobsters are). It seems that folks like to cluster them around channel markers. Perhaps they’re easier to find that way? Some vessels can plough right through. Hull shape, prop location, propulsion systems (jets work well) or specialized gear and equipment can all help, or hinder, a vessel’s ability to navigate lobster pots. Resilience falls on the far less capable end of this spectrum. We have a massive propeller that is highly exposed. This makes it very efficient but also quite vulnerable. In addition, we have a standalone skeg-hung rudder which departs the bottom of our hull at nearly 90 degrees, and it is MASSIVE. It gives us excellent control, but it acts as a big hook, ready to snag anything that passes by (I picture the equipment fighter jets use to land on aircraft carriers).
We decided to avoid dense fog whenever possible. It’s not worth it. We tried a 5-hour passage in thick fog. All hands on deck. The passage ended up taking us 7 hours and half-way through I had to dive on our propeller and rudder to clear it of lines. The water was giving me brain-freeze and in the meantime, we could hear boats nearby sounding their horns as they passed remarkably close to us. Of course we never saw them. Their engines just sounded like they could be our own and their voices sounded like they were nearly aboard. I’d rather avoid such situations. On this passage we were headed for Southwest Harbor on Mount Desert Island. We ended up making into the harbor just before sundown. For the entire trip, the scenery was the same: grey and white with a sprinkle of lobsterpots at our feet, nothing else. Suddenly we saw a mooring ball 10 feet off our bow. We had made it to the harbor.
When we left for Southwest, we had noticed some issues with our hydraulics, which control our anchor windlass. I have spent the last two days working through the mystery of what was wrong. It appears our heat exchanger for the hydraulic system has corroded and therefore had allowed saltwater into our system. I believe this subsequently caused our windlass motor to overheat and blow its seals, which then led to that motor pumping a ton of hydraulic fluid into our windlass itself and a bit on our deck. The whole thing is a mess, but I think I can find the parts we need to fix most of it in Rockland. Today we will sail back to Rockland so that we can begin the search for parts and subsequent repair on Monday. Once fixed, we will get back to the work we are supposed to be doing. There are amazing people here doing impressive work. There is an exciting story unfolding right before us. We really can’t wait to share it all soon!
Thank you for keeping up-to-date with Apparent Winds and the Resilience crew! We couldn’t do any of this if it weren’t for the diverse support of others. It’s not easy starting a venture like this but it’s all of you that help us to keep pushing when the times get tough! Thank you for believing in our crew and our mission.
Many thanks, Tripp