Chip Ford's 1974 Catalina 22 Restoration Project
Sail #3282 
l  Marblehead, Massachusetts

The never-ending project to fill my hole in the ocean while bailing it out

The Rockport extended "Overnighter" 2010
September 24-29, 2010

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Click thumbnails for a larger picture


Sep. 24, 2010 -- With a great weather forecast for the coming weekend, I decided to take off for perhaps the last overnight cruise of the 2010 season, this time up to Rockport. My plan was to depart on Friday late afternoon, sail out to Misery Island for the night, then get an early start the next morning. I called the harbormaster up there and made a reservation for Saturday overnight dockage.

The forecast called for a perfect Saturday, sunny and in the high-70s, low-80s, seas 2-3 feet. The wind was expected to be out of the SW at about 10 knots with some slightly higher gusts. Sunday would be much of the same, but with the wind changing, out of the northeast -- not against me again for once. It would be a great weekend for an overnighter cruise up to Rockport and back.

On the dock on the way to the launch I bumped into John Graichen, coming in from "Malacass" (photo top left), so we sat and talked for a short while before going our separate ways.

Arriving in Misery Island's cove I had a choice of moorings; there was little competition this late in September so I was quickly tied up and settled in for the night. I pulled out the Origo stove, a small pan, and a can of beef stew from the food larder, got the coffee going, and had dinner as the sun set.

Being alone on one of the outer moorings, I turned on Chip Ahoy's mast top anchor light for the night, then enjoyed another cup of coffee under a full moon and star spangled sky.

Sep. 25, 2010 -- I was awake just before dawn, raring to drop the mooring and be on the way to Rockport. After a couple cups of coffee, I dropped the mooring at about 9 am. Coming out around the top of Misery Island and out onto my route northwest to Cape Ann, a coal freighter, the Bernhard Oldendorff, was heading in to the Salem power plant, crossing ahead of Chip Ahoy.

The sail up the coast was brisk with the southwest wind at about the predicted 10-12 knots. Seas were running a comfortable 1-2 feet while the sky varied from partly cloudy to mostly cloudy to cloud-free. A very enjoyable sail in warm temperature.

Chip Ahoy and I rounded Thatchers Island and its twin lighthouses at the top of Cape Ann at about 2 pm, headed west to Rockport. Past the lighthouse on Straitsmouth Island and entering Sandy Bay and the entrance to Rockport Harbor, the Formidable sailed past. I didn't realize at the time that it was docked in Rockport, a tourist attraction.

Arriving inside Rockport Harbor I couldn't reach the harbormaster, so tied up to the front dock across from the famous Motif #1 (photo left). I'd no sooner stepped ashore when the warnings came, that I was directly in range of cannon fire! I had no idea what this meant, but was comforted that the worst that would happen was Chip Ahoy would be hit by nothing worse than a "potato bag," whatever that was.

Ashore and up on the granite block wharf, I found a traveling exhibit of US Navy personnel from the USS Constitution about to put on a demonstration of 'Ole Ironsides' cannon fire, aimed right over Chip Ahoy (in the photo on the left is Chip Ahoy, its mast sticking up between the crosshairs). This active-duty navy crew travels around the country performing this demonstration. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time -- at least the right time, if not exactly the right place!

Right afterward, the town's hospitable harbormasters, Rosemary and Scott, directed me to move Chip Ahoy inside the granite wharf to the sheltered cove, assisted as I pulled the boat around and tied up to an inner dock -- just in time for a second cannonade above.

Once settled in, I wandered over to Bearskin Neck for dinner. The photo on the left was taken from there, on the other side of the cove. Chip Ahoy is in the distance just off-center, tucked against the granite wharf behind the red lobster boat.

This spot on Earth has to be one of the most photographed. I had no problem getting other tourists to take a photo of me with my camera in exchange for me taking photos of them with theirs -- I later thought of setting up a small business of it!

-- NEXT --
Sailing Season 2010 is here, but fading fast!




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