MA to NH via Witches and Lighthouses
Farewell Boston! It was fun while it lasted, but we were itching to spread our sail wings and ultimately head down to Maine as locals say, meaning downwind sailing. Our plan was to hop along the coast for reasonably short day sails from 12 to 25 miles a time. This stretch of the coastline from Boston, Massachusetts to Portsmouth, New Hampshire would have us stopping off for the night at Salem, Gloucester and Rockport.
We had gentle but adequate wind, and some good sailing up the coast once we were clear of the Boston channel.
Our first overnight stop was at the witchcraft capital Salem, famously known for the 1692 Salem witchcraft trials brought on by mass hysteria and social isolation at the time. I can only imagine the damage those bored teenage girls would’ve made had they had social media at their disposal. Salem is also the birthplace of dark romantic novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne who penned The House of the Seven Gables and The Scarlet Letter. We picked up a mooring ball at Hawthorne Cove and made the most of the launch taxi service to and from the dock.
The next morning we unintentionally trapped our first lobster pot line in our portside rudder while navigating our exit out of Salem Sound under sail. We were able to unhook the line with the boat hook without too much drama, but the setback was a bit unnerving. Our destination today turned out to be a $100-costly mooring ball at the traditional Eastern Point Yacht Club in Gloucester. Despite the cost it was a very pretty location complete with the obligatory New England lighthouse and dinner at the rather prestigious club house. The fitting finale was the daily sunset firing of the clubhouse cannon.
Although it is possible to motor up the Annisquam river from Gloucester to avoid going around the peninsula, we wanted to sail around and anchor overnight in the pretty seaside town of Rockport.
From Rockport we had a slightly longer day sail of about 25 NM on a beautiful broad reach. That is, until about 30 minutes out of Portsmouth when a front suddenly swept in and had us reefing. We concluded with a minor mishap involving the boat hook going overboard while attempting to pick up the mooring ball at Portsmouth Yacht Club. The yacht club is on the Piscataqua river which has the second fasted current in the US, and I can attest to that. I have since been reunited with my beloved boat hook!
The yacht club is just to the south east of Portsmouth on an idyllic island called New Castle. On our local walking tour we noticed the place was dripping with cute architectural history and lush forestry.
The weather was a little damp for a few days so we decided to hang out in Portsmouth for longer than initially expected. Plus, there were lots of things to see and do from having our first-ever lobster roll, watching historians recapture the revolutionary and civil war in a single afternoon at Fort McClary and provisioning for our next leg to Portland.
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