the Hermit Island Wayfarer Rally
Small Point, Maine * August 13-20, 2005
photos and a report from Dick & Margie Harrington
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, September 10, 2005 2:48 PM
Subject: Remembering the Hermit Island Rally

Hello again Wayfarer friends,

It now seems like ages since we last sailed together at Hermit Island. But in fact it has been less than a month and many fond memories are
still very fresh.  Margie and I would like to share with you a few snippets of our thoughts and remembrances--so we hope you find the
attached short write up enjoyable reading.  We have only a handful of pictures to add to the already excellent large assortment of photos sent
to Uncle Al for inclusion on the Canadian web site.  The photos in themselves paint a fabulous picture of what was truly a remarkable rally
week.  Thank you everyone for your participation and contributions...

The write up by Margie and me is just a small piece of the story.  There must be many anecdotes out there waiting to be told.  We will very much welcome your additions.

Hoping for many more years of Wayfarer sailing with our friends.....DICK & MARGIE

Remembering the Hermit Island Rally

August 2005


Saturday, August 13th, the first day of the rally arrived at last.  Having checked in the day before, Blue Mist was launched and the campsite in order.  We were ready to welcome our fellow sailors.  Who would be the first to arrive?  Margie and I anxiously kept our eyes peeled on the rough dirt campground road looking for vehicles with a Wayfarer in tow.  But campers weren’t allowed to check in until after 2:00 PM, so we went for a short sail.  Thinking ahead to Sunday, the first day of cruising, I wanted to see what it was like getting in and out of Small Point Harbor, Hermit Island’s well protected but somewhat torturous tide bound harbor.  When we returned there was the first arrival--a Wayfarer tied to the Yardarm, the campground’s floating dock.  The rally had officially begun.  Over the next two days people steadily arrived, often first noticed when a familiar Wayfarer was spied upon the launch ramp or showed up on the dock.  The Yardarm became the place for welcoming newcomers and the reunion of Wayfarer friends from past rallies.  New participants this year included Chuck and Ginny Jordan from Eau Claire, Wisconsin; Joe and Mary Trepal from Timberlake, Ohio; and Scott Whited and his wife Kirsten McWilliams from South Portland, Maine.

Thinking back many years ago and recalling my impressions of sailing my Wayfarer on the Maine coast for the first time, I remember being in complete awe of the sheer beauty and vastness.  For a day or so I think that my mind was in a trance like state trying to absorb the excitement.  I thought that I had arrived in heaven.  When the weather and winds are as pleasant as they were for the rally, I still feel that Maine is the closest place on earth to heaven.  It wouldn’t surprise me if many rally participants experienced similar feelings.  We enjoyed a really fun filled week that was packed with one delightful sailing adventure after another.  Evening social activities included the “lobster cookout” and dinner at The Lobster House.  It was so good that I think by the end of the week everyone, to some degree, was feeling the effects of a little too much sun and sea, as well as strained muscles from vigorous sailing.  But they may have also wondered why Dick had placed so much emphasis earlier on being prepared—prepared to reduce sail, prepared with extra warm clothing and so on.  Dick had also talked about the possibility of sailing in foggy conditions—what fog?  Well, there weren’t any foggy days, or strong winds--we got lucky. However, summer in Maine has a well earned reputation for being fickle.  We are thankful for such a beautiful week.

The story is much better told through the many photos shared by others and posted on the Canadian web site by Uncle Al than I can do with words.  Credit for the planning and thought that went into the week of activities belongs just as much to Tom Graefe as myself.  Although each rally takes upon a unique and unforeseeable character, most aspects of this rally took place as well as or better than Tom and I hoped for.  At the daily morning skippers' meetings, cruising suggestions were presented for the day, but then ideas and thoughts were exchanged within the group.  Tom had put together ahead of time an excellent handout listing potential cruising destinations and this was a big help.  It quickly evolved that on many days there would be two groups sailing to different destinations, a case of longer vs. shorter cruises.  On these days Tom and I split the leadership responsibility for the groups between us.  Needless to say, however, with such an experienced bunch of sailors we were seldom the leading boat.  The exception was the day we all sailed around Seguin Island as one large fleet.

Tom and I are grateful to Allan and Mary Asselstine, assisted by Tim and Rosemary France, for taking on the responsibility of organizing the night out at The Lobster House.  This is the second year in a row where they’ve voluntarily jumped in to organize the group dinner event and have done a really marvelous job of it.

While expressing special thanks to those who went beyond the call of duty, we cannot neglect to mention the fabulous rally T-shirt provided through the hard work of Tom Graefe.  The motif, an attractive characterization of Seguin Island, was created by Tom to remind us of the terrific time we enjoyed while at Hermit Island.       

Our presence at the campground did not go unnoticed.  Early in the week one of the owners of Hermit Island, Nick Sewall, came to me wanting to know more about us.  I had mailed a copy of the initial rally promotional literature to the campground at the beginning of the year and they were expecting us.  Then just before departing, he found me again.  “The other day I looked out to sea and couldn’t believe my eyes,” he said.  “All of the Wayfarers were strung out on the horizon circumnavigating Seguin Island.  What a pretty sight.  We are very happy that you people chose to come to Hermit Island.” Sewall is an original salty old “Mainer” who also owns and operates the campground’s excursion boat Yankee that was moored on the Yardarm alongside the Wayfarers.  There’s a soft spot in his heart for dinghy sailors and he was sincerely touched to have us there.

Those who attended this year’s rally

Allan & Mary Asselstine – Ottawa, Ontario – W7346

Dick & Margie Harrington – Euclid, Ohio – W887

Ron & Lori Baker and daughter Robin – Kirtland, Ohio – W7356

Chuck & Ginny Jordan – Eau Claire, Wisconsin – W767

Tom & Diane Erickson – Gardner, Massachusetts – W275

David, Lisa, Josh & Krystal Nelson – Sidney, Maine – W10246

Tim & Rosemary France – Guelph, Ontario – W3136

Al & Julia Schonborn – Oakville, Ontario – W3854

André & Monique Girard – Ottawa, Ontario – W3098

Joe & Mary Trepal – Timberlake, Ohio – W3971

Tom & Nel Graefe – Norwell, Massachusetts – W9668

Kit Wallace & Patsy Poulin – Toronto, Ontario – W1037

Bill Harkins & Margie McKelvey and Charles Thomas (Paris, France) – Arlington, Virginia – W2526

Scott Whited & Kirsten McWilliams and baby Emmons – South Portland, Maine – W???

Margie and I were thrilled to get to spend time with all our old sailing friends again.  The opportunity to meet and learn more about this year’s newcomers was especially enjoyable.  The Wayfarer cruising circle keeps growing larger and expanding geographically with each succeeding year.  Work has already begun on next year’s rally which is tentatively planned for the Thousand Islands region of the St. Lawrence River.  We’ll keep you posted!

An Anecdote

It rained Saturday night and Sunday morning’s forecast was a bit iffy.  A frontal system would be passing to the south of us generating potentially dangerous thunderstorms.  (It turned out that this would be the only bit of questionable weather we’d have for the whole week.)  We were far enough to the north that we should miss the brunt of the storms, though caution was advised and afternoon showers were expected.  Some folks had some drying out to do thanks to the rain, while others still needed to get their boats launched.  Thus, only three boats headed out, Tom & Nel Graefe, Joe & Mary Trepal and Dick & Margie, under a cloudy sky for the first of several excursions up the New Meadows River.  The wind was variable out of the north.  Our mouths were watering with the anticipation of an enjoyable mid-afternoon lunch at Holbrook’s Lobster Wharf in Cundy’s Harbor.  Making our way down the narrow harbor channel at half tide was slow going and took longer than anticipated, but with the tide from behind we finally exited the harbor.  At the start we stuck the centerboard solidly in the mud and struggled to get free, but then managed to bump the board only a couple of times on the sand bar at the harbor entrance.  Once outside, Blue Mist responded to a more pleasant breeze and we relished the reach across the outer harbor to Wood Island, Little Wood and then on down past Flag Island, continuing along the string of ledges and rocks lying off the mouth of the New Meadows River.  It was nice relaxing sailing and weather concerns were not present in my mind.  Here we came upon our first sightings of seals and porpoises. 

About three hours had elapsed since departing and the wind now threatened to lose some of its oomph.  Lunch time was long past and we were hungry.  Not that far up the broad mouth of the river, though, we could see the fleet of fishing boats in Cundy’s Harbor all neatly lined up—a picturesque and enticing sight.  What should we do?  Then, just when I was giving serious thought to turning back, the wind returned.  Onward went two of us, while Tom & Nel wisely turned back.

“Where is Holbrook’s?” I yelled to a guy standing on the wharf admiring Blue Mist.  “Right down there where that Sword Fisherman just came out," was his reply.  When a rain shower caught up to us, the boats were already tied up and we were under cover enjoying a delicious fish dinner.  By the time we’d finished the rain had quit, but alas, all the wind had been sucked up into the clouds.  The overcast was thickening and it was getting late.  The entrance to Small Point Harbor was a distant 6 NM and it seemed unlikely we’d make it back before dark.

Though only a minor river, the New Meadows is broad where it meets the ocean and choked with numerous islands, as are many of the rivers along Maine’s Mid Coast.  This offers cruising sailors lots of harbors and safe havens.  An hour later, having made less than a mile of progress, we approached the opposite side of the river on Cape Small.  We were by then rowing and paddling.  Every now and then we heard a faint distant sound--the rumble of thunder.  Between oar strokes Joe and I shouted encouragement to each other and consulted.  Margie and Mary were getting worried.  “That looks like Bear Island to me," I observed.  Joe agreed. Then that meant the next smaller island, a spruce cloaked ridge of granite that I was looking at, had to be Harbor Island.  I made a suggestion.  “Let’s head behind Harbor Island, that’s Sebasco Harbor and I believe there’s a general store with a dock and a marina there," I said.  "How long will that take," the jumpy ladies demanded to know?  "Don’t worry, we’ll be okay….we’re in a safe location," I assured them.  But by then my credibility had been severely tarnished.

Following much mutinous grumbling and maybe a hundred paddle strokes we were almost there, rounding the northern tip of Harbor Island.  Occupying the island’s point was a well to do looking summer cottage with several power boats tied to a dock. We had an audience, two men standing on the dock, but I wasn’t expecting the loud voice. “Where are you people headed?” the older man asked.  After a slight delay, trying to pull my thoughts together, I shouted back, “Harbor Island."  “That’s where you are!” was the quizzical reply.  “Dick, please think about what you are saying," quipped Margie.  “Oh, I mean Hermit Island, we’re camping there," I said, finally getting it right.  Would we like a tow home?  “Yes, we would really appreciate that very much, thank you!”

The tow back was a little faster than I like, considering that I was concerned Blue Mist was mighty close to having her bow eye yanked out, or even the whole stem member.  But on the other hand we didn’t arrive any too soon.  Our benefactor and his companion dropped us off just outside the harbor entrance buoy.  At that moment there was a little bit of a breeze and I didn’t have the guts to tell them that we still had another mile to go up the inner harbor before we’d be home.  We attempted to be gracious in thanking them.  “I think we owe you at least a bottle of good Scotch for your kindness," I said.  Joe and Mary added to the offer one of their rally T-shirts.  Unfortunately, our savior's parting gesture was not as thoughtful as the much welcomed tow, amounting in effect to—he didn’t require anything, but we "should do the same for some other stupid so and so some time”.  The goodbye could have been sweeter, but we felt that they sensed our appreciation and we did deserve the admonishment.

As night fell, the long paddle up the harbor channel was punctuated by the arrival of pouring rain, thunder and lightning. Meanwhile, unbeknown to us a worried André and Monique Girard had made several trips down to the Yardarm looking for us.  Approaching the dock we saw through the raindrops André waiting to help us.  He was as wet as we were.  Thank you André. When they finally landed their feet onto the Yardarm, Margie and Mary were not the happiest ladies in the campground, but I assure you that they were the two most relieved.


----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, September 12, 2005 11:20 AM
Subject: Hermit Island Pictures

Hi all,

Here are the photos we promised...  There are already so many good pictures submitted that it doesn't make sense to send duplication, so we've limited our selection to those that could add something to the picture story in progress...

We hope that you enjoy these pictures....DICK & MARGIE

Tuesday's sail around Seguin Island: The Nelsons - Krystal, David, Josh and Lisa.

Tuesday's sail around Seguin Island: Monique and André Girard.

Tuesday's sail around Seguin Island: Nel and Tom Graefe.

Tuesday's sail around Seguin Island: Returning Wayfarer fleet jockeying for position at the entrance to Small Point Harbor.

Wednesday's sail to Cundy's Harbor: Starting out - Lisa on the helm of Blue Mist,
Dick tending the jib and Krystal harvesting kelp.

Thursday's sail to Mackerel Cove on Bailey Island: Joe and Mary Trepal enjoying the great breeze.

Thursday's sail to Mackerel Cove on Bailey Island:
Wayfarers clipping along downwind entering picturesque Mackerel Cove.

Thursday's sail to Mackerel Cove on Bailey Island:  The Brigantine windjammer
that we saw on several occasions on the horizon sailing out of Mackerel Cove.
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