To experience the adventure of “Down East” cruising with PDQ all the advantages and safety of doing so in a homogeneous group. We hope to explore, enjoy, taste, sample and learn about a new marine area in a safe and low stress flexible manner.
Extensive cruising experience IS NOT REQUIRED to participate and enjoy this cruise. Anyone with average boating experience will find this experience to be enjoyable but still quite an adventure (being out on the water for three weeks always is!).
The itinerary proposed will always be tentative. As every cruiser knows, plans are “cast in Jello” due to weather and other factors that are completely out of our control. We will gather in Newport, Rhode Island.
The challenge the Lobsta Crawl group faces is how to narrow down our ports of call. There are more interesting and idyllic ports and anchorages than we could hope to see in several seasons cruising!
The proposed itinerary reflects a suggested sequence of interesting places that will give us good exposure to the many delights of cruising this area with a minimum of open ocean exposure. The current itinerary includes almost 20 suggested ports that will fill three weeks with no weather delays or extended stays in any port. We have varied the ports so that we have a mix of marinas, historical landmarks, anchorages, and the opportunity to do hiking and extensive sightseeing.
We have learned from previous flotillas that all the boats that start out together will not necessarily stay together the entire trip. Groups and friendships will be formed based on special interests and then these groups will split off from the main body to pursue those special interests. This is a good thing…..not everyone has the same interests, like to travel at the same speeds or enjoys the same sights.
We intend to have some fixed rendezvous points with fixed dates where we will attempt to make group reservations and hold group dinners and/or events. This will give us an opportunity to share our experiences and enjoy the camaraderie as a whole.
You will note that the itinerary ends in the Roque Island area, one of the most remote and secluded anchorages found in Maine. Primarily due to time limitations, the lack of facilities further east and the amount of open ocean passaging required, we have chosen to end the Lobsta Crawl at this point. To make the jump over to Nova Scotia the passage is very doable but…very weather dependant and has a significant time requirement, as well. Another two weeks would have to be added on to the duration of the flotilla and the consensus was that most people did not have this much time available. However, anyone who has the time and desire to explore one of the most beautiful, rugged, and least traveled coasts is encouraged to do so.
We will begin the flotilla with an easy first day to Bassett’s Island. This is a great, not very well known anchorage where we can settle in to the cruising routine. This is a totally protected anchorage and a great spot to hone your anchoring skills.
The next few days are a bit more of a challenge. Interesting ports are farther apart and we will be in the open ocean most of the time and will have to “make miles” if we want to enjoy all that the Maine coastline has to offer. This section of the trip will be weather dependant and will only firm up a day or two ahead of time.
Once we reach the Portland, Maine area, things will slow down with shorter runs between ports and less open ocean exposure. Once we depart the Portland area we will truly be “downeast”. From that point on, we have tried to select a combination of interesting ports and the most attractive anchorages. None of these stops are mandatory for any specific boat. Each boat is free to explore different areas as their interests dictate.
A VHF “net” will be held every morning to check on the status of each vessel and coordinate events where appropriate. Weather will, as always, play a significant role in the actual itinerary. Although most boats are equipped with radar and GPS there will be days where the prudent captain will sit tight in harbor and enjoy a good book or the company of fellow cruisers.
Where there is a “recommended marina” indicated, a block of dock space will be set-aside for the flotilla. Each vessel will still have to make their own reservations. You will want to mention the flotilla as this will ease the process for you and make available any special rates we are able to obtain. When cruising the Maine coast anchoring and the use of moorings is often favored over docking so it is extremely important to have a well functioning dinghy and motor.
The return route will be totally at the discretion of each vessel. No specific Itinerary has been established.
We hope this has helped to answer some of your questions and helped you prepare a bit more for the trip. Please feel free to email with additional questions or concerns.
PLANNING AND PREPARATION
This flotilla is not a “pay for service” event. The flotilla is being organized by owners and is promoted by Pearson Marine Group to further the enjoyment of the boats they build. Pearson has agreed to distribute information on the flotilla and provide assistance where appropriate.
All costs associated with the event (marina costs, dining out, fuel etc) are at each participant’s discression. We do anticipate that Pearson (and other potential sponsors) will be providing a few “perks” along the way to make the flotilla a more enjoyable and memorable experience.
This is anticipated to be a very low key, low stress flotilla and where special preparations are not required. The areas we will be visiting have virtually all the services and supplies we might need in relative close proximity.
Our departure point will be Newport, RI where extensive marine repair facilities are available. Cars can be rented for last minute provisioning and the Providence RI airport is only a 40 minute drive for incoming crews.
The weather we should encounter will be very “MIXED”, typical of New England. Even in late July and August, we can encounter very chilly spells with extensive fog and some rain. We will hope that most of the time temperatures will be in the high 60’s to low 80’s. Water temperatures are always COLD!
We are expecting to encounter a lot of local fishermen selling their catches right off the boat so be prepared for some great lobster bakes along the way (don’t forget pots for boiling them!). Fancy marinas become few and far between as we head further east, so be prepared to use moorings or anchor out.
There are several good cruising guides to the Maine coast and here are a couple we recommend :
A Visual Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast by James L. Bildner
A Cruising Guide To The Main Coast by Hank and Jane Taft