Preview: GRAYLING to Newfoundland, by Doug Hylan

December 9, 2019

Doug Hylan

Sometime during a sleepless February night, I started thinking about a boat trip to Newfoundland. In the past couple of years, a number of friends, customers and acquaintances had spoken enthusiastically about their trips to “The Rock”, and of course I had read Farley Mowat, Howard Norman and Annie Proulx. The trouble was, my boat was in no condition to make the trip, and I could see that my schedule would not allow me to remedy that. I knew that Mike Glasfeld, the owner of the wonderful 1915 sardine carrier GRAYLING, liked to vacation aboard with his family in Eastern Maine. Mike only had a week, but maybe he would be interested in cruising some new waters. Maybe if I agreed to get the boat to Newfoundland and back..........

I didn't have the nerve to call Mike on the phone – email is better for harebrained schemes like this. With his usual enthusiasm, Mike shot back that he was ordering a cruising guide, and that we should talk. Within a week we had fleshed out a basic plan – Mike would cover the expenses of getting the boat to and from Newfoundland, I would make the arrangements to get GRAYLING there, scout out some good spots, and eventually return the boat to Maine. Mike and his family would fly into some remote location, come aboard, and have a wonderful vacation – simple!

Making things happen turned out to be a bit more complicated than either of us might have thought. Mike displayed his usual beneficent attitude – if it happens, great, but if it all falls apart, the Glasfelds would be happy to vacation in Maine as usual. Mike ordered Canadian charts and I set about trying to line up crew.

Day 1 - July 31, 2019

All provisioned, we dropped the mooring in early afternoon, heading out of the Benjamin River, down Eggemoggin Reach, across Jericho Bay, through Casco Passage and around Swan's Island to Frenchboro, the tiny year round fishing community on Long Island. It was only a 16 mile trip, but it felt momentous as the first step of an adventure.

For crew I had Mike Norgang, a strapping young chap with lots of boating experience and an abundance of enthusiasm. Mike and I had been crewmates before, on a brief GRAYLING trip from Boston to Maine. He loved the boat and could cook! Mike had everything I lacked: Herculean strength, good balance, and a willingness to delve into the mysteries of the boat's PC based navigation system.

Frenchboro has a good harbor, about the last one on a track between Brooklin and the southwestern tip of Nova Scotia. I like to have a little trip at the beginning of a bigger voyage -- after all the work of getting ready, a short hop can be a relaxing interlude. You get a chance to check everything out, and if you discover you've forgotten something indispensable, you can go back without much penalty. Sounding like the Greyhound buses of my youth, GRAYLING's trusty Detroit 6/71 was set at a lazy 1200 rpm, giving a little over 8 knots. No point in hurrying -- we'll save that for tomorrow.

The harbor at Frenchboro, Long Island, Maine, our hop off point for Nova Scotia. The tiny community is arranged around the harbor. Most of the rest of the island is in preservation, with wonderful hiking trails.

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