Now everyone had told us that sailing in New England was reaching along the coast with the wind abeam - did anyone ever tell you to never believe a sailor? Upwind we went towards Boston Harbor sailing along in warm temps for our anchorage at Bumpkin Island in Boston Harbor. We walked the beach and had a calm night on the anchor while watching the fireworks shoot off the barge at Hingham, June 30th and the major fireworks are already happening! The next morning, July was hot, it started hot and just kept getting hotter. So hot it was quickly time to head to the beach for swimming and lounging in the sand. By nightfall the winds had switched and our protected anchorage was now a bumpy mess pushing us towards a lee shore so we hauled the anchor and motored around the corner to the Weir river and its’ very protected mooring field inside Worlds End. Worlds End turns out to be a short list site for the United Nations but now is an amazing park full of fields, trees and paths.

July 2nd dawned sunny and after motoring out of Boston harbor we set sail for Marblehead and had a perfect tight reach on a Northerly along the shore before the wind died at the harbor entrance. For sailors that have never been to Marblehead the crowded harbor was amazing, you could almost walk across the moored boats from one side of the harbor to the other. As well, there is no less than 5 yacht clubs situated on the beaches of Marblehead. A bay the size of Port Madison supporting 5 different yacht clubs, amazing! Earlier in the week we had called Boston Yacht Club, one of the 5, and asked for a mooring for three days - no problem they said, just call us when you get here. Well we got there, called and they had no mooring for us - nice welcome eh? We got the same story from the other 4 yacht clubs then called the Harbor master who quickly said “Sure, we gotta spot for you!” $25/night with brand new shower and laundry facilities right in front of town, you can’t get closer than this - funny how things work out. So we walked around town and immediately got caught in a torrential downpour - so bad we had to hide in a doorway for 30 minutes until it passed - who said it rains in Seattle?

Later we motored our dink over to the Utley’s, our PMYC friends, for dinner and cocktails where I signed myself up to race on the 8 meter Pleione. An old design, but Pleione is new, a cold molded machine from a lost generation complete with aluminum mast and winglets on the keel. A perfect blend of new and old and we are going to race her on the 4th of July in the Eastern Yacht Club’s Annual regatta - should be a hoot. The standard evening thunder showers threatened as we headed back to Libra and by morning the temps hadn’t dropped a bit and we were sweating away as we packed up our laundry and shower kits for our morning ashore. We walked around Marblehead and found an amazing old town with historic buildings everywhere you looked. Crooked streets, miniature sidewalks and a cool looking sail loft with beer signs in the window named Maddies. We took a peak in and found Maddies to be nothing more than a dark bar, but a bar with $2 full pints and a $5 burger that the Utley’s were already half way through enjoying! Guess we should come back for this later.

And we did come back after finishing our chores and dropping MacIntosh back at Libra, thank god we did! It must be the best burger I have ever had in my entire life AND IT WAS ONLY $5! A-mazing! Combine that with the $2 huge pints of PBR and we had a incredibly winning afternoon at the sail loft. Maddies is it’s name - get there. With the afternoon winding down we grabbed Mac and sauntered on over to the local waterfront park for some free music as the band jammed away until well after 10pm, a great 3rd of July.

Independence day began warm once again and without any wind breathing across the bay Jennifer delivered me to the 8 meter for a day on the bay. We rigged the boat and motored out, yes an 8 with a motor, to the starting area to find a light and very shifty breeze for our one long race of the day. I began calling it the Massachusetts Reservoir as the wind shifted all over the place. Not the best conditions for a heavy 8 meter but with a bunch of work by the 6 man crew we managed a 7 out of 14 after correction. Not too bad for a pick up crew on a very shifty day.

By dark we found ourselves back on the Utley’s boat as Adam Sandler began shooting off his fireworks before the Marblehead Illumination happened and the city shot off their amazingly thorough explosion festival at the mouth of the bay. The illumination was a cool feature though, the city organizes a ton of red flares to be positioned all around the bay and as darkness sets in they are lit up creating a red ring of fire that would make Johnny Cash cry in his grave if he had a chance to see it. Even with Sandler trying to steal the show, the City’s fireworks ended up amazing as they blasted overhead with an intense lightning show in the background. Sparklers done, the rain poured down as the boats of spectators raced for home - Independence Day on the water in America - it’s the same everywhere.

The first day of summer in the PNW dawned warm once again and we filled our tanks and set sail for Gloucester up the coast. As we sailed into the harbor the bridge to the Blynman canal opened up and we said “what the hell,” lets keep moving and followed the train of boats through the cut. A picturesque short canal that bypasses Cape Anne but not much for anchorages along the cut and we soon found ourselves on the other side of the canal with nowhere to anchor for the night. A quick look at the chart found us the Essex River and we motored the short distance to the river bar and into the shallow winding river as far as Conomo Point where we dropped the hook next to the mooring field. Good holding right next to the rapids at the narrows but the big problem was the damn green head flies - they were everywhere and those suckers hurt! By morning the fly swatters were out and we ran the gauntlet back out to the saltwater while looking over at a boater next to us holding a fly swatter. Glad it wasn’t just us, those things are mean! One had blood running down my leg before I got to him with the swatter!