Cruising guide for Maine

LionessRacing

Super Anarchist
4,328
573
Myrtle Beach,
The harbors and islands haven't moved much...
Not much moves fast Down East, it's sorta the whole point.

Penobscot can keep you occupied for weeks.

SW Harbor and Soames Sound are worthy of a side trip, and it just keeps going out to NB.

Used to leave Kittery Point in Afternoon, fetch Matinicus Light around 2AM and breakfast in Rockland.

Always leave one pot between you and the shore, use your Radar in fog cuz the fishermen don't, they know where they are.

 

Kris Cringle

Super Anarchist
2,826
2,292
That was published in 2000.

Is there nothing more current?
I've posted about many of my favorites in Penobscot Bay, in USHarbors.com Check the nearby harbors for posts about destinations you're interested in.

http://usharbors.com/image-gallery/finding-eden-isle-au-haut

http://usharbors.com/image-gallery/cranberry-island-grilled-lobster-two

http://usharbors.com/image-gallery/545-am-escape-buckle-island

I live and sail on the bay. These days, you can google an area - destination and sometimes get current info from blogs, articles and posts of that area.

 

Kris Cringle

Super Anarchist
2,826
2,292
Taft and Rindlaub.
I had a chat on the water with Curtis just a few years ago. I don't think he'd mind me repeating the jist of it here. Very likable, he's also a very practical guy.

A season or so before our conversation, a friend said to him, "Curtis, have you seen this?".

On a device, Curtis got his first look at Active Captain. This is a guy who took the Hank and Jan Taft guide, a long accepted best cruising guide for the coast of Maine, and made it even better. He knows what it means - in time - to get current info from reality to print.

After clicking through AC for a while, he looked at his friend, and said, "I'm dead".

We both laughed at that. His statement wasn't entirely true, but it wasn't entirely false, either.

While there are many, many boats on the coast of Maine with his cruising guide onboard, few are current issues. Those guides are likely similar vintage to the paper charts the boats carry (if they carry any). And those guides don't vaporize after a year like your Navionics charts, and prompt you for 15 bucks each spring.

For the record, I carry no paper charts, have an antique Maine cruising guide, and have never had radar. You don't need much to cruise the coast of Maine.

 
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eliboat

Super Anarchist
2,189
580
Well, radar definitely comes in handy when you can't see your bow through the fog. I've had more than a few lobsterboats come close to hitting me in the fog, and without radar I'm certain there would have been a collision.

As for the online cruising guides displacing that Taft guide, we're definitely not there yet. The US Boats and harbors app I could never get to run at all, so that was useless. The active captain app, while well meaning and much touted, is also useless and particularly awful in its design and user interface. There is also the issue of internet access while sailing. Sure there is great LTE around most of the major parts of Penobscot Bay, but there are more than a few areas where cellular access is nonexistent. Those spots always seem to be the spots that I like cruising to most, so having my cruising guides close at hand is great.

To supplement the Taft guide, I have a copy of the Cruising Guide of the New England Coast by Duncan and Fenn. This does have some good information, though not as good in general as the Taft guide. Also, more recent editions of this guide have a completely useless index, which is especially irritating when entering a harbor and you may need to get some local information quickly. Having a good index is especially important. I have several older editions of this cruising guide, including a spiral bound first edition. These are often hilarious to read, as the original authors were clearly old line WASP types that had definite opinions about their environs and the people inhabiting them. I love these old editions. What is especially interesting in the first edition is how it reads like a bold adventure to an unknown land, which it really was in many ways.

Another helpful guide, is the Visual Guide to the Maine Coast. This book provides excellent aerial photographs of harbor entrances and passages that are annotated. This is certainly not an essential book, but great for adding context.

Finally, I will buy almost any book about the Maine coast in good used book stores. Usually I find these books in Maine of course, but I have found some treasures as far away as Washington state. Most of the time, these aren't really cruising guides, but books that provide historical background and interesting stories about the places sshow Bob noted above haven't changed much. One I found a couple of seasons ago was "Islands of the Mid-Maine coast: Blue Hill and Penobscot Bays by Charles Mclane. This book offers excellent detailed histories of all the islands in these areas and really adds terrific context.

There are good used book stores up and down the coast, but here are a few that I highly recommend:

Goose River exchange in Camden, ME. This is a good used book store that often has some great nautical content. The prices are often unrealistic here, though some bargains can be found. I picked up a copy of Henry Scheel's excellent book 15 modern design that was signed and annotated by Scheel for $30 here. That was a bargain!

Door Yard Books in Rockland Maine is a treasure. They have a huge nautical and maritime section that has all manner of books to interest a cruiser. The prices here are almost always agreeable, and the great old proprietor is usually willing to haggle. There is a book shop/coffee shop a little ways up Maine street from here, but that place seems to be getting worse as time goes on. It was decent when it opened a decade ago, but it's almost pathetic when compared to Door Yard.

Nautical Scribe Books in Belfast is a Maritime books only store. Their prices are great, and they constantly have new books coming in. Well worth a visit when you're in Belfast, which also has several other fine independent book stores.

 

Kris Cringle

Super Anarchist
2,826
2,292
Thanks on the bookstores. I was only aware of one. Used bookstores, another reason the Taft guide at 40 to 50 dollars an edition is hard to sell. The volumes make the rounds of boats via used book stores - over and over - and slow new Taft print guides. Dwindling numbers of new issues, raises the print price.

I too carry a Duncan and Fenn issue. It's handy when we head south of Maine, even though it is way outdated. You mention McClanes book. I have that and often refer to it. It's a fascinating local history book that is a wealth of info for cruisers here.

Then there are fictional and non fictional books on coastal Maine (as you mention) that are terrific 'cruising guides' , in their own way. Fiction like The Wooden Nickel (Wm. Carpenter) will tell you a whole lot more about that guy pulling traps nearby, than you want to know,... :)

I love writing about the sailing in my area. I've thought about putting together on online cruising guide. But,..I think the idea - print cruising guide formula online - simply doesn't work today, like it did 10-15 years ago.

Crowd sourcing, social media, all that stuff replaces the old model(author trying to do it all). You'd drive yourself crazy trying to keep things up to date. Where as crowd sourcing does all that work for you. You might not like all of it but it's updated info way beyond what the old model provided.

There will always be a place for print cruising guides, but if you're the publisher, $ will be a joke.

People are becoming more capable with the internet and many find what they need online. Plus, internet service has improved around here and the trend will continue.

I'm in the minority when it comes to radar, but after 20 years of coastal Maine sailing, I'm good. But then again, fog in this area isn't what fog is farther downeast.

Well, radar definitely comes in handy when you can't see your bow through the fog. I've had more than a few lobsterboats come close to hitting me in the fog, and without radar I'm certain there would have been a collision.

As for the online cruising guides displacing that Taft guide, we're definitely not there yet. The US Boats and harbors app I could never get to run at all, so that was useless. The active captain app, while well meaning and much touted, is also useless and particularly awful in its design and user interface. There is also the issue of internet access while sailing. Sure there is great LTE around most of the major parts of Penobscot Bay, but there are more than a few areas where cellular access is nonexistent. Those spots always seem to be the spots that I like cruising to most, so having my cruising guides close at hand is great.

To supplement the Taft guide, I have a copy of the Cruising Guide of the New England Coast by Duncan and Fenn. This does have some good information, though not as good in general as the Taft guide. Also, more recent editions of this guide have a completely useless index, which is especially irritating when entering a harbor and you may need to get some local information quickly. Having a good index is especially important. I have several older editions of this cruising guide, including a spiral bound first edition. These are often hilarious to read, as the original authors were clearly old line WASP types that had definite opinions about their environs and the people inhabiting them. I love these old editions. What is especially interesting in the first edition is how it reads like a bold adventure to an unknown land, which it really was in many ways.

Another helpful guide, is the Visual Guide to the Maine Coast. This book provides excellent aerial photographs of harbor entrances and passages that are annotated. This is certainly not an essential book, but great for adding context.

Finally, I will buy almost any book about the Maine coast in good used book stores. Usually I find these books in Maine of course, but I have found some treasures as far away as Washington state. Most of the time, these aren't really cruising guides, but books that provide historical background and interesting stories about the places sshow Bob noted above haven't changed much. One I found a couple of seasons ago was "Islands of the Mid-Maine coast: Blue Hill and Penobscot Bays by Charles Mclane. This book offers excellent detailed histories of all the islands in these areas and really adds terrific context.

There are good used book stores up and down the coast, but here are a few that I highly recommend:

Goose River exchange in Camden, ME. This is a good used book store that often has some great nautical content. The prices are often unrealistic here, though some bargains can be found. I picked up a copy of Henry Scheel's excellent book 15 modern design that was signed and annotated by Scheel for $30 here. That was a bargain!

Door Yard Books in Rockland Maine is a treasure. They have a huge nautical and maritime section that has all manner of books to interest a cruiser. The prices here are almost always agreeable, and the great old proprietor is usually willing to haggle. There is a book shop/coffee shop a little ways up Maine street from here, but that place seems to be getting worse as time goes on. It was decent when it opened a decade ago, but it's almost pathetic when compared to Door Yard.

Nautical Scribe Books in Belfast is a Maritime books only store. Their prices are great, and they constantly have new books coming in. Well worth a visit when you're in Belfast, which also has several other fine independent book stores.
 

Elegua

Generalissimo
4,346
1,899
Lower Loslobia
Taft and Rindlaub.
I had a chat on the water with Curtis just a few years ago. I don't think he'd mind me repeating the jist of it here. Very likable, he's also a very practical guy.

A season or so before our conversation, a friend said to him, "Curtis, have you seen this?".

On a device, Curtis got his first look at Active Captain. This is a guy who took the Hank and Jan Taft guide, a long accepted best cruising guide for the coast of Maine, and made it even better. He knows what it means - in time - to get current info from reality to print.

After clicking through AC for a while, he looked at his friend, and said, "I'm dead".

We both laughed at that. His statement wasn't entirely true, but it wasn't entirely false, either.

While there are many, many boats on the coast of Maine with his cruising guide onboard, few are current issues. Those guides are likely similar vintage to the paper charts the boats carry (if they carry any). And those guides don't vaporize after a year like your Navionics charts, and prompt you for 15 bucks each spring.

For the record, I carry no paper charts, have an antique Maine cruising guide, and have never had radar. You don't need much to cruise the coast of Maine.
Well, I find it works best when you combine the two. They are complimentary. I feel the same way about paper and digital.

 

LionessRacing

Super Anarchist
4,328
573
Myrtle Beach,
"I'm in the minority when it comes to radar, but after 20 years of coastal Maine sailing, I'm good. But then again, fog in this area isn't what fog is farther downeast. "

With Modern position finding (GPS/Loran) you don't need radar if you are the only one moving, or if you can wait for better visibility.

The fishermen tend to be out of the channel running their strings, and you can generally hear them with the usual drystack exhausts.

It's the idiots who "need to be back in the office on Monday", running a waypoint to waypoint route, based on an autopilot/routing combination who don't know how to use radar, probably don't have AIS and won't use/can't hear fog horns that you want radar for.

 

Tucky

Super Anarchist
3,497
19
Maine
I saw Curtis a few weeks ago, he said he is starting a new edition- I'm guessing it is a tough go. I too love the old guides, they had great stories. Any books by Alfred Loomis are also great for back-in-the-day stuff.

I don't mind sailing in fog, but I get a little anxious trying to power. The lobster boats tend to finish a string, goose the throttle, turn to the course for their next string and then look at the radar- if I can hear them I know what they are doing, if my own engine is running I want radar.

 

Kris Cringle

Super Anarchist
2,826
2,292
I saw Curtis a few weeks ago, he said he is starting a new edition- I'm guessing it is a tough go. I too love the old guides, they had great stories. Any books by Alfred Loomis are also great for back-in-the-day stuff.

I don't mind sailing in fog, but I get a little anxious trying to power. The lobster boats tend to finish a string, goose the throttle, turn to the course for their next string and then look at the radar- if I can hear them I know what they are doing, if my own engine is running I want radar.
I hope it stays lucrative enough for him to keep it going. Not very many paper-print businesses have made a successful transition to this new age.

That's the way for me too. I'll rarely power in fog, because I rarely have to be somewhere on the water.

Under sail, I can keep easy track of nearby power boats in the fog, avoid heavy traffic. It's amazing what you CAN'T hear on the water, with an engine on.

These days when I know where I am (GPS), fog under sail is actually enjoyable (for me). It's the rocks that scare me around here. :)

 
It's been a while since I've seen the issue brought up about ActiveCaptain and internet access. Today there are 600 apps that use ActiveCaptain offline. No internet connection is needed once you've installed and synchronized the app. Go across to Europe and in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, every review, comment, price, and detail of everything on the website is all there. Offline.

Only the ActiveCaptain website is live data. Our stats say that only 20% of users use that today. When I'm underway on my boat, I never use my own website.

In addition to this, there are 650 chartplotter models capable of having the full data offline through C-Map charts (since March 2016). Everything is there too - no internet needed.

OK, all of that said, I lived in Maine for 24 years. And to this day, I have Taft's book on my boat. It was how I learned to cruise the coast of Maine myself. It's a fantastic resource.

I'll be up there for August this summer. If Curtis Rindlaub can meet me in Castine (I'll be anchored in Smiths Cove for the month), I'd love to have him onboard to talk about Maine cruising and show him some of the things that are coming next.

As for the online cruising guides displacing that Taft guide, we're definitely not there yet. The US Boats and harbors app I could never get to run at all, so that was useless. The active captain app, while well meaning and much touted, is also useless and particularly awful in its design and user interface. There is also the issue of internet access while sailing. Sure there is great LTE around most of the major parts of Penobscot Bay, but there are more than a few areas where cellular access is nonexistent. Those spots always seem to be the spots that I like cruising to most, so having my cruising guides close at hand is great.
 

smackdaddy

Super Anarchist
6,012
560
SmackDab, Middle
Taft and Rindlaub.
Not much beats that. Active Captain makes a supplement to that if taken with a grain of salt. Make sure you read the profile before believing what's written. :D
A pound of salt is better when it comes to AC. From what I've seen, there's way too much poor and/or outdated information in AC to really trust it. Here's what happens to people who do (from AC's Facebook page)...

View attachment 236669

At least they got the hat.

As for the integrations with chartplotters - C-MAP is the problem. It kind of sucks when compared to Navionics and other leading charts (even with free NOAA raster charts as far as I'm concerned). So - meh.

 
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