Yesterday I did a double-take as I walked down my stairway to the shore. I was on my way to haul my lobster traps when I noticed a sailboat a mile away on the opposite shore. It was obviously aground, at a very unhealthy angle as the photo shows.
I thought I’d swing by after hauling traps with Eleccentricity but the wind picked up and I needed to use more power than normal, so I decided to save kilowatt hours and drive over instead. When I got there (Hadley Point public access) I saw pretty much what I expected, the owner painting the bottom with anti-fouling paint. In other words, the grounding was totally intentional and no aquatic mishap had occurred.
I began a conversation with the owner and immediately detected a Dutch accent. He told me that he was from Zeeland, in the south of the Netherlands and that his ship’s hull was steel. I walked around to the other side and checked out the steel edge visible on the deck weld. It looked thick, I guessed 5 mm. I asked him the thickness and he said 8 mm. I was amazed, this is in the battleship realm. My father’s steel sailboat was I believe, 1/8 inch. 8 mm translates to almost 3/8 inch! No wonder he let his 45 foot sailboat just flop over on its side. It’s indestructible!
The owner, whose name I didn’t ask, told me a bit about his life. His last boat was a little smaller, but he used it to cross the North Atlantic anyway, so he was no stranger to large scale cruising. He saw the Princes Mia for sale back in Holland and decided to buy it. In Holland, sailing craft are usually shallow draft, and so the very deep Princes Mia was a deal because no one wanted it. He is now able to fit all his tools and family in the cavernous hull for extended cruising, and the whale-collision proof hull ensures safely. He pointed out that a big hulled sailboat is not that much different than a smaller one to operate, so except for the extra amount of bottom paint required, not much had changed.
He related stories of his voyages, like about the native people in canoes in the mouth of the Orinoco in Venezuela, coming to trade with him. He said it was like going back 100 years. His next stop was the Dutch West Indies. He should reach there just as we start to get chilly.
Today, a day later, I looked again and saw that the ship was now on its other side. The seas were flat calm so I cruised over to take some more photos, this time from the water. The spectacle has gathered a bit of attention, plenty of cameras were snapping on shore. My guess is that our Dutchman was becoming a reluctant celebrity.
It’s nice to live on the coast of Maine and occasionally run into someone with a completely different, exotic and adventurous life. Hard to believe we could possibly seem that way to others, although sometimes our guests tell us so!