by Jess

Farewell Heart’s Desire!

Final morning coffee views on Heart’s Desire

It is with a heavy heart that we have said goodbye to our lovely Heart’s Desire. She’s been a part of our family for over 10 years, but is now moving on to her next chapter with the Portland Schooner Company in Portland, Maine. Hopefully many people can enjoy her on day cruises as she returns closer to her original home.

We had some really great times sailing on her, from St. Thomas to Newfoundland with most of the time spent around Martha’s Vineyard. Matt did an incredible amount of work, rebuilding the rig and the forward interior, as well as maintaining her in beautiful condition. We now have two young children, 4 and 1, and were spending more time with upkeep than enjoying the boat. While we lived on the boat for 9 summers, that has also become more arduous with work, daycare, sports, and other engagements. If we were off cruising without a schedule, or even on a dock regularly, maybe we could have made it work, but as our lives stand now it was a challenge.

As for this blog? Well, we’ll see what comes next. I might have to change the address soon…. While it was not our intention, we serendipitously acquired a new (old) wooden boat – a Sparkman & Stephens Nevin’s 40’ yawl. She has been living in Pocasset, MA on Cape Cod and needed a new owner to keep her up. Now back in Vineyard Haven we hope to enjoy sailing her with a co-owning family friends this summer.

For those who have been following along on our adventures we hope you are well! We’ll try and document more adventures soon!

Heart’s Desire coming to Gloucester Schooner Festival, Labour Day weekend 2015

Well, since returning last fall Matt and I have certainly dropped the ball with our blog. But I’m happy to say we, and the boat, are alive and well on Martha’s Vineyard for the summer. We’ve had a big year and bought a house, which we’ll write about in the future, and have a new addition to the family, a kitten named Leroy!  You’ll have to come visit us at the Gloucester Schooner festival to meet him! Hope to see you there!


Our stow-away cat!


Beating East around Cape Breton

We bid farewell to Newfoundland in the early morning twilight on August 22nd, a day shy of a month since we’d arrived. We took off unsure exactly what our destination would be but we did well and with lovely weather decided to continue 75 Nmi south to Ingonish, having previously visited the protected harbour on our way north. (more…)

Trip Log – Bay D’espoir, Nfld

We are very far behind in posting about our trip, but will continue where we left off in Newfoundland around mid August. Leaving the magical fjordland and continuing our way east along the coast we entered the Bay D’Espoir. This beautiful area is a series of passages and bays that continues some way east and north becoming more and more protected the further you go. Ironically this bay is pronounced “Bay Despair” here, but it seemed like this area was one with renewed industry and perhaps more hope than despair for the time being. (more…)

Big Noise in Grand Bruit

Grand Bruit or “Grand Brute” in Newfoundland speak, is a beautiful town named for the large waterfall that cascades through the center. Most places along the South Coast have french names with Anglicized pronunciations. Some places have also informally reverted to the spellings indicated on the 1790’s charts made by James Cook, who could not spell in French, on his expedition along this coast. (more…)

When the wind doesn’t blow… South or West coast Newfoundland?

When we departed White Point in northern Cape Breton we were headed to Codroy, Nfld. We thought the weather sounded great, 15 to 20 knots of nice southwesterly wind. But we’re learning (the hard way) that Environment Canada is a little too conservative for their wind reports to be practical. We got up at 3:30 am, and were off by 4 am for the 75 nautical mile crossing. With only 5 knots of wind, and big rolling seas coming east from the St. Lawrence and west from the Atlantic, we were going nowhere fast. By 11 am we were only 20 miles into our trip. After some hemming-and-hawing we made our decision to head for Port-Aux-Basques, a closer destination on the south coast. (more…)

Trip Log – Sailing and crabs in Baddeck

We had great wind and were having a lovely sail into Baddeck, deciding to burn by the harbour before dropping the sails. Unfortunately as we entered the only channel, between docks and a mooring field, a passing group of site-seeing kayakers were spread across the channel. They were now stopped, and taking photos of us… I’m not sure if they realize that we couldn’t just stop, and had very little room to maneuver, but luckily their guide got them moving again and all was fine. (more…)

Trip Log – Bras D’or Lake

The Bras D’or Lakes, Nova Scotia, referred to as “Canada’s Largest Inland Sea” were a pleasure to sail around. We spent almost two weeks enjoying nice weather, flat water, and the cruising life. The danger in these lakes is the phenomenon of lathargia; where days somehow don’t start until noon and sometimes you forget to go sailing… (more…)

Finally Fog!

I recently mentioned to Matt that I think the idea of fog on the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia was a hoax, a big conspiracy to keep this wonderful cruising ground all to themselves and the brave few who decided to venture up despite warnings.

Well, I definitely jinxed us because on the 16th day of the trip (July 2nd) we found out what it is all about. (more…)

Trip Log – Broken belt and river sailing

A group of 10 or so dolphins joined the boat for almost half an hour playing at the bow and jumping around beside the boat as we sailed along

A group of 10 or so dolphins joined the boat for almost half an hour playing at the bow and jumping around beside the boat as we sailed along

Eastershore: Halifax to Liscomb River

With Ethan left on his own adventures in Nova Scotia, Matt and I left Halifax on June 28th, a beautiful day, and made our way approximately 40 nm north to Owls Head bay where we found good holding and dark coke coloured water.


Trip Log – Friend filled Halifax

I had forgotten how much I really enjoyed Halifax until on June 24th we sailed down the peninsula on which the city sits, and many memories of my four years of university there came flooding back to me. I had often wandered the waterfront while living there and thought of how much I would like to be on a sailboat out in the harbour. I left in 2008, and so six years later finally got to sail in. (more…)

Trip Log – Gulf of Maine to Lunenburg- A Wet Warm Welcome in Lunenburg

061614_0043Well our last 12 hours of sailing was an adventure. I was asked by the Lunenburg Librarian (not a sailor) if I was afraid for my life when I told her we arrived on Wednesday by sailboat… Well, I answered, not really afraid I would say… A little nervous I suppose. (more…)

Rockin’ and a Rollin’

Well after the first few calm nights the last one was a rocking one. It was a gentle rock, just enough to lull you to sleep but not enough that your shoulder is rocking side to side and keeping you awake. I tend to sleep on my stomach on the boat, so I feel like I can brace myself to the bed, in case of a large wave… Apparently this isn’t how you’re supposed to sleep but I’ll worry about that when I get the back problems everyone tells me I’ll get. For now, I’ll just worry about actually being able to sleep while the boat moves. (more…)

Moving Aboard

If there is one thing that will help you reduce your load, it is moving aboard a small wooden boat. Matt and I have spent the last 4 winters (3 for me) looking after a bed & breakfast in Vineyard Haven. While we live in a relatively large house during that time, due to the nature of it being a B&B, our stuff is limited to our one room. Despite this however, it seems every winter we accumulate more stuff, that then has to fit onto our little boat. (more…)