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My Penobscot Archipelago.


Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
I live on the edge of Penobscot Bay on the coast of Maine.

My home sailing area for the last 20 seasons is a vast archipelago containing many more miles of island shoreline than mainland coastline.

It takes two small scale approach charts, which we have hanging in a hallway, to cover my sailing area.

Chart room_.jpg

These are fine offseason dreaming charts to walk by several times a day, especially in winter. When I need more detail, I’ll pause and tap open my phone charts to explore not yet visited harbors, anchorages, and waterways.

My archipelago lies within an isosceles triangle stretching about 70 NM along the coast between Muscongus and Frenchman’s Bays, with 2 legs stretching inland 40-50 NM’s. Penobscot Bay fills the vast center.

Penbay to MDI  markup.jpeg

For a sense of geographical size, here's a lens swath of the archipelago from a hill on the shore looking eastward out over Western Penobscot Bay.

The horizon looks impenetrable yet there is no mainland in the background. All the lands on the horizon and beyond in the photo, are islands of varying sizes.

Beyond Isle Au Haut (high island - right side of frame), are open island thoroughfares, several large bays, and open ocean continuing over the horizon.

Beech Hill group.jpg

(Anchored below off Isle Au Haut in a remote portion of Acadia National Park)

Sunrise in Eden (1 of 1).jpg

What makes a world-class sailing area?

First: Great coastal cruising that allows travel under sail in nearly all weather conditions. While visiting boats are waiting in harbors for improving weather to transit east and west along the exposed coast, this area's unique combination of ‘open inland’ waters are open to explore, under sail.

Add beautiful typography, varied shoreside culture from picturesque harbors to snug remote anchorages, and there you have it.

(Anchored for the night near the center of the archipelago).

Anchored off Shiver 2019.jpg

For the last 20 seasons, I’ve spent over 30 days and nights sailing (mostly) within this triangle. Doing the math, we’ve spent the majority of those 600+ days and nights, sailing within this beautiful archipelago.

I regularly discover on my winter charts on the wall, there are places I've yet to sail in my archipelago.

I can’t get through it all, and I’ve happily given up trying.

Pea bow reading (1 of 1).jpg


Dec 20, 2009
Hunter 466 Bremerton
Well said and documented. I think the same of our great pacific north west. Puget Sound, Hood Canal, San Juan Islands and British Columbia. On a sparkling clear day one is entranced by the breathtaking beauty of the pristine waters of Puget Sound, the mesmerizing sight of crystal clear deep blue sky , the Olympic mountain range to the west, the Cascade mountain range to the east and the always snow covered Mt Rainier to the southeast and majestic Mt Baker to the northeast. One cannot but feel blessed to have scenery such as that.
Mar 20, 2004
Hunter 356 and 216 Portland, ME
Well said, and beautiful pictures! We've been exploring the coast of Maine for 20 years and likewise, are always finding places on the charts we haven't been to. putting the winter doldrums to bed tonight with a zoom meeting (instead of at a restaurant) to spread our charts and start planning next years 2 week club flotilla downeast.
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Jan 19, 2010
Catalina 34 Casco Bay
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Jan 2, 2017
O'Day & Islander 322 & 37 Scottsdale, AZ & Owls Head, ME
One end of Lake Pleasant, AZ, has islands; the other doesn’t. I always favor the island end.
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Bob S

Sep 27, 2007
Beneteau 393 New Bedford, MA
Where are all the lobster traps?
Beautiful photographs as usual.


Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
Not to worry. They will be back the waterways in large numbers..........
I keep telling you guys, the trap buoys are just a distraction, a few transmission replacements, maybe a repower or two,....

The real danger lurks below the surface, like the solid granite bar just visible, in the foreground below.

Lobster trap buoys 2020._.jpg
May 25, 2012
john alden caravelle 42 sturgeon bay, wis
yo Tom, as always, we love your pics and your sharing. my alden caravelle's pedigree is a new england coastal cruiser. with the 'crab crusher keel', that can withstand a reef or two, and it's designed setup with a two bladed sailing prop set vertical in the aperture of the rudder, it's ready for what your area requires.
aeolus won't snag even one pot, and i refuse to run aground. :poke:
a hoard of little kids on the fore deck as look outs, they'll point out every rock. it's always worked for me.

that Maine sailing sure is spectacular, thanks for sharing!
Oct 1, 2007
Boston Whaler Super Sport Pt. Judith
Great shot Tom. Reminds me of the last time we departed Stonington to the West. Once we cleared that small island to port, we looked out on a seemingly impenetrable field of floats. Sandy looked back at me at the helm and said "...how in the hell are we going to get through that...?" Well, as you know Tom, they look much worse from a distance. Once we went into the field they were actually pretty far apart........maybe 50 ft....Maxine is 42 ft...no problem...:)


Dec 1, 2009
Sabre 402 Southport, CT
We like to get up to Maine in July and August. There's less fog. (Less - I didn't say there isn't any.)
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