A delivery trip worth taking
Underway Kittery Maine 730, riding an ebbing tide.
The forecast calls for the possibility of thunderstorms in the afternoon however I plan on being tied off at Constitution Marina in Charleston Mass well before the threat of foul weather. I advance the throttle to take control against the famously strong current of the Piscataqua and guide my vessel towards the mouth of the river.
I chuckle to myself “it’s good work if you can find it” referring to today’s task as delivery Capt for the newly completed Rosborough RF-246 Yarmouth. When you work in a small boat shop you’re well served to wear many different hats.
In the shop I’m focused on a multitude of tasks that make up a work day however while underway there’s more time to observe and absorb the details of the craft. The varnished teak interior adds a warmth and richness to the vessel. Despite the similar size to several of our other models’ the Rossi’s significant weight and solid feel is evident. My impression of that elusive “perfect boat” says bigger isn’t always better. The RF-246 seems just about right. It’s v-berth is cavernous, the helm deck perfectly suited for a couple. Compact yet no special effort is required to pass while at the galley. The aft cockpit is to scale.
I’ve a renewed respect for long-time joinery-man Bob Marcoux’s work. Only now can I appreciate the tight joints and intricate angles of the teak finish work.
As the river gives way to the ocean the sun burns off the morning fog. Whaleback Light slides by, I put 2KR off my stern and draw a rhumb line for Cape Ann and the Annisquam River. I feel that “Freedom of the Sea” that only comes from getting underway.
My career on the water spans over 25yrs. From operating 100’ motor yachts, tour boats, tow boats all the way down to my pastime of messing around with small-craft I’ve never tiered of throwing the lines; getting underway and making way. I love the way a boat can transport you to an adventure whether it be a season long epic or a day out on the nearby coastal islands.
The Rosborough feels right on a lot of levels, capable of delivering on my cruising dreams. And those dreams have evolved over the years. Having already completed the Great Loop as well as several trips up and down the inter-coastal waterway, the ability to trailer to a distant port then launch has a lot of appeal. Not to mention there are other things competing for my time and dollars. The idea of a boat sitting in my yard rather than in an expensive slip when not in use. Or the thought of it wintering in my shed rather than at the marina defiantly has an appeal.
Whales sauntering off the starboard side! I operated a tour boat in this area for several summers back in the 90’s. I never saw whales this close to shore. I’ve now seen whales on several trips over the past year or two. A pleasant sight.
Conditions are fresh along the coast this morning. I’m greeted by 2’-4’ seas riding a ground swell into America. I find the ideal speed for the current sea-state to be around 14.5mph with the single 150 hp turning 3900 rpms. This boat owner has a lifetime of experience aboard sailboats over the years and spared no expense in outfitting his new ride with Simrads latest electronics suite including a touch screen GPS, radar, sonar and auto pilot. I set my course and continue my inspection of the vessel.
I keep referring to these Rossi’s as a small ship. The view from the wheel house, the way it sheds the waves, the displacement motion despite the fact we are well beyond any full displacement speeds. She feels solid and predictable. The sharp entry of the bow is free to rise and fall with the waves rather than pound like so many of todays modern cruisers. Trading V-berth volume for a comfortable ride. Temps on shore will approach the 90’s today however I knew that the weather protection of the cabin would be welcome. Manipulating the sliding pilot doors allow me to dial in the ideal flow of air while keeping any wind-driven spray away. I can run with the aft swing door open without any fear of fumes swirling in from the “station wagon effect” found in the days of diesel inboards. I’m reminded just how quite the modern outboards are, hanging well off the stern on a bracket, compared to that engine under my feet.
5 feet away; that’s how close “AR” passes after tracking it from Portsmouth. Today’s modern electronics prove remarkably accurate. I chose to cut thru the Annisquam River rather than continue around Cape Ann for several reasons. Varying the engine speed during the break in period not the least of which. Checking out other boats in the resort area of the river doesn’t hurt either. The Rossi slides effortlessly thru the water at a confident head-way speed while so many others wallow in the current or are forced bow-high as they struggle to find the right speed.
The final leg takes me from Gloucester Harbor, off the Mass North Shore, towards Presidents Roads. I’m taking the waves off the port beam with a slow, comfortable moment despite the added weight of a 8’ dingy and optional air-conditioner on the rooftop. I continue to vary the engine speed and briefly test WOT to see the 150hp push 25mph at 5200rpm. Nice to know it’s got it while never really needing it.
This story ends with a very excited owner meeting me at his dock. While tied bow-in he’ll enjoy the panoramic view of Boston. Getting underway will be his bonus.