Fiona Network News- Latest Updates On Captain Forsyth & Fiona

Image result for newClick HERE for Eric’s latest newsletter (June, 2018)

Read the Kirkus book review for AN INEXPLICABLE ATTRACTION: My Fifty Years of Ocean Sailing

September 21st, 2018 Thursday we swapped Stephan for Scott, Stephan left on the 8:30 am Concord Bus and Scott showed up on the 4:15 pm bus. Jeremy and I spent time waiting at the great Owl’s Head transportation museum. We were able to sail for change on Friday from Rockland to Port Clyde. Nice SSE wind, 10 to 15 kts. After we anchored we attacked the defunct anchor winch and were able to fix it; a Woodruff key had fallen out of the motor drive shaft. This will improve our cruising options. Tomorrow we hope to sail to Monhegan Island.

September 20th, 2018  Wednesday was spent on a mooring at the Rockland City Dock.   The day was grey and a little chilly for mid-September.   We enjoyed the priceless Farnsworth Museum with its unmatched collection of Wyeth paintings.  The Lighthouse Museum was also of interest.   I had lunch with Sarah Rheault, an old friend from my vintage car days, she lives in nearby Camden.  Stephen is leaving tomorrow, later in the day Jeremy and I will meet Scott, arriving at the same bus station.

September 18th, 2018 We are on our way to Rockland.   We had a pleasant stay in Belfast, one of my favorite Maine destinations.   We spent a few hours pulling the  anchor winch to pieces, it developed a problem just as we were leaving Castine.   Unfortunately the problem seems to be a broken motor shaft. not easily repaired  while cruising. This will complicate cruising for the next couple of weeks; if we anchor we will have to raise it by hand. 

September 16th, 2018 Fiona arrived at the town dock in Belfast.  Weather was warm with intermittent sun and fog.

September 15th, 2018 Friday we sailed in windless conditions to Harbor Island by 13:30. After a spell on this wonderful , pristine place we powered to Stonington for a night on the anchor.   Saturday, turned out to be complicated. We had hoped to visit the Wooden Boat School in Brooklin, but when we awoke we were enveloped in a thick, damp fog. It thinned a little by mid-morning and we cautiously made our way to Billings marine west of town. We had hoped to get some gas for the new outboard but the place was shut up tight – weekend! The crew sneaked into the showers before we left. In Penobscot Bay itself the fog dissipated but it came back when we arrived at Castine. We picked up a mooring and had a walk and dinner ashore.

September 13th, 2018 We are on a mooring at Bar Harbor.   The crew took the first chance of a Maine lobster supper.  When we came to start the Tohatsu outboard for the ride ashore it was seized up tight.   This should be no news to any of my previous crews.   Even a chain wrench barely moved it.  Getting it repaired proved impossible  in the time available for various reasons. I bought a new Yamaha outboard.   Weather has improved, tomorrow we leave for Stonington and  Merchant Row. 

Jeremy (L) and Steve (R) enjoy their first Maine lobsters

September 12th, 2018   Fiona arrived at Bar Harbor, ME.   Apart from the first couple of hours under sail the trip was a grind under power with no wind. All well on board

 September 9th, 2018 Fiona arrived in Provincetown, Massachusetts, just before midnight.  We had a hard slog up Buzzards Bay against stiff Northeast winds.    We anchored in Meganset Bay for 6 hours to await a favorable current in the Cape Cod Canal.   We timed it right and at times we were doing over 10 knots over the bottom. Unfortunately the NE wind was still waiting for us in the bay and we had another slog to P’Town, We have to find a slip and enjoy a few comforts before the sail to Bar Harbor.

September 8th, 2018 Strong NE winds persist, we left Newport and made it as far as Cuttyhunk in the Elizabeth Islands.   This was my first visit to Cuttyhunk since I was here aboard Iona in 1966 or ’67. A charming lady, Terry, who runs a coffee shop on the pier said there are only 13 residents live year-round now.   She sold the best chocolate eclairs I have had in along time.    Forecast for Sunday is for more strong NE winds, with luck we will make it to Sippican by tacking up Buzzards Bay.   Stay Tuned.

September 7th, 2018  Fiona arrived in block Island on Thursday morning. All is well.


August 31st, 2018 Fiona was launched today, Thursday.   Most systems appear ‘GO’.   The new autopilot appears functional, although a sea trial is needed.   Scott showed up to help, he is crewing from Rockland, ME, back to LI.   The first of the new crew, Jeremy, arrives at Islip airport on Saturday.   We still have a lot to do; bending sails, set running rigging, etc, but a departure on the 5th still seems possible. 


August 22nd, 2018 The good news is that the new engine instrument panel is finished and installed.   Even the RPM gauge works, thanks to a tricky adapter made by Bob Berg.   The sad news is that I am having considerable difficulty  making sense out of the new RayMarine autopilot.  Extensive programming is needed when the unit is installed, the instructions are not clear and reaching a RayMarine tech by phone is very time-consuming due to long wait times.  Hopefully the coming days will see some improvement.   

Front view of the new panel

  The works inside.

August 14th, 2018 There is ONE berth still open for the cruise to Maine.  I am busy installing a new autopilot and building a new engine instrument panel.   Fiona launch is scheduled for the week of 8/27.   

For the August 2018 update on the Edith M. Forsyth scholarship awardees click HERE.


July 31st, 2018 The dinette is now substantially rebuilt, except for trim such as damaged teak strips in the sole.   I am starting to plan a cruise to Maine in September.

The bench seat on the forward side of the dinette


July 21st, 2018 Fixing the leak in the water tank was not as simple as it first looked; when heat was applied new leaks appeared.  The welder wisely turned the job down.   Colin and I managed to seal most of the leaks with solder, the last one we sealed with epoxy.   We put the tank back  by first placing a sheet of thick rubber under it.  Restoration of the dinette is now in progress.  Colin has returned to TN , having replaced a bathroom floor in my house, he had a productive visit.

Repaired water tank is swung back on board

Water tank nestled in the bilge


July 11th, 2018 We found two small leaks in the port water tank.   It is now at the welders being repaired.  My vintage Rhodes 19 has been launched and rigged.  It is now at a slip at Squassux Landing on the Carmen’s River.  Now the only problem is to find time to sail it.

Eric’s fifty-six -year old Rhodes 19

July 9th, 2018 It was a busy weekend at Weeks Yacht Yard.  The sloop ‘Elvira’, built in 1906 and restored by the Carmen’s River Maritime Center, was launched at the yard.  A very festive occasion.  I was there to sell and sign a few of my books.  Sunday Colin and I finally got the leaking port water tank out of Fiona.

The tank begins to emerge from the bilge
Finding the source of the leak
Captain Forsyth signs his book
 Elvira hangs in the travel lift.

July 2nd, 2018 My son Colin has arrived for his annual visit.   We have been very busy on the boat.   I had previously ordered a sheet of of 1/4 inch thick stainless steel. and made templates of the bulkhead to be sistered onto the aft engine room bullhead,   The new bulkhead was made using a plasma cutter from the template and reinforcing ribs welded on.   This was done by a metal fabricator in West Babylon.  It weighs 50 lbs but Colin jockeyed it into position and we bolted and screwed it into place.   The steering system has been re-assembled.  Work was compromised by the worst heat wave we have had in a while.   On another topic sailors should try to catch a movie called ‘Adrift’.   It is a very realistic docudrama of an actual event when a couple were dismasted and capsized in the Pacific and the man drowned.    The women sailed the boat for 41 days alone to Hawaii. 

Colin displays the new bulkhead

Bulkhead in place

June 21st, 2018 The last week I spent in the Pocono Mountains attending a vintage Bentley Rally with my daughter Brenda.  We stayed at the Skytop Lodge, a venerable hostelry built about the same time as the visiting Bentleys.  The country side was simply magnificent and the weather pretty close to ideal.  Personally I greatly enjoyed ‘Steamtown’ in Scranton.   This is a museum formed from the former maintenance center of the old Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad.   Now I am back working on the boat I have started the job of sistering the fractured bulkhead behind the engine room.  I hope to launch the Rhodes 19 soon so that I can enjoy some Great South Bay sailing.

 One of the largest steam locomotives ever made, Steamtown, Scranton, PA.

Skytop Lodge

Brenda and a bevy of Bentleys at a lunchtime stop.