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2024 CCA Down East Club Cruise

Planning is well underway for the 2024 Down East Cruise. The twelve-day, one-way cruise will begin in Camden, ME on Saturday, August 3, 2024 and will conclude on Wednesday, August 14, 2024 in Saint Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada.



Windjammers in Deer Isle Thorofare


Itinerary and Route

The Cruise will kick off on August 3rd with a dinner in the state-of-the-art rigging and mast shop at the Lyman-Morse facility on Camden’s picturesque waterfront. Recently renovated, the Lyman-Morse complex provides all the services Cruise participants might need. In addition, there are several restaurants and shore-side crew’s quarters on site. Lyman Morse has placed their inner harbor docks and outer harbor moorings on hold until May 1 for Down East Cruise participants for the dates of August 2nd and 3rd. Reservations should be made via DOCKWA.


In order to take advantage of the prevailing southwesterly winds, the plan is to have fewer events early in the Cruise, allowing us to make good eastward progress and to provide flexibility for possible weather delays. Small GAMs will be organized as the fleet moves east. Those willing to transport a rum keg, or fly the “Kitchen” flag will be honorably fulfilling the Club’s goal of fostering community and fellowship!


After leaving Camden participants have a Captain’s Choice day in Penobscot Bay. This will be followed, on Monday the 5th with a casual get together on George Head among the spectacular pink islands in Merchant Row. The day's low tide at 6:30 pm will provide  participants with a beautiful sandbar on which to share cocktails, snacks, and stories.  


Merchant Row

Merchant Row


There are a many options for exploring and anchoring between the islands of Merchant Row and the next gathering of the fleet at Roque Island on Friday the 9th.  Participants will have three Captain’s Choice days to explore this area. Several of these choices might be a visit to  Burnt Coat Harbor on Swan’s Island to take in a day of the Sweet Chariot Music Festival, a visit the  Wooden Boat School in Brooklin, or a quiet stay at beautiful Buckle Island off  York Narrows. Further east, Mount Desert and its neighboring islands offer several great stops. Hikers, garden-lovers and those who need provisions or boat gear will find much to do in Northeast and Southwest Harbors on Mount Desert proper. Delightful Little Cranberry Island, with its easy walking and popular Islesford Dock Restaurant, is a also a lovely stop. 


Little Cranberry

Little Cranberry


On the approach to Roque, interesting destinations include Winter Harbor and its summer Music Festival, the village of Sorrento, Trafton Island, the ultra-protected Mud Hole, Mistake Island and the Cow’s Yard. Each is an enjoyable
pause before Roque Island. 


Roque Island

Roque Island


Roque, with its mile-long white sand beach is the destination that probably most evokes the wonders of a Down East cruise with its beauty and remoteness. Our gathering on Great Beach will be a pot luck event with plenty of opportunity to visit with old friends and meet new ones. Think about arriving early and making the most of this spectacular spot. Between Roque and Passamaquoddy Bay there are several possible stops for those who want to make further headway before catching the tide up to Campobello Island. Among these options are Moose Snare Cove, Bare Island, Cross Island and Cutler. Fortunately, based on our timeline, the tide is favorable for leisurely morning departures for a day sail up and around Campobello Island during the second weekend of the Cruise. Participants should arrive in Campobello by Sunday evening, August 11. The attachments to this page, “Penobscot Bay Pictures” and “Jericho Bay to Saint Andrews”, provide an extensive sampling of the possible anchorages that can be visited during these Captain’s Choice days. 


Checking in to Canada can be done by phone from your boat at any of several harbors in Campobello, including Head Harbour, North Road Wharf, and Welshpool. Details for this process will be provided in future communications. Campobello Island is the site of the Roosevelt Campobello International Park which serves as a memorial to FDR and a symbol of cooperation between the U.S. and Canada. If there is sufficient interest, group tours of the Roosevelt Cottage and a luncheon in Welshpool will be organized for Monday, August 12 .

From Campobello Island, Ernest Hamilton (BDO), has offered to lead interested boats on a cruise-in-company through the L’Etete Passage and on to Saint Andrews on Tuesday the 13th . This would be a beautiful way to enter Passamaquoddy Bay. Moorings in Saint Andrews are currently being secured through the Wharfinger (Harbour Master) and the very friendly Saint Andrews Yacht Club. On the early evening of the 13th a joint Saint Andrews Yacht Club - CCA rum keg event has been organized. We look forward to sharing the lovely waterfront setting with our gracious hosts of the Saint Andrews Yacht Club. 


Saint Andrews Harbor


Historic Saint Andrews, established by Loyalists from Castine, ME, is a beautiful setting for the conclusion of the Down East Cruise. It is a wonderfully walkable town with plenty to see and do. Our closing dinner will be held on Wednesday the 14th at the award-winning Kingsbrae Garden, located directly up King St. from the Market Wharf dinghy dock. A shuttle will be available if required for transportation to the Garden.

Kingsbrae Garden

At the conclusion of the Cruise, those returning toward Camden or points further south will have the opportunity to explore additional Down East destinations on their own. Others might choose to continue on for some wonderful cruising in the rest of Passamaquoddy and Cobscook Bays. Federal Harbor in Cobscook Bay and Digdeguash Harbour and the Magaguadavic River in Passamaquoddy Bay come to mind. The Bay of Fundy, Grand Manan or the short passage to Nova Scotia might also beckon.
For planning purposes bear in mind that the prevailing southwesterlies that carried you downwind and east may now provide you the opportunity for some upwind sailing on your return trip!


For those not already familiar with the coast of Maine, the Digital CCA Cruising Guide to Maine provides a great resource and pictorial review of some of the anchorages and harbors along this cruising route. Special thanks to Dale and Doug Bruce, Jane and Tom Babbitt, and their Committee of volunteers who have helped put this guide together.


Mothership Opportunity

Arrangements have been made to have a mothership available for those wishing to accompany the Cruise but who are unable to bring their own boats. The 157’, three-masted steel sailing yacht,  Arabella , will be available if a sufficient number of cabins are purchased by March 31, 2024. Contact Cruise Committee member David Tunick (NYS) for more details. 

Charter Options

Although possible, chartering options are very limited in this part of Maine. Cruise organizers are aware of the following three charter companies, in alphabetical order:

Ellis Boat Charters, Southwest Harbor, ME: Shane Ellis has a number of traditional/classic-style power boats available for charter. Most are designed for a crew of two but there are a limited number of bigger boats which could accommodate slightly larger groups.

NorthPoint Yacht Charters, Rockport, ME: Larrain Slaymaker, owner of NorthPoint offers a variety of boats owned and managed by individual owners and includes both sail and power boats from 28’-80’.

Swift Yacht Charters, Sherborn, MA: Hope Swift, who some of you may know, provides crewed charters
only, with either a captain or captain and crew. 


Each of the above options would require that an insurance rider for Canada be added by the charterer. Now is the time to start the chartering process since early August in Maine is high season.


Fleet Size


Unfortunately, given the small size of the anchorages on portions of our route, the Fleet size has been set at a maximum size of of 35 boats and unfortunately we have reached our limit of 35 boats. A waiting list has been established in the event that there are cancellations. Please contact either of the Cruise Co-Chairs if you would like be added to the wait list.


The Down East coast of Maine and Atlantic Canada offer some of the best cruising in the world and we are excited to be working with our committee to make this cruise possible for the CCA.


Roger Block, 
Amy Jordan,