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9.9 Knots — A New Record for the Guildive!!! July 27, 2010

Posted by Michael in Personal Experiences.

Actually, it’s just a new record for the current owners.  The Guildive has been around for 66 years.  This is the Guildive:

The Guildive moored

Cathy shot this picture while we were approaching the Guildive on a Zodiac.  The pink mooring buoy in the foreground, which looks huge,  is grossly exaggerated by the camera angle she was using to frame the boat.

The Guildive  is the home of Kate and Zander, the nicest young couple you could hope to meet.  (Zander is from Nova Scotia; I did not inquire about his immigration status.)

They are both USCG certified captains.  They both worked on boat crews for several years after they got some kind of  maritime college degree.  Eventually they decided to buy their own boat.

They now work Penobscot Bay in the summer, and winter in Maryland.  Their business plan is to eventually take the Guildive to the Caribbean and offer island-hopping tours of famous rum distilleries (“guildive” is an old French word for rum, I was told).  That sounds like fun.

The Guildive is a classic wooden luxury yacht (technically, a ketch, with expensive and durable teak wood all over the place, including the deck) which was built in 1934 for some rich guy who apparently made it through the Great Depression with his money intact.  Kate and Zander have kept it in great condition.

Because it is all wood, you cannot smoke on this boat.

There are no pictures of where I smoked in this post.  Sorry to break the string for my vacation pics.

Here is the Guildive under sail:

That is a pretty boat. I swiped this pic from their website.

There was supposed to be another couple on this tour, but the other couple canceled at the last minute, so it was just the four of us.  It was a party.  Zander offered me the opportunity to steer the boat, which I gladly accepted.  It took me a while to get used to the feel of the sails, and to stop over-correcting in reaction to the wind.

Conditions were perfect.  Beautiful day, fairly flat sea, and a really stiff wind.  We were rocking along at about 6-7  knots.  Zander mentioned that the previous record speed they had achieved on the Guildive was 9.2 knots, after owning it for two years.

Then the wind kicked up in a long sustained gust.

Now, I’m not much of a mariner, but I knew enough to yank the wheel over hard against the wind (which took some muscle), and to watch the rail off to the leeward side in order to get  it as close to the water as possible.  I tipped that boat over and it started zipping.  Zander and Kate got a bit excited as we went past 9,2 knots.   They were watching the computer readout and counting off — 9.3, 9.4, 9.5 — all the way to 9.9 while I worked to keep the rail as close to the waterline as I could while the wind gusted.  They were egging me on to get past 10, but the wind slacked off, so 9.9 was our top speed.

It was a thrill!

OK. 9.9 knots only translates to 11.4 mph.  But when you are on a boat that is seriously getting knocked sideways by the wind, and the sound of the water off the hull rises from a hiss to a roar, it is pretty exciting.

Heeled over and rocking

The horizon line in this pic (all pics by Cathy except the second one) gives you an idea of how far this boat was heeled over today, especially for a ketch that is normally very stable.  It was a hoot.   This boat weighs 43 tons.  We were all hanging on to stuff, and loose articles were tumbling across the deck.

I guess I earned some cred with the owners by pushing their boat to 9.9 knots, because they left me alone at the helm to execute a  starboard tack while they went outside to work the sails.  I sorta knew that a “tack” meant turning the boat around towards the opposite direction, and “starboard” meant towards the right, so I tried real hard not to fuck this up.

Michael at the helm, concentrating real hard and trying his best not to screw up the execution of a a starboard tack

I highly recommend a cruise with Kate and Zander if you are in this area.  It costs $40 per person for a two-hour cruise, and it is well worth it.  We actually were out for over two and a half hours, just because the day was beautiful and and we were having a blast with the great wind.

They have a website here.  You can contact them at castoff@guildivecruises.com or 207-701-1421.  They have a Facebook group here.

We’re going home tomorrow.  This has been a great vacation, especially seeing so many of our online pals in Connecticut.

P.S.  When in Maine, you should eat pie every day made from wild blueberries.  It is the bestest place in the world for blueberry pie.


1. geoff - July 27, 2010

There’s smoking and there’s smokin’. 9.9 knots? That’s smokin’.

2. sandy burger - July 27, 2010


I also just recently went sailing on a boat about that size.

(And by “went sailing”, I mean I sat down, drunk, and held on tight to something, trying to not fall off or get whacked in the head by anything. They, wisely, did not let me drive.)

I knew it was gonna be a good time, but I was surprised by just how much I enjoyed it. Seriously, it was a blast.

3. scottw - July 27, 2010

Did you get a chance to steal anything from Olympia Snowe?

Mailbox? Hub caps? Toy Poodle?

4. Dave in Texas - July 27, 2010

mmmmmm… pie.

5. Mrs. Peel - July 27, 2010

How do you pronounce “guildive”? I had a guess until you said it was French.

6. harrison - July 27, 2010

I used to go sailing with a friend who lived on his boat in Charleston harbor. A little 30′ sloop.
There is really nothing like it.

7. Tushar - July 27, 2010

>>How do you pronounce “guildive”? I had a guess until you said it was French.

The French have no sense of any relation between spelling and pronouncement. They probably pronounce it goudaa or gwadaa.

8. Maine Black Bear - July 27, 2010

It is the bestest place in the world for blueberry pie.

Hey! I’m foraging here! You don’t see me coming into YOUR house uninvited and grabbing a beer out of the fridge, do you?

Ever wonder why we seem to focus on pic-i-nic baskets? Maybe because all you locusts pick our wild blueberry bushes clean.

9. lauraw - July 27, 2010

I tis pronounced gool-WAH*

*this is a lie

10. xbradtc - July 27, 2010

When I was young, the Navy had this:


for rent. It was a 90′ ketch that the Navy had bought during the war. She was a beautiful boat. I mostly went on day cruises, but she often went on one or two week cruises.

11. harrison - July 27, 2010

No, Lauraw. It’s French.
It’s “gool-WAAAH.”

12. lauraw - July 27, 2010

I stand corrected.

Harrison is right, Mrs Facepeel.

Don’t forget to gargle a little bit of your own spit when you say WAAAH. That’s the authentic French pronunciation.

13. daveintexas - July 27, 2010

Technically, if it’s French, then it doesn’t have to be your spit.

14. MostlyRight - July 27, 2010

Nice jean shorts.

15. TXMarko - July 27, 2010

In Spanish it would be “Goooooooooooooal!!”

BTW, which side of the boat is the proper side to blow chunks from?

I would assume leeward, unless you like wearing it?

16. MCPO Airdale - July 27, 2010

Marko – Doesn’t matter as long as you are upwind of the chunks.

Michael and Cathy – Thanks so much for sharing your vacation with us!

17. geoff - July 27, 2010

No, Lauraw. It’s French.
It’s “gool-WAAAH.”

Sounds like one of them there Frenchy cigarettes.

Had a couple drinks with Pupster this evening. Great to meet another IBer in the flesh. We’re going to beard the libs in their lair in Boulder on Thursday.

18. Michael - July 28, 2010

Say hi to Daughter Michael while you are there!

19. kevl - July 28, 2010

If starboard is right and port is left, then what is leeward?

20. xbradtc - July 28, 2010

Kev, starboard and port are always left and right, but windward is the side the wind is blowing on, and leeward is the side away from the wind. Windward and leeward change as either the wind shifts or the boat changes course.

The lesson being, if you puke to windward, the wind blows it right back in your face. Leeward? Not so much.

21. Russ from Winterset - July 28, 2010

Damn, xbrad. For a tank jockey, you’ve got an impressive amount of nautical knowledge.

22. daveintexas - July 28, 2010

>> then what is leeward?

it’s French for “the word”.

23. Michael - July 28, 2010

Kev, starboard and port are always left and right

Actually, right and left, as you face forward towards the bow.

24. lauraw - July 28, 2010

Whoa Dave, I thought that was ‘zeeward.’

If I ever go to France you’ll have saved me some embarrassment.

25. kevl - July 28, 2010

My dad taught me about the deadworks and scuppers, but could never quite do the math when it came to nautical miles.

26. wiserbud - July 28, 2010

Damn, xbrad. For a tank jockey, you’ve got an impressive amount of nautical knowledge.

he’s always been a big fan of seamen.

27. Dave in Texas - July 28, 2010

you owe me big time Laura.

28. Cathy - July 28, 2010

you owe me big time Laura.

Can I watch?

29. Russ from Winterset - July 28, 2010

A nautical mile is about 1.1 miles, if I recall correctly; which is the same relation between meters & yards. That’s my trick for remembering the conversion. I also believe that velocity over water (“knots”) is an abbreviation for “nautical miles per hour”.

30. xbradtc - July 28, 2010

one nautical mile is 6076 feet, though you’ll commonly see 2000yds used. Close enough…

Interestingly, there’s no etymological relation between “knots” and “nautical.” The knots refer to literal knots tied on a string which was attached to a wooden float. After tossing the “log” overboard, you’d count 28 seconds, then divide by the number of knots in the line that had passed, to determine your speed. Hence you’d count “the knots.”

31. lauraw - July 28, 2010

Can I watch?

boom chicka chicka bow bow

32. lauraw - July 28, 2010

Hey, you know, I haven’t seen skinbad around in a long time. Is he ok?

33. Cathy - July 28, 2010

^ Hmm. Good point Lauraw. Hmm. Hellooooo????? Skinny????

*Ooooooo! Sexy! Xbrad used the word ‘etymological’*

34. daveintexas - July 28, 2010

I walk a knotical mile for a Camel.

35. xbradtc - July 28, 2010

Speaking of sexy, Cathy, how YOU doin’?

**I’ve already got a shirt, so I’m hopin’ for pie**

36. xbradtc - July 28, 2010

I’d put out a Camel on Dave’s knots nuts.

37. Cathy - July 28, 2010

There will be pie.

38. JackStraw - July 28, 2010

Beautiful pictures Michael. One of the few reasons I still live in this clown infested part of the world.

39. Dave in Texas - July 28, 2010

>> boom chicka chicka bow bow

So that’s what it sounds like when a guy is smacked in the head with a half-frozen mackerel.

Wondered about that.

40. lauraw - July 29, 2010

Look closer. That’s not a mackerel.


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