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Author Topic:   Portland Maine
gorji posted 05-17-2009 07:10 PM ET (US)   Profile for gorji   Send Email to gorji  
I will be taking the Whaler to Portland Maine this summer mid July. I am looking for recommendations from fellow buddies here on where to launch?
I have done a search and have seen a few marinas in the Portland area. I will be cruising Casco Bay.



bkoelbel posted 05-17-2009 07:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for bkoelbel  Send Email to bkoelbel     
the poster previously known as Casco Bay Outrage, Phil Tyson, might have a recommendation or two...
Phil T posted 05-17-2009 07:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Phil T  Send Email to Phil T     
The best ramp in the area is Bug Light in South Portland. You can park overnight. I am a mile from Bug Light.

Map location - Go to google or yahoo maps and type in Madison Street, South Portland, click on satellite view and you can see it.

The tides are ~9 ft but the ramp is fine except for -1.5 when it is a bit tricky.

How long are you going to be in the area? Are you looking for cruising ideas? Places to visit? Ask and I will answer.

gorji posted 05-17-2009 09:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for gorji  Send Email to gorji     
Thank you for your post.
I plan on being there for about 4 days with 3 days dedicated to "Boating." I've never been in salt water so have a steep learning curve. I am reading and learning as much as I can before i arrive. I want to be safe and sound. I am naive when it comes to salt water. Currently learning tides and related issues.

I am debating whether to buy a new Garmin Card for the area or just use the NOAA Charts I have downloaded and printed.

I have called a few marinas to get an idea: South Port Marine, Sunset Marina, Port Harbor Marine, and Strouts Point Wharf (they do not have a ramp)).

I would appreciate cruising ideas; what to expect interms of water conditions (I will traveling with a few children). Don't want to do rough waters or winds more than 20 mph.

Thank you,


gorji posted 05-17-2009 09:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for gorji  Send Email to gorji     
BTW I am on a Eastport 205.
Phil T posted 05-18-2009 09:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for Phil T  Send Email to Phil T     
I am writing something lengthy for you offline and will post when complete.
gorji posted 05-18-2009 09:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for gorji  Send Email to gorji     
Thank you very much!!!
I can also send you my phone number or call you to make your life easier.
Phil T posted 05-18-2009 05:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for Phil T  Send Email to Phil T     
For boating in saltwater, the factor of the tide is important for launching/retrieving, navigating and determining water conditions.

Even with a 9' tidal drop, there is not a significant current or rip at the ramps. One should consider the tide when launching and retrieving given that the lower portion of the ramp will be wicked slippery (ouch!). In some conditions, the ramp may not extend far enough on a significant low tide event (i.e.-1.3).

July Tidal Chart for Portland -

For the South Portland ramp, tide is not an issue. The launching ramp is long and will service all tides. At low tide it is VERY slippery with barnacles and seaweed. (First aid kit with wipes and Band-Aids and bandages should be on hand.)

The retrieval ramp(left side) is newer and less slippery. It is also much longer and better at extreme low tides.

Photo of the ramp


While July is the warmest month of the year with temps in the low 80's, it can be 52 and fog so be prepared and bring extra clothes and rain gear. Water temps at their best are 65-68 degrees at the surface so wearing a PDF is strongly urged by all.

Important Links:

Marine Forecast:
Bouy Report: p2=B01
Harbor Webcams:


While the nautical charts include depth and navigation buoys, note there are many, many lobster buoys in the water. For a novice, they can be a bit daunting. Most are multi-colored and easy to spot. Some, however, are milk jugs or unpainted and hard to see. Keep your eyes peeled. Keep at least 2 feet away in passing them since the line may not travel down, rather to the side.

In areas between islands where there is a strong incoming or outgoing current, some pots who's line is too short for the depth can get dragged under the surface of the water. Another reason to keep your eyes on the water.

Good paper charts are NOAA Chart 13290 and 1392.

Here are various photos of the harbor and the bay:

Inner Harbor Excursion:

See map

Proceed East (to the right) from the ramp at no-wake on the S.P side and admire the boats, There are several larger Whalers in the anchorage. Pass by the Coast Guard base and proceed under the Casco Bay Bridge. At the railroad bridge you will need to stop unless full high tide. Depth goes from 40' to 3' in seconds There is no markers and barely 3' of water at high tide. Depth falls off quick and going aground is highly probable when you get out of the narrow winding channel.

On the return leg, stay to the Portland side and view the remnants of the fishing fleet, while there used to be 200+ draggers and commercial offshore boats, the fleet is ~ 50 with most at port all year except for the occasional boat doing it's 10-15 days at sea.

In the middle of the harbor is the former Newport RI car ferry, converted to a floating restaurant (DiMillo's). At the end of the no-wake is the Maine State Pier and 3 charter schooners.

Outer Harbor - Tour of the inner harbor forts.

Fort Gorges:
In the center of the outer harbor is Fort Gorges. This 3 sided fort was built on Hogs Ledge and was completed in 1865, just as the Civil War was ending. The fort is accessible only by private boat and free. There is no dock, rather a stone seawall or (at low tide) a sandy beach. Here is Scrimshaw at the fort last year. ?action=view¤t=IMG_0219.jpg

More photos and history

Make your way from Ft Gorges over to Spring Point (to the east) and the remains of Fort Preble. A bit south of Ft Gorges is House island (private) with exposed forts.

A great photo shoot is off of Portland Headlight (entrance to harbor from the ocean) a bit south of House Island and across from Cushings.

Looks like this CascoBayMaine#5337263005761467522

Cruising down the Bay:

A nice 3 hr cruise is to proceed over to Peaks Island and go down (northeast) "the slot", between Peaks and Little Diamond. Go past Long Island and out to Cliff, then proceed around Great Chebeague and back to town on the inside route, passing off off Falmouth and Mackworth Island.

There are public landings on Peaks (stores/ice cream) and Long Island (small variety store).

Jewel Island -
Cruise out and explore the island. No dock access. About 40 minutes from the ramp and just off of Cliff Island.

A longer cruise is to Bailey's Island and stopping for a meal at Cooks Lobster House (as seen in the old Amex commercial) Dockage is available, a bit touristy but then again, you are a tourist after all.

Off the Water Sites worth a visit

Portland Observatory (base of Munjoy Hill)
Harbor Fish Market (real working fish market on the waterfront)

Ft. Williams Park (free)
Oldest lighthouse in the nation and remnants of Fort Williams.

This is just a quick smattering.

stefan posted 05-18-2009 10:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for stefan  Send Email to stefan     
if need be, use the Maine Yacht Center on Kennsington- my brother is the G.M.-


gorji posted 05-19-2009 05:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for gorji  Send Email to gorji     
Phil T:

A personal thank you for all the effort you made for me on continuouswave. i will spend many days deciphering your notes.

A few more questions:
1. In general what is the prevailing winds direction and speed in the summer months?
2. What is the prevailing current speed and direction in the summer months?
3. Boat ramps: Please give me some names in case the ramps are full and there is no parking for car and trailer.



Phil T posted 05-19-2009 01:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Phil T  Send Email to Phil T     

#1 -

#2 - The current is tidal so it is the same year round based on the lunar calendar. The strongest tidal current occurs between closely spaced islands and adjacent to breakwaters.

Tidal currents in the large area of Casco Bay are not a concern, compared with a river currents.

#3 - The South Portland Boat Ramp has approximately 50 parking spaces with a adjacent area for overflow. Only on July 4th and Labor Day does the lot fill up.

An alternative is the Portland boat ramp at the Eastern Promenade, go to Yahoo or Google maps and look at the satellite photo for Cutter Street. There are 3 lots for trucks and trailers, plenty of parking.

gorji posted 05-21-2009 07:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for gorji  Send Email to gorji     
I have really enjoyed your post.
I will call you as I get closer; I will lump my ?s and ask when I call.
Thank you again.


deepwater posted 05-31-2009 07:43 AM ET (US)     Profile for deepwater  Send Email to deepwater     
it sounds like we have several whaler owners out there in Maine

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