Ride Out the Storm
These days, when a storm puts Maine in the crosshairs, finding a hurricane hole is usually far less important than finding a hauler, as most sailors (and insurance companies) prefer to have their boats pulled out of the water rather than ride out the storm at anchor. But if you find yourself in the Pine Tree State in late September (and let's face it, that's the best sailing weather) with a storm brewing, you might need to seek out a snug harbor in a hurry. This is when people from away find themselves at a severe disadvantage - "I can't recommend anywhere specific, because then I'm liable," remarks Ed Glaser, the harbormaster in Rockland - and local knowledge becomes invaluable.
Smith Cove near Castine and Pulpit Harbor on North Haven have both proven to be popular hurricane holes in years past, but by far one of the coziest coves in Maine is the Basin, a lagoon just off the New Meadows River in Phippsburg (NOAA Chart No. 13290). This spot, which can be home to legendary hordes of mosquitoes during less blustery times, is virtually sealed off from the open ocean by a tiny gut protected by a seven-foot-deep channel. Mariners say that once you've squeezed through the narrow opening, all that's left to do is set your anchors and actually hope for the breeze to pick up. "If the wind is blowing it might, just might, keep the bugs away," remarks Captain Noah Barnes.