Chip, Molly, Cindy and Charlie Clifton's 2004 Northeast Tour

Shortcuts to: Maine to Vermont    Quebec   Mississauga Regatta   Sunfish NAs at the Finger Lakes

Cindy and I left Florida June 15 bound for the north country with a Sunfish strapped to the roof. Our plan was to attend niece Sarah's wedding in Brooklin, Maine; buy an SR 21 in Lake Winnepesaukee to race in Mississauga; visit brother Woody on Lake Champlain and tune the SR; visit John & Rita Steele on Lake Gagnon, Quebec and tune the SR; attend the Cross Border Regatta at Mississauga to race the SR; race the Sunfish at the North Americans at Lake Canandaigua; and along the way, plaster every gas station, "Cracker Barrell", and roadside attraction with "Bush bin Lyin" stickers.

We spent the night with Chip in Scranton, PA and then he split off for the Canandaigua Yacht Club to sail Sunfish in their Thursday Night race which was prophetically cancelled due to lack of wind.

Maine to Vermont
Entering Maine we found a road that will take you in any direction you want to go, except east. (See photo at right)

Unfortunately, we wanted to go east so we followed it backwards to Brooklin, Maine, where we enjoyed hanging around the Brooklin Boatyard, looking at the boats and projects. With Ralph Schenk, Dean Speir, and Jean Rackowski, we kept Chip the Brooklin Pub owner, awake much longer than he would have liked.

Cousins Molly and Gorham at Sarah's reception.

Rick and Jane Clifton threw Sarah a terrific wedding under an apple tree in the east 40. We had a great party in a huge tent with lots of relatives and fine Maine friends.

Visits to Blue Hill Falls, Mt. Cadillac, Bar Harbor, and Deer Isle took in incomparable Maine vistas.

Beautiful, protected anchorages are around every corner and they are filled with classic, meticulously maintained boats of every type.

The cove north of Blue Hill Falls is a perfect hidey hole.

Molly and Dad found a summer garden on Deer Isle.

Then we took off for Lake Winnepesaukee to buy an SR. Good thing it was still there because otherwise we would not have done too well at the Cross Border Regatta.

Not being able to find Dr. Leo Marvin, we went to look for Ed McQuire who quickly sold us the boat.

We threw away half a carload of junk that came with it, hitched her up to the van, and took off for Brother Woody's house in Vermont.
We sailed "Flash" on Lake Champlain, Lake Gagnon, and Lake Ontario.

Chip didn't think the Maine weather was bad enough, so he went in search of really bad weather.

He went to Burlington via Mt. Washington and camped out there for a night.

Woody and Mary were gracious to put up with us turning their driveway into a boat repair center.

Woody helped us fix all kinds of things on the boat. We found this great little boatyard in Charlotte, VT where they had basic supplies and a ramp where we launched for our maiden voyage.

We sailed around beautiful Lake Champlain with Mary and tried to recruit her for crew in Toronto. She looked at me like I was suggesting she walk through fire.

I made up for letting Pounce, the cat, out of the house last visit by chasing his escaped self back into the house in record time.

Then we went to the "Taste of Burlington by the Lake".

Burlington is very picturesque. We ate some good food as a band played by the lake. All different kinds of boats are tied along the shore.

It was a perfect way to spend the last night. And once again, I was privelaged to sleep in the bed of Dr. Mudd. Mary is a descendent of Dr. Mudd who went to prison for treating John Wilkes Booth. He also was a hero for saving many lives during a malaria epidemic at the prison on the Dry Tortugas.

The next day, we left Chip's car for Cindy who was visting Mom in NY and took off for Canada.

We entered Quebec south of Montreal worried about sketchy ownership papers on the Sunfish and the SR. But Canadian customs were not at all concerned about that. What did interest them was the fact that Chip and I had the same names. They said they suspected we were really from New Hampshire and asked us if we knew Darryl and Darryl. Then, for some reason unbeknownst to us, they laughed uproariously and told us to pass. Strange, but friendly.

Next thing we saw was a grey 1984 Chrysler LeBaron flying flags shown at left all over the car. Wow! We thought maybe we were looking at the Governor of the province.

After a while we noticed everyone was flying the flags. Then we found out that we had fortuitously entered on the day of St. John the Baptist, a day of great celebration in Quebec.

So we bought a flag and flew it from the van.
"Pay attention to our children. This one could be yours"

The people who live around Lac Gagnon, north of Duhamel, Quebec, couldn't have been nicer. They offer children to anyone who might need one. (See photo at right.)We thought of taking one, but from the picture at the entrance to this campground, it looked like the child might be defective.

Anyway, we share a cat with our neighbor which is probably a lot less trouble.

We stopped for lunch in Namur where we met Melanie, a charming waitress who filled us in on local lifestyle. She lives in Notre Dame de la Paix (population 400) but works in Namur (population 15) because there is too much gossip in Notre Dame de la Paix.

She said things like, "May I serve you another beer?" and "Is it pleasing to you?" We want to bring her to the US to give behavioral clinics.

John pulls Chip on ski board on a glassy Lac Gagnon.

We drove up north of Duhamel to the cabin of John & Rita Steele on Lake Gagnon (John, boathouse, and cabin at right).

What a water wonderland! There are lakes and rivers everywhere. The cabin is on the edge of a national forest.

We went water skiing, fishing, sailing, swimming, hiking, dust eating following John on ATVs and drank some really good Canadian beer.

We caught bass, lake trout, and brook trout. Chip saw a moose early one morning on his way to fish a stream.

Cindy photographs Rita, John, Charlie and Chip on top of Mt. Blondi.

We walked up to the top of Mt. Blondi where Rita said she saw a moose on a logging road about two miles away.

I think it was either the altitude or a fly on her binoculars.

Chip was nice enough to carry a lunch to the top where we ate in a little gazebo overlooking the Laurentian Mountains.

The ride there and back went by innumerable rivers, beaver dams, and lakes.

We put the SR in Lac Gagnon and sailed around the upper lake.

John and I got to play Paul Bunyan. We felled trees so precisely that stakes we had placed in the ground to mark the landing point were driven dead center by the falling timber.
John & Rita's porch is a great place to watch moonrise over Lac Gagnon.

Mississauga and the Cross Border Regatta

Several days later, we drove down to Mississauga and again were lucky as we entered the town on Canada Day, comparable to our 4th of July. Fireworks were going off everywhere. It was invigorating to see everyone out having such a good time. As we proceeded down Lakeshore Drive, we saw an especially profuse display of fireworks launching beside the road ahead. Passing by we saw an exuberent group of people with boxes of fireworks setting them off at a gas station. Yeehaw !!
Scott & Iza Hansen and crew Emily help the visitors.

We recognized the Maple Leaf flag that now replaced the Fleur-De-Lis being displayed everywhere so we procured and hoisted one of them.

Dalton flew in from Sarasota. He wore a disguise because paparazzi from sailing magazines are always stalking him.

We arrived at the Mississauga Sailing Club where everyone could not have been more helpful and hospitable.

They had arranged for us to launch and store the boats across the street at the Port Credit Yacht Club. We had full use of two hoists and a swimming pool.

Chicago's Mike Coan with CN Tower behind.
Mike Coan and I both hung our boats there before the races to effect repairs to the trunk and keel.

The roof of the MSC was a perfect place to watch the Canada Day fireworks that night.

The MSC members went all out to make sure everyone had a good time and the races went off like clockwork.

The first day we had three races in light air on a crystal clear Lake Ontario in front of the spectacular Toronto skyline.

At the end of Saturday, we led Mike Coan and Scott Hansen who were separated by one point, and who in turn led Roderick Anderson and Tim McCullough.

That night MSC served a fine dinner of pork, chicken, salad, and beer on top of the club overlooking Lake Ontario.

The next day we were again totally confused by blue and white flags being waved all over town. Had Quebec invaded Ontario? We had been warned not to fly our Fleur-de-Lis in Ontario but now everyone had them. Whoops.... those were Greek flags celebrating a big soccer upset. We kept the Fleur-de-Lis under wraps.

Roderick Anderson's navy blue SR.

Sunday the wind was piping just fine.

The south east breeze kicked up a good size chop and conditions were ripe for some fun planing.

The races were a blast but a workout for the crews.

Scott Hansen's second place finish in the fourth race put him in a dead tie with Mike Coan for second in the regatta.

But Mike came back with a second in the 5th race and Roderick Anderson nudged out Scott for third.

That 5th race was key for Coan because in the 6th and last race, he was in the lead when he set the spinnaker for what was to be a screaming reach and his rudder snapped off at the post.

With a discard, he saved his second place for the regatta.

After the race, everyone packed up their boats and went back to the clubhouse roof where the awards were handed out.

It was agreed that everyone had a great time and would be back next year.


Nice conditions for the start of the first race.

Tim McCullough checks out his main trim.
Tim and Brenda McCullough were nice enough to invite us all over to their house for a cook-out after the regatta.

They served a bountiful, delicious cacophany of tasty treats.

Their house is in a really neat, quiet neighborhood not far from MSC.

The landscaping with northern vegetation is so nice in the summer.

We were not missing Florida at all.

We decided we both would plan to be in Sarasota in March and Ontario in July next year.
Close racing put crew work at a premium.

Sunfish North Americans at the Finger Lakes

We headed for the Finger Lakes via Niagara Falls.

Clifton Hill is on the Canadian side by the falls but what a tasteless side show they have made out of a beautiful natural wonder.

The falls are spectacular. The Canadian side has great panoramas of all the falls and the islands in between.

We saw no barrels going over. We did see some things that should be sent over the falls in a barrel.

Cornell Class of '71 returns to Hogback Camp.

Next stop was Canandaigua Yacht Club for the Sunfish North Americans. Chip and I wanted to get there early to practice.

We set up camp under the trees behind the club overlooking the lake.

We got in two days practice out of four because of little wind.

Then we made a side trip over to Lake Cayuga to visit Cindy's college room mates.

We also revisited the Hogback Camp on the lakeshore where we were in the summer of 1985.

It's a beautiful spot but there is a big void without Grandpa Jack Shaw.

Steve Evans caught up with us there.

He was very impressed with the Lake Cayuga Welcome Wagon.

Then we went back to the campsite at the Canandaigua Yacht Club.

The grounds were filling up with sailors from all over the US.

Lack of wind prevented any qualification races from taking place.

The Junior Championship consisted of only two races for the same reason.

We had two days of a shifty, spotty but fairly substantial westerly for a seven race championship series.

Luckily, this was very similar to conditions in which Chip and I had practiced the previous week.

Chip and Sunfish maestro Eduardo Cordero switched positions often for the lead of the first race. Eduardo got him by a boat length at the end.

On Saturday, sailors waited for wind that never came.

After seven races in two days, Chip finished a very respectable 6th. I finished 12th, my best NA place in a long time.

Complete Results

Stevie Evans and Chip vied for the top Sunfish North American Ping Pong Title.

The highlight of the regatta was the return of former NA Champion, Class Clown, and emcee Bob Findlay. Bob hosted a cook out at his tent site Friday night that attracted half the sailors and organizers before it was over.

The water slide down the hill was also a big hit.

The Finger Lake region is very scenic and everyone at CYC was very accomodating.

July 18 we pointed the caravan south to return to Florida where the weather is somewhat warmer ....but the breezes are more dependable.