Bangor attorney Jeffrey Silverstein sailed into Lubec at about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday completing his journey along Maine’s coast from Whaleback in Kittery to honor his deceased friend and colleague Julio DeSanctis.
Standing near the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse watching as Silverstein maneuvered DeSanctis’ 16-foot long Windrider daysailer was his widow, the Rev. Joan DeSanctis.
“It was a dream come true,” the retired United Methodist minister said about an hour after Silverstein docked. “Jeff is an amazing man and a great friend to do this in memory of Julio.”
Silverstein, 58, of Bangor spent a total of 12 days on the water. He initially estimated the 250-mile trek would take a week to 10 days, but trials and tribulations took their toll and lengthened the journey.
The criminal defense lawyer left the Kittery area July 3 but was forced to take two days off after he accidentally landed illegally on Sand Beach in Acadia National Park on Thursday. He had lost his wallet, cellphone and medications to the sea a couple of days earlier.
“When he landed in Acadia, part of me said, ‘Oh, Jeff, cry uncle,’” said Joan DeSantis, who was married to Julio for 45 years. “But another part of me knew he’d find a way to finish.”
Silverstein spent two days ashore before setting off again Sunday to complete the journey. The last day of sailing was difficult, he said.
“It was some pretty hairy sailing today,” he said. “I was bucking the current all day.”
His worst day was Thursday when he set out from Manset, a village in Southwest Harbor, and only got as far as Sand Beach. The rangers were professional but firm about him getting the boat out of the park as soon as possible, he said.
The best day was Monday because of how it ended, Silverstein said.
“Last night was incredible,” he said. “I got into Cutler and pulled up to the boat ramp, and this fellow who lives across from the dock came over to me and said, ‘We’ve been following you.’ He and his wife invited me to stay at their house, and I had an incredible dinner with Willie and Judy Corbett. I was treated to some fine Down East hospitality.”
Silverstein also continued to raise money for Champion the Cure, which benefits the Northern Light Health Foundation, while at sea. As of Tuesday evening, nearly $10,000 had been donated to his cause. That is twice the goal he set of $5,000.
Julio DeSanctis, a fixture in Maine courthouses for decades, died of cancer in September 2011 after a nine-year battle. He was 67.
Silverstein said Tuesday that he would not take the same journey again in his friend’s boat, which was designed for lakes, not the ocean.
“I might do something different in a different boat, but I won’t do this again in this boat,” he said.