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Posted by: nauticalchronicles | November 9, 2016

THINGS I SHOULD REMEMBER…BUT DON’T

NAUTICAL CHRONICLES:

Things I should remember…but don’t

It’s true…we certainly burn up tons of brain cells during the course of just one boating season. I am being constantly reminded, almost daily now, by friends and family members of “things” I should remember happening that I’ve supposedly been a part of or party to. Some, I’m told, have been quite hilarious, and others quite tragic; all quite memorable…to them; I just don’t remember.

At first when this began to occur, I thought maybe the cause might be “early on-set”, but realizing my age, I’m too old for that; it might be the “regular on-set” I’m experiencing instead. My mate, Louise and our other boating friends are truly amazed at my ability to forget major happenings and events, and the facts surrounding them. I do agree that embellishment of facts, and possibly total misstatement and fictionalization of them is one of my writing strengths, but to forget entire stories? Well that’s just reprehensible, especially for a story writer.

For examples, in these three photos, it certainly appears I was there but I have little or no recollection of the cause and effect of these pauses in time, these moments caught on film:

no-clue     bobfatsuit  the-other-peter

As I’ve heard told, this was a one-day event held at Cove Marina in which I participated in a number of events, events which none seem to have made any sense. When I try to recall the circumstances for these actions…I just can’t.

I have asked our friends to help me remember. Jim recalls that on many occasions he has told me that we need to “get the band back together”. I have only fleeting recollections of this request and of the possible fact we ever had a band to put back together! I have a vague remembrance that we did get pricing from the Lowell Auditorium many years ago to put on our own version of “The Full Monty”.

I may be wrong but I believe Jim & I as well as Erik Mathew, Kevin, Perry, Steve (reluctantly), Peter (of course) and Matty P as the headliner were the likely participants; we may have even had a couple of rehearsals and at least one dress rehearsal (undress rehearsal?)…but it’s foggy.

jim-and-bob

The other incident I have no memory of was “the Cannon Trip”, the reason being…I wasn’t there. It has been recorded for posterity though and may have even gone viral on my mate’s Facebook page. Several years ago, after having lowered the American flag for several seasons at sunset accompanied by the playing of Taps on our Bose 151 outdoor speakers, we decided we needed a cannon to accompany the ceremony. Our kids got us a small, black-powder cannon for Christmas. For the following two seasons, we perfected our ceremony and received many compliments for our tribute. To our chagrin, a more ominous cannon blast was received from our friends across the river at another marina; we needed to up our game! Jim, Erik Mathew and I decided to jointly-venture into a purchase of a very handsome, very loud ten-gauge cannon which uses blank shotgun shells and has a lanyard to pull for firing. It is extremely loud; we are required to warn all children and pets of any upcoming blasts. The ceremony is now complete and we continue to lower the flag at sunset to Taps and the cannon fire wherever we are.

On a recent trip to a Portsmouth marina, our crews were allowed to lower their marina flag at sunset. This is a solemn affair which we all take seriously, especially Jim. Usually Erik Mathew, being a police officer, is tasked with the responsibility of firing the cannon. On this particular away-trip, Erik chose to lower the flag with Steve and do a proper folding; Jim asked to fire the cannon. As is our normal operating procedure, Jim rolled a cart beside the flag, put the cannon in the cart and put his leg over the side of the cart to hold the cannon in place. At the conclusion of Taps, with the flag properly lowered, Jim pulled the lanyard and as sometimes happens…nothing happened. He pulled a second time with the same result; nothing. The third time, however, was a charm and the cannon gave forth the closing tribute. Unfortunately, the serious nature of our ceremony was marred slightly as the cannon recoil caused Jim’s foot to recoil as well, catching on the side of the cart causing him to fall, awkwardly to the side of the cart bringing both the cart and the cannon noisily crashing to the ground…what we now call ”The Cannon Trip”. Jim, luckily, sustained no injury other than to his dignity and reputation.

cannon-photo  big-cannon  cannon-trip


Another trip I have only foggy recollections of was brought to my attention by Jenn K. It seems on some occasions, “floating” has been involved. I don’t float. Our mates usually float, behind the big boats when we are on mooring or at anchor. They have all sorts of floating apparatus which we carry on all of the boats, all of them needing to be inflated, usually by a person since we have never had the good sense to purchase powered inflators.

As Jenn recalls, one afternoon, while floating behind the big boats, the captains all agreed to cut the floating mates free; free to be carried by the incoming tide as far up the Ipswich River as the tide might carry them. Off they went (provisioned of course), happily singing, “I’m on my way to the freedom land” by Peter, Paul and Mary, a trip certainly to be of epic proportions. They kept fairly good harmony until their voices faded in the distance up the river. They slowed down and then slowly stopped, completely, somewhere well up the Parker River when the tide turned, at which point their down-river journey began. Stalling on a sandbar somewhere shy of where the boats became visible to our moorings, they began to wonder how they were going to get back when, to their collective joy, two powered inflatables appeared to tow them back. The captains arrived in the nick of time to return crew members to their respective boats (being past dinner-time, it was a prudent rescue mission on the part of the captains).

hanging-off-of-halfmine  img_1108

Jenn also reminded me of the “actual, natural deviation”; another “floating” occasion. I do remember this activity, in general, though the particulars remain just on the outside of my periphery.

Some-one-of-us had dreamed up the concept that “floating objects generally avoid hitting things in the water as they float with the tide”. To prove this concept, we decided, one dark night, to take all the inflatables out, go up river, shut lights off as well as motors, tie ourselves together and float, as flotsam, out with the tide. And it worked, and worked well until we got to a fairly crowded mooring field. As this true test began, we floated around almost all the vessels moored; the current was breaking just before the bow of moored vessels, carrying us around them, validating our ill-thought-out concept. “Almost all” was the critical phrase…one bow of one sailboat “in front of Michael’s Harborside Restaurant” disproved our theory as half of our flotilla went to the port side, the other half going to the starboard side forcing us to part ways. We have continued this activity, or variations of it, for many seasons. In fact, we introduced Peter and Victoria to it when they first brought their boat to Cove Marina and became “members of our group”. It was funny; at the time we introduced them to this, they thought we might be deviants and that we were floating naked at night with the tide. We did little to quell their concerns; they went out with us anyway. We are not certain if they were relieved or disappointed to learn the truth about this adventure; there was no nudity involved in “The Actual Natural Deviation”!

Quoting Jenn K. and her memory of the event: “the Actual Natural floats to escape the bugs; I can remember one that Steve and I did with everybody one night and we ended up hitting a sailboat in front of Michael’s…it didn’t work so naturally that night! And of course Peter thinking that we all went out and floated naked”.

Her remembrance is only slightly less disjointed than mine.

Dottie T. recently reminded me of her trip to visit us in Fort Lauderdale and becoming the “I” in “IMAGINE”.

deerfield-dottie

 

 

 

 

 

Even Charlie was on that trip…I had totally forgotten about being, with him, at “The Elbo Room”; he has since reminded me.

deerfield-charlie

Our kids reminded me of the Key West trip Louise and I planned a couple of years ago and the gift card to “Louie’s Backyard”. Per J. Buffett, “We sure did use that Bloody Mary”!

Bennie and Kay wrote the other day reminding me of the boat trip we took from their villa along the intercostal waterway in Deerfield…to the gas dock.

And Peter and Cyd reminded me of our Water Taxi adventure in Fort Lauderdale…

florida-2014-063

I will need to collect these thoughts and continue to record these things I should remember…but don’t.

The fact that these moments in time, remembered; some of which have been captured in old photographs, newer digital photos and now even on videos remain foggy in our minds, may indicate the loss of brain cells, but also may be markers of lives well lived, lives currently being lived well, as well as our vision of looking forward rather than backwards. It constantly amazes me that we find so many new events and invent so many new and creative activities, new moments in time, and on such a regular basis soon to be captured on film or in words but certainly in our memories and our minds eyes. It is easy to see why some of the older moments fade when there are so many new ones to look forward to.

This particular “short story” will have a “Part Two”; if you remember something I may have forgotten, please let me know; this story must be continued…

Captain Robert Brown

First Mate Louise

the little man

 

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Posted by: nauticalchronicles | May 11, 2016

ANOTHER BOAT DELIVERY

NAUTICAL CHRONICLES:

Another Boat Delivery

As many of you already know, Paul & I got our Captains Licenses several years ago in an effort to secure our current and future fortunes through boating. Thoughts of captaining large pleasure vessels for others, chartering vessels for cruises, parties & events, fishing and potential boat deliveries drove us to persevere through countless nights and weekends of classes and study course material for countless hours in pursuit of “the license”.

We have not yet made or kept our fortunes; in fact we may have lost more than we’ve gained but it always continues to be a good ride. Our adventures have been eventful, challenging, comical, sad, and frightful; some have been fraught with error and miscalculation…and some actually go as planned with surprising results.

Such was our most recent boat delivery. Boat Owner Rick contacted us to pick up his new-to-him 1988, 36’ Tiara Convertible in Point Judith, Rhode Island and deliver it to Cove Marina in Salisbury, Massachusetts. An easy trip on a nice day with calm seas. We acquired our one-way rental car (a mini-van since they were out of compacts) and headed down to Rhode Island the night before the delivery to stay on the boat and check out the systems. In heavy traffic we arrived at the drop-off location of Enterprise, after hours, in North Kingstown where we had dinner and contacted Uber to safely drop us at the Point Judith Marina, which Dave the driver did with astute driving acumen.

Since it was now well past dark, the only system we were able to check out was the interior cabin lighting to be able to see where to sleep. This particular trip, I was the Captain and Paul was the mate…he slept on the saloon floor since the couches on a 36’ Tiara are too small to lay on comfortably; I got the v-berth.

We were up at the break of dawn, and standing at the marina diner when the cook arrived promptly at 6:00 am. After a complete breakfast and several cups of coffee, we were out the door and ready to go. Promptly at 7:00, both motors started easily and we were untied, unfendered and out of the slip, on our way.

We headed out the break-water toward Block Island, veering north just before hitting it. At exactly 10:00 am, we arrived at the mouth of the Cape Cod Canal, slowed to just above no wake speed, waved pleasantly to the patrol boat officer, and at 10:30 arrived at Sandwich Marina where we topped off the tanks; one hundred twenty gallons; one quarter of the tanks volume; we could have made it without fueling up .

At 11:00 am, we set our course for Thatcher’s Island, fifty nautical miles to the north. Seas were slightly bumpy but the Tiara handled them well. Travelling at seventeen knots+/-, we arrived at our waypoint precisely at 2:30 pm having no complications save a Coast Guard training exercise just two miles off of Eastern Point, Gloucester. Since we were three or four miles out, they did not interfere with our passage.

We estimated one hour to the mouth of the Merrimack River, but were pleasantly surprised when we arrived twenty-five minutes earlier than planned. We arrived at Cove Marina precisely at 3:30 pm.

The lessons to be learned from our most recent boat delivery are: that sometimes a plan does come together, as planned, and sometimes when that plan comes together, the surprising results can be extremely boring! Especially if the auto-pilot is working.       And that’s that.

 

Captain Bob Brown

1st Mate Paul Fougere

the little man this is not a good idea

Posted by: nauticalchronicles | December 2, 2015

OUR WAY

NAUTICAL CHRONICLES:

Our Way

We apologize. We have neglected to keep you current with Peter and Mary’s life stories.

In December of 2013, we got a Christmas letter from them saying they had purchased a motor-home which they were living in, a large old Chris Craft live-aboard boat which they were renting weekly to tourists in New Jersey, and were contemplating moving back to Salisbury with all their toys. In the Spring of 2014, they did in fact, return to the Hampton Beach RV park with their motor home; their boat “Out of Service” was delivered to them, by truck, just before our annual trek that year to the Charles River for the 4th of July celebration and the planned, continuing journey of epic proportions to…New York City. They barely had time to commission her before the voyage, and while valiantly attempting to attend this event “to hell-gate and back”, they were forced out at the Charles River leg due to well-documented issues they faced while in the river. They limped back to Cove Marina while the remaining members of the armada continued down the coast.

Later that summer Peter convinced Mary to sell the Chris-Craft and look for a new, smaller & more economical, later-model power boat. By October, the most recent “Out of Service” had been sold and they were on the hunt. They moved their motor home from Hampton Beach to a year-round RV park in Henniker, NH (“the only Henniker in the world”).

We kind of lost touch and didn’t hear much from Peter and Mary during the winter, but this past April, 2015, we were invited to join them to visit several boats they were considering purchasing. Three boats were located on Long Island, so they had made reservations on the New London ferry to cross over to Orient Point. They would then travel west to Amityville and West Islip on the south shore, return back to Riverhead and Aquebogue on the Peconic River and planned to board the 5:30 ferry back to New London; it was going to be a long day.

My mate and I begged off due to “prior commitments with our grandchildren”, but suggested they contact their other good friends, Erik and Victoria, “The Kids” as we refer to them. Erik and Victoria were thrilled to have been asked, had enjoyed Peter and Mary’s company on the docks last summer, and had enjoyed the trip to the Charles River with them. And they were looking forward to seeing other boats since they too were considering selling their own, older 30’ Larson. As we found out later, Peter and Mary convinced Erik and Victoria to have “early morning cocktails” on the ferry over, their favorite saying being, “how can we drink all day unless we start early in the morning”. They all had a fabulous outing, looking at five different boats, located on both shores of the island as well as on the Peconic River. The weather was perfect for boat-shopping, and the brokers were all pleasant and helpful. The only glitch occurred late in the afternoon when they missed the scheduled 5:30 ferry and were forced to wait another hour.

They spent that next hour in the Orient by the Sea Restaurant where they managed to miss the 6:30 ferry as well. While they did make the 7:30 ferry, they managed another cocktail or two while on board, forcing them to stay overnight in New London at a cheap motel (a prudent decision) and return to Lowell (“The Kids” home) early Sunday morning.

As it turned out, the trip was a big disappointment to Peter and Mary. They were not impressed by any of the vessels they inspected, and were going to continue the search. However, the trip was a huge success for Erik and Victoria…they found a 35’ Silverton Convertible named “My Way” which they fell in love with. They went back and forth with the owners on price and eventually purchased and closed in early June; plans were then made for the boat delivery from Aquebogue, NY (Long Island) to Cove Marina in Salisbury, NH.

The Delivery

As a licensed captain, I have been asked on a number of occasions to assist in the delivery of a boat for a new owner or to assist with the operation of their boat by a new owner. Many years ago, my friend Paul and I took the USCG approved course and subsequent testing through Boatwise Marine Training School in Massachusetts so we could pursue our boating hobby as an income-producing endeavor. Though we have not made our fortune making boat deliveries, our adventures have been well worth the “cost of admission”. Our most notable adventure, to date, has been our now, well told story of the delivery of a beautiful, 45’ Bertram sport-fish from Ft. Lauderdale, FL to Scituate, MA which was our first and longest delivery (ask us about it sometime if you haven’t already heard it). Additional deliveries included New York, Long Island, Connecticut, New Bedford, Salem and Portland. Also, requests for assistance in the operation of boats, new to the owner, have been numerous.

So…as seasoned captains and crew members, the delivery of Erik and Victoria’s new 2000, 35’ Silverton from Aquebogue to Newburyport should have been “just another delivery”, however, there is always this cloud hanging over Peter and Mary’s head; maybe that cloud was still in place as we planned to take possession of the “My Way”.

Cast of Characters:

  • Bob & Debbie: sellers
  • Andrew: broker
  • Erik & Victoria: buyers
  • Me, Peter and Kevin: crew
  • Barb (Erik’s mom) and Victoria: drivers of the mini-van

The Plan:

  1. Leave Cove Marina by 11:00 am Saturday for New London ferry at 2:30 pm
  2. Barb & Victoria in mini-van drive crew to Long Island, then return rented mini-van back in Massachusetts
  3. Crew preps boat for early Sunday morning departure
  4. Travel to Onset or Sandwich for fuel
  5. Arrive at Cove Marina to cheering crowd around 5:00 pm

As our log entry states: “that’s the plan; we’ll see if it comes together!” Signed, “Captain Erik, 1st Mate Bob; June 12, 2015”.

What Actually Happened? (Condensed)

Saturday morning early: Before leaving Lowell to pick up the mini-van, “The Kids” car was broken into; $800 in cash was stolen, and the fire extinguisher being brought to new boat had dispensed its contents into the back of their SUV causing a mess with all other items being brought to the new boat.

All parties met at Cove Marina as planned (Kevin was a little late). Everyone piled into the mini-van which rested smartly and firmly on its springs and axles due to the amount of weight from participants, equipment and overnight requirements of the crew. Promptly at 11:00, we headed to New London; since there were no mishaps on the way, we actually made the 2:00 ferry rather than the one we had reserved for 2:30. ETA for arrival at Larry’s Lighthouse Marina on Peconic Bay “just 5 miles east of Riverhead” was now 3:00 pm. Prior to our arrival at Larry’s, Peter said he needed “fresh eggs” for the trip. Erik indicated there were no pots or pans on board to cook with so why bother, but Peter was not to be deterred; we stopped for eggs.

Andrew, the broker, met us at the marina where we proceeded to board “My Way”. The old owners were on board and made certain to tell us that no shoes were allowed inside the salon area. They had apparently forgotten it was no longer their boat, and it was evident, after seeing us, they had some remorse for selling her.

Our drivers headed back to the mini-van to accomplish the return trip to Massachusetts; the old owners left with a wave and a tear in their eye and we set about prepping the new vessel for its voyage. Peter went to the helm station to start the boat; both batteries were dead (the “cloud” over Peter’s head!). With a jump provided by the dockhands, the boat started easily. Peter and Erik brought her from the slip to the fuel dock for a top-off, and by 6:30 pm we were back in our slip and headed for dinner.

(Condensed) at 8:00 pm, we had completed dinner, been witness to a serious fight between two ladies at the bar, managed to get our broker into trouble with his wife at home by providing him with more free drinks than he was used to imbibing and we managed to imbibe our own share of cold beverages, especially Peter and his Orange Stoli’s. We were all in and all done by 9:00 pm ready for an early morning departure (reminiscent of Captain Ron leaving Cuba in a hurry!)

Sunday morning early: our crew was up at 5:00 am as planned. It was a terrible night sleeping. There was rampant snoring by two members of the crew, and a third crewmember with a noisy CPAP machine to help counteract his snoring. After waiting for Kevin to complete his shower at the marina facilities, we disembarked at 6:30 am. The old owner’s neighbors gave us a bottle of wine, wished us safe-passage and reminded us not to wear shoes in the salon. We left the dock with that very nice bottle of wine and a seriously vulgar odor emanating from the head and grey-water tank. All of the crew were content to remain in the flybridge as we motored out into the Peconic Bay and River, enjoying the calm water and the early morning sun and mist.

Peter and Erik did most of the boat operation, steering, navigation, radio operation and review of gauges. We had been told by the owners and broker that the boat used approximately 16 gallons of fuel per motor per hour at 18 knots. We had done the math and determined we could make Onset, just before entry into the Cape Cod Canal with plenty of fuel to spare.

By 11:45 am, we were 17 nautical miles from the canal entrance in bumpy Buzzard’s Bay waters with about a quarter of a tank of fuel remaining, and we knew that fuel gauges are historically inaccurate in boats (we wished we had Flo-Scans on “My Way”, but we didn’t). An hour later, we were still several miles from Onset and decided, prudently, to find a closer harbor.

At 12:38 pm, we decided to enter West Falmouth harbor since it was the closest to our position. The weather was hot, humid with no breeze; it was dead low tide and very, very shallow. We were the largest boat in this small harbor, but found a mooring ball we could tie too, a very shallow mooring but the water was very still; we also knew the water was coming back in. There is no fuel in West Falmouth Harbor. We called Tow Boat.

By 1:30 pm, Tow Boat had arrived. Normally, they would have towed us to Fiddler’s Cove, but since it was Sunday, that fuel dock was closed. We needed to be towed to Kingman Yacht Club in Cataumet, where we arrived at 3:30 pm; it was now obvious we would not make the cheering crowd at Cove Marina by 5:00 pm! While we seriously enjoyed being at Kingman, and would like to return again for dockage or a mooring, and visit the area, we were anxious to get underway. We now had a very accurate record of the new vessel’s fuel usage:

  • We had traveled for 7.0 hours at 18-20 knots
  • We had been full when we left and we took on 264 gallons at Kingman
  • We had used 37 gallons per hour (18 gallons per motor)
  • We had 36 gallons left when we stopped traveling
  • We would not have made it to Onset…lesson learned.

We also noticed while being towed that Kingman, as nice as it is, it’s a long, no-wake-speed way from the Cape Cod Canal entrance which did not diminish our anxiety in returning to our home port at a reasonable time.

By 5:00 pm, we had finally made the entrance to the canal! Peter and Erik were captaining the vessel when just beyond the railroad bridge, across from the Merchant Mariner’s College, we were stopped for speed (again, Peter’s “cloud”). We were told there existed a small, very small sign near or on the bridge indicating maximum speed to be 10 knots; we were released, in these seriously choppy waters, with just a warning and a comment that these waters were choppy due to our speeding…slow down.

At “no wake” speed, we made Sandwich by 6:00 pm, starving. After serious discussions by our crew members, we decided to stay the night at Sandwich Marina, have a nice dinner and a good night’s sleep and begin the final leg of our journey on Monday (calling in sick for work as necessary). We stopped, took on an additional 40 gallons of fuel, just to be safe, docked and had dinner at the Pilot House Restaurant. One of the most compelling reasons for not stopping had been SLEEPING ARRANGEMENTS from the previous night. Our predictions for Sunday night were not much better for a “good night’s sleep”.

Monday morning early:

By 6:00 am, the accuracy of our predictions was evidenced; what a horrible night. To make matters worse, a boat of partiers didn’t quit partying until 3:00 am. And the cause of the seriously vulgar odor emanating from the grey-water tank had not yet been determined. And, for the second morning in a row, Peter was unable to use his “dozen of fresh eggs” since there was no way to prepare them.

Monday’s Forecast: rain, possible fog, winds SE 10-20, seas 2’-4’ building later in the day. Not the perfect day to return to Cove and the cheering crowds.

By 8:00 am, we were underway and out of the canal. We navigated 9 miles to our first waypoint to be certain the boat was running correctly and the instruments were operating accurately. It was decided, reluctantly by some of the crew, to navigate a course directly to the Cape Ann marker, a course of 44 miles or approximately 2.5 hours. The question was whether we should be so far from land after yesterday’s debacle. On the plus side, we would save time and fuel and would possibly beat the building seas south of Gloucester.

By 11:00 am, we made the marker as planned, leaving only 1.5 hours to home.

And by 12:30 we were at the foggy, misty docks of Cove Marina. Louise and Victoria were there to meet us as well as “the cheering crowd” of three other friends. We had a cocktail to celebrate, reviewed quickly the items needing to be addressed on the boat: depth finder issue, getting matching lines and fenders, take stickers off windows and door, the value of the C. Jaffey painting on the wall, reminding Peter to take his now-not-so-fresh eggs home with him and most importantly find and correct the cause of the seriously vulgar odor emanating from the head and the holding tank.

Review of vital statistics:

Boat successfully delivered!

Should have been:

  • 10.5 hours underway
  • 1 hour (estimated) for fuel fill in Onset
  • 11.5 hours total
  • If left at 6:00 am, arrival at 5:30 PM

Actually was:

  • With towing, 12 hours on Sunday
  • And 4 hours on Monday
  • 16 hours total
  • If done in one day, departure at 6:00 am, arrival at 10:00 pm, with final four hours travelled after dark (in a new boat with new radar & GPS)

And, to come full circle, there is a dark cloud which hangs over Peter and Mary. That cloud may have followed us on our most recent “successful” boat delivery. When Peter left with Mary after our return, they still had every intention of finding another boat and returning to Cove (and they also had his “now-not-so-fresh eggs”). In fact, they still had a deposit on a slip at Cove. Unfortunately, they have not found a boat yet, they have not returned yet and their partial deposit was returned to them in July. The last we spoke with them, they are really looking forward to returning this summer, with a new boat! They will call us to help deliver it for them when they find it. We hope they do!

And finally, my mate and I believe that the name “My Way” sounds kind of selfish, especially recognizing that it takes a minimum of two people, the captain and his or her mate to pilot a vessel such as Erik and Victoria’s 35’ Silverton; the name should be changed; it should be changed…to “Our Way”.

the little man

Captain Robert Brown

1st Mate Louise

My Way delivery 010  My Way delivery 012  My Way delivery 019

My Way delivery 024  My Way delivery 025  My Way delivery 028

My Way delivery 041  My Way delivery 044

 

 

Posted by: nauticalchronicles | November 18, 2015

SAYING GOODBYE

NAUTICAL CHRONICLES:

Saying “Goodbye”

They say that the two happiest days in a boater’s life are when we buy a boat, and when we sell a boat. They also say that a boat is just a huge hole in the water where we can dump our money. All we can say is, “They must not be boaters”.

In our twenty years of boating, we’ve found the happiest days to be in between the buying and the selling; and since we gain so much enjoyment from boating, putting cash toward updating and maintaining our purchases has never been much of an issue.

Now we find ourselves in between what they call our two happiest days, and what we call our saddest. My mate and I said goodbye to our beloved 46’ Post Sportfish, “HalfMine”. After a couple of years on the market and nine seasons of ownership, the inevitable happened; she sold to a nice young couple in Maryland. Ironically, one of our goals was to cruise her to the Chesapeake Bay and visit Red Eye’s Dock Bar in Grasonville, MD where she would be shown off with all the go-fast boats and other cruisers. Now she will make that trip, just with another captain and crew. She’s already had her windows fully tinted and is scheduled for a new Awl-Grip refinishing, soda-blasting and barrier coating of her hull, and a new EZ2CY helm enclosure, all things we could not provide for her in our retirement years. We will miss her, but she’s found a good home.

We are not, however, boat-less; just big-boat-less. We continue to enjoy our Achilles inflatable and our 16’ Sunbird Neptune with the Evinrude E-Tec 90, but we have found them to be “uncomfortable” to sleep on, and the stereo system doesn’t begin to compare to our Bose 151’s with the amplifier and sub-woofers. We are spending much more time on other people’s boats (what “they” call the best boats).

But…we are back searching the marketplace for our next boat. Unfortunately, early-on in our search, we have discovered two critical components to this endeavor: for the first time in our boating career, we don’t know what we want (we need to down-size, not up-size); and this time we…are…spoiled! Our list of “necessities” is extensive, based on our past “needs”: diesel vs. gas motors, fly bridge vs. express, being able to see out of the helm enclosure while underway, being able to see the dock to our stern while backing into a slip, AC/heat, generator, invertor, full-size fridge, washer/dryer, separate shower(s), built-in vacuum system, and a killer entertainment/sound system. Recognizing this, we now see how spoiled we’ve become, and how far from our original boating entertainment we’ve gotten.

“Back then”, when we bought our first “HalfMine”, a 22’ Four Winns 225 Sundowner cuddy, we loved that boat as much as the one we just said goodbye to. We spent many over-nights on board, we traveled with a cooler and had to move the bed to use the porta-potty. We had a VHF radio, added a new stereo and had no GPS. We learned to use paper charts, parallel rules, dividers and our compass. We learned “dead reckoning” and we learned boating experience, mostly through the mistakes we made. And we learned what we wanted (not necessarily needed) in our next boat.

“Back then”, we were averaging 100-150 hours per season on the ocean, traveling and exploring the near-coastal waters from Bar Harbor to New York City; gas prices were in the $1 per gallon range. Then we began developing our plan to retire; we would buy a big boat, travel to Lighthouse Point in Florida for the winters and return back to the Merrimack River in the summers. We found the big boat, and for the past ten seasons we had learned to cruise with her, in preparation for our adventure trip to Florida. When we said goodbye to this “HalfMine” last month, my mate said that that boat was our dream. I replied that the boat was only part of the dream, and that we bought it to follow our dream to Florida. Things change and dreams change and we now realize this fact. We also know that we have, today, far more than what we had when we first dreamed up that plan. And we’ve always known that there is nothing wrong with a half-baked idea, as long as it is still cooking.

Last week, we looked at a 2003, 38’ Silverton convertible named “Done Dreaming”; we liked everything about the boat, just not the name. Also, it was only located in New Jersey, so the trip from there to the Merrimack River would not be that much of an adventure. We are now hoping to find our next big boat (“HalfMine”) in Florida while on vacation there for the month of March. If we do, we will buy it, fly back down and take a leisurely trip back north; it will just be in the opposite direction of our original plan. After all, we are “Never Done Dreaming”, and the idea is still cooking. We will keep you informed as we continue our journey.

Or, like we always say, “Nothing is quite as much fun as learning something new”, so… though we may not have enough patience, maybe, just maybe, we will try SAILING!

the little man

Captain Robert Brown

First Mate Louise

IMG_1345   Post Pics.2015 003

Posted by: nauticalchronicles | August 17, 2015

JUST A BUNCH OF DINGHIES

NAUTICAL CHRONICLES:

Just a Bunch of Dinghies

Do you remember the line from the Beatles’ “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album that goes “It was twenty years ago today; Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play…”? That song has very little to do with this story other than:

  • Music and boating are integral parts of each other; you can’t have one without the other, and
  • Our “Run to the Crescent” (aka: The Dinghy Run) just completed its 19th year. As part of the original trio of boats that began this “tradition” on the Merrimack River back in 1997, we think we may call it quits on its twentieth anniversary next year; maybe someone else will take the lead and keep this event alive in the future; it would be well worth it.

Each year, Newburyport, MA has Yankee Homecoming Week. It is always held the last week of July and includes the two weekends. This is a great draw for visiting boaters and has grown over the years. The week’s events culminate with an outstanding display of fireworks on the last Saturday of the event. The Merrimack River waters are loaded with anchored and moored boats to witness this event. Reminiscent of our trips to the Charles River for the July 4th display, Newburyport harbor becomes a maze of various sized vessels making our “boating weekend”, as local slip-holders, a stay-at-home type of pause from our normal lets-get-going, seek-and-travel type of outing.

Nineteen years ago this past Saturday, August 1st, Ken and Julie of the “Julie V” invited Paul and Deb of “Absolutly Two” and Louise and me from “HalfMine” to join them on what turned out to be a voyage of epic proportions, by inflatable raft, up the Merrimack River thirteen miles to Haverhill, MA, to visit his various haunts; an instructional tour of Haverhill. One of those haunts, of which is he a member, is the Crescent Yacht Club. Since the big boats were locked in place in Newburyport due to the festivities, and since we wanted to be back for the fireworks, this seemed to everyone to be a viable boating alternative for the day.

Sunscreen was liberally applied, bathing suits were donned and beverages were loaded into coolers. Our trio of inflatables took to the water around 9:00 AM with no ambitions other than returning by 9:00 PM for the fireworks. As is usually the case with these “great ideas”…we were naive as to what was in store for us.

We made the run to Haverhill in just under three hours. We made some discoveries along the way: we needed to bring more than four beverages apiece; we needed to bring an empty red solo cup; two and  three-gallon gas tanks were not large enough for this voyage; a six-horse Johnson should be at least 9.9 HP minimum; foam seats covers on the wood dinghy seats would be a plus; seatbelts would also be a plus; regardless of the weather forecast, rain gear is recommended; always bring a floating, neoprene tow rope; and finally, never, ever go too fast over the wake of another boat.

We were very lucky on this initial voyage that the weather was agreeable and that on the return trip we had a low tide in the river allowing for swimming on the sandbars which was a welcome diversion from driving the boats for this distance (since we had no foam seat covers). We made it back by 5:00 PM. We were also lucky that this was a pleasant and memorable journey; enough so that we would like to do the same thing again next year…and so the “tradition” was born.

Kenny had introduced us to all the folks at the Crescent Yacht Club. They had enjoyed our visit and our stories of the trip up. The year following our initial visit, Kenny, as the club member, was not able to go with us, but we had convinced some other “great pretenders” to try out this new use of a nice day on the water, and The Crescent had agreed to allow us to return though we weren’t members. Five rafts made the second trip for music, cold drinks and $1 hotdogs. Once again, the voyage turned out to be of epic proportions. This was the occasion on which I discovered that going too fast over the wake of another boat had, as yet, undiscovered consequences. Perry and Dot of “Off Duty” were following us when the event occurred. I remember his exact words to Dot: “look; Brown just bounced out of the boat!” Interestingly enough, my mate sitting in front of me never noticed I was missing; my lanyard was not attached to the motors kill switch so the boat continued for quite some time before she realized I was no longer with it (or her). These are the types of lessons needed to learn what not to do when boating; I was lucky no damages were done, and we all learned… “We won’t do that again” (right!).

By 2000, we had grown the event to include eight boats and thought it would be a nice idea to have T-shirts for this now-annual trek. Louise, as a classroom elementary art teacher, had acquired a fair quantity of T’s she could use as smocks for the kid’s painting lessons. She, in fact, had more than she needed. One of her parents had donated a quantity of left over shirts from the 1st annual Amesbury Pig Roast; sixteen to be exact. They were of varying sizes and were all nicely lettered; they were bright orange and were perfect for “The Run”. Unfortunately, some of the sizes did not exactly fit some of the bodies. With the addition of shirts, the annual run truly became an event.

By 2004, the event had grown to twenty-five boats with over fifty participants, all wearing coordinated T-shirts. The Crescent Yacht Club had continued to host our visits as well as put up with our antics. We now provided shirts for our hosts as well as our participants. We also needed to charge, minimally, just to cover the costs. Our original founding members had changed marinas which now allowed for “word-of-mouth” advertising to spread to a larger number of folks. Of course, with the increased number of participants, the antics increased, the music increased, games were created…the reputation of our event was spreading and individuals in the group photos were becoming less and less recognizable as the cameras needed to be further and further away.

By 2010, we had to give up the “two, free-drink” coupons we gave each year with the shirts; a minor infraction by one of our participants occurred on the return trip involving the local constabulary which necessitated this action…another lesson learned. On the up side though, by 2004 we had begun making regular contributions to the Susan G. Komen organization for their efforts into breast cancer research; two of our close boating friends had recently lost their daughter to this disease. Because of these contributions, many boaters who didn’t even attend the event bought shirts in support of the cause.

Unfortunately, this year’s event, 2015, was also bittersweet. Just weeks before our scheduled event, we lost a long-time participant, a long-time boater, a captain and friend. Bill Casey from River’s Edge Marina lost his two-plus year fight with Multiple Myeloma. He was 59, had always been active at work, in sports and boating. Bill and Pam of “Sea n’ Sea” had not missed an event since they began participating fourteen years ago. This year’s run was dedicated to Bill and to Dana Farber’s research efforts to combat this terrible disease. Captain Bill…please rest in peace in that “one particular harbor” Jimmy Buffett told us about.

The 2015 “Run to the Crescent” garnered:

  • A record number of boats, 71, made this Voyage of Epic Proportions.
  • A record number of boaters, 225+, were in attendance at The Crescent Yacht Club on Saturday.
  • A record number of T-shirts, 375, were sold.
  • A record amount of money, $4,800, was contributed to the Dana Farber Multiple Myeloma research unit…in memory of Captain Bill Casey.

Special thanks go out to all who participated in this event this year, and especially to The Crescent Yacht Club in Haverhill for their contribution and for allowing us to continue this tradition which we began twenty years ago next July 30th, 2016. All are welcome to join us next year; you can’t miss us; we’ll be the large boating group gathered in front of the Newburyport Yacht Club in the Merrimack River in our inflatables…playing “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band” and “It Was Twenty Years Ago Today”.

Captain Robert Brown

First Mate Louise

the little man

2001  2015

original mates 2004  Founding mothers 2015

Pig Roast 2000  T-shirts 2015

Crescent Yacht Club 2015  back at the docks after

room full 2015  Capt Bill & mate Pam

Posted by: nauticalchronicles | February 9, 2015

COVE PRINCESS

  NAUTICAL CHRONICLES:

Cove Princess

Ultimately, this is a story about a boat. But it has to start as a story about our marina…Cove Marina, Salisbury, Massachusetts. For nineteen of our twenty years boating, we have begun our journeys from here and, more or less, have ended each voyage back here, at our marina.

He bought the marina in 1995. Prior to his purchasing the marina, the clientele at Cove was made up mostly of go-fast boats and late-night loud, wild parties which have made for some memorable stories on the docks, but which also made for some serious interest on his part in…changing the clientele. One of his first actions as a new business owner was to change the marina sign to: “COVE MARINA; A FAMILY MARINA”.

During the two years prior to our arrival at Cove, he had made the changes necessary to begin recognizing his vision of a “FAMILY MARINA”. There were more families, more building of friendships and there was more, generally accepted boating fun. There remained some outrageous dock antics, parties, and barely acceptable activities. “A” and “B” docks became noted for large boats, their owners and families. They were considered and considered themselves “stand-offish” from the “C” and “D” dock smaller boat owners (owners of smaller boats; not necessarily smaller owners); owners of cruisers and small fishing boats, who were still prone to more partying (when my mate and I appeared on the scene, we of course headed for “C” dock!)

During our 18 year tenure at Cove, we have seen him sometimes quietly, sometimes not so quietly, change his marina to what we all now recognize as a true family marina. There is no longer a disparity between the docks. It is a place where everyone gathers and interacts socially; where we all stay at night and meet at night to socialize; where many children (and now grandchildren) participate in boating activities and social events; where the docks are seldom void of boaters coming, going or just “messing about with boats”. At the office, he has an assortment of life jackets available for children of all ages and pets of all sizes; he provides a playground and grassed yard area which are both well-used. He and his wife Deb even created a small, fenced pet area with free “doggy doody” bags and a very-real fire hydrant. The only discord now is: “OK; who didn’t clean up after their dog?” We counted 23 dogs this past summer on our side of the docks alone. The entrance ramp (we have only one) is often the scene of pet greetings and confrontations; this provides us with constant entertainment and enjoyment.

Somewhere along his journey of marina development, he found that he had more available time on his hands; he decided to purchase and restore a damaged, broken, impaired, old wooden boat…and this is where the boat part of the story begins.

She is a 1957, 18’ Chris-Craft Holiday (traditionally, boats have been named after women; my mate took exception to my announcement today that this should be true, especially for “old wooden boats”!) and her name is “COVE PRINCESS”. The restoration process, only now that she has been restored, can be described as a true labor of love.

DSCF0551  1957 Chris Craft

Some great things were happening in 1957: Eisenhower was President, the ’57 Chevy was produced, American Bandstand premiered, Buddy Holly & the Crickets recorded “That’ll Be the Day” and Elvis recorded “White Christmas”. “Maverick”, “Perry Mason” and “Leave It to Beaver” were introduced on television…and Chris-Craft was continuing its tradition of crafting fine wooden boats.

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Coupe  1957 Daytona Beach

Time Line:

“1861-74:  The Company that is now referred to as Chris-Craft, was started on Point du Chene, in Algonac, Michigan, a small town on the St. Clair River. It was here that Christopher Columbus Smith built his first boat in 1874 at the age of 13. These “Smith-built” boats were referred to as “punts” or “skiffs.” With his reputation growing as a master boat builder, Chris joined with his brother Hank in 1881 to begin producing boats full time. As demand for their dependable hunting craft increased, the duo started building boats in rapid succession, laying the ground work for their future as builders of “standardized runabouts.” (History Timeline; Chris-Craft website: www.chriscraft.com).

During World War II, Chris-Craft built over 10,000 landing craft for the war effort, and a Chris-Craft was one of the first boats to land US troops on the beaches of Normandy. In 1960, the family moved the company from Michigan to Pompano Beach, Florida; in 1981 the family sold the boat division.

Christopher Columbus Smith 1861-1939

In 1861 when Christopher Columbus Smith was born, Abe Lincoln had just been elected, and the Civil War had just begun…and the Wild West was still wild. Chris’s son Jay eventually became president & CEO; in 1958 Chris’s grandson became president & CEO. The company remained in the family until 1981. Chris was considered to be “a founding father of power boating”, putting motors into boats at about the same time Henry Ford was considering putting motors into vehicles. Both men had the vision of standardizing and mass producing their respective vehicles. Chris died in 1939 at the age of 78, but his vision and his legacy have certainly lived on.

In 1971, Chris-Craft produced its final wooden boat; a 57’ Constellation. After production of this boat, Fiberglas was then and is currently being used exclusively on all new Chris-Craft models.

The “COVE PRINCESS” has been “mostly” completed. There are always things which can be done on her. We’ve asked him on numerous occasions what his plans are for her. He thinks he should probably sell her, but he certainly won’t get what he’s got into her. Is she listed, we ask? “No”.

My first mate has many ideas on how she should be used: boat rides during Yankee Homecoming week (proceeds to go to Susan G. Komen), put on display in the parking lot so everyone can see and enjoy her, T-shirts should be made (proceeds to go to the marina) or just maybe a trip to Squam Lake in Holderness, NH so that Katharine Hepburn can again ask Henry Fonda “how fast can this tub go?” (1981; “On Golden Pond”; 1950, 22’ Chris-Craft Sportsman). We know that this will never happen; “COVE PRINCESS” will never taste salt water or the briny water from the Merrimack River. She will only see fresh water, and then only once or twice a year, maybe at a show. My mate will be very lucky just to get a ride.

After his “labor of love” restoration of “COVE PRINCESS”, he thought getting another damaged, broken, impaired, old wooden boat (old being the operative word here) would be a good idea (all those who know him and know the amount of work needed to restore the “PRINCESS” question: HOW  could he think this was a good idea?). He found, what was left of, a 1928, 24’ Chris-Craft Runabout and he hurried to purchase her.

In 1928, Archie & Edith Bunker sang that “Those were the days…” and “Gee our old LaSalle ran great” And “Mister we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again” elected in November of that year (All in the Family theme song; “Those Were the Days”; by Strouse and Adams).  Amos & Andy were on the radio, scotch tape was first marketed, the first TV sold for $75, Mickey Mouse made his first appearance, Boston Garden officially opened and Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, Al Jolson and Duke Ellington were topping the charts.

1928 LeSalle Model 303 Convertable Coupe    Boston Garden

His 24-footer as we call her (there may be a “name-that-boat” contest this summer although he is leaning toward QUEEN OF THE COVE) has no “before and after photos”; just “before and during” photos; a labor of love in progress. Several of us, boaters from the marina, have been privileged to help with her restoration. And we all agree, while helping out, that this journey is absolutely nothing we would ever embark on ourselves…it takes a certain kind of individual to attempt this type of project, and even after all these years at our marina, we are still not certain what type of individual that is. What we do know is that there is a determination, a dedication, a vision and a definite way of doing things required to restore these classic vessels, and to own and run a marina.

length overall is what      1929 24' Chris Craft Triple-Cockpit Runabout

“Oh, and just by the way”, His name is Brian. He is the sole owner of his marina and we are very happy to be part of his marina family. We think, but are not certain, that “COVE PRINCESS” is for sale. The only thing we know for certain…she is in perfect running condition, and has a show-ready fit and finish; but she definitely needs a new trailer.

We think that the buyer will most likely have to pay for that themselves.

the little man

Captain Robert Brown,

First Mate Louise

Posted by: nauticalchronicles | December 30, 2014

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,900 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 32 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted by: nauticalchronicles | December 1, 2014

TO HELL GATE AND BACK

NAUTICAL CHRONICLES:

To Hell Gate and Back

Power & Motoryacht Magazine recently named their top twenty-five marinas in North America. Reviewing the list prompted us to recall our visits to several of them. Now that our children are living “On the Jersey Shore”, we are making plans to re-trace some of our steps.

Our original adventure began in Salisbury, Massachusetts at Cove Marina (one of our top twenty-five marinas) and was planned as a two-week boating vacation. After meticulously planning our voyage, “HalfMine” and twelve of our closest boating friends, with their boats, escaped from the Merrimack River breakwater in July and turned south. Our armada of seven boats included “HalfMine”, “Desperado”, “Capricorn Two”, “Magic”, “Sea Duck”, “Out Of Service” and, of course, “Hoar’n Around” (we never go anywhere without our friends Erik & Victoria H.). Our boat sizes ranged from 28’ to 42’, and were manned by well-seasoned crews, all well acquainted with challenging boat trips and challenging conditions of epic proportions. This appeared to be just such a trip…we were headed for NEW YORK CITY!

Our first stop was the Charles River in Boston for the 4th of July. Our stories have already been written and published about these annual treks (we now have seven to our credit). On this trip, suffice it to say, we lost our first traveling companions; Peter and Mary on “Out of Service”. When a sudden storm blew into and through the river, accompanied by  high winds and pelting rains, their boat broke free of the anchorage, drifted back toward the Longfellow Bridge, collided with and nicely banked off of the Giant Glass yacht, then ricocheted into the sight-seeing vessel “Hannah Glover” out of Salem, both of which were anchored for the firework display. This episode caused considerable damage to the “Out Of Service” hull; the Giant Glass yacht and “Hannah Glover” were unharmed. After effecting suitable but unsightly repairs to their hull, Peter and Mary were forced to abandon the trip and return to Cove Marina; they were extremely lucky not to have been forced to abandon their vessel.

After two nights on the Charles River, our remaining fleet headed for the Cape Cod Canal and Buzzards Bay. After refueling in Sandwich (only three of our boats; the remaining three had to stop in Onset; Sandwich had run out of fuel!) we headed for our remaining over-night stops in Woods Hole, MA, Newport, RI, Mystic Seaport and Milford, CT, with our final destination being Liberty Landing in NJ. On our return trip, we had scheduled stops in Montauk, NY as well as Old Saybrook, CT.

Our biggest concern from the very start of this adventure was: navigating Hell Gate in the East River in New York City. This narrow tidal strait on the East River had been reported to us as a serious challenge to our boating skills; we were wary of making this passage on our way to Jersey.

In an effort to keep this story about our journey from becoming too much of “just a travelogue”, we have elected to mention just a few of the highlights we encountered (endured) during our two-week excursion.

  • After leaving Mystic Seaport, we lost our second and third traveling companions. Due to heavy seas in Long Island Sound, “Capricorn Two” took some heavy water over her bow, causing the forward hatch to separate from the hinges, thus losing the glass hatch-cover overboard. The captain, Matty, chose correctly to reverse course and return, slowly and cautiously to Sandwich to effect repairs. From there he would make further plans, but he was not continuing on to NYC. Matty’s good friends aboard “Sea Duck”, Skip and Kathy, also chose to accompany them back to safer waters. Their adventures were to continue, just in another direction.
  • Our remaining four boats continued east through Long Island sound watching as Long Island and Connecticut came closer together, eventually putting Throgs Neck Bridge into our scope of vision. “Desperado” was leading the way. However, as she approached the bridge, it became apparent to the vessels following her that she was heading into the shallow waters just north of the bridge opening. After hailing her to avoid this area, we were informed that she had noted some “GPS issues”. We believe there may have been “human error” involved as well.
  • After passing under the Throgs Neck Bridge, we began our approach to the much feared and horrifically reputed…”HELL GATE”. The report of this highly anticipated encounter is hereby saved as a conclusion to our trips log. Of note, however, is that our friends Frank and Cheryl aboard “Magic” turned around before getting to Hell Gate; they said they needed to cut the trip short; Frank’s construction business needed him back, but…we believe they were very apprehensive about “the upcoming passage”.
  • It is difficult to explain the emotions we encountered as we proceeded down the East River, noticing the lack of any boat traffic while watching the slow-moving, constant and harrowing vehicular traffic along the coast. It was a most pleasant, quiet boating experience, passing Riker’s Island, the UN building, making our way to the tip of Manhattan as we cruised between it and Governor’s Island. As we entered the channel to the Hudson River, we saw the Statue of Liberty. Boat traffic remained minimal as we circled the statue, took our photographs and passed close to Ellis Island on our way to our slips. We easily entered Liberty Harbor in Jersey City and proceeded to Liberty Landing Marina (justifiably one of PMY’s top-25 marinas in North America). We were certainly looking forward to our three nights at the marina as well as the three days of sight-seeing adventures in New York Harbor, New Jersey and New York City.
  •  The night-lights of Manhattan as viewed from Jersey City and Hoboken are indescribable; photos can only begin to describe the view, but photos are inadequate. It can only be seen to be fully enjoyed. One of our nights was very pleasant with warm temperatures, an extremely calm Hudson River and very clear skies. We decided to take our small inflatable dinghies “just to the mouth of Liberty Harbor” to better see the lights of the city. When we got to the mouth, it remained calm, clear and warm. We decided to continue “just a little further” out into the Hudson. Much to the disapproval of our mates, we continued across the width of the Hudson where we saw a large yacht docked at North Cove Yacht Harbor on Manhattan. We believe the yacht belonged to Chevy Chase, but we have been unable to confirm this belief…we may have “bumped into it” with our inflatables, by accident of course.
  • Our trip to NYC was during the summer of 2001; we have a picture of us, wearing our Statue of Liberty hats, on our dock at Liberty Landing…with the Twin Towers in the background. We have other pictures of the Towers as well. Little did we realize how soon they would be gone.

NYC before 911

  • Our return trip held many notable experiences, especially our stay at Star Island Yacht Club and Marina in Lake Montauk at the tip of Long Island. All we can say in this essay is that several of our experiences in Montauk we found to be strange and weird…more to follow in the future. The Club did not make the PMY top twenty-five list, but in our view it should have.
  • What we thought would be our final stop on our journey home was Between The Bridges Marina in Old Saybrook, CT. This also did not make the top twenty-five. Justifiably, we were worn out when we arrived late in the evening. Gang ways or gang planks are required to get onto and off of your boat while docked at this marina. We did not bring a gang plank with us. When we asked about this, we were instructed that we could use any on the docks not being used by another boat; we borrowed one for the one night. Subsequent to our “borrowing”, we were informed by the owner of the gang plank that they were NOT community property and that NO WAY were we to use HIS. The marina was pretty well empty (this being a Wednesday night); he may well have been the only owner who came by to check his boat. To say the least, this encounter by two, other-wise calm and collected individuals, was loud, obnoxious and unacceptable by any standards. This was not an enjoyable “last stop” to our vacation. It was, however, notable.
  • And, it did not turn out to be our last stop. Entering the Cape Cod Canal from the west was rough but did not present a problem. As we approached the east side however, the seas looked extremely challenging. We did exit the canal and proceed north toward our home port; the seas disagreed with us during this effort. Late in the afternoon, we abandoned our efforts outside of Scituate. We entered the harbor and obtained moorings for the night. We were done-in, beat up and done with the trip; we only wanted to get home and sea conditions were preventing us from doing that. We did not enjoy Scituate as much as we could have, had we not been forced to take refuge. We ate dinner ashore and went to bed early. The morning came and the sea showed no remorse for us; it was again too rough to leave the moorings. We stayed an additional night; luckily, we were able to return home in the morning. Our return was uneventful and landfall at our home port in Salisbury was gratefully appreciated…we were glad to be home.

There were many more stories developed during this two-week vacation trip to New York City; more than can be told here. With little doubt, this was a trip of epic proportions which we will all remember…forever; especially those of us who completed the entire journey: “Desperado”, “HalfMine” and our friends on “Hoar’n Around”.

the little man

Captain Robert Brown

First Mate Louise

Oh; I forgot…”HELL GATE”! Of all the experiences we had on this voyage, Hell Gate was the most forgettable; totally anti-climactic. The “narrow tidal strait” was so calm we almost missed it; we knew we had been through it only when we identified the Hell Gate Bridge. Either we are totally missing something here or those who call this “a challenging area” have never been through the mouth of the Merrimack River when it is rough…and it is rough most of the time.

Posted by: nauticalchronicles | April 2, 2014

WEDDINGS AND SCATTERINGS

NAUTICAL CHRONICLES:
Weddings and Scatterings

Our time on the water is spent mostly cruising to exotic ports, anchoring and mooring with close friends and other famous celebs, aimlessly hovering around the docks making up projects to do (tinkering), swimming and snorkeling off of the many beaches and sandbars available to us. Our evenings, when not underway, are generally spent singing, dancing and in celebration of our extreme good fortune to be able to do all of these things we love and enjoy…in celebration of living. That’s just what we do.

On occasion, however, we (my mate and I) have the opportunity to do things out of the ordinary. For instance, not too long ago, we were asked to perform a “wedding at sea”. Shortly after that, we were asked if we could participate in a wedding by bringing a wedding party, via the bow of our boat, to the wedding site in Newburyport, providing a “grand entrance” of sorts for the crooning couple soon to be officially coupled. And then one day…we were asked if we could help in remembering a loved one who had passed away by spreading their ashes at sea. On these occasions, we are truly thankful to be a part of our boating community.

As is usually the case, I need to explain some things before I can continue expanding on these stories.

Years ago, when I was “in banking”, it became necessary to represent the bank in legal matters (small claims court, mortgage foreclosures, repossessions…); some of these matters required me to become a Notary Public and a Justice of the Peace in New Hampshire. I have maintained these licenses, in good standing, since then. And they have come in handy on many occasions, mostly for friends needing free or almost free notary services (there was a time notaries could charge no more than fifty cents for their service…but, I digress).

Eventually it happened. Many years after leaving the banking profession, Louise’s friend Lindsey was planning her wedding and asked if I could be the officiant since I was a licensed JP. This was a surprise to say the least. I had never done a wedding but had done some public speaking; it would be a challenge but everyone agreed it would be a grand idea. And it was…a grand idea and a lot of fun. There were only two glitches; one: I pronounced their names “Lick & Din” instead of “Dick & Lin” (I got away with it; it looked like it was done on purpose), and two: I cried during the vows. What can I say; I cry at weddings.
Lynn Z & Bob Z
Since that first ceremony, I have performed almost two dozen weddings (at least three of which have been for Lindsey…she does enjoy getting married!)

On a sunny, cloudless day at the docks, as Louise and I were untying the lines, ready to motor “HalfMine” out of the Merrimack River toward parts yet unknown, our good friend Adam stopped long enough to help with the lines…and to ask if we would like to perform his wedding service…on his boat…in two weeks…at sea! I thanked Adam and asked if we could talk further on Sunday when we return. He said, “Sure” (pronounced “showa”).

And so began the planning for Adam and Hannah’s wedding at sea. To be sure, this was to be a spectacular event with the reception to be held at Cove Marina under a large tent with all of the boat owners and their guests, as well as all the family members and their guests. We planned on using “HalfMine” for the ceremony instead of his boat; I planned on wearing my Captain’s uniform (though I did find to my surprise that captains cannot legally officiate unless they are otherwise legally recognized as clergy or justices…but again I digress); Louise was to captain our vessel while the ceremony was being performed.

Our “wedding at sea” was a great success. Only the wedding party was on board. We motored a mile off Hampton’s north beach (since the marriage license had been issued in Hampton the marriage needed to be performed in New Hampshire); Louise drove flawlessly; the weather was agreeable and the seas were calm and very quiet allowing the ceremony to be intimate and meaningful. A champagne toast followed the pronouncement…and a beautiful bouquet of flowers was floated on the picturesque New Hampshire coastal waters. We marked our position on our GPS to remember this event when we again travel this way.

We returned to Cove Marina to the multitude of well-wishers and to an outstanding catered reception. It was a memorable event, for Adam and Hannah, and for the Captain and Mate.

Officiant Bob

Sometime later, well after this wedding, another boating friend asked if we would participate in a similar wedding, only this time we would bring the wedding party, by boat, to the Newburyport town dock; we would not be officiating. The bride and groom would have their ceremony performed on the town common and ours was to be a grand entrance for them. We agreed and made our plans accordingly (my uniform had been freshly cleaned, starched and pressed). On the day of the wedding, the weather did not accommodate us. The Merrimack River was showing whitecaps, rain was threatening and the wind was blowing…”hard now, 60 knots or there a bouts” per J. Buffett. The wedding was able to be performed, and the reception was held under the tent at the marina, but the wedding party decided against the grand entrance by boat. My mate and I were sorely disappointed, but could only imagine what the bride and groom might have looked like on their arrival to the town dock had they chosen to arrive by boat.

A year ago, we received a phone call from Kara and Peter in California. Kara’s mother Elinore is Louise’s closest cousin and one of her few remaining relatives. Louise and I attended Kara and Peter’s wedding with Elinore in San Francisco and have since become very close. They have all visited us many times over the years, and have spent many enjoyable nights and days on our boat.

Elinor's wedding with Louise attending  Louise & Kara Peter & Kara

Kara’s call was that Elinore had passed away after a long battle with dementia. Elinore’s last wishes were that she be cremated and returned to New England, and that her ashes be spread on the water off her beloved New England coast. Could they please make plans to come visit us in the summer and bring Elinore with them? The call came in December; they planned their visit for the following July.

When the boating season commenced last year, we of course mentioned this upcoming ceremony to several of our boating friends. As is usually the case, one of them had performed such an observance on his boat. Jim (Just the Accountant) and his wife Carol own a boat similar to ours and had been asked to do a similar celebration of life for a friend’s mother. As boaters, we always appreciate input from our fellow boaters about all matters of importance, and we always get input whether we want it or not. In this case, Jim’s input was invaluable.

While at sea, off the coast of Salisbury, Jim captained his vessel an appropriate distance off-shore, cut the motors and prepared for the farewell ritual. Words were spoken by family members and tears were shed. He brought the urn to the side of the boat, removed the top and slowly poured the ashes onto the surface of the water. Unfortunately, the wind was such that many of the ashes returned to the cockpit of the boat, onto the family members and adhering to their tears. Jim’s was a lesson well learned and well appreciated by the crew of “HalfMine” and one to be avoided in the future.

Kara and Peter arrived, as scheduled, in July. They stayed for ten days, most of which we spent on the boat. When we get together, which is much too infrequently, we truly do have a celebration of life; this visit was no exception; except that we were really celebrating Elinore’s life and her return to New England.

We chose the best day of their visit. We invited a few of our close boating friends to attend. We headed out of the Merrimack River and turned north. We settled on a spot between the Isles of Shoals and the north beach of Hampton, NH. The weather was perfect; hot and sunny, and the seas were calm and very quiet allowing the ceremony to be intimate and meaningful. Words were spoken by Kara and Louise and tears were shed by all. A Jameson Irish Whiskey toast followed the ceremony…and a beautiful wreath of flowers was floated on the picturesque New Hampshire coastal waters in remembrance of a life well lived. We marked our position on our GPS to remember this event when we again travel this way…”Elinore”.

Elinor's spot

Last week, our daughter, Jennifer, was blessed with another lovely baby girl. She named her Eleanor Grace in memory of our other Elinore.

Louise with Eleanor

Captain Robert Brown
First Mate Louise

the little man

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: nauticalchronicles | January 29, 2014

NEW DIRECTIONS

NAUTICAL CHRONICLES:

New Directions

I have found, and not for nothing, that irregardless of what I do, at the end of the day, it is what it is and surprisingly, retirement hasn’t changed this concept much.

Louise says I’m between jobs. I know I’ve always been between jobs. When I had long-term jobs (lasting longer than two years), I was between that job and the next one. After college, when I started working “full time”, my career path lasted three years; two years in one state (teaching) and one year in another (also teaching).  I’ve had two jobs which lasted a day or less. Once when I had a really long-term job (eight years constructing) it was made up of lots of short-term jobs (five months each, constructing in many different states). Another time, I actually had a career-type job for six years, but changed positions four times (collector and repo man, head of collections, loan officer, and assistant vice president). I really liked owning a motel for nine years, but that wasn’t really a job so it doesn’t count.

I guess, to be honest, I tend to get tired of the status quo. I like to mix things up some; a “change-is-good” type attitude. Venture forth on new adventures.

Or I can stay in bed. Louise really doesn’t like it when I stay in bed.

End of the trip

Staying in bed has its advantages though. I think clearly while lying in bed. Many quirky ideas are developed while on the edge of a dream, in the middle of the bed…alone. Some of these ideas even have merit. My methods for leaving most of my jobs have been outlined in my head while in bed; planning for new jobs has also been done while on the edge of sleep. I find it easier to clear my mind in bed, while not being burdened with the necessity of thinking about other things, like leaving a job or getting a new one. Being in bed is less stressful than working.  Eventually, I get a good idea and can’t wait to do something about it…so I get up.

Once upon a time when I attended a business management seminar, Professor Earl Brooks, then of Cornell University said, “There is nothing wrong with a half-baked idea…as long as it’s still cooking”. I keep this concept close to my heart.

Lots of half-baked ideas come about while still in bed near the edge of sleep, while on the edge of a dream.

Today for example, my idea was to buy all our condos; all twenty-eight of them. If I pay $350,000 for each, renovate, make them an exclusive “gated” community and sell each for $500,000, after expenses I could net $3.8 million. Louise just rolled her eyes with that “what…are you out of your mind” kind of look. The “something getting in my way” of course, is the $9.8 million I need to buy them in the first place.

All of which led to another fleeting thought; when buying a house (or condo), always have at least one bathtub; never buy a place with just showers; you never know when you’ll need a sits-bath for your hemorrhoids.

And of course, a bar is everyone’s good idea of a job. Mine would have good hours; 1pm-1am, maybe three or four days a week; no food (well maybe just burgers so we don’t have to go out for lunch; I would have to hire someone to cook them though). Maybe in the islands or in Florida…somewhere where “the weather’s hot, the drinks are cold and we don’t know the players” (per Sonny Crockett: Miami Vice).

A party boat charter has crossed my mind (no fishing); but I would need another captain since I would want to be part of the party.

So, I’m heading back to the islands; maybe the vacated settlement on Salt Island, just to contemplate what the demise of Autley was and what has become of his good friend Calvin Smith who created his memorial; maybe I’ll “live in the islands, fishing the highlands and drink my Green Label each day” as suggested by J. Buffett…and be perfectly happy writing.

Autley on Salt Island

Then later I’ll write: “Alas my dear friends, you may take pleasure in knowing that I am no longer just kicking back on the island, this tiny spit of sand and scrub. I am venturing forth to a larger island, a larger spit of sand and scrub…one with a liquor store; I’ve run out of Green Label”.

My Motivational Inspiration

I am motivated to write by the fact that, after each short story is completed, I reward myself with “just one short shot” of Jameson Irish Whiskey (I do the same thing when I perform weddings).  This is one of the reasons I wish to become prolific in my writing (and my performance of weddings).  Hopefully, the stories will continue to be the same length (or longer); I don’t want the stories to become so short that the rewards come too frequently. And hopefully the weddings will become more plentiful.

Most of these ideas won’t work. Louise certainly won’t go along with me or the ideas. Maybe I could convince one of the kids to go along with one of the ideas (especially the bar), but that would be dereliction of duty on their part; they all have a lot on their plates. And, let’s face it; if I were to venture forth on an adventure by myself, I would miss my family and friends. So here I will stay, between jobs; the small spit of sand and scrub, only in my mind (and maybe, in reality, on select weeks during the winter months when we actually can venture forth to warmer climates; maybe even this year with our really good friends, Steve and Jenn).

the little man

Captain Robert Brown

PS: Recently, Louise got me a part-time job helping to manage condominium associations…what a surprise (said sarcastically); I knew I would not be “between jobs” for very long!

PPS: What does any of this have to do with boating or with chronicling nautical stuff?

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