A number of cool things happened in July. First up, Charlie Enright and Co. made history as the first American flagged yacht to win The Ocean Race. Second, for the first time a woman, Cole Brauer, posted the fastest elapsed time in the singlehanded leg of the Bermuda One-Two. She and teammate Cat Chimney followed it up by taking line honors in the doublehanded leg. [That historic moment was actually in June. – Ed.]
I often wonder what the best “cradle” is for accomplishment in our sport. Here in Connecticut, while the season is relatively short, we’re fortunate to have really neat day cruising grounds in and around the Norwalk Islands. Recently, we were tucked into Cockenoe Harbor, anchored up in the southeast corner. All manner of birdlife were putting on quite a show. Astern was the typical scene that this little cove is known for. Over in the southwest corner, a local yacht broker was hosting his typical Sunday rendezvous with five or more late-model Pursuits, Regulators and such, all rafted together, stern to the beach. And while it would be low-hanging fruit to snark about the four thousand horses attached to the back of this fleet, they are really good at this mode of boating. Built-in grills a-cooking, blenders a-whirring, and large handfuls of kids swimming, laughing, playing King of the Floatie, and some on the beach, exploring the island with trusty water dogs. And there were plenty of PFDs in sight, along with a three-to-one ratio of watchful adults lounging on the floating islands. The rest of the harbor was packed with other types of power craft, some old and some new. Some adult couples were quietly reading under a bimini and some boats had raucous, barely drinking-age kids cranking music and generally having too much fun.
Being upwind of all of this, in a secluded nook of the cove, I observed a mast motoring in through the cut. This is rare. At high tide, there is only 10 feet at most, and at about an hour before low, the place will be empty. This prompted a reach for the binos. With main flaked on the crutched boom and the jib on the foredeck, electric motoring in was a very old Flying Scot. On the bow was the oldest of three kids, a girl of about 12, holding the anchor and directing helmsman Dad to the best spot to drop it. Only a bit of argument came from Mates #2 and #3 standing with her, boys about 10 and 7. With a mighty toss, the anchor was deployed and the fun began. Dad and Mom sat in the cockpit grinning, noshing and reading as the kids leapt off the bow. They did this time after time until racing around the Scot on various buoyant devices became more fun. After an hour or so, lunch was formally served and after some quiet eating time, lifejackets were put back on, the anchor was retrieved and the Scot was gliding back out of the cove.
As I watched them I heard Dad speak, and it was a distinctly French accent. I wondered if those kids would grow up to be French or American sailors. Then I thought about the raft up of very American powerboats and remembered that one of their number has a level headed and quite joyous teenage boy who will be representing us at the 29er Worlds this month, and that he had spent many hours playing King of the Floatie himself.
So I guess all is not lost. Congrats again to 11th Hour Racing Team, Cole and Cat, and hopefully to water-loving kids all over the Northeast.
See you on the water,
Benjamin V. Cesare