I’m guilty, but it’s not my fault! Summer is over. It was officially, astronomically over last month. So why do I get grief? It’s because I am in charge of my neighborhood’s docks. And when I decide that the weather really is going to turn into nonstop northeasterlies which beat up our east-facing pier, pilings, and docks, then I have to do what I have to do. Even though we live on an island of 109 homes, most of the neighbors are not boaters. They are swimmers and they like the docks. And the water is still warm. And there are still six or seven boats on their moorings in our little anchorage. In fact, the only neighbor who has pulled his boat is the most experienced boater in the hood. “So Ben! Why are you pulling the docks? It was 77 degrees and sunny on October 2nd and we are hoping for more of the same!” And that’s why I’m known as the man who killed summer.
But from a content perspective, October has turned out to be just plain stellar. And nobody can cry about the seasons to us on that front. First up, we spent three hours with Butch Ulmer, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the founding of his father’s loft in City Island, New York, now known worldwide as UK Sailmakers. We listened – enraptured is not too strong a word – to his firsthand account of the life of his father and mother, she, not surprisingly, being a critical part of the story. Art, cotton, tar, and rope and the transition to math, dacron, and finally computer-aided manufacture and design in sailmaking. And it all felt so familiar. Particularly the part where his father would cross the ocean with his Star boat filled with sails to be sold at a world championship regatta in Europe. Except that today’s sailmakers don’t get to travel on ocean liners like the Andrea Doria.
WindCheck is not about being solely a history magazine but the coincidence of Ulmer Sail’s 75th anniversary with the 50th of the Herreshoff Marine Museum makes for shockingly fun interactions. For example, at last week’s culminating celebration in Bristol, Rhode Island, describing to the current owner of the beautiful Henry Nevins-built Bolero, which he had brought to the event, how Buster Ulmer’s wife, Charlotte, was the private secretary of Mr. Nevins and as such, was able to bring her son Butch to the launching of Bolero, is a priceless link.
And then there is Coop, who dives into still more not well-known history about passionate people in our sport like Californian Norton Smith, who remains the only American to win the Mini Transat (in the 1979 edition). Still more passion is studied by two women featured in this issue, Joan Touchette Porter and Carol Cronin, who have done America proud in extensive international sailing careers.
And last but not least, we have The Barrister focusing on now practically historic, 49-year-old COLREGS and pondering how they may need updating as our sport travels faster and faster.
I am very proud of our team, ending summer with a big splash. No docks necessary.
See you on the water in an IC dinghy soon!
Benjamin V. Cesare