Superior Odyssey – Leg 1 (Or the Heart of a Sailing Voyage)
By James R. Vander Schaaf (“Captain Jim”)
It started in
According to Merriam Webster’s Online Dictionary, an Odyssey
is: 1: a long wandering or voyage usually marked by many changes of
fortune; 2: an intellectual
or spiritual wandering or quest.
The voyage started in
father, my son Niko Economides, has been a local Marquette,
his kids and my wife and I became emphatically excited about the idea of Niko
purchasing the Coaster and sailing it from the harbor of Portland, Maine,
southerly along the New England coast, navigating the Long Island Sound to the
mouth of the Hudson River in Manhattan, passing the Statue of Liberty,
northerly up the historical Hudson River to the Erie Canal, then into and
across Lake Erie to Lake Huron, northerly to the locks of Sault Ste. Marie, and
across Lake Superior to its final home in the harbor of the city of Marquette,
MI. The starting date of the journey was established in accordance with the
ship's availability and all participants’ strict schedules and will consume
most of the summer. Nick and the kids will then charter the Coaster for “Day
Sailing”, excursions and guided tours along the southern
Another crewman on the Coaster journey will be Brian
Harvey. After this trip, Brian will be joining the crew on the “Bounty” in
Also, I have a good friend from our days in the “Folk Lore
Joe remembers Niko when he was the same age as Thanos during our days of the Folk Lore Society at MSU. He always participated in our celebration of Greek Easter. He indicated that he would be happy to help Thanos stay “on coarse” with his academic responsibilities during the trip. If there are any questions or concerns from any of his academic leaders, Joe welcomes a call. ....
In light of all of the above plans, introductions and
experiences, this rare opportunity will be a priceless memory and education for
Thanos. He will be charged with "ship's cook" and other responsible
chores and tasks that will directly affect the proper maintenance of the ship
and life-safety of the crew. In essence, he will depart as a boy, and
return as a
Niko, Thanos and I thank you for your sincere consideration in realizing this DREAM,
A schooner is a type of sailing vessel
characterized by the use of fore-and-aft sails on two or more masts. Schooners
were first used by the Dutch in the 16th or 17th century, and further developed
She was built in 1933 at the Goudy & Stephens boatyard
at East Boothbay,
II has been through a significant restoration in the last 10 years
and retains outstanding integrity to her original design and construction. She
has sailed around
But we are getting ahead of the story here. This is a story about the people involved, their relationships, and passions and how Thanos’s dream evolved.
Ok, so just who is Thanos? Well in many ways he is a young 14 year old boy-man whose dreams and passions live in all of us. He is bright, talented, thoughtful, and sensitive and wants to be gently shown what life is all about while he discovers it on his own!
I call him a boy-man because on this voyage he took several steps toward manhood. When the voyage began, Thanos preferred the companionship of his computer in his bunk in the forepeak. At the end of leg 1 of this voyage, Thanos had learned to steer the vessel, while maintaining watch underway, with an excellent capability to keep on course (a skill quite demanding in various wind and current conditions). Now, Thanos hung out much more in the cockpit, because now, he was not simply a member of the crew, but a full participant in the community on-board. He was more interested in becoming involved, finding out the whys and wherefores of sailing, anchoring, docking, splicing, tying off, raising sails, raising anchor, and all the myriad of tasks found aboard a sailing vessel. He was becoming a man.
While this growth will continue thru subsequent legs, he has started just what his father and grandparents had hoped for him. Once such a path is chosen, it cannot be easily changed, due to several factors that we will explore in this article.
But I haven’t told you yet who else was involved in the voyage! Coaster II’s crew for this 1st leg consisted of Thanos’s father Nick Economides, Jill Rogers, and myself (Captain Jim). Jill and Nick are a most delightful, in love, soul-mate couple. They are both recovering from difficult separations and divorces from their 1st partners. However, they are not in any way victims of these difficult times; rather they have chosen to grow, develop and explore their lives with confidence and wisdom while still walking in a world where the pain of remembering is sometimes too close. “It takes time” to accomplish this recovery is the familiar mantra. While very true, that time can be reduced by the community of sharing one finds oneself in on a voyage of discovery like this one.
that I know of can caring people come together so quickly and form bonds that
last a lifetime. Why? Well because on a sailing vessel, the goal
and vision is clear, and unambiguous.
Everyone knows that they must work together to journey to sea and get
safely to the next port. It’s like a life with a mission, very unlike
Anna (my loving wife) and I once lived in an apartment building for 2 years, and we met 5 people. We have been in anchorages and in two days and we have gotten to know half of the people on the 30 boats anchored there. The environment is more conducive to conviviality, openness, and love. It’s not just because we know that our survival may depend on others, it’s also because we have chosen to be here and being more aware and open, we realize we want to connect to other people on a deeper level. This “Zen of Sailing” calls many, but not all hear its clarion call. It is a place that I love.
In my special educational program for women, I typically find that they have fears based upon their reactions to what I call the ‘screaming headlines’. They have either seen the Perfect Storm, or some other movie which has aroused their fears of the ocean. Of course their fears are real for them, but they are typically not based upon actual experience with the sea. The popular television program Storm Stories should be banned, or if not, then each episode should be properly introduced:
“Folks, you must realize that 98% of the time, the sea is a gentle place wherein your mind will drift when sailing with a gentle breeze which you feel on your face and will rock you to sleep while at anchor at night. This program intentionally depicts only that 2% of the time when the wind and sea can be ferocious, physically threatening and emotionally scary. We present the sea in this unbalanced manner for commercial purposes, just like headlines in a newspaper!”
With the availability of accurate weather forecasts, there is no reason to harbor these fears. It is statistically safer on the ocean than on Interstate 95! However, fear is not based upon reason, and hence it must be dealt with by explaining reality, and, then gently asking people if they wish to confront their fears and grow as individuals.
Back to the crew!
Nick Economides, who owns Bear Pond Woodscraft, Custom
Woodwork, Sculptures and Furniture in
Nick followed his compelling vision early in life – he left
home at 18, not to run away from something, but rather to run toward
something. He was captivated by a vision
of mountains and untamed wilderness, and, once he moved in this direction, he
just kept on going. After exploring the
wilderness and learning survival skills for some time, he established himself
as a skilled artisan working with wood to create sculptures, furniture and
Jill Rogers currently works as a teacher’s aide for special
needs children in
My role was to be that of delivery Captain and
instructor. I serve as US Coast Guard
licensed delivery captain and educator at Down East Yacht Delivery (http://www.downeastyachtdelivery.com/
) out of
“Here's my sense of where you would want help from someone with my experience:
delivery captain services (with you and at least one other sailor aboard) from
2) Provide charts, GPS, and a Marine radio (communication and weather reports) for use aboard while enroute.
3) Provide training for you and your crew in vessel preparation, voyage planning, offshore sailing, charting and plotting, weather training, docking and anchoring techniques and other skills that will make you a better sailor. This would start with a) a detailed list of items to have aboard and b) departure checklist. Training would also include listing of many, many websites that provide the best sailing resource information. “
That was the initial agreement. Little did I know this voyage would be an overwhelmingly poignant, emotional and delightful experience in which I would be proud to be invited to become a member of this extraordinary Greek family!
Talk about emotion! I
would like to now introduce Sue Economides (Nick’s Mother) otherwise known as
Yiayia,. To meet her is to love her. She
is one of the most open, loving, generous and spiritual persons I have
met. To understand her, it’s best to
read her passionate email sent just after our arrival in
“My heart is bursting
with pride and my tears of joy have finally dried.........my memories of
calling Jill to get location reports and happiness updates, Thanos to ask why
he hasn't been emailing (Nick's phone is their internet connector and has
broken down) and of course, Nick to see how the ship was taking the voyage
and how he was feeling about sailing it! They were also guided
by Captain Jim, an accomplished sailor with a heart as wonderful as his
crew (my family). My sister, Peg
promised Nick in February that if everything was a "go" with the
ship, she would drive Anthea, Cyrus and me to
On Friday, May 18,we
drove 12 hours to get to
Jill and I were in constant contact (her cell phone worked) They went through very bad weather, high winds moving them away from us......cold , high waves, rain and storms.....it became questionable whether they would even make it to the city in time for the kids to see Nick, Thanos and Jill and the ship.....Their story is THE ONE you all want to hear.........( Jill and Anthea and Cyrus were scheduled to fly back to Marquette on Wednesday 5/23 )
Monday, Gaylord scurried
around on the internet and the phone, trying to find dockage for the Coaster
......the Harbor that we thought would be perfect was heavily guarded and
impossible. This was
Tuesday 6:30...Thanos called me "Yiayia, we'll be there in an hour!" Peg, Gaylord and I grabbed our coffee and ran the short distance to the seaport docks........there, with the new sun of the day, crisp, cool morning, we were greeted with a calm, quiet harbor stretching below .........we hung out over the railings searching the waters to the left ( East) with the Brooklyn Bridge raising above......After many calls and Peg starting a wager on what time we would actually see them for the first time ..the phone rang.........it was Thanos.........we are going under the bridge!!!!!!!!! (by this time we had awakened Joyce, Anthea and Cyrus and they were with us) We couldn't see them! Jill consulted the charts......there are so many bridges and she kept track and kept me posted and then............a little spec of a ship (without sails) slowly coming under the bridge, Cyrus was jumping all around, I was trembling and called Jim. (my husband ).........."they're here, they made it, Jim, I can't believe it."..........they took forever and then the first one I saw was Thanos...........he was out on the 12 foot bow sprit waving....my grandson !!!!!! and then I saw Jill standing at the side, her hair blowing and her arms waving with love and happiness and then...... our beautiful son, our "salty" son, at the helm, navigating the ship through the harbor..............I was sobbing into the phone .....".They’re here." ( I called Gus and Connie crying "they're here, they're here........"...) Then I realized........the ship ! It looked magnificent...........the 2 tall masts carrying the Coaster banner and the little Greek flag ("I sailed the Greek flag for Popou," Niko said) The schooner is 43' long with an additional 12' bow sprit securing a mass of complex rigging........my immediate impression is one of a historical sailing vessel........from another era.
This emotional memory will NEVER leave my heart .............what a journey they are taking and all who are apart of it will be forever joined...............”
wow, I will email later with the rest of our day.............Thank you everyone for your prayers and support .............with love, Yiayia, sue, mom ......me
Wasn’t that just touching? Is there a dry eye anywhere? But as usual, we are getting a little ahead of the story…………..
Nick and Thanos arrived in
While completing these tasks, you wait for a weather
window. Fortunately the weather turned
good just after lady Jill arrived in town on Thursday (good omen). Friday was provision day, and Saturday we
were off on the tide. Prior to Nick and
Thanos’s arrival, Coaster II had
withstood one of the worst Nor’easters in recent memory. Five of the docks within the
The learning had started. Handling of sails and lines were introduced. A review was made of how to capture and tie up to a mooring ball, weather patterns, VHF radio use, use of tethers, jack lines, harnesses and life vests, and other safety equipment and procedures aboard.
Learning aboard is accomplished in many ways, but always involves an explanation of “what” and “why”, followed by “how”, “when”, and “where”. Jill and Nick were rapid learners – their wilderness training and Nick’s small boat experience was evident. Learning also involves reading about a skill, discussing roles and responsibilities, seeing the skill performed, reinforcing what was learned and what still needs to be learned, and providing additional written material and discussion to answer questions. I was warming up to my task – my crew was committed to learning and doing!
I had prepared an educational manual of 73 pages covering
anchoring, charts and voyage planning, docking and maneuvering in narrow
channels, knots, mooring techniques, heavy weather tips, safety and
emergencies, rules of the road, sailing techniques, including heaving to, VHF
usage, and tides and currents in the
The written materials were used to reinforce learning and provide graphical illustrations of difficult concepts. While several books could have been written to cover these topics, I chose to write about my own experience of sailing for 42 years supplemented by available literature from many sources.
An example to illustrate this material is shown below:
---------------------------------------- Educational Material Extract ------------------------------------
Warping Ship (How to Undock When the Wind is pushing Your Vessel Against the Dock)
I learned this wonderful
technique from a retired US Coast Guard officer while at a fuel dock in
The dock was perpendicular to the wind (blowing 15-25 knots) and the channel. This wind was holding our vessel Justice on the dock. I didn’t see how I could move forward or backward without being blown back on the dock.
The technique is marvelously simple once you understand it. Referring the diagram below, first, start the engine, and remove and stow all dock lines (that are turquoise in color). Not the fenders, just the dock lines. Add a fender forward by the bow as shown. Now, attach the warp line to the Sampson Post forward on the starboard bow (or bow cleat), and have a dock hand take one turn around the piling as shown with the Red Warp Line below. Then turn the rudder full to starboard, engage the engine in forward, and slowly rev the engine. The vessel will attempt to go forward, but will be constrained by the warp line. So the bow will go to starboard, while the stern is pushed away from the dock. You can now see the need for the fender forward. Keep the engine in forward until the bow is tight up against the dock and the stern is well away from the dock. You will now have the vessel at about a 30 degree angle to the dock.
Now, have the dock hand throw the warp line aboard, quickly shift into reverse, turn the rudder to amidships position, and quickly back up away from the dock. Walla! You have freed yourself!
Of course you can easily use this
technique to warp the bow off the dock in a reverse manner (which Coaster II’s crew did when I left the
vessel in a very tight docking situation 10 miles up the Hudson River in
-------------------------------------- End Educational Material Extract ------------------------------------
We enjoyed our brief sojourn in
We had our first warm meal at anchor. What a great treat! Our meal was not elaborate or gourmet, but warm, filling, and nourishing. The crew crashed early for the night and slept like a babies!
We would have loved to go ashore in
“Portsmouth, N.H., a city of roughly
21,000 people, sits near the mouth of the Piscataqua River, a short, wide river
The next day we were bound for Cape Ann and the
According to the Cape
Ann Vacations website (http://capeannvacations.com/
When we arrived in port, we had the pleasant experience of seeing another schooner. The Thomas E. Lannon, built in 1996 was taking several passengers out for a day sail. She is 64.5 feet on deck and 90 feet with her bowsprit, with an 18 foot beam. We were very interested in this vessel since she was put in the day charter business, and, we were putting Coaster II in this business.
The vessel Thomas E. Lannon has a fascinating history. Tom Ellis, the
owner of the Schooner Thomas E. Lannon, had heard stories of his grandfather
Thomas Lannon coming from
Thanos and Nick were hot to find the Crow’s Nest bar, the landside hangout of the famous crew from the ill-fated sword fishing vessel Andrea Gail. This vessel and her crew were lost during the October 1991 storm of the century, and was documented by Sebastian Junger in The Perfect Storm. I’ll let you reach your own conclusions about whether or not they found the bar – check out the photo of them returning.
The weather forecast for the next day promised winds from
the West at 10-15 knots. We wanted to
sail and reach the famous
Can you imagine traveling thousands of miles by ship without
the convenience of good food, weather reports, GPS navigation or an
engine? The Mayflower II is a
reproduction of the type of ship that brought the colonist to
We sailed easily and slowly and arrived mid-afternoon in the
wide open space of
The conditions were perfect for an afternoon exploring ashore, so Jill and Nick dropped the dinghy and paddled ashore. We were all lulled into a sense of peacefulness and failed to adequately prepare the dinghy for a safe departure and return. I failed to advise them of the difficulties of returning against wind and current. This they found out later. The winds were predicted to veer to the South West and strengthen to 25-30 knots. Luckily, they returned just before the winds picked up, but they had to paddle against 2.5 knots current (they had run out of fuel for the engine). We discussed this afterwards (learning by experience) and came up with a list of essential items to have aboard for long dinghy rides (fuel, anchor and anchor rode, handheld VHF or cell phone, first aid kit, and oars).
We left our “lunch hook” anchorage when the wind picked up
late afternoon and motored into
Early morning the next day found us motoring to the fuel dock for fuel, water and a few spare parts. We visually located both Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower II in the Harbor, but elected not to visit these sites.
The following brief historical notes were extracted from Pilgrims.net website: (http://pilgrims.net/plymouth/history/mayflower.html )
The English ship the
Mayflower carried the Separatist Puritans, later known as pilgrims, to
The voyage took 65 days, during which
two persons died and two births occurred. The ship came in sight of
After weeks of
scouting for a suitable settlement area, the Mayflower's passengers finally
Historical research gives the ship's dimensions as 90 ft (27.4 m) long, with a 64-ft (19.5-m) keel, 26-ft (7.9-m) beam, and a hold 11 ft (3.4 m) deep. In 1957 a close replica of the Mayflower, the Mayflower II, was built in 1957 by England as a gift to America and sailed from Plymouth, England, to Plymouth, Mass., where it is now on view.
I was quite keen to calculate the average speed the Mayflower made during
its original historic voyage. Assuming a
route thru the Azores (quite likely given English knowledge of the
Now, back to the voyage….
Weather predicted for our transit to the
An interesting phenomenon occurred when transiting the
canal. Our time window was calculated to
transit the canal with favorable currents (they reach a peak of 4.5 knots and
hence we wanted to run with the current).
However, when we arrived, expecting about 3.5 knots favorable, we found
a slight adverse current. This was due
to the strong wind pushing the water out of the
We motored thru the canal and hooked a starboard turn at the
I told Nick that the dreaded “rule of seven” was now well
upon us (it started with the potentially ill fated dinghy ride in
After receiving a weather report of continued strong South West winds, the crew elected to call tomorrow a lay day! Spare parts, laundry, showers, and a walk-about were in order. Nick was all over the shift level cable and Jill and I did laundry.
My treat for this lay day was to come face to face with Nick’s amazing Seagull “Silver Century” outboard. For those of you familiar with this rare beauty, I need say nothing; for the rest of you, welcome to cantankerous – city! I tried to start this beauty with 17 pulls; Nick said later that he needed just 1 more (18 total), and that I stopped just too short! He also seemed to know that I didn’t speak kindly to his engine – he said “They know how they are being treated and respond accordingly!” I gladly turned over all outboard activities to Nick.
After completing shift level repairs, the crew elected to
visit the Victorian seaside
During our stay in Onset, a ‘Hyde moment’ occurred with Jill. The Hyde School, https://www.hyde.edu/ created by Joe Gauld, believes that every student, parent, and teacher is meant to connect with a deep and special purpose in life. Character development is the key to unlocking that purpose. Parents, their students and facilitating faculty participate regularly to examine the ‘issues’ in their life and the steps necessary for further emotional, spiritual and character growth. Two of my three daughters and my extended family participated in this program for 5 years. To say that it was a positive, emotionally draining and a growth experience is to understate its significance in my life. Part of the Hyde process is to reveal yourself fully to others, so that night in Onset; Jill did so in a very emotion and heart felt manner: “I just have to tell you both [Nick and Thanos] that I love you with all my heart. You are what I have been looking for all my life!” We all savored the moment and hugged afterwards. Thanos revealed that he could not keep his eyes dry.
We got back to the boat and took stock of the weather. We had difficulty getting a good prediction
We had a great run to
Winds were predicted to be 35-40 knots from the northwest (remnants of a nasty little late Spring Nor’easter) the next day – we opted for another lay day in port. In the afternoon of the lay day, Jill and Nick went ashore for necessary provisions in 30 knot winds and returned wet, cold, but thrilled to have visited this interesting island.
Jill and Nick also returned with a most interesting
discovery: a bottle with an obvious
message in it. It was found sticking out
of the sand on the beach east of the
“Hello, this drift bottle is one of a small number released May 2007 as part of a scientific research project on the tidal currents of the Mystic River Estuary in Mystic Connecticut. Students at the Williams College - Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies program (http://www.williams.edu/williamsmystic/ ) are conducting this study to better understand the movement and mixing of local waters….
Ok, so no treasure and not lost love, but interesting nonetheless!
Block Island is a great boating harbor: a typical July 4th
will see upwards of 2000 boats in
Ten thousand years ago,
glaciers pushed their way down the East Coast and left behind the rocks and
soil that was to form this little paradise that we call home. The result was a
cozy community (only around 800 folks in the winter), a land of stunning vistas
and a very fragile ecosystem that we have had the good fortune to preserve for
all to share. Because of the particular forces of nature that went to work on
While in port on a lay day, there are always things to do; I chose to teach. The vessel was riding well to our chain anchor, even though the winds outside reached 35-40 knots, and hence we were comfortable in our cozy cabin. In the past, Thanos had lived during his off duty hours in his forepeak cabin. He did his duties of helping with food preparation and cleanup, but spent hours reading and playing computer games. My approach was to lasso him with a velvet line. Anyone wants to learn more if you make it sufficiently interesting – then all of a sudden, once they have learned, they want more, and then they are off on their own.
My lasso for Thanos was knots! I had prepared a special training section on various knots that I’ve found useful aboard a sailing vessel. In particular, two such knots came to mind. Docklines typically work better with a splice on one end (for easier docking by slipping the eye splice on a cleat) and a whipping (to prevent unraveling) on the other end. I had noticed that our docklines needed attention. So maybe we could do two things at once: educate and encourage Thanos to get involved and maintain our docklines.
I should mention that credit for these photographs must be given to the Animated Knots by Grog website. This site sells a inexpensive CD that provides an excellent animated training tool and the ideal gift for: Yachtsmen; Climbers; Fishermen; Scouts; Arborists; and Search & Rescue Workers.
Thanos rose to the bait like a hungry spring trout! It was magnificent. After spending about an hour learning to tie various knots, the next day, Thanos was to be found working around the boat, maintaining various lines with these knots. The boy had started his journey to manhood; he no longer spent long hours reading and playing computer games in the forepeak. It wasn’t just knots he was interested in, he now insisted in learning to drive the vessel while anchoring (sometimes quite tricky). It wasn’t just Thanos; the crew was coming together, bonding, and learning to work together more effectively.
The weather predicted for day 8 was 10-15 from the North,
We also noticed that
we no longer had a stowaway! Clearly, he
had escaped during the night while swimming ashore in the cold waters. Thanos had been feeding him droppings from
the table while in the forepeak. The
stowaway complained bitterly about the lack of creature comforts, lack of good
food, but chose to remain on board, living primarily on hardtack and
water. Stowaway Bob (Bob Schneider – a
friend who had visited Coaster II in
Leaving the Block Island Salt Pond channel entrance, we saw a fisherman fishing in the channel. I waved, and a partial wave back was received. Then the fisherman said, “You are running over my line!” This remark was quite interesting, because I was in the channel and clearly had the right to be there. Was I supposed to run aground in order to avoid his fishing line? Nick was with me in the cockpit at the time and said: “No, the fisherman said ‘Nice Lines’!” I immediately took his meaning to be the ‘glass is half full’ and smiled with the gentle reminder to not hold on to frustration. Nick and I talked about this for a while and he said that he reminds himself not to “avoid giving anger a parking space in his mind.” What a delightful lesson in life – we can easily allow others to make our own existence miserable, or, we can turn it around and make the encounter positive.
The voyage to the
The rollers were 10-12 feet high, long and rolling and we were buoyed by their presence. The gale had blown out. Visibility was 1-2 miles and we were quickly out of sight of land. We could have been anyway on any ocean – it was peaceful and serene while we sailed on and on.
We made over 66 nautical miles in that 8 hour
sail. We were bound for the
That night we continued the long conversation about the next
steps in our voyage. Jill had to make an
airline connection; Nick children, his mother, her sister and brother, and
brother’s wife were planning to meet us all in
We needed to make an early departure the next day to make
our passage comfortable thru the dreaded “Hell’s Gate” on the
Agreeing to raise anchor at 0500 and depart at first light,
we slept with great anticipation of reconnecting with our family in
The skyline of
We ended up with an adverse current because
of our crab pot episode and also because my current charts read EDT (Eastern
Daylight Time) rather than the Easter Standard Time it was. As we neared our rendezvous point at Pier 1
The reconnection with the family was classically Greek: joyous, emotional, happy, and loving! Take a moment and read the email from Yiayia again – she describes it so well. The timing was perfect, it was two days before Jill’s flight; the two additional children were happy to see their father and Jill, and brother. We were all very thankful for having made this voyage safely, determinedly and with élan. (Sisu: a Finish word with that meaning).
In great Greek tradition, the first thing to do after all the hugs was to eat! So we did – even though we had not had showers in 4 days. It was great to be back on dry land, but almost as soon as I left the boat, I wanted to go back. We had a good walk to the restaurant – felt great, even on my sea legs. We had great conversation – we all caught up on the many details of our lives. We told wonderful stories of our experiences and celebrated life – Oopah! Or in Greek: Ελληνικά . I spent the night with Yiayia, Gaylord, Peg and Joyce at Joyce’s uncle’s apartment, a short distance from the South Street Seaport – very convenient. The children spent the night onboard with their father and Jill. I learned more about the family, and, we shared insights about our lives. I grew closer and more enthralled by this family. Oh yes and I had a shower - it’s a wonderful thing for a salt encrusted sea dog!
The next morning, Gaylord needed to acquire parts (anchor light, chart kits for the following legs, etc.) at West Marine; Peg and Yiayia had provisioning, and, I needed to get back to Coaster II (I had one more day to provide Gaylord with some essential education).
Gaylord excels in his ability to do research – obtain information, parts, connections, and networking. He succeeded in his tasks in all areas except the anchor light. West Marine did not have one (let me say that again – West Marine, one of the largest marine parts stores in the USA, could not come up with an temporary anchor light in their New York City store)! Ok, so in the finest traditions applying McGuyver techniques, we made one. We took a spare vitamin bottle that was translucent, removed the paper identification, used a couple of tie downs to connect flashlight to bottle, and flashlight to halyard, and whalla, we had an anchor light.
Yiayia is good at many tasks; one of which is provisioning. She also is a great cook; from home she brought oatmeal cookies, and, a wonderful Greek treat called Kuluthea (a biscotti like hard pastry that goes great with coffee). Watching her delight in bringing provisions to the crew is like having Christmas all over again!
At around 3 pm, the
new Coaster II crew (Nick, Thanos, Gaylord, Joyce and I) were ready for
departure up the
The Hudson River is
a wonderful contrast to being at sea on the
Imagine stumbling onto
the beauty of the
Hudson was looking for a quick passage to
Hudson had been hired for the journey by a Dutch trading company, the Dutch East India Co., and his explorations led to the area first being settled by the Dutch.
In a few moments
under sail, we saw another schooner, and, a large, traditional sloop. Thanos took the helm and we went for a look
see. It was the
What happened next was delightful – Gaylord followed up on a prior call from Pete Seeger to Yiayia which we had been unable to take while departing. Pete (from his home in Beacon, NY) sang us a song (on Gaylord’s cell phone) of Carl Sandburg taking a voyage on the schooner Bigalow: what a treat! Pete Seeger is currently 88 years young, having been born in May 1919.
Joyce was now at the helm with canvass up (main and foresail); after a few tips, she was steering Coaster II with ease (well, almost). She almost didn’t make the voyage, having spent her life on dry land, but her brother said she would be foolish not to come, so she did! Gaylord quickly learned the controls for the GPS and had our course entered to avoid the barge traffic. Being an engineer, he understood the movements, forces, and balance of Coaster II. He just needed some time to connect the dots for the various lines, sheets, terminology, etc.
We anchored that
night in the
Sadly, this was my
last day aboard Coaster II. What an amazing voyage – and it was just
beginning. We contacted the marina a
Tarrytown, but we would have been unable to drop me off due to water depth (I
was catching a train to NYC and on to
After brief, but poignant goodbyes, the Crew executed a brilliant ‘warping off the dock’ to get Coaster II back on her voyage after I departed. To several shouts of Oopah, I departed this dream voyage!
As I stood on the dock, sadly watching Coaster II sail off, my thoughts were “Fair winds and following seas to my delightful friends and family. We will meet again!”
About The Author:
Captain James R. “Jim” Vander Schaaf
is a successful yacht delivery captain and
offshore cruising educator who is interested
in helping people enjoy their experiences at sea!
Find out more at:
Down East Yacht Delivery.com
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