During the fall of 1983, after my sailing exploits out to Provincetown in my 22ft O'Day, The Sarah Maria, Don invited me to sail as crew with him to the Bahamas.
Don owned the Zyder Zee, a 37ft Holland Yawl, a steel boat built sometime during the 1950's.
I put the Sarah Maria away for the winter, and on the day that we were to leave I met the crew on a late October afternoon. We left before dark heading down the Merrimack River, we were on our way. I was in awe since I had never been on a big boat before, and I assumed that the other guys on the boat being older than myself probably had a lot more experience. The crew would be Ron Salvatory, Hutchins, and myself.
Once on the ocean Don had me run the lines for the jib sheet that we would be raising shortly. We had already hoisted the mizzen, and main sail. I mistakenly brought the lines back on the wrong sides of the shrouds, but Don caught that right away, saying "I thought I would be having problems with you." I now feel bad hoping this whole trip isn't going to be like this.
All of the sails up, and one of the other guys on the helm. He accidentally jibed the boat, which meant the boat was turned to far down wind, and as the wind caught the wrong side of the sail, it was violently thrown to the other side of the boat.
We reset the sails and after a few minutes we had another accidental jibe, this is not a good thing for of those of you who don't know.
Don takes control of his boat, it is starting to get dark so he sends both of those guys below to get some sleep, because we would be sailing through the night in hopes of catching the favorable tide at the Cape Cod Canal at 7am. They would have to take their watches later.
Don and I sailed the boat to and through Cape Ann, and as we past Thatchers Island we were able to bring the sails in tight, so that this
heavy, steel boat now has a great heal with the rail just taking a bit of water over the side.
Since the boat was sailing a good course to the canal he decided to leave me a lone with instructions to wake him in an hour.
No chance, he went to bed and I was in control, the boat was healing with a perfect course, and effervescence sparkling in the water coming over the rail, there was no way that I was going to give up the helm.
I sailed through the night and at just about seven in the morning we reached the mouth of the canal. Don woke surprised to see the canal, and made me a breakfast of eggs, toast and a cup of coffee.
With everyone up now I was tired but I wanted to see the boat go through the Canal. I've gone through many times since and it never gets old.
At this point of the trip there is now three other boats sailing together, the Zyder Zee, George Mcgowns boat the Awesome a 39ft Pearson, and Dons cousin, Stevie's boat Mine Frow a 40 something Freedom which was much faster than us so we weren't together much. We all get through the Canal together, but it is quite foggy. We had the top navigational aids of the day on all three boats, including SatNav, and Loran, both new technologies at the time, for boat owners anyway. No RADAR. All three boats are making circles at the Buzzards bay portion of the canal trying to figure where we were, with no ones instruments matching anyone else's, we worked our way over to one of the pilings, and tide up until the weather cleared enough to leave.
That was my first night ever on a boat bigger than my 22ft O'Day.
I went to sleep.
I have just built a new web page please check it out and leave a comment. I particularly like the slide shows, we have had a lot of people on the Sarah Maria and have cover a lot of ground.