Category: Boats & Gear
Created: Saturday, 26 February 2011 22:33
Written by Charles Doane
I made it up to St. Augustine and met Steve Pettengill, Director of Destructive Testing for Hunter Marine, at his R&D shed at 7:30 sharp yesterday morning. He had a brand new Hunter 18 fresh off the production line and we at once set about commissioning it for a test sail. The forecast was for a strong breeze from the south.
Being on the water in St. Augustine brought back some dramatic memories, as it was almost 20 years ago that I arrived here one fateful morning aboard the schooner Constellation. Just as we were entering the inlet, a huge pillar of black smoke suddenly came pouring out the midship hatches. It turned out we were not on fire, but we did have to shut down the engine. So it was that we sailed Constellation, a 78-foot vintage wooden vessel with a long full keel, into the Matanzas River, through the Bridge of Lions (a drawbridge), and finally landed on a dock at a private fish camp (which has since become Fish Island Marina). Later that same day a pilot in a small private plane buzzed the camp, waggling his wings hello, clipped a tree, and crashed and died.
I was half expecting my sail with Steve might be nearly as interesting, and I was not disappointed.