IT IS AN UNWRITTEN RULE that every cruise up an African river must have a Greater Purpose--some guy named Kurtz to chase after, a lost explorer to rescue, a legendary city of gold to loot, some palpable goal to lure you ever onward into regions where you might not otherwise venture. My partner Carie and I by now had spent nearly two weeks cruising up the Gambia in my old Alberg 35 yawl and decided finally we had two of these: we wanted to see a hippopotamus and we wanted to attend a dance.
My father has been unhospitalized, and I have resumed the aborted Fall Solo Mini-Cruise aboard Lunacy. I found this lobster yacht, provocatively named, in the cove just north of Malaga Island off Sebasco and thought it made an interesting contrast to the one discussed at the end of my post on Bustins Island. I like it much better--it obviously was once a working fishing vessel, but doesn't pretend to be any longer. The huge barbecue behind the house is a nice touch and makes it clear what the current priorities are.
The Lunacy Report
I was a little worried when filmmaker Greg Roscoe got in touch and offered to send along a copy of his new documentary, Raw Faith: A Family Saga. The film follows the story of George McKay and his bizarre mock galleon, Raw Faith, and my fear was Roscoe would seek to romanticize both him and his boat. As I remarked here three years ago when Raw Faith finally sank off Cape Cod, though I always admired McKay's tenacity, his parody of a vessel made my skin crawl. She was, very obviously, a disaster waiting to happen.
News & Views
We'll recall that the advent in the early 19th century of what might be called the first purpose-built cruising boat, Cleopatra's Barge, was nurtured by the vast personal wealth of one individual, George Crowninshield. And as the 19th century progressed, yachting, not surprisingly, continued to be the domain of the wealthy. The vessels and the egos behind them only grew larger and more extravagant.
Yachting was very much about social status, and this led to the formation of exclusive clubs. The two most prominent were the Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS), formed in England in 1815, and the New York Yacht Club (NYYC), founded in 1844. Neither, however, was the first of its kind in its respective continent. The Water Club, formed in Cork, Ireland, circa 1720, is believed to have been the first yacht club in Europe, while the Boston Boat Club, circa 1830, was the first in North America. The activities of these clubs centered on racing and wagering, and the racing could be quite vicious. Competitors in early RYS events, for example, would effectively wage combat against each other, wielding weapons of various sorts in efforts to cut away their opponents' rigs. Like their Dutch predecessors, RYS members also staged mock naval reviews in which large groups of yachts sailed in formation.
Boats & Gear
I was just pulling into a mooring field in Sebasco after sailing across Casco Bay from Portland, when I got a phone call from Phil "Snake Wake" Cavanaugh, who was somewhere in central Europe at the time, telling me that Oracle had just won races 17 and 18 and had forced a final race 19 to decide it all. I had been planning this last long outing of the season for weeks and wasn't about to let Cup fever thwart it, but I was willing to stay over a day in Sebasco so I could watch the last race in the bar at the little resort there.
Of course, all Phil wants to talk about (now and then) is how wrong I was in picking the Kiwis to win way back when. And that's cool. I'm very glad I was wrong, because I'm sure I won't ever see anything like this again in my lifetime.
OH. MY. GOD. I can't believe this madness hasn't ended yet. I was certain Team New Zealand was going to win one of the races yesterday, as the Oracle crew had yet to do better than split decisions on days when two races were sailed. But now Oracle has in fact won four in a row and "only" needs four more.
This is starting to seem almost feasible. And I think Dean Barker is starting to think the same thing. He hasn't been looking too happy at press conferences lately.
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Offshore Passage Opportunities
Attainable Adventure Cruising
Blue Planet Times
Father & Son Sailing
Cruising Sailor's BB
Good Old Boat
North American Sailor
Liz Clark and the Voyage of Swell
Onboard with Mark Corke
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