Snippets of Southern New England

When I last left off we were debating whether we were going to head north for awhile or spend some time in Long Island before moving south.  Ultimately we decided to take the slow route though Long Island, but Mother Nature (also known as our desire not to motor everywhere) dictated that we first spend another 12 days in Fishers Island Sound.  

Criss-crossing the Sound, we spent some time in West Harbor before moving to Mystic.  Mystic personifies the growth in our confidence over the past year.  Before we went cruising we had talked about taking Pegu Club up the river into Mystic, but several things made us hesitate: the long motor up the river, having to time the openings for two bridges (the first of which doesn’t keep an opening schedule because it’s a busy Amtrak railroad bridge), and the fact that the charts indicated that the water above the Seaport was extremely shallow even though we had heard it had been dredged.

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How did we get here?

We (Kimberly and Jeff) were avid cyclists for years – until one day we weren’t anymore. In March of 2012 I (Kimberly) was trying to figure out what to do for a hobby since I was no longer riding virtually every day. Suddenly I found myself thinking about how I used to spend a month every summer when I was a kid sailing a Snark on Mission Bay. I loved being on the water – how about sailing again?

A quick Google search led me to discover that adult community sailing lessons were starting at Mystic Seaport that Sunday. It was obviously meant to be. I texted Jeff and said, “I’m going to take sailing lessons at Mystic Seaport.” He texted back, “Cool! Can I come too?” And so it began.

After 10 weeks of lessons at Mystic Seaport on 9 foot Dyer Dhows, and three capsizes into the frigid Mystic River (two for Kimberly, one for Jeff), we were hooked. Later that month we took an ASA 101 class at Narragansett Sailing in Barrington, RI on a Bristol 19. The class was three days, and it came with an additional sixteen hours of practice time which we used up that summer.

Jeff began scouring and for a sailboat, but I wasn’t yet convinced that it was a smart thing to do, financially (spoiler alert: it’s not, but it’s totally worth it). He looked all winter while I humored him, occasionally glancing over at the computer monitor when he would point out a boat that he particularly liked. I would browse occasionally, but I hadn’t bought into the idea yet.

In March, 2013 I was looking at when I saw a Bristol 24 in Groton, CT. There was something about the boat. I looked at all of the pictures and studied the description. “Hey Jeff, take a look at this boat.” Jeff looked at the monitor and said that he had seen that same boat a few weeks ago. I couldn’t stop staring at it. Maybe we should buy a boat….

A few days later we were down at Pine Island Marina looking at her. We didn’t know much, but we knew she was in great shape. The owner inspired confidence, and he was planning on staying at Pine Island with his next boat so he wasn’t going to drop off the face of the earth once we paid him. We knew she was the one, but we also didn’t think we could buy the first boat we looked at, so we tried to playit cool and told him we’d let him know.

36 hours later (and after looking at four other boats), we bought the first boat we had looked at – a 1975 Bristol Corsair 24.

Since then we’ve learned a lot, had a bunch of fun, occasionally been a little scared, and have only become more hooked. The plan now is to sail Pegu Club for seven more years and then buy the “big boat” – the one we’re going to cruise on after we retire and sell virtually everything we own. The Caribbean, Central America, Bermuda, hopefully even the Med. We’ll do it as long as we feel like it. To borrow from the title of a book about Lin and Larry Pardey ‘s cruising adventures, we’ll do it “As long as it’s fun.”