Strong Winds, Towel Blankets and Adult Jenga

I had a secret agenda for the mini delivery of the Karen Marie from Jamestown to Essex; the plan was to bring my brother along both for the extra pair of hands and to plant the boat ownership seed into his subconscious. Standing at the wheel, soaked to the bone, wind burnt, and shivering on the first leg, I was fairly certain I had succeeded in sending him running for the hills.

“You’ll want to bring a couple books for the ride, and don’t forget your bathing suit,” I texted him days before our trip.

A wetsuit would have been more appropriate.


Our trip started ordinarily enough. Egg sandwiches, hot coffee, naps and snapping pictures highlighted the first couple hours of the journey. Rounding Point Judith and turning into 2- to 3- foot chop, and 20 knots of wind flipped the switch on all that. It was the most miserable time on a boat that I’ve ever experienced. We were pummeled for hours–which felt like days–until we found the channel to Stonington, CT.

After finding our mooring, we took to the next tasks at hand: hanging sheets, pillowcases and clothes on the lifelines to dry while enjoying a few well-deserved adult beverages. In short order my once-proud classic yacht took on the appearance of a homeless shelter.

Once on land, hot showers and dinner at the marina restaurant, Dog Watch Café thawed our cold and clammy crew.

After a nice meal, Karen, Ryan and I opted for a peaceful nightcap out on the restaurant’s back deck before calling it a day. This was going to plan just fine until we spotted an adult Jenga set. (You know, the game where you pull blocks from a wooden tower until it topples over, but this one was much bigger.) Now if you know my brother and I, you know we’re what some people call “stupid competitive.” Video games and bike rides in our younger days turned into more brawls than my parents care to know about. So it shouldn’t come as a shock to learn that our game attracted a crowd of onlookers who critiqued each move.

Yours truly won the game and no bloody noses ensued; so we can file the night away in the win column.

Leg two from Stonington to Essex was drier that our first leg, but man was it cold! Combine 45 degree air temperature with sustained 20 knot winds on the nose and throw in a splash of salt spray and you have a recipe for a very long morning. Double socks stuffed into Sperrys and towels doubling as blankets made for rather unique fashion statements.

After hours of sitting on our hands, we finally made our way up the Connecitcut River. Lighthouses, a pair of bridges and plenty of boat traffic provided a lot to look at after spending so much time in the middle of the Sound. Finally appearing off our bow, the quaint town of Essex appeared like a postcard from a small Maine village. Frown lines from cold crew morphed into wide grins after tying up to the mooring. High fives all around signified a successful end to the trip.

Long naps and hours of leisurely reading may not have come to fruition on this delivery but few memories worth making ever started with “remember that time we went swimming after a peaceful passage?” I’m sure this trip will be something we all remember for a long time.

3 thoughts on “Strong Winds, Towel Blankets and Adult Jenga

  1. Wow, this is one trip you’ll all remember, but you made it! Congratulations!

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