In Pictures: 20th-Annual Leukemia Cup Regatta

This past weekend, I took a slight hiatus from working on the boat to attend the local Leukemia Cup Regatta, a race that drew sailboats from all over the state for fun sailing and fundraising. Towering 12-meter yachts with professional crews swapped wakes with family-run daysailers, all paying a registration fee that went towards blood-cancer research.

As crews tacked back and forth, plying the waters of Narragansett Bay, it seemed as though every sailor had a smile on their face, perhaps none more so than former America’s Cup champion and Chairman of the Leukemia Cup Regatta, Gary Jobson (whom you might recognize as the longtime-America’s Cup commentator on NBC.)

Jobson signed on as the organization’s honorary chairman in 1993 with the stipulation that he would only hold the position for three years. Well, twenty-two years and 372 regattas later Jobson is still at the helm, and the only change he’s made is dropping the word “honorary” from his title.

“The curve ball in this whole operations was 10 years into the position, in 2003, I was diagnosed with non-hodgkin’s lymphoma and I can report that it was a very tough 2-year battle with stem cell transplants,” says Jobson.

That cruel twist of fate left him with a better understanding of blood cancer, its treatments and cures.  “All the research that was being done thanks to the regattas, I ended up being the recipient. Sometimes when you try to help other people out, like myself and the folks at this regatta have done; the biggest recipient in the end might just be you.”

For more information about the Leukemia Cup Regatta and how you can help, please visit lls.org

Please enjoy a sampling of photos of this life-saving organization.

Discover Jamestown (in 22 photos)

Our home port of Jamestown, Rhode Island, is just a few minutes across the bay (or over the bridge) from its flashier and more famous Newport neighbor. Despite the proximity, these two destinations run at totally different decibels. With 5,400 permanent residents, Jamestown is a bit slower and a whole lot quieter, which is how the locals here like it.

It’s the type of town where everyone still gets morning coffee from a quaint bakery instead of a drive-through window and picks up supplies for a weekend project from the local hardware store. There are no supercenters. Dining options are limited to a half-dozen restaurants on Narragansett Avenue, but there’s enough variety to last all summer.

Transient slip space can be scarce in the high season, so plan ahead. If you want your mooring with a serene view and launch service and near one of the world’s best lobster rolls, I recommend Dutch Harbor Boat Yard on the island’s west side. Protected moorings at Clark Boat Yard or Jamestown Boat Yard (on the east side) are also excellent options. With a location that is close to destinations like Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard, Cuttyhunk and Nantucket, this is a smart jumping-off point — assuming  you ever decide to leave.

Enjoy a virtual stroll through the town that we call home:

 

Reflection

With the Karen Marie now resting on the hard and the first season of sailing in my wake, I can’t help but shake my head and wonder, “where the heck has the time gone?” It feels like only the other day I was stumbling around the deck trying to raise the mainsail. OK, maybe that did happen the other day, but you know what I mean.

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We splashed the Karen Marie just before the 4th of July and 13 weeks later she was back on stands at Clark Boat Yard. During the time in-between there were some days with no wind for sailing and others where strong gusts sent Karen and I crawling back to the mooring with our tails between our legs. Then there were times it took half a dozen tries until we were even able to tie up to the mooring. There were failed attempts at docking, fuel leaks, banged heads, stubbed toes, cut arms, a pair of hospital trips and enough curse words to make even the saltiest sailor blush. Downpours, thunderstorms and fog often filled our forecast. We faced a number of fights and a few well-deserved near mutinies. Prone to stalling, our dinghy outboard almost ended up in Davie Jones’ locker more times than I care to admit. There were leaks, sleepless nights, and a war of attrition with a mooring ball.

I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.

When I share those stories with friends, I have been asked a reasonable question: Why do you put yourself through that?

It’s difficult to explain to non-boaters the thrill that comes when your sails are trimmed just right and the starboard rail of your little Rhodes kisses the water, slicing through waves at six knots; the peacefulness of watching the sunrise illuminate the sleepy town of Wickford from your cockpit or the pride that fills you as glide into Block Island’s Great Salt Pond. Moments like that make all the previous trials and tribulations worth it.

This past season may have been short but it sure was sweet

Only 168 days until next boating season. 

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Bird Crap, Craigslist and my Diamond in the Rough

A constant desire to be out on the water is something of an occupational hazard I face working as a marine journalist, which in a way makes sense. Day after day stories of turquoise water, wide-open diesel engines and adventure pass across my desk. This sparked what would become two serious past times, daydreaming and browsing on Craigslist for my first boat.

I’m not stranger to boating, much of my life has been spent cruising aboard my parent’s 33-foot Egg Harbor. Summer vacations from our homeport on Long Island to northern destinations like Maine and Montreal and southern destinations like the Bahamas instilled in me a love for the sport. It’s no surprise that I would one day want to own a boat of my own, the shock would come in the type of boat I was pursuing. I wanted a…sailboat (gasp). Living in the sailing capital of the world, Newport, RI, and watching beautiful boats silently and gracefully glide across the picturesque harbor by harnessing the wind fascinated me. Jumping at a handful of chances to ride along these, to me, mythical creatures and I was hooked.

I would spend months scouring Craigslist.  Not to toot my own horn, but over the last few months, I had gotten pretty darn good at navigating that site. I mean, I knew all the tricks. No picture? Not for me. I would scan the price, name and models, selecting only those that fit my initial criteria. If I did click on the link, I would be able to separate the serious sellers from the scam artists within seconds.

Once in a while a chosen few made it to my next round, where I would request more images and information, which is where most of my searches would ultimately end, until the other day. While doing some evening scanning, I came across two sailboats that made me do a double take. One was a 25-foot Catalina that was the right price and came with all the toys. The second was a 32-foot Rhodes. A bit outside my price range, she didn’t come with any of the bells and whistles and needed serious cosmetic work, but her sleek lines were speaking to me, asking to take a closer look. I arranged to view both boats that weekend with my girlfriend, Karen, who would keep me from making any rash decisions, or so I hoped.

Our first stop was the Catalina 25. The owner would not be there but the tender launch service at his marina would take us out to her and we could look around from there. Standing proudly across the flat calm harbor, she was pretty from afar. I thought she could be “the one.” As the tender pulled up along side her, my heart sank. The entire boat, from bow to outboard was absolutely covered in seagull excrement.

“I’ve got to pick up some other people, did you want to look around or do you want me to just take you back?” asked the tender launch operator.

I had come too far not to at least go aboard. I (literally) dragged Karen aboard too.

“You have to look past the crap,” I pleaded, as I opened the cabinets with my foot. We ventured below into the cabin, where the smell of mildew hit me like a stiff jab. Karen’s face showed that she was less than thrilled.

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“You have to smell past the smell,” I begged, while breathing through my mouth. We quickly wrapped up our tour and flagged down the tender.

We drove in silence to our next viewing. We met with the owner of the Rhodes 32 who took us aboard his fishing boat, and around the corner to where she was moored.

Love at first sight may sound a bit cheesy, but when I saw the light beige hull and the tall wooden mast glistening off the water, my pulse quickened significantly.

I hopped aboard the boat, walked past the wooden ships wheel and took a lap around the (excrement free) topsides. While it was obvious that a coat of paint and some serious TLC on the brightwork was needed, I saw her potential immediately. A lap around the interior revealed that while some finishing touches were necessary, she certainly had character to spare.

I opened up her hood and saw a pristine 2004 30-hp Yanmar diesel. A young heart pounding inside a classic, it seemed we had much in common.

With the best poker face I could muster, which I imagine still showed an obvious smirk, we began talking price. When the owner threw out a bottom line below what I was expecting, I responded with three little words; the words that have both defined and haunted boaters for centuries.

“I’ll take it!”

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