BY DAN SPURR (Cruising World Magazine)
Picture this: You're at the helm of a big ketch,
loping gently through the blue waters of the West Indies. Your wife, sunbathing
on the large foredeck cushion, looks great in her new yelow-and-black swimsuit.
She's happy, and that makes you happy. And your young son, well, he's just seen
his first sea turtle underwater and is trying to identify its pieces in a field
guide. He sits in the cockpit beside you,
wrapped in a towel, shaded by the
You're feeling sort of lustful and fatherly at the same time.
Magnanimous for sure. You have one hand on
the steering wheel, and you're
aiming for a white ribbon of beach about three miles away, the evening's anchorage.
The only thing that could improve this scene is a beverage, and damn! Next thing
you know, the captain puts a cold one right between the four fingers and opposing
thumb of your free hand.
All you have to do is squeeze.
Make a wish,
dude, you're on a streak!
Far from the Big Dig
Our week of living hedonistically was
a study in contrast, beginning in black and white with the airport shuttle speeding
toward Boston's Logan International Airport along the Southeast Expressway, then
through several miles of Big Dig construction (the world's largest public works
project) where entire streets disappear and reappear overnight, miles of hastily
erected chain-link fences protect against cavernous holes dug under the city,
monoliths of concrete and rebar are frozen against the gray sky, and everywhere
there's pavement diving underground, and ramping into the sky. The chaos all around
was like a topo map of my brain-dust and rubble, short circuits and fried wiring.
My wife, Andra, and I had been working too hard at too many jobs. We'd become
frenzied, hollow cheeked insomniacs, over stimulated by the synthetic sounds of
the e-world; we'd grown surly, nipping at one another. Time for a time-out, or
how about a weeklong movie about a family having fun, starring us?
The Logan Express bus driver tossed our seven bags
curb and left us inhaling his fumes. Our 12-year old son, Stephen, suggested we
ran a "Smarte Carte," but being one of those stubborn, self-sufficient
types who'd rather load himself like a packhorse than cave in to a porter or pay
a buck fifty for a sissy cart, I shouldered two bags to a side, steadied myself,
and shuddered forward. Like Dorothy spiraling toward Oz, I was ready for color
and happy landing.
Working the Numbers
A year had passed since
we sold Viva the Tartan 44 in which we cruised New England for six years. Day
sailing the same course fot the hundred and first time was losing its appeal;
we wanted to relive the excitement of making new ports. We also sought a complete
(if temporary) respite from responsibility, which is what ultimately led us to
forgo a bareboat charter in favor of a crewed one. Andra was rather insistent,
reminding me that we've never gone anywhere when I haven't had to work on the
boat. [Read on..]