Deep into November, I took veteran sailors Jeanne Kushabar and Ugo Boggio out on the York in a light breeze from the east. I hadn’t see Ugo in a year, during which time he bought a 24-foot sailboat for his house on Boothbay Harbor, Maine.
“It’s very slow, but I’ve raced in against boats in the Booth Bay Yacht Club,” he said as Jeanne guided the helm. I’ve only been sailing for five years, so I’m no expert. But I know where the rocks are. I was in a race where one guy was staying near me and we were neck-and-neck. As we rounded the mark, he suddenly luddenly lurched forward, grounding sharply on a rocky reef.
“He recovered but was now behind me When we rounded the last mark we were within a hundred yards of the finish line when the wind died. Just nothing. We drifted to within 100 feet of the finish when he was the first to start his engine. So I won because he was disqualified.”
Jeanne recalled a race in her former grounds of Long Island Sound. “We were sailing off Stamford, getting ready for the start of a race. Two big boats were tacking back and forth within touching distance of each other, timing their start perfectly to cross at the gun. When they reached the line, one of the boats must have caught some wind because it drove right up the stern on top of the helmsman. We saw him go down under the bow. It was horrible. A rescue helicopter came in to take him to the hospital, and we proceeded with the race. He was okay, but it looked like it was awful.”
And you wonder why sailors race.
Sunset on the Season
After Thanksgiving, Chrissy Irving and her husband Shaun took her parents out sailing for an afternoon cruise time timed for sunset. Chrissy and Shaun just bought a house in Hampton, on the Bay, where they can still see dolphins every day.
John Irving was disappointed in the light winds, which happens only one day out of 99. He and his wife Sharon owned a Hunter 38, which they sailed on Lake Huron and Lake Michigan for 15 years, sometimes months at a time. I asked cheerfully if anyone had fallen off.
“Me,” he said solemnly. “It was on another boat, a friend’s. I went up to tighten the boom vang but was unaware that it was attached badly. I pulled on the line and went right over the side into the drink.”
Sharon added, “I knew exactly what to do and rescued him right away. We were under sail and had to hove-to and sail back.”
Over the years, John participated in big races including across Lake Huron and the famed Mackinac Island race from Chicago.
For her part, daughter Chrissy is pretty strong. She has raced in 44 running marathons in five states, and Sharon has joined her in a few. When she was on a cruise with her parents, she got caught in the head during fierce winds and came up on board with the toilet seat in her hand. “They never let me forget that, to this day,” she laughed.
Mother and daughter went up to the bow to enjoy the setting sun. It was the end of Season Six.
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