I am listening to the WEEI radio network as the Red Sox are leading the Oakland Athletics four to one in the seventh inning at Fenway. Joe Castiglione is delivering the play by play. It’s déjà vu all over again.
But let’s not get too excited. Oakland has the worst record in the Majors at this point of the season, and the Red Sox are in last place in their division, five games behind the hated Yankees.
None-the-less, the enormity of having the Windleblo in New England can’t be diminished.
We are swinging from a guest mooring ball at Sachem Head Yacht Club, Guilford, Connecticut, our first New England port of call. We’re here at the invitation of Phil Dear, one of Windleblo’s most beloved and reliable crewmen, who grew up here before heading off to Tufts University. We are being hosted by Phil’s parents, Charlie and Pamela Dear, who have toured us around town and taken us out to dinner at a local eatery along with Megan, Phil’s cute-as-a-button 15-year-old sister.
Guilford is quintessential New England, complete with town common, country tavern, and Boston Post Road. Loafer clad blue bloods dart back and forth from Volvos to shops with names like Village Chocolatier, Frank’s Package Store, and Bishop’s Orchards Farm Market. The haves live in handsome shingle-sided Colonial Revival homes north of I-95 and the have-mores live in larger Greek or Gothic Revival homes close to the Sound. Jocelyn tours the Whitney House, Connecticut’s oldest, while I hike a well-worn trail through the leafy boulder-strewn nature preserve behind Phil’s house.
Windleblo has always moved from place to place; she has no home waters. Across her transom is printed Golden, Colorado, yes, but this is her hailing port, selected to meet Federal Communications Commission rules, not to declare where she resides. She will never make it up the Platte River.
Now, however, we are finally in New England. Perhaps these will become her home waters.
We have always said that at the end of our ten year vision to sail Windleblo from Scandinavia to Alaska we would reflect back and decide where of all the places we had been we would take her for the duration, the place we would assign as her home waters. And certainly there are many places that might compete for this assignment.
But the pragmatist in me senses New England as a front runner in this competition. It’s where I came of age and learned how to sail, it’s where I have family, and it’s where culturally I feel at home. It rates as a world class cruising ground amidst fabulous shore attractions so certainly at least merits the short list.
New York was great. We drank from the fire hydrant of cultural and tourist attractions and feasted on the hospitality of our cousins who showed us how livable New York can be. We took in a Broadway show; browsed the Met and the Tenement museums; saw Ground Zero, Wall Street, and Harlem; rode subways, cabs, and bike routes; walked for miles up the High Line, down Broadway, and through Central Park, and laughed out loud at Magnet Theatre improve acts and as studio audience participants at the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. As we sailed past lower Manhattan and lady liberty, we said goodbye to the most exciting city in the world. The eddies and boils of East River’s Hell Gate served as transition to the season’s feature presentation – New England.
This season is a homecoming of sorts. Ever since we took delivery of Windleblo in Sweden, I have anticipated sailing her into Cohasset harbor, where I grew up on Boston’s South Shore. Now, that day is not very far off. I’ve already contacted Lorri, the Cohasset harbor master and fellow Cohasset High School alum, to reserve a mooring.
But that’s later in June. For now, we’re focused on the present and immediate future, enjoying Long Island’s Eastern Forks, Block Island, and Narragansett Bay.