We almost missed it. We had planned on going to Rock Hall a day early; then cleaning up the boat and making her shine (as much as she can since we’re now living on / in it) and then Friday going to the Rendezvous. Yeah right! As in most things boating plans change based on the weather. Thursday; most all day it rained and then drizzled, then rained some more then broke for 10 minutes then drizzled. You get the idea. Then Friday the start of the gathering; it did the same. We called Pat using Skype and found out he too hadn’t left his slip but thought Jenny and Mike had. We eventually waffled and then decided to hang tight. It was to clear up tomorrow. So we missed any of the Friday night festivities. Well; not really. Pat too decided to hang tight and go in the am.
We left about 7am Sat and arrived a little after 9. Two 32’s were anchored up near Swan Creek and we dropped the hook near by till the Pat; the co-master of this rendezvous made it. He pulled in about 45 min’s later and we followed him up the creek and rafted up. The two 32’s then followed and one tied on each side of the two 42’s. While we were the second group of boats to be anchored up the creek; by night fall there must have been almost 30 boats anchored back in that hole.
We ran through the introductions and before long we were swapping stories intermixed with some tall tales and some tales that seemed tall.We oggled and gawked at the things each have done to their boats (W/ especially loved the awning connection on Mike and Jenny’s boat; and met an original 32 owner couple as well as renewed a friendship with the Westsail #1 Guru (I consider myself number 2) Bud Taplin.
Pat had some water in his bilges which we never discovered where exactly it was coming from. I tasted it (yes; being an ex science teacher that is usually the fastest way to document what kind of water it is) and it had some salt in it. We loaned him our Shaker Siphon and he drained some water that had gotten to the engine pan and then pumped the bilges. Not in that order because he ferried about 10 gallons of dirty – oily water ashore for proper disposal. We never did find where it was coming from before he left. Then we visited Odyssey with owners Jim and Cynthia. Jim (a practicing therapist with a specialty of hypnosis) told us of a couple of times his boat had spoken to him. Not to make him sound like he is his own client; he spoke of one dark moonless night with one hell of a storm brewing somewhere in the islands. He said he’d never know exactly how it happened but with him at the helm and no horizon the boat took him through the cut in the reef and then right up to one of the few mooring buoys available. He didn’t feel he’d have more than one chance to grab a buoy and when he left the helm to go forward and pick it up; the buoy was right there. Now it may have been the beer; or the heat or the confluence of more Westsailors but he couldn’t remember the other time Odyssey had spoken to him and saved his life. A few years later he reached a pivotal moment in Odyssey’s life. Jim and Cynthia were living in St. John and two hurricanes blew through (around a Cat 4 he related). Every boat in the harbor was gone. Two boats ended up on the beach ( I should say two recognizable boats) his and one other. Jim said “Of all the Hinckley’s, Hunters, Catalinas, Benateau’s that were anchored there; none of them had a piece larger enough you couldn’t carry out by yourself”! He spent the day sitting on the beach; looking at his boat…. talking to it. And in the end he decided to do to his boat what his boat had done for him. He would put her back in good shape and sail her again. They needed permission to do the fiberglass repair work on the beach and so the family that owned the beach was consulted. Being an island family each family member had to agree to Jim’s request (one other boat had been involved too) and finally 10 people had said yes; one family member was left. Grandma. Grandma used that beach almost everyday to search for welks. After a painful couple of days’ wait Grandma said yes to Jim and the other boat’s owner. After they launched the boats they volunteered to bring in a container and thoroughly clean the beach. Odyessy laid on her side and the first thing to do was to get her upright then begin patching the holes. Areas of the bow had been worn away that you could see though to the inside and there was an 8′ gash in one side and 6′ in the other. Jim did the fiberglassing to factory specs and faired it out (my guess is better then the factory here) and approx a year later they launched the boat. Over the next 3 years they rigged it and rebuilt the interior. What a job; and some people think W/ and I had it rough working on ours like we did.
Pat on the other hand has been working on his 42 for about 30 years. Not quite yet finished on the inside the outside is quite pristine; he’s added a roller boom for the mainsail; painted the main mast and mizzen and Awlgripped the deck and hull. Jenny and Mike are working on upgrading theirs and cleaning it up for their anticipated move aboard in 2 years. Jenny, being highly emotive and willing to accept most any challenge (she also assumed the role of the photographer) was convinced that we needed a picture of the boats and people form the masthead.
So out came the gear and Mike and I cranked her up the mast to take a slew of pics. What a trouper she was. Not one tear going up and a huge smile coming down.
Then there was Doris and Abel. The first and only owners of their 32. They regaled all of us there of tales from when Westsail was about the only boat one could reasonably sail the world in.
Most other world cruising boats would have needed to be custom and the common person just couldn’t afford one. Marty had forsaken Soccor, Baseball, Karate, etc. with his kids for the boat. When ever the family had a spare minute instead of running the kids to one event after another they would all go sailing. As adults now the boat is a family boat and if any of the kids want to use the boat they do. While Marty was there with us his boat was being loaded by his son for a 10 day cruise. To our knowledge; Marty wasn’t going! We spent the evening at Waterman’s tasting the variety of select alcoholic beverages and yes there were a few of us that enjoyed some food. The following day we motored (others sailed) down to Annapolis; Back Creek, to anchor for the night. With our experience in the Chesapeake thus far; if we want to go N the winds blow from the N and if we want to go S the winds blow from the S. However; if one boat wants to go N and the other boat S; then the winds don’t blow. We rolled out our jib for 5 minutes and watched it hang there as we motored along. Pat seemed content to sail a bit and he was heading across the bay towards Baltimore; Jenny and Mike (who left an hour earlier) said they had a good sail most of the way back. Just our luck. I know I left out Jeff. He was mostly listening; asking questions and watching. He hadn’t yet purchased a Westsail and was wondering if this “family” was for his family. Sunday he was going to look at a boat with Bud and maybe then decide if a purchase and joining the Westsail group was in his future. Oh well; were now at Annapolis Landing Marina in Back Creek and about ready to begin our month’s long work.