Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Passing Strange

Yesterday we took a sail on the Schooner Aquidneck.  An 80-foot long vessel with a three-person crew, we left Newport Harbor and ventured into the Narragansett Bay for almost two hours.  This is the Aquidneck passing in front of the Castle Hill Inn.
Photo courtesy of sightsailing.com
It was our eighth day in Newport and wouldn't you know it, it was the one day we didn't have sun.  The weather channel had been lying all week about the rain, but today they got it right.  The rest of the week has been gorgeous, which to me means less than seventy degrees.  Closer to sixty is even better.

A sixty-degree day with sun is heavenly.  A sixty-degree day on a boat with a lot of wind, which of course is ideal for sailing, and no sun, is what I'd call a little too chilly.  And when have you ever heard me say I was too chilly?  I was wearing a thin cardigan but it wasn't quite enough.  Thankfully, the crew handed out fleece blankets.
The chill didn't stop Ed from helping hoist one of the sails; with a huge smile on his face, of course.  And one of the crew members on the boat, Ben Zartman, we came to find out, not only lives on a boat with his family (wife and three girls!), but has sailed to numerous countries, writes for several boating publications and websites, and even has his own blog! 

He's got a great storytelling writing style and his experience is extremely interesting.  He's even written a book, We Who Pass Like Foam.  Don't you just love that title?  It comes from the following stanza taken from John Masefield's poem, The Passing Strange:

They change, and we, who pass like foam,
Like dust blown through the streets of Rome,
Change ever, too; we have no home

You can see the poem in its entirety here.

On our trip, Ed took a few pictures of other boats we passed.  This is the Hugo Boss boat, from the Barcelona World Race.  It was in Newport to have the mast repaired, which broke at the beginning of the month.  Watch skipper Alex Thomson walk to the top of the mast in this video.

There are no daring mast walks on this next vessel, but here's another sailboat (or schooner, I guess) that Ed saw and liked.  We kept hoping the sun would peek through to at least give us some good light for photos but it never happened.  We even had a few sprinkles get us.  Such is the life of a seafarer.

Ed's eyes were as big as saucers looking at all of these boats.  His "life on a boat" dream must have been flying through his head at warp speed.  I'm still not keen on the idea, but I can see some of its appeal.  Mostly the travel part of it, not the actual boating part.  And I'd never do it on a small boat.  Ever.

The next boat he saw, which was pointed out by the crew, was this 12-metre racing sailboat built in 1964, named the American Eagle.  At one time this was Ted Turner's boat and it was a repeat America's Cup champion.  It's available for charter if you want to know what sailing on a racing yacht feels like.

It's no wonder they call Newport the sailing capital of the United States. I don't think I've ever seen as many sailboats in one place at one time, various sizes of white triangles silently passing each other on the horizon.

Our time here has really been wonderful.  We toured every open mansion in Newport (six of the nine), visited the Green Animals Topiary Garden and Home, ate in a different restaurant every night, roamed the shops in town, took a spin along Ocean Drive, and even visited nearby Plymouth to see the famous rock.

On our next visit we plan to take the behind-the-scenes Servant Life tour at The Elms and also see Rough Point, Doris Duke's mansion.

I can't wait!  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
2013:  One Pan Eddie: Five Steps To Paradise

2012: Crossing The Hackensack
2011: Don’t Hate On Me On This Lovely Golden Day
2010: See You At The Curb
2009: A Blaze Of Crotch Sniffing And Licky Kisses
2008: Going To Market
2007: Lazy Sunday
2006: Can Someone Define Their Purpose??
2005: Sorry, no post for this day.

1 comment:

Hansel Sneed said...

Hi, Nice blog. I hope this sailing trip best for friends and family to spend a quality time.
Thanks for this post.