I'm not saying I am a sentamentalist, but I was measuring and re-tying lines today on the Laser to get ready for the adventure, when I noticed that all my marking and rigging tools are in a worn Ulmer bag that I got as swag when I delivered a $50,000 check to Ulmer for a C&C 40 in City Island New York when I was about 17. This was part of my first job, which was boat cleaning for a charter company run out of Johnson Boat Works in Point Pleasant New Jersey. The yard was fairly famous for the wooden beauties it created after WWII, and when I was growing up there were still three functioning marine railways that could bring boats up into massive work sheds. They all had wide plank wooden floors and massive machinery all about the place. I particularly remember the giant band saws and drill presses. The place was long ago turned into condominiums and almost all of the boatworks are gone.
The little dirt street end where I used to launch my Penguin and sail all around Bay Head, Metedeconk and Barnegat Bay is now a manicured circle -- at least last time I was in New Jersey and checked.
My sister used to lifeguard at the condo pools there later on.
But back to the bag. I was driving the check to City Island in the company's big whale of a station wagon, the kind with the roll down rear window and the reverse third row back seat. White exterior and red interior. The company car was a total beater and it overheated and broke down on the cross Bronx expressway and I just managed to roll it down an exit ramp on to city island. I walked the last half mile with this massive check in my hand and completed the mission. But then I had to wait for rescue from a coworker. While I was waiting, the folks at the loft gave me two little yellow bags as a consolation prize. One long since bit the dust, but this other one has been my sailing companion for about 30 years.
That seems to be true of a lot of folks who sail. And I still sometimes wear the sping suit I wore 30 years ago to windsurf on Long Beach Island. I think I got my monies worth out of the thing, though it was expensive at the time.
Anyway, that is one of the things I love about sailing and the water. There is always a lot of history floating around.
Thank you to my sponsors for the Beaufort to Annapolis distance adventure:
Shoreline Sailboats of Avon, N.Y. who are providing the boat.
McMurdo who are providing the safety and emergency alert gear.
Gill, who are providing all of the clothing that will keep me safe during the journey.
And Magellan, which provided the GPS navigation system.