the Wind, Sea, and Sky
by Arthur MacDonald
here for more information about MAIB)
The lead photo shows a steady wind
on a gorgeous September afternoon, inside the Breakers at Crescent
Beach, an extension of Revere Beach. This is the site of the famous
dance hall. Holt's Pier, extending out on top of Cherry Island
Bar. Knobby piles are all that's left of the landmark Big Band
era hot spot. All the swingers frequented this huge artistic hall,
it was the age of swing, jitterbug, and Charleston dancing.
My ancestors loved that place along
with the Old Revere Beach, but I'm more of a today and tomorrow
person, having only been there for some of the past tail end pieces
and not the captain's cut. I am presently reading The Islands
of Boston Harbor by Edward Rowe Snow (updated version), now when
I go out to the many Islands in my Bolger/
Carnell sailboat, I'll know what the heck I'm looking at!
upon a time three years ago, I attended a teenage anti-substance
abuse coalition meeting and I suggested that Phil and Dave's sailboat
was the best design suggested by me to suit the over all needs
of the endeavor, a safe, dry, stable, simple, nicely priced, potentially
feasible do all sailboat. The materials used in the construction
process were frowned upon by some of the members who were unable
to fathom the concept of this boat (scary). One member asked what
if it pops a seam! Another asked whom will you sail with, in that
this Renegade boat has no class definition!
I replied, we can sail with each
other to various destinations, with actual headings (accomplishing
adventures) in and around the Boston Islands. He was quiet. I
think sailing around aimlessly is less exciting after a short
time, but some folks are satisfied with that. I want to beach
and disembark after a while of sailing and scout around a little.
The Bolger/Camell sailboat was
shot down by the coalition, so I built two of them to prove my
suggestion was a valid one. Now two years later, after hard use
and trailering, the boats are fine.
Now the coalition is showing some
interest in using my boats and my building experience to interest
the kids and parents in sailing and building this design as a
kicker to the already active Sea Kayak Program which is in its
I love changing around the sail
for a little discovery here and there, but so far the lateen style
always proves the most desirable and the snotter will get that
forward point almost parallel with the mast, allowing you to install
a forward traveler and a self adjusting jib or a Genoa. However,
the boat is plenty powerful with just a main. Sometimes it's overpowered
so this chicken is going to install reefs.
I got caught up in a September
squall last year which had me damn near dismasted, had to beach
on Gallops Island and the ride home after two hours on the island
was hair raising under full sail; damn if I didn't need every
ounce of seagoing experience. The wind and waves would have liked
to give me a damn heart attack!
The 14' mast was bowed like a Ziti!
Reefs please. Ground kissing thanks was appropriate if we live
through this one. When I finally reached the Winthrop public launch
ramp the sail was on the wrong side to execute my approach and
at the last second I jibed and skidded up the ramp hollering,
"look out!" A fellow on the ramp was watching in awe
at my maneuvering and the boom was about to take him out. "Now
that's sailing," he said. Little did he know that I was sailing
to avoid death! But then again I do love the thrill, heck I'm
only 51 and it's just another log on the fire.
Cruising Boston Harbor in this
renegade type sailboat was an especially entertaining venture
last season because the Winthrop State Ramp is very close to Logan
International Airport and the sailboat sure looks international,
especially to the United States Coast Guard!
As I approached the radar pier
and runway the big orange Zodiac full of C.G. boys had a bead
on me and were on their way towards me, now I fully knew what
this sailboat looked like to them. Stopping 100 yards short of
this lateen sail Nile River oriented terror craft, they stalked
me for about a half hour, only then realizing my innocent tactics,
as I headed the other way in an effort to escape Logan Airport
and the vortex of landing jet craft.
Our little plywood boat sure does
attract a lot of attention in Boston Harbor, including a lot of
curious picture takers and yellers. "Is that a Bolger hull,"
I hear from the larger sailboats and yachts. I can only answer
yes, so they can relate. The big party boats go nuts picture taking,
am I a show off or what!
Congrats to Phil and Dave
for their expertise in design and simplification. I will be spearheading
the effort in 2003 if all goes well.