Stolen Sailing, the Best Way to Welcome the Off-Season

For most boaters in New England, November is for finishing the last winterizing projects of the year, making sure the shrinkwrap or tarps are secured, and preparing for ski season. Yet in almost every harbor there are a few holdouts who keep their boats in the water long after the rest of us have drained our outside faucets, and on a rare sunny, warm day in early November, those boat owners seem like the wisest mariners among us.

I was fortunate to tag along with my good friend and USHarbors colleague Tom Young on November 2 aboard his 1961 Alden Challenger Christmas, a lovely yawl with enough wood to elevate it into full-blown “Classic” territory despite its fiberglass hull. With enough of a southwesterly to get us north of six knots as we reached from Rockport Harbor toward Monroe Island and Owl’s Head, the sailing was as fine as any July or August day. The entire trip, dock-to-dock, was only two hours but served to remind me why I cherish sailing not just for the opportunity to enjoy yachts like Christmas, but also for the fine people like Tom whom I get to chat with during my trips along the shore.

After stealing one last late-season sail like this, my spring launch date seems a bit less far off already.