A recent post by Ian Walker about a visit from the New “Queen Elizabeth” while crossing the Atlantic to Newport in preparation for the next Volvo race reminded me of our past encounters with the “France”, and the “Queen Elizabeth II”; in each case they passenger ships altered course to come by and chat with us.
As indicated by the log entries we were far enough north that it was almost always damp and cold. Martha Smith, was our cook for the crossing and somehow imagined it would be much warmer and packed a bikini.
This photo remains one of my favorites. A memory, a happy one; taken with a polaroid camera. I do not remember who took it.
We were in Harwichport at David Steere’s house. He was the owner of “Yankee Girl”, which along with “American Eagle” and our boat “Carina” were leaving the following day to sail to Cowes for the Admiral’s Cup and Fastnet Race. It was 1971. My good friend Mickey Spillaine was the pro on “Yankee Girl” and Joe Kennedy was his mate along with John Scott, a classmate from St. George’s.
We crossed the atlantic in 14 days, as I remember, we beat “Yankee Girl” and American Eagle” boat for boat by a day. They sailed a more southerly and warmer route.
This was before GPS. We navigated by sextant and dead reckoning. Crossing the Grand Banks in the cold and fog we had not had a fix in days. Dead reckoning put us about 20 miles south of Sable Island. I was off watch when I felt something strange, we were running with a spinnaker at about 8 knots. My immediate thought was that we were going ashore on Sable Island. I leapt out of my bunk and headed on deck when there was a second bump. I arrived on deck in time to see a whale pop up astern.
In 1971 we cruised “Carina” to England for the Admiral’s Cup and Fastnet Race. we sailed from Indian Harbor Yacht Club in Greenwich, Ct. to Harwichport, on Cape Cod; where David Steere the owner of “Yankee Girl” had a summer house, compound might be a better description. A big party the night of our arrival and we left across the ocean along with “Yankee Girl”, “American Eagle” owned by Ted Turner, and “Carina” belonging to Dick Nye.
We sailed the more northerly route, closer to the great circle, crossing in fourteen days , which would have likely won a race had we been competing .
A few days into the crossing, still on the Grand Banks, but not having had a sun sight in a few days, we only had a dead reckoning position. we calculated that we were perhaps 20 miles south of Sable Island, more or less. That night, I was off watch, we hit a whale that had been sleeping on the surface. I ran on deck, in a panic, thinking we had hit the island, just in time to see the whale pop to the surface behind us.