EEEYYHAAAAA ! ! ! Or something like that anyway as each the 15 Melonseed and the 1 Swampscott Dory skippers surely each had their own version of that primal announcement of sheer joy when sailing yesterday.
We sailed out of Padanaram Harbor into a building SW wind that ultimately blew STEADY in the high teens. I've sailed in a lot of MS Regattas and in a lot of great winds in my Melonseed years, and folks, in its own way, this was as good as it has ever been!
The fleet sailed for about an hour or so upwind out to South Nonquit Beach in about 12 – 15 knots. It was truly wonderful sailing, but it got a little more sloppy and bumpy and windy the further out we went. Had we rounded a point a couple of miles ahead I think we would have been in some real heavy winds an seas so the decision was to reach into a gorgeous sandy beach and haul `em up for a picnic.
The temp was in the 80's, sky fairly clear, and as summery a day as you could imagine. The sit-down on the beach was quite welcome…for a while, but the building wind and the fantasy of a long broad reach home in 18 knots of wind finally got us all back in the water.
Imagine the scene: 15 Melonseeds and a Dory in a widely spread group sailing at full on hull speed (and maybe then some!). Spray was flying everywhere as each boat seemed to take its turn at lurching forward as the gusts slammed into its sail. The sail back was so good that when we reached the beach most folks went back out for more, and more. A few of us strutted our stuff and in a tight little group and roared right in between the docks of the legendary Concordia boat yard, whipped a tack or gybe or two, and as cockily as we appeared, slipped back out again into the main harbor. Oh yes, that was an ego boost.
The Melonseed fleet, in small groups sailed around a harbor stuffed full of Hinckleys, Concordias, Marshalls and a plethora of other world class fine yachts, and while I am, sure that we looked as good as them all, WE were the ones having the most fun.
In the evening we had sunset party on the top of a cliff overlooking the Atlantic, a live band, dancing, libation, great food and the usual Melonmadness. The award of the Melonhead of the year t-shirt went to Marc Theriault of Montreal, Canada for his abounding enthusiasm, driving all the way here to play with us, and willingness write his postings on this Yahoo page in half English and half French!. I can't remember who got the "lampshade on the head" award for the night, but that's another story.
That's enough for now. Got to go bail the leftover salt water out of the bilge of MS #300, rinse her off and go do it all over again today in the same winds in Duxbury. Well, someone's gotta do this stuff, and I'm sure glad it's ME!!!
by Karen Pautz
You might not have heard the sound, those of you who have real jobs, you who are assailed by the white noise of office or auto or home. But at some indeterminate time on Friday, somewhere in the early afternoon (Eastern Daylight Time), if you were sitting very still, you might have heard it. The tiny "snick" of everything -- every molecule, every atom, every great and unseen and omnipotent spirit ever invoked -- aligning itself in perfect order. The sound of a great universe-wide harmonic convergence, where the wind and the water and the tide and the sight of 13 works of floating (flying) Melonseed art absolutely Could Not Have Been Better.
This, gentle Melonheads, was the sail of all sails.
Or, as Roger C. summed it up, mimicking Meg Ryan in the famous scene with Billy Crystal in "When Harry Met Sally,"
Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Oh yeeeeees!
Yeah, I know, I've written before about what wonderful sails I've had (and they *have* been wonderful). But really and truly, this one was the best ever. Jump-up-and-down and abandon-all-hope-of-maintaining-any-modicum of sophistication-or-class-or-maturity great. Better than chocolate great.
Midwest Melonheads, if you haven't had the pleasure of sailing in the Massachusetts tidal marshes, you can't even begin to imagine what you're missing. On your list of things do to as soon as possible, put 'sail in the next Melonseed Summer Solstice Regatta.'
Picture a huge bay, bigger than most Corps of Engineer reservoirs. Taste the salt wind. Feel the steady winds. Imagine these really fun creeks (but not rocky-sided, water moccasin-infested Midwest creeks) that wind through the marshes and feed into the bay. Picture 13 Melonseeds, all manned (and womaned) by capable sailors, zipping up the bay and exploring one of these creeks, looping upstream and on all points of sail, till the banks closed in and there was barely enough room to turn around.
The sorely mistaken weatherman was calling for winds of 5-10, but Kurt Kaiser's spiffy wind-o-meter (okay, anemometer) recorded, while we were rigging for the sail, gusts of at least 14. And I'm just sure the breeze was stiffer than that once we were underway. My GPS recorded a speed 6.5 knots more than once (Kurt got 7!), and I’m betting I went even faster but was too busy trying to stay upright to check the reading. I knew we were flying when, on the reach home, I started to think “oh, gee, we’re slowing down,” only to see 5 knots on the GPS.
My oh my oh my. Oh my.
Sailing up the creek was such a treat. (All that tacking in and out of marinas and launch areas finally pays off!). And even more the treat was watching everyone sail away, one by one, after a lunch break on the marsh. The marsh grass is tall enough that, standing on the spongy matt of reeds that passes as “land,” you can’t see the boats or the sailors – only the top two-thirds of the pretty, pretty sails, tanbark and linen, marching away in funky unpredictable choreography.
Oh, yeah, the people are pretty okay, too. And they are particularly kind to Midwesterners with podunk grins who holler “I don’t know how to sail over marshes” and make a quick come-about so as to not completely humiliate themselves by running a-grass.
Today’s participants, in no particular order: Roger Crawford in gorgeous Morning Star (Melonseed #300), Fran Nichols, Elizabeth Durant, Don Salvator, Carolyn Sones, Chris & Kurt Kaiser, Mike LeBlanc, Karen Marciante, Carol Lyall, Kent and Allen Whitehouse, Phil O’Connell (82 years old and a crack sailor and my new role model), Jack Goss and me. Note the abundance of women. You go, girls!
We met at Roger’s shop this evening for a relaxing evening of potluck and Roger’s world-class chowder (and perhaps just a bit of alcohol), and we’ll sail again in the morning.
And yes, in case you’re wondering, today’s sail was more than worth the now-3200 miles that Harrison’s accrued on this trip.
MS #267, the lovely and pristine and really fast and better-than-ever Folderol, who wants Karen to find a job on the East Coast.
Regatta update Friday afternoon
Roger C 06/25/1999 05:24 pm EDT
MELONSEEDS RULE ! ! ! Well folks, hate to rub it in, BUT we had 16 - 25 knot SW winds (actually saw it recorded on the internet National Weather Service site!) and hot fair weather. 17 boats sailed in Hingham Harbor today in a real solid breeze. We launched off downwind for a ripping good run out of the harbor, around the headland of the "World's End" nature sanctuary and into this incredibly beautiful sort of enclosed harbor. The wind was ripping, but the water was dead flat! It was intoxicatingly beautiful. Hated to put ashore for a picnic but finally did. On the way home we had to slam out of the narrow channel into lumpy, choppy seas and big winds. Quite challenging. Once out into the bay again we had a roaring ride home. Spray was flying, whitecaps cresting, All sunglasses were very salty!! Moonlight sail in Duxbury tonight ulness the wind stays very high, then we'll have a beach party instead. Had to empty a gallon of water out of the boat back at the beach, but man, was it worth it!Rock on Melonheads!
06/26/1999 07:20 am EDT
The wind held up for last night's sail
A bit weary from the day's adventure, but still game, a substantial crew of Melonheads showed up for last night's moonlight sail in Duxbury. 11 boats sailed south from the town pier in Duxbury's"Snug Harbor" launching ramp, and followed the coastline down to Eagle's Nest Cove. It was still blowing a gale 'o wind out in the middle of the Bay, so we kept in the lee of the shore line. Wind was probably steady 10 - 15 with higher gusts where we were, more out in mid -bay. Upwind sail required tacking skills, but all boats did great. We pulled into the Cove at Fran Nichols' magical Eagle's Nest Point property and ran the boats up on to the marsh. All gathered out on Fran's pier out over the water for cocktails, and were joined by even more land bound Melonheads. Full moon overhead, hot summer night, Melonseed enthusiasm to the max. About 10 pm we rigged calume light sticks to the tops of our sprits and departed for downwind sail back to the ramp. Quite a sight! 11 mysterioius lights whipping straight downwind in the steady breeze and cloud filtered moonlight . Pitch black at times we dodged moored boats in the harbor till we came to the ramp. Right next door at the Yacht Club they were having a rockin' party, but I think we surely put on a show as we all roared up to the ramp at once and landed. More today! Forecast is for sunny and 90 degrees. WSW wind 10 - 15 with higher gusts. We are off to Plymouth to launch at 9 AM, We'll sailover to the barrier beach for a picnic then back around town to give the tourists at the Mayfower and Plymouth Rock a show. Catered dinner party @ the shop tonight Phew, how much fun can we endure? Tough job, but someone's gotta do it in the name of all Melonheads, (and of course we need to keep up our reputation and image!).
More Regatta Details
Roger C 06/27/1999 09:27 pm EDT
Well, Saturday was just another PERFECT day in Regatta Land up here in MA. We had the biggest fleet of the weekend (22 boats) gather at 11 am at the beach up at the inner harbor in Plymouth.. The wind was nice and pleasant maybe 5 - 10 knots. Plymouth's harbor is rather busy and congested up by the town, but a mile of so further south at the head of the harbor it's very pastoral on the west bank, and bordered by a sandy barrier beach on the east side. Water flat, sky blue, wind soft but steady.
All 22 Melonseeds in a bunch sailing down wind along the west shore, then reaching across the south end, and turning upwind along the east side beach. Not another craft but Melonseeds anywhere near us. Constant chatter and exchanges of humor filtered across the breeze between boats. After about an hour and half we landed on the beach side and had a wonderful picnic. You can't imagine how much space 22 Melonseeds can take up on a beach! Must have been 200 yards of fiberglass, teak and tanbark blanking out the horizon. Magnificent and impressive sight. The wind picked up some during lunch and teased us back out on the water. The fleet broke up into three or four different groups, each seeking their own invididual adventures in the stiffer breeze. Just delightful sailing, scenery and most all friendship and comeraderie. Above all else, the Melonheads are the most cordial and joyous group of folk you will ever sail with. Perfect crew. Oh yes, there was a little "measuring of skills" out there at times. The newcomers of course wanted to sail up against the "old pros" to see just how their sailing skills matched up.
Some were very good, and right up to par with the best of us "Locals". Nice to see that. The weather was HOT, HOT, HOT again so after sailing most everyone went back home, tired but happy, to rest and recharge the the big evening dinner party. Just a lovely day on the water in near perfect medium air conditions.
Joy to the World! Life is good! ! !
Saturday's Regatta Dinner Party
Roger C 06/27/1999 10:08 pm EDT
Party at the boat shop Sat. night. We transformed the shop into nautical tropical paradise, complete with plastic (Hey, why not? we sail plastic boats!) palm trees and decorations galore. We had a caterer serve up a mega meal from soup to nuts, shrimp appetizers, three entrees and fancy deserts. Eric Peters, who bartends professionally, had his blender working overtime mixing fruit and "whaterver" punches. The wine and beer bar overflowed the cockpit of the Melonseed that we converted to a cooler/ bar. Reggae and rock music competed with the enthusiastic voices of over 40 sunburned Melonheads. This year's commerative wine was labeled "A TOAST TO SUMMER '99 WINE" and the label was decorated with melons and grapes. The descriptive label on the back of the bottle said "This most recent edition of fine wine from the cellars of the Melonseed Vinyards is a superb accompaniment to any beach picnic. It derives it's full flavors from being stored in musty old teak buckets infused the ripe aroma of fiberglass fumes and the lingereng scent of spar varnish. this is a wine NOT to be savored slowly, but consumed in copious amounts." Each partiicpant was breifly "roasted' for a moment ot two before being awarded their bottle of wine. Mike Le Blanc, of Norwood, MA was given the "Melonhead of the Year Award" this year for his constant support, and enthusiastic attitude. Mike has only been aboard a few years, but is the new rising rock star of Melonseed Mania. Truth is, dozens of the gang deserved,and could have recieved the same notice, as EVERYONE is always so helpful. Thanks to all, you ARE ALL APPRECIATED! ! ! !
The full moon rose out ofthe ocean later in the evening, so we all went out on the back deck of the shop ( which sits on a pier right over the water) to savor the sights sounds and breeze of a positively perfect summer evening. Old bonds of friendship wre renewed, and new ones created this weekend. For those Melonheads far away on different shores, we raised a glass to you. This boat's success is due to all of you. Much talk of what to do for Regatta 2000 ! How could we EVER top this one? I said that every Regatta, every year, has ben this good. Different players, but same score! A winner each time. Some talk of a "destination" Regatta next year. Go somewhere with a hotel on the water, launch the boats on Friday and sail and party for three days without ever hauling your boat once! What do you all think?? Then someone said "where are we sailing tomorrow?" Scituate Harbor was the choice. Off on another Melonseed sailing adventure on Sunday.
Roger C 06/28/1999 07:35 pm EDT
"What about Sunday? Where are we sailing Sunday?" someone said. "Really, you guys want to sail some more? Your'e not burnt out?" "NO we want more!" OK then, let's go to Scituate Harbor. Scituate Harbor, just north of the shop, is the consumate New England yacht harbor, complete with lighthouse, restaurants on the water and yachts galore dangling off moorings. Postcard and photo calendar stuff. It is in fact much too crowded for a real regatta of any size though, but just right to show off the little, now mini-fleet of (only ?) 8 Melonseeds. The breeze was light , but steady and just strong enough to make for very relaxed and casual sailing. Sunny skies temp in the high 80's. Perfect for the situation. We darted about the boats, drawing rave reviews and compliments from those multitudes of big boat sailors who hardly ever get of their moorings!
We eventually pulled up on the beach right in front of the light house for a picnic, swim and a little relaxing. What a great way to spend the last few hours of this wonderful weekend together. But of course the Melonheads could barely stand to watch the perfect summer breeze teasing the streamers on the sails of the now tide grounded boats, so off we went for more saiilng. Around and about the harbor we went. But sadly all things come to an end. We said our final good byes, and made promises for next year. But the end of one thing becomes the beginning of another, as they say, so we are all inspired to keep this wonderful dance rockin' along into the next millennium. We have severall smaller events still planned for this summer, and will see many of you again. Till then, it is the greatest of pleasures to sail with this wonderful group of people. We truly appreciate your support and friendship. Smooth sailing all. Thanks for the memories.
Regatta was superb!
Brook Bridges 07/03/1999 04:27 pm EDT
Everyone's right. The Summer Solstice Regatta is a must do event. For starters, the melonseed gene guarantees owners will be great people to be around. At the Saturday night party I moved from one group to another and always had an enjoyable conversation. We spent over an hour "leaving" the party - instant friends and hard to leave. Roger was a wonderful host in spite of fighting a bug the whole time and Fran's Eagle's Nest was a treat to see. Maureen enjoyed the sails so much she's talking about lessons.
We had an interesting experience after the picnic Friday (what a beautiful spot). As we were leaving the beach, we were next to the last and I was a little concerned about Phil, who is in his 70's, and last to leave. Not wanting him to face the high wind beat back alone, I gallantly turned back to keep him company. Only later did I find out that Phil is something of a melonseed legend and the only reason he was leaving last was to give everyone else a chance to beat him back. The ride back was invigorating - at least for Maureen. Her timing was superb - everytime she decided to squeeze out our bailing sponge we would hit the biggest waves and a ton of spray would get her in the face. She gets lots of credit - no complaints and not in a rush to go in. I suspect good foulweather gear has saved more than one melonseed marriage. The moonlight sail, minus the moonlight, was erie - all the little calumite lights glowing from the sprits and dodging the moored boats that were just barely visible. Enjoyed some stealth racing Saturday from time to time and the sail around the Mayflower was way cool. Wish I had had a camera to catch all the little melonseeds buzzing around the giant Mayflower. Thank you Roger, Fran and all the supporting melonheads for creating such a wonderful event.
Brooks and Maureen - "Changes"
from a letter by Dave and Nancy Mullany
I hope this note finds you well. I thought it was about damn time I drop a note and thank you for such a great time during the Melonseed Regatta '98. Both Nancy and I agree that the weekend couldn't have gone better.We definitely agree we couldn't have gotten to sail our Melonseed through such a variety of conditions in three short days if we tried. From the light to moderate winds and sunny skies on Friday, to the wild ride we got during the little "weather bonanza" we experienced on Saturday. (Sailing in 30 knot winds in a Melonseed.... Are you kiddin; me?? What a blast!!!) To be honest, I figured that once we'd made it back to the ramp that day, Nance would put her vote that we pack up and make a hasty retreat to the car. Instead, she opted to jump into some foul weather gear and head back out for more! By the way, while we were bombing along out there in Plymouth, I happened to notice that there really weren't any other sailors out there besides us Melonheads. HMMMMMMM, I thought, statistically speaking, we can't ALL be crazy.... So it must be that we're sailing one honey of a boat!!!! By the way, Mrs Powell, our host at the B&B in with we were staying informed us she was on the committee boat for races that day at (I think) the Duxbury Yacht Club. According to her, hardly anyone was able to keep their boat upright. The races were canceled and several boats needed a tow back.